Author: Jason Brough

Minnesota Wild Vs. Boston Bruins At TD Garden

Bruins’ Griffith out 3-4 weeks with MCL sprain

Bad luck for Bruins hopeful Seth Griffith.

The B’s announced today that Griffith would miss three to four weeks with an MCL sprain in his left knee. The club said the injury occurred in the third period of Sunday’s Bruins-Devils preseason game.

Griffith split last season between Boston and AHL Providence. In 30 NHL games with the B’s, he had six goals and four assists.

The 22-year-old RW went into this year’s training camp as a long shot to make the big club, but with hopes of translating a summer of hard work into more success, eventually, at the NHL level.

“I worked a lot on my offseason training, getting faster, getting stronger in the corners and stuff like that,” Griffith told NESN. “There’s a lot of competition going on right now.”

Related: Dennis Seidenberg to miss start of camp with upper-body injury

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    Babcock sees something in Gardiner, wants to ‘build him up’

    Jake Gardiner

    Mike Babcock once said, “The bottom line is, the game’s real simple. The more time you spend in your zone, the less time you spend in their zone, the more time you dump the puck because you got no speed on the rush. If you’re efficient coming out and move the puck and you do it right, you’re coming with speed. You don’t have to dump the puck, you probably get some sort of entry, or at least you give up possession and get it right back.”

    No doubt, that philosophy is a big reason the Maple Leafs’ new coach believes defenseman Jake Gardiner can be an important player in Toronto.

    “Everyone talks about Morgan Rielly and everyone knows that he has elite upside (as an) offensive guy,” Babcock told the Canadian Press. “But Gardiner, when I watch him, I think he should be a good player. So let’s build him up, let’s get him going, let’s get him playing good.”

    Gardiner, 25, is an excellent skater who had a career-high 31 points in 2013-14.

    What he’s not is punishing in the corners or around his own net. Add some “very erratic” play to the equation and he often found himself in former coach Randy Carlyle’s doghouse.

    With Babcock, it sounds like Gardiner will get a great chance to show that his positives outweigh his negatives. In fact, he’s expected to be paired with Rielly for at least part of the preseason.

    Gardiner is signed though 2018-19 for a cap hit of just over $4 million. 

    Related: Babcock expects Nazem Kadri to be ‘an elite player’

    After ‘troubling incidents,’ Kings to get off-ice conduct training

    2014 Stanley Cup Final Media Day

    In the wake of some “troubling incidents that occurred last season,” the Los Angeles Kings today announced a series of “conduct awareness training initiatives” to be implemented for 2015-16.

    From the press release:

    Highlighting today’s announcement is the Kings’ new partnership with Peace Over Violence, a violence prevention center headquartered in Los Angeles. As part of this new partnership, the Kings and Peace Over Violence (POV) will create a promotional campaign entitled “Kings Over Violence” in an effort to create a platform to significantly increase awareness against violence. Within this campaign, the Kings will seek to support the goals of POV, which is dedicated to building healthy relationships, families and communities free from sexual, domestic and interpersonal violence.

    In addition to the POV / Kings Over Violence program, the club is adding:

    — The Herren Project, aimed at better educating players about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse.
    — Sexual harassment training.
    — A conduct awareness program created by the Kings’ owner, AEG Sports properties.
    — A new Player Assistance position, which will focus on the challenges of addiction and substance abuse, has been created. The Kings have hired former NHL player Brantt Myhres for this position.

    “During the past year, we have been extremely diligent in developing an educational strategy and comprehensive programs in an effort to ensure that the troubling incidents that occurred last season are not repeated,” said AEG’s chief executive, Dan Beckerman, in the release. “We have conducted research, gathered information and forged partnerships that will better prepare our players and staff for challenges that could impact their behavior away from the workplace.”

    Added GM Dean Lombardi: “These programs are now part of the development process for all of our players. No longer can we solely focus on their growth and education as just hockey players; we need to give them the tools to thrive as people, too.”


    Slava Voynov will leave Kings, return to Russia

    Rangers sign Jarret Stoll

    Mike Richards charged with possession of controlled substance

    Boudreau: It’s ‘not a rule’ that Cup winners need an elite d-man

    Hampus Lindholm

    The one time the Anaheim Ducks won the Stanley Cup, they had Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger on defense.

    In the past couple of years, they’ve been eliminated by teams with Drew Doughty and Duncan Keith, each of whom went on to hoist the Cup with the Kings and Blackhawks, respectively.

    And so the Ducks will enter another season with hopes that one of their d-men can be “that guy” for them.

    Head coach Bruce Boudreau is fully aware that most Cup winners have that one stud back there.

    “In recent memory, it’s always happened,” he told the O.C. Register.


    “It’s not a rule that it has to be.”

    Indeed it’s not. For example, the 2006 Carolina Hurricanes. Their six d-men when they dispatched the Oilers were Mike Commodore, Bret Hedican, Aaron Ward, Frantisek Kaberle, Glen Wesley, and Niclas Wallin.

    Suffice to say, that team’s main strength was not the blue line.

    This year, the Ducks have seven d-men on one-way contracts: Hampus Lindholm, Cam Fowler, Sami Vatanen, Kevin Bieksa, Clayton Stoner, Simon Despres, and Korbinian Holzer.

    If Lindholm or Fowler can develop into a Norris Trophy candidate, great. (Both seem to have the desire. Lindholm, 21, says he wants to be “that key guy to always have an impact in a game”; Fowler, 23, feels “like it’s my time now to kind of show what I can do.”)

    If not, the Ducks’ defense boasts an impressive mix of talent and experience regardless, with blue-chipper Shea Theodore still to come.

    Related: Anaheim’s Lindholm on the verge of big things

    Lucic a ‘good fit’ with Kopitar and Gaborik

    Milan Lucic

    Milan Lucic is being given quite the opportunity to succeed in Los Angeles, where the big winger is expected to start his Kings career on a line with Anze Kopitar and Marian Gaborik.

    It’s a combination that Kopitar, one of the NHL’s top two-way centers, thinks could work rather well.

    “We’ve got a good shooter in Gabby and then Looch gives us a little bit more pounds on the line, too, and maybe a little bit more physicality,” Kopitar told the Daily News. “I’ll just try and do what I’ve been doing so far, and I’ll take care of both ends of the ice and try to make plays and get those guys the puck in scoring areas.”

    Chemistry is a tough thing to predict. Maybe the trio works, maybe it doesn’t.

    But assuming head coach Darryl Sutter would like Jeff Carter to center Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson (remember how good that line was in the 2014 playoffs), and given Dwight King, Trevor Lewis, and Dustin Brown have been told they’ll be playing a “third-line, shutdown-energy role” together, expect to see plenty of the Lucic-Kopitar-Gaborik combination during the preseason.

    “We think it’s a good fit,” said Sutter, per LA Kings Insider. “Finding out where Looch fits, where [new defenseman Christian Ehrhoff] fits, where two or three of the young guys fit, so the best way to find out is during the game. You can practice all you want.”

    Related: Lucic says sticking with Kings would be ‘perfect scenario’