Jacobs: Jury still out on Bruins

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The Boston Bruins may have gone into the All-Star break as one of the NHL’s hottest teams, but the team’s CEO, Charlie Jacobs, still isn’t satisfied.

Jacobs, of course, had previously called the Bruins’ season “unacceptable.”

And now?

“What are we, 6-1-3 in our last 10 games? I feel we’re certainly trending better. We’ll still have the odd game where we seem a bit uninspired, but I guess you’re going to have that in an 82-game schedule,” said Jacobs, per CSN New England. “Having said that all of that, the stuff that we’ve done with the better play has gotten us to eighth place.

“Do I feel better about it that we’re in a playoff spot? Yes. Do I wish we were in a better position than we are? Absolutely. Again, I’ll repeat that for this team to be even remotely close to missing the playoffs isn’t something we can be happy about. I would hope that this solid play continues for the next 10, the next 20 and for the rest of the season, frankly. We’re at where we’re at, we’ve dug ourselves a hole and we’re starting to get ourselves out of it. But until we have a nice playoff run, the jury is going to have to be out on this group.”

The B’s have a tough stretch coming out of the break with games against the Islanders, Kings, Rangers, Islanders again, and Montreal.

Leafs’ prospect Nylander using Bruins’ Pastrnak as motivation

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Toronto Maple Leafs 2014 first-round pick William Nylander made his North American professional debut Friday night with the American Hockey League’s Marlies.

Not since the 2006-07 season when goaltender Justin Pogge made his AHL debut had there been such hype surrounding a Leafs’ pick in a Marlies sweater.

Unfortunately for the 18-year-old he was held off the scoresheet as the Marlies were blanked 3-0 by the Hamilton Bulldogs, the affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens.

Nylander joined the Marlies after scoring eight goals and 20 points in 21 games for Modo in the Swedish Hockey League this season. He also appeared in seven games for Sweden at the world junior hockey championship scoring three goals and seven assists – leading his team with 10 points.

At the same tournament, Nylander’s close friend, and Bruins’ prospect, David Pastrnak had a team-leading seven points in five games for the Czech Republic. Following the tournament, the Bruins’ recalled Pastrnak, who had four goals and an assist in seven games prior to the NHL All-Star break.

Watching Pastrnak’s trajectory in such a short span has Nylander motivated.

“The work he’s put in, he deserves to be there,” Nylander said. “I’m really happy for him. We’re really close buddies back home so I mean seeing him score makes me happy and inspires me to keep working and hopefully one day I’ll get the chance. Even if it’s not this year, maybe next year. That’s your goal.”

One of the things the Marlies will work on with Nylander is adjusting to the physicality of the North American game.

“I think that’s one of the aspects of his game that we want him to improve upon,” said Leafs assistant general manager, Kyle Dubas. “It’s going to have to happen over here. I think at the world juniors you see he does put himself in positions with the puck where he gets run at and hit a lot. It’s not going to take long to take some hits from men where he’s going to know not to do it again.”

Nylander and the Marlies play host to the Bulldogs in the second half of a home and home Saturday afternoon before the American Hockey League pauses for its’ All-Star break.

Seguin blasts ‘party animal’ claims, says Bruins gave up on him

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In another great column by an NHL player in “The Players’ Tribune,” Tyler Seguin bared his soul – and at times, his teeth – regarding the trade that sent him from the Boston Bruins to the Dallas Stars.

While he explains that he let his play do the talking after the trade, Seguin took this opportunity to get some things off his chest. The rising star blasted critics of his character, stating that the Bruins parted ways with him for business reasons, not because he was some “immature, unfocused party animal.”

That business talk might imply that Seguin was going the hyper-professional, water-under-the-bridge route with his column, but not in every regard. At minimum, he was quite candid regarding his belief that Boston management quit on him.

Now that it’s all completely in the past, I can give you my honest answer. Do I think the Bruins gave up on me too early? Yes, I 100-percent believe that.

I had hoped to stay in Boston for a long time. I even put a deposit down on a house there just months before I was traded. I never got to move in.

But time has given me more perspective. Just about every professional athlete has an experience in which they learn firsthand that they indeed work for a business. The Boston trade was mine.

While the 22-year-old hasn’t enjoyed the team success with the Stars that came often (and early) with Boston, his individual game has only grown since that trade, as he’s developed an elite one-two punch alongside Jamie Benn.

Again, if you’d like to read up on his perspective, click here.

* – Former pro Sean Avery’s insight on a rookie’s financial pressures also ranks as a fascinating read.

Julien: Bruins ‘ran out of gas’ against Avs

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The Boston Bruins have been on a roll since 2015 began, but they just couldn’t get it done against the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday, dropping a 3-2 decision via a shootout.

Head coach Claude Julien explained it simply to NESN: the Bruins “ran out of gas.”

The stats certainly back up such a sentiment. After slightly edging Colorado in shots 19-17 through the first two periods, the Avalanche dominated in that regard to the tune of a 19-5 disparity in the third period and OT.

Overall, Torey Krug and plenty of other Bruins seemed happy with most of their efforts, but disappointed with the outcome, as the team’s website reports.

“We played a good 58 minutes of hockey,” Krug said. “And killed a lot of penalties and Tuukks came up big for us in some key moments. They just outbattled us at the end and they scored the goal in the shootout that mattered.”

The Bruins enter the All-Star break playing some of their best hockey of the season, even with this last blemish. They’ve won six of eight and have generated at least a standings point in all but one of their games since Dec. 29.

While they aren’t in a perfect situation – the Florida Panthers could surpass the Bruins by winning in their four games in hand, for example – Boston is currently in the East’s second wild card spot as of the break. Considering how shaky certain stretches of the 2014-15 season have been, they’ll take it.

In 15 days, the Bruins have gone from ‘very disappointing’ to one of the NHL’s hottest teams

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It was only 15 days ago that the Boston Bruins’ new CEO, Charlie Jacobs, tore a strip off his struggling hockey team.

“I’d say without question this has been a very disappointing year,” Jacobs said. “It’s unacceptable the way that this team has performed given the amount of time, money and effort that’s been spent on this team.”

At the time, the B’s were 19-15-6, one point behind Toronto for the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. And such was Jacobs’ displeasure at being outside the playoff picture that coach Claude Julien’s job security was actually being questioned in the media.

Things, suffice to say, have changed in the 15 days since. Heading into tonight’s game in Colorado, the Bruins have won six of seven and, yes, if the playoffs started today, they’d be in them.

Simply put, the B’s are playing better hockey. In their last seven games, they’ve possessed the puck at a higher rate than they did over their first 40; defensively, Julien’s praising the “layers” again; and perhaps most importantly, they’ve received far better goaltending from Tuukka Rask, who, after finishing December with a save percentage of just .896, has allowed only nine goals in his last six starts.

Also helping Boston? The collapse of the Maple Leafs and a Florida Panthers mini-slump.

The B’s aren’t home and free yet. They could still miss the playoffs with a record of, say, 16-16-3 in their final 35 games.

But making the playoffs seems a lot more doable today than it did a couple of weeks ago.

In fact, it almost seems easy for a team as good as Boston.

Things can change quickly in the NHL.