Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The Eastern Conference champion Boston Bruins.
The Boston Bruins came as close as you can to winning the Stanley Cup without doing so. They were moments away from winning Game 6 against Chicago but gave up two goals 17 seconds apart with about a minute to go and saw their dreams dashed on their own ice.
Now they’re heading into next season with a drastically different team and the same lofty level of expectations of winning another Stanley Cup. It’s never not boring in Boston.
What didn’t happen to the Bruins this summer? They sent apparent party boy Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley to Dallas for Loui Eriksson. They watched Nathan Horton (Columbus), Jaromir Jagr (New Jersey), Andrew Ference (Edmonton), and Anton Khudobin (Carolina) all walk away in free agency.
Their lone signing in free agency didn’t come without drama as they signed the guy who turned down a trade to go there last season in Jarome Iginla. That makes for an awkward return to Boston, especially after the Bruins knocked out the team he did opt to go to (Pittsburgh) in the Eastern Conference finals.
Two areas they didn’t tweak were ones they’re all set at. Losing Ference may hurt them on defense, but guys like Dougie Hamilton, Matt Bartkowski, and Torey Krug are ready to tackle big minutes regularly. Tuukka Rask was snubbed for a Vezina Trophy finalist spot but proved he’s the man in goal. They’ll have healthy competition to see who backs him up between Niklas Svedberg and Chad Johnson.
Next season will hinge on how the virtual new set of forwards works out. Coach Claude Julien’s ability to get his team on the same page will be more than tested.
Introducing: PHT’s ‘Team of the Day’ summer series
Jarome Iginla has hit the ice, as part of his summer training regimen leading into training camp in September.
The Boston Bruins, after losing out on the Iginla sweepstakes in a chaotic turn of events prior to the NHL trade deadline, signed the veteran forward to a one-year deal worth $6 million on the first day of free agency on July 5.
The 36-year-old Iginla, who scored five goals and 11 points in 13 regular season games with the Pittsburgh Penguins, the team he was traded to in April, was recently in British Columbia, Canada, working on the ice in order to sharpen up prior to camp with his new team.
“During the summer, I like to get on the ice definitely starting in July and make sure the rust doesn’t build up, and also work on things to improve,” Iginla told the Bruins Blog recently.
“You always want to keep trying to get better, and try to make sure rust doesn’t get on there…You’ve got to work hard, it’s fun. You want to be prepared going into the season.”
If you’ll recall, Iginla chose the Penguins over the Bruins – although Boston’s GM Peter Chiarelli thought a deal was in place Flames GM Jay Feaster – as the team he wanted to be traded to in what turned out to be the big blockbuster leading up to the deadline.
But in a strange twist in the already thickened plot, the seemingly powerhouse Penguins wilted in the Eastern Conference final, as the Bruins swept them and advanced to the Stanley Cup Final.
Earlier this month, Justin Bieber caused a stir when he posed with the Stanley Cup in the Chicago Blackhawks locker room. Surprisingly, it wasn’t because he was wearing this:
Instead, the Blackhawks were upset that the pop star stood on the Blackhawks logo, as you can see from Andrew Shaw’s reaction:
That set the table for Saturday, as ESPN Boston reports that the Bruins went as far as to rope off the spoked-B logo in their locker room in fear that Bieber might tarnish their sacred logo while preparing for a concert.
TSN Radio 1050 shares a photo of the “No Bieber zone.”
Hey, the Bruins didn’t win their series against the Blackhawks, but at least they won the protecting their logo battle, right?
In related news, CSNPhilly.com’s Sarah Baicker reveals that Bieber doesn’t have to worry about that Blackhawks logo incident tarnishing his name among his fanatics:
That’s a relief.
Update: It’s an old picture. (Probably the rope is there to keep the media off the logo, as the Bruins’ dressing room is one of the smallest in the NHL.)
The Boston Bruins have re-upped with restricted free agent Jordan Caron on a one-year, $640,000 deal, according to CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty.
Caron, 22, was Boston’s first-round pick (25th overall) at the 2009 Entry Draft, but has yet to emerge as a full-time contributor at the NHL level.
His best season came in 2011-12, when he posted career highs across the board — games (48), goals (seven), points (15) — making his postseason debut in the process.
This year, though, Caron appeared to take a step back.
He dressed for just 17 regular-season contests, scoring once, and didn’t play a single game for the Bruins in the playoffs.
As such, Caron took a sizable pay cut — he was making $1.1 million annually on his entry-level contract — and it looks as though GM Peter Chiarelli engineer a “prove-it” deal with Caron, much like he did with Tuukka Rask.
Rask, you’ll recall, was signed last summer to a one-year, $3.5 million extension, designed for him to show the Bruins he was capable of being the club’s full-time No. 1 netminder.
The Finn did that and more, backstopping the Bruins to the Stanley Cup Final. His reward? An eight-year, $56 million contract signed last week.
The Boston Bruins decided to fire director of amateur scouting Wayne Smith sometime following the 2013 NHL Draft, CSNNE.com reports.
GM Peter Chiarelli provided the Hockey News’ Ken Campbell with a vague explanation for why he was canned.
“We wanted to freshen up our amateur scouting and shift things a little bit and we felt this was the way to do it,” Chiarelli said. “Wayne has done a good job and I’ll give him a good reference, but we wanted to inject some new life.”
Campbell finds the change a little strange.
It seems rather odd, given that Chiarelli admits that Smith is his good friend and is a very good scout. Their prospect list was solid, ranking them 12th among NHL organizations in THN’s Future Watch edition in 2013.
Then again, when you look at the list of players the Bruins have drafted since Smith took over the scouting department in 2007, it’s clear that the Bruins’ impressive work has mainly come from trades and free agent moves.
As Hockey Prospectus’ Corey Pronman points out, Tyler Seguin is the only NHL regular the team drafted from 2007-2010. It’s possible that more recent drafts could produce better results with the likes of Dougie Hamilton and Malcolm Subban in the mix, but first-rounders like Jordan Caron and Zach Hamill haven’t exactly worked out.
Either way, parting with Smith is another example of a Bruins franchise that is adapting on the fly, even amid substantial bigger picture success.