Author: Joe Yerdon

Riley Sheahan, Gregory Campbell

Bruins’ Campbell may be moving from center to wing


Boston Bruins forward Gregory Campbell has been known for his faceoff prowess on the fourth line, but he could be moving to the wing next season and he’s OK with that.

As D.J. Bean of WEEI in Boston shared, Campbell discussed his possible move off the pivot and he said he’s willing to do whatever it takes to keep going.

“I’ve been a center for the last four years, but I’€™m not going to [demand anything]. I want to be in a spot where I can complement other guys,” Campbell said. “If they throw me with whoever it is and I have to play wing and we’™re a successful line, then so be it. That’€™s where I want to be. I have played center for a long time, so it may take me a few games, but I’™m sure I can do it.”

The Bruins haven’t done anything drastic this offseason aside from losing Jarome Iginla to the Colorado Avalanche and Shawn Thornton to the Florida Panthers. They have young guys that will likely have to jump into the lineup and fill out ranks and that includes centers Ryan Spooner and Alexander Khokhlachev.

If they force their way into the Bruins lineup, having Campbell slide over to the wing will help them adapt.

Report: If San Jose gets second outdoor game, it’ll be at AT&T Park

AT&T Park

With the news of the San Jose Sharks hosting the Los Angeles Kings at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, many fans wondered why an outdoor game between the two teams wouldn’t be played at the home of the San Francisco Giants in AT&T Park.

Turns out an outdoor game may be headed there in the future anyhow.

According to David Pollak of the San Jose Mercury News, chances are good that if another games is to be played outside in Northern California it’ll be played in San Francisco.

“My guess is that we will, in the next few years, be back and we’ll probably be up at AT&T. What we’re trying to do ultimately with this game is get more people into hockey and the more people that can see it, the better,” senior NHL vice-president in charge of special events Don Renzulli said. “If we can show Santa Clara and that area what we have to offer outdoors and then bring it up to San Francisco in a few years, it’s a win-win for everybody.”

Aside from Levi’s Stadium having larger seating capacity, its proximity to San Jose was also kept in mind when deciding between there and AT&T Park. Santa Clara is right near San Jose whereas San Francisco is about 50 miles away. While Levi’s Stadium is brand spanking new and set to play host to the San Francisco 49ers starting this season, AT&T Park has already become an iconic stop.

Safe to say if Sharks and Kings fans can pack out the park on February 21, AT&T Park will get a shot to host a Stadium Series game, or perhaps even a Winter Classic, in the future.

Moving Burns back to D to replace Boyle makes sense

Brent Burns

Brent Burns is going back to where he started and it’s not all bad for the San Jose Sharks.

Last season, Burns was a stud playing on the wing with Joe Thornton. He had a career-highs in goals with 22 and in points with 48. The defenseman-converted-to-forward looked like he found a new life playing up front instead of on the blue line.

Here’s to hoping he didn’t get too comfortable because now he’s headed back to rearguard after the Sharks parted ways with Dan Boyle. At 38 years old, Boyle signed a two-year deal with the New York Rangers and left an opening on the Sharks defense for a guy who can move the puck and score points.

With free agency loaded with guys who were either going to get paid a ton or not be as effective, Sharks GM Doug Wilson felt the best move was to have Burns return to defense after having been a force at forward. For those thinking it’s a mistake to do that, think back to what he did before he changed positions.

In Burns’ final year with the Minnesota Wild and his first season with the Sharks, he was an offensive dynamo from the back end. With the Wild, he scored 17 goals and had 46 points in 2010-11. The following season with the Sharks, he had 11 goals and 36 points playing second-banana to Boyle offensively on defense.

Boyle’s time in San Jose saw him pile up 269 points in 431 games on defense – an average of 0.62 points per game. Burns’ numbers? In 540 games in Minnesota and San Jose on defense, he had 66 goals with 220 points – a 0.41 points per-game average.

That sounds like a problem, but when you look at the success Boyle had in his role and what Burns has done when he’s been unleashed (2010-11 and 2011-12), it makes a big difference as his points per-game those two seasons was 0.51. If he can produce at that level, calls to move him back up front from fans should be minimal.

Fanspeak: Joe Thornton voted greatest Shark in franchise history

Joe Thornton

This summer, NBC Sports’ social media team is conducting the #NHLGreatest initiative, designed for fans to choose the best player in each franchise’s history. Balloting was conducted through three platforms — Facebook, Twitter and Instagram — with thousands of votes being cast. The results of this initiative will be released throughout the month of August, in conjunction with PHT’s Team of the Day series.

San Jose Sharks

1. Joe Thornton — 477 votes

2. Patrick Marleau — 475 votes

3. Owen Nolan — 352 votes

4. Other — 395 votes

Quite the close vote we had here and just think, both of these guys were supposed to be ticketed out of town this summer! But seriously, are there two players more emblematic of the Sharks than Thornton and Marleau? Not a chance, and Thornton is the best of the bunch.

Thornton’s arrival to town via a lopsided deal with the Boston Bruins that only cost the Sharks Marco Sturm, Brad Stuart, and Wayne Primeau netted them an instant MVP winner and one of the best set-up men in the game. After nine seasons in San Jose, he has 740 points in 675 games with 567 of those points coming from assists.

Seeing Thornton come out on top of this vote may surprise some Sharks faithful given that Marleau has been a lifer in a Sharks uniform and leads the franchise’s all-time list in games played, goals, and points. But it’s Thornton who drives the bus (for now) as the team captain. The fact he was given the “C” after it was taken from Marleau is still a touchy matter among some fans, but there’s been no doubt he’s the leader since he’s had it.

Now if they can just get to the Stanley Cup Final, maybe they become immortals in San Jose.

Laich: Missing playoffs ‘might’ve been greatest day going forward’ for Caps

Brooks Laich

Last season, the Washington Capitals missed the playoffs for the first time since 2006-07. That disappointment led to coach Adam Oates and longtime GM George McPhee being fired and turned the offseason into a bit of a tumultuous one.

If you ask Caps forward Brooks Laich about last season, he’s looking on the bright side of life as Dan Rosen of shared.

“My honest opinion is not making the playoffs last year might have been the greatest day going forward for our organization, because I really think it made us all take a look in the mirror and at our failures and why we are failing,” Laich told “If we would have made the playoffs and lost in the first or second round it would have been the same old story, but you wouldn’t have had that hard, brutally honest look at yourselves to realize why you are failing.”

To say the Caps have been treading water in the postseason the past few years may sound cruel, but when you don’t get past the second round six straight seasons, maybe that’s the right way to put it.

Going through a season that saw virtually everyone’s production drop is a painful way to make change happen, but now the Caps will look forward to Barry Trotz and GM Brian MacLellan trying to get the team to their first Eastern Conference Final since 1998.