McQuaid ‘can’t picture’ not being with Bruins

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The Boston Bruins have already made it clear that unrestricted free agent forwards forwards Daniel Paille and Gregory Campbell won’t be re-signed. Another pending UFA, 28-year-old defenseman Adam McQuaid, might be able to extend his tenure with the Bruins though.

If nothing else, he certainly hopes to stick around.

“Obviously I want to be back. I’ve had so many great memories here with this group and this organization. I guess it goes without saying…I don’t know, I can’t picture not being here,” said McQuaid, per CSN New England. “It’s a different situation for me this year with some uncertainty. I guess we’ll see how things play out. My priority, my goal would be to come back here. I don’t know if that’s realistic or not. I guess time will tell. I’ll wait and see if it comes to [hitting free agency], and then obviously you have to go down that avenue.

“But this is where I want to be.”

Although the Bruins are in a difficult cap position to begin with, they still might end up re-signing McQuaid. He doesn’t do much offensively, but he did have 141 hits and 91 blocked shots in 63 contests in 2014-15. He also averaged 1:54 minutes of ice time per game in shorthanded situations, which was good for fourth on the team.

McQuaid came with a cap hit of roughly $1.6 million in 2014-15 and given the Bruins’ situation, his future with the team might be determined by whether or not he’s willing to take a hometown discount.

Farewell, Merlot: Bruins parting ways with Paille, Campbell

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The Merlot Line has officially been put out to vineyard.

On Monday, Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli announced that UFA forwards Daniel Paille and Gregory Campbell — who, along with the already departed Shawn Thornton, once formed Boston’s popular fourth line — wouldn’t be re-signed this summer.

Paille, 30, has been with the Bruins since 2009 and achieved some good success, emerging as a useful contributor during the 2011 Stanley Cup victory and the ’13 Finals appearance (Paille scored four goals and nine points during that latter run, averaging 12:32 TOI per night.)

Campbell, 31, spent the last five years in Boston. A gritty checking forward, he forever etched himself in Bruins lore with this shift against Pittsburgh in the ’13 Eastern Conference Final — in which he played on a broken leg:

This year, though, Campbell and Paille struggled. They were two of the club’s worst forwards in terms of possession (click here) and neither produced much offensively; Campbell scored just six goals in 70 games while Paille had six in 71.

In the wake of Boston missing the playoffs for the first time in eight years, Paille and Campbell aren’t expected to be the only changes — but their departures are still significant. Aside from being the first (and, speediest) moves by Chiarelli this offseason, the two veterans contributed largely to Boston’s identity over the last five years.

Now that they’re gone, only a handful of regulars remain from the Cup-winning team: Zdeno Chara, David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, Dennis Seidenberg, Adam McQuaid and Milan Lucic — the latter of whom has already seen his name appear in trade speculation.

Smooth like Sutter: Penguins clinch spot, boot Bruins from playoffs

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With the Pittsburgh Penguins’ season on the line, one would expect Evgeni Malkin or Sidney Crosby to take over against the Buffalo Sabres. Instead, it was Brandon Sutter.

His two goals powered a huge 2-0 win for Pittsburgh, who clinched a playoff spot while eliminating the Boston Bruins in the process. With this, all 16 postseason teams have been accounted for as the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs approach.

The Penguins let out a big sigh of relief when Sutter scored the 1-0 goal. His second tally might have been more impressive in a way, as he returned to the ice after taking a shot to the face to put in a big insurance tally.

It was tense at times for the Penguins, as the Sabres stuck with them even as Pittsburgh steadily out-shot them. One assumes that more than a few Pittsburgh fans had a “here we go again” feeling about a nice set of chances amounting to nothing, but Buffalo couldn’t put up much of an attack. Marc-Andre Fleury ended one of his better individual seasons with his 34th win.

To some extent, it felt like the Penguins carried an air of fatigue – only have five defensemen dressed is a succinct reminder of their issues – yet they’re likely glad to avoid a premature vacation. It’s easy to forget that the Penguins just continued quite the run of success because it was so close to falling through:

The Bruins would surely beg for the Penguins problems right now. Instead, they’ll miss the playoffs for the first time since the 2006-07 season.

Around the Internet, people are really giving it to the Bruins for putting first-round playoff tickets on sale in late March. Ouch.

Update: The Bruins fell 3-2 via a shootout against the Lightning in a game that became increasingly irrelevant for both teams.

WATCH LIVE: Bruins at Lightning (plus tonight’s scenarios)

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The Boston Bruins can’t guarantee themselves a playoff berth with a win alone, but they can at least say that they did everything they could – Saturday specifically – if they beat the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Tampa Bay would probably be a tough draw even if the Bolts were in take-it-easy mode, but with the Atlantic Division crown within somewhat realistic reach, they’re likely to give Boston a big fight. You can watch the game on NBCSN and also stream it online via NBC Sports Live Extra.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

To save hockey fans a click, here are tonight’s updated postseason scenarios via the NHL:

* The Penguins would clinch a playoff berth if they defeat the Sabres in any fashion OR if they get one point against the Sabres AND either the Senators lose to the Flyers in regulation or the Bruins fail to defeat the Lightning in regulation or overtime OR if the Bruins lose to the Lightning in any fashion.

* The Bruins would clinch a playoff berth if they defeat the Lightning in any fashion AND either the Senators or Penguins lose in regulation. If the Bruins defeat the Lightning in regulation or overtime, they would qualify with either a Senators regulation loss or Penguins loss in any fashion.

* The Canadiens would clinch the Atlantic Division title if they get at least one point against the Maple Leafs OR if the Lightning lose to the Bruins in any fashion.

* The Lightning would clinch the Atlantic Division title if they defeat the Bruins in any fashion AND the Canadiens lose to the Maple Leafs in regulation.

* The Red Wings would clinch the No. 3 seed in the Atlantic Division if they get at least one point against the Hurricanes.

* The Rangers, who are locked in as the top seed in the Metropolitan Division and Eastern Conference, will face the No. 2 wild card in the First Round, either the Red Wings, Senators, Penguins or Bruins.

* The Islanders would clinch the No. 2 seed in the Metropolitan Division if they defeat the Blue Jackets in regulation or overtime OR if they defeat the Blue Jackets in a shootout.

That blurb above doesn’t include West considerations. In case you’re wondering, the St. Louis Blues grab the West’s top seed if the Anaheim Ducks don’t win in regulation. The top seed gets the Winnipeg Jets while the second division winner faces the Minnesota Wild.

OK, so here’s the deal for the Bruins and Penguins

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Now that’s Ottawa’s taken care of business in Philadelphia, there’s but one remaining playoff spot in the East for either the Pittsburgh Penguins or Boston Bruins to nab.

Glossing over the fact that this is pretty crazy, here’s the deal for the Pens and B’s, two teams that entered the season with Stanley Cup aspirations:

For Pittsburgh, a win this evening in Buffalo will clinch a spot. Sounds easy, right? Well, it might prove to be. But then again, nothing’s been easy for the Pens lately, and the Sabres do have three wins in their last six. The Pens could also get in with a loser point, but only if the Bruins can’t beat the Lightning in regulation or overtime. They could also get in with a regulation loss, but only if the Bruins lose in any fashion to the Lightning. 

So, for Boston, a victory tonight at Tampa Bay is an absolute necessity. If the B’s win in any fashion, including a shootout, they’d get in with a Penguins’ regulation loss to the Sabres. If they can they beat the Lightning in regulation or overtime, they’d get in if the Penguins lost in any fashion to the Sabres.

Confused? Yeah, me too.

Bottom line: The only way the Bruins can make it is if the Sabres find a way to beat the Penguins.