The Boston Bruins held another press conference this morning. Six days after GM Don Sweeney and head coach Claude Julien had the floor, it was time to hear from owner Jeremy Jacobs, CEO Charlie Jacobs, and president Cam Neely.
It was Neely who said the most. In addition to stating the obvious — that the Bruins were disappointed at how their season ended — he outlined three parts of the roster that needed to be addressed.
The first is the defense.
“We know that it’s an area that we need to improve upon,” said Neely. “That’s probably at the top of the list.”
It’s no secret that the Bruins’ blue line has gone from a position of great strength to one of weakness. The departures of Johnny Boychuk and Dougie Hamilton left significant holes that have yet to be filled, so expect the likes of Jacob Trouba, Matt Dumba, Sami Vatanen, Kevin Shattenkirk, and Tyson Barrie to be targeted, should any of those players become available this offseason.
The two other parts are right wing (where Neely would like to get “heavier”) and backup goaltending (after Jonas Gustavsson failed to provide the B’s reliable netminding behind Tuukka Rask).
There was also this, about pending UFA Loui Eriksson:
And this, about Julien:
All in all, it should be an interesting offseason in Boston. We saw last summer that Sweeney is not afraid to wheel and deal, and after two straight missed postseasons, you can bet that Neely is feeling the heat himself.
Related: Jack Edwards says the Bruins’ blue line ‘is in a crisis right now’
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton wants the NHL’s Coyotes and NBA’s Suns to be roomies again.
As expected, Stanton called today for the two teams to strike a deal that would allow them to share a new downtown arena.
“Building two new professional arenas in our region simply doesn’t make sense,” he said during his State of the City address.
The Coyotes and Suns used to share what’s known today as Talking Stick Resort Arena. In 2003, the hockey team moved to a new building in suburban Glendale. NHL fans don’t need to be told how things have gone there.
The Coyotes — whose lease in Glendale expires after next season — have been looking at a number of potential arena sites in the East Valley, while the Suns — who concede they’ll need a new building sometime in the next few years — have said they’re fine where they are for the time being.
So, despite Stanton’s wishes, a deal between the two teams is no certainty. The Coyotes are desperate; the Suns, less so.
But at the very least, this should create some dialogue.
Related: Back downtown for the Coyotes?
PHILADELPHIA (AP) The Philadelphia Flyers have condemned the fans who threw promotional bracelets on the ice during a playoff game against the Washington Capitals.
The Flyers also say there were never any plans to issue bracelets again before Game 4 on Wednesday night.
The wristbands were used as part of a pregame lights show. Fans started tossing them onto the ice in the third period as Washington turned the game into a rout, eventually winning 6-1 to take a 3-0 series lead.
Flyers public address announcer Lou Nolan demanded fans “show some class” and warned the Flyers would be hit with a penalty if they kept littering the ice with bracelets and other garbage.
Sure enough, the wristbands kept coming, and the Flyers were whistled for a bench minor for delay of game. Nolan said, “way to go,” and the fans cheered as if they were proud of the penalty.
Team officials say the behavior “cannot be condoned or tolerated.”
In 2014, after San Jose failed to complete the sweep of Los Angeles, Drew Doughty said the Kings could see the fear in the Sharks’ eyes.
“Once we won that first game of the San Jose series, we kind of had a feeling we were going to come back and win that series,” Doughty said. “And you could see it in their eyes and their team and their captains and leaders that they were worried about us coming back.”
Two years later and Doughty believes the Sharks have to be worried about blowing it again.
“You know they’re thinking a little bit about it now, so we’re right where we want to be,” he told reporters after last night’s overtime victory by the Kings that cut the Sharks’ series lead from 2-0 to 2-1.
It’s a savvy bit of gamesmanship from Doughty.
It’s also undoubtedly the truth. The Sharks are probably thinking about it a bit. They may even be thinking about it a lot. As soon as they went into Los Angeles and won the first two games, the big question became, But can they close it out this time?
Granted, the Sharks are still in the driver’s seat. Game 4 is in San Jose, and their opponents are down a key defenseman.
But lose Game 4 and the Kings will have home-ice advantage again.
And win Game 4 and it’s right back to that big question.
Bottom line — however this series ends, it’s going to be fascinating.
Defenseman David Rundblad — after playing more games in Switzerland than in the NHL during the regular season — could suit up for the Chicago Blackhawks tonight in Game 4 of their series with the St. Louis Blues.
“I told [Rundblad] to be ready to get into the series today,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said this morning, per Mark Lazerus of the Sun-Times.
Rundblad, 25, last played for the ‘Hawks on Dec. 13. He was loaned to the ZSC Lions in January, and proceeded to rack up 15 points (2G, 13A) in 11 games for the Zurich-based club. The ‘Hawks recalled him from AHL Rockford last week.
“He was always fine,” Quenneville told reporters. “He’s got real good play recognition, patience with the puck, he’s positionally fine. It’s in the puck area, defending around the net, that he has to get better at. He’s a good puck mover, has good feel for the game on the offensive point. Around the net, I think he’s made inroads and improvement in that area. He’s come back here, and he looks better.”
Viktor Svedberg is the most likely candidate to be replaced by Rundblad. Svedberg logged just 5:00 of ice time in Sunday’s 3-2 loss to the Blues.
St. Louis has a 2-1 series lead over the defending champions.
Rundblad in 2015-16 (via hockeydb)