Tag: Andrej Meszaros

Chicago Blackhawks v Boston Bruins

Pressing question: How will Boston’s defense hold up?


One of PHT’s 10 pressing questions in advance of the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs…

The Bruins have to hope the kids are alright, because Zdeno Chara can only do so much.

That’s the situation at hand for Boston as it looks to get back to the Stanley Cup Finals for the second consecutive year, starting Friday in an opening-round series against Detroit.

Chara is one of the league’s best defensemen, and it’s not a coincidence the Bruins’ fortunes started to turn shortly after he came over from Ottawa eight seasons ago.

That said, he’s now 37 and has endured a grueling stretch that dates back to the start of the condensed 2013 campaign.

As alluded to earlier, the B’s went to last year’s Cup Finals, meaning Chara had a shortened summer. Despite that, Boston has continued ply him an average of 24:39 minutes per game this year — and that was on top of his stint in the Olympics with Slovakia.

He’s performed superbly under the strain, but will it catch up to him? The possibility is higher now that we’re in the playoffs, where the intensity of the games increases and the Bruins are likely to ask Chara to play even more.

The Bruins have to hope fatigue won’t start to become a factor, because they’re missing the safety net that is defenseman Dennis Seidenberg. Though not at Chara’s level, Seidenberg is a solid blueliner, a veteran presence and someone that can be trusted to step up in the postseason. With him out with a torn ACL/MCL, the B’s defense after Chara does have some question marks.

Boston’s attempts to fill the Seidenberg void were largely unsuccessful. It did acquire Andrej Meszaros and claimed Corey Potter off of waivers at the deadline, but those are complimentary defensemen rather than guys you want to lead in critical games.

MORE: Latest Bruins news, analysis from CSN New England

As a result, the Bruins need to hope their young blueliners will help carry the load. That includes 25-year-old Matt Bartkowski, 20-year-old Dougie Hamilton, and 23-year-old Torey Krug.

All three received some playoff experience in 2013 and held their own, with Krug in particular sticking out, but this time will be different. They’ve established themselves as important parts of the blueline during the regular season and will consequently be asked to log significant minutes in key situations during the postseason. If Chara does start to show signs of wearing down, the young trio that will need to take on even more responsibilities.

If they can pull that off, the Bruins will have managed a seamless change of the guard on the blueline from the core of veterans that won them the Stanley Cup in 2011 that included Chara, Seidenberg, Andrew Ference, Tomas Kaberle, Johnny Boychuk and Adam McQuaid, to a new generation that will potentially carry Boston for years to come.

That shift to a new generation is necessary, even if injuries have forced the process to accelerate, but these changes often involve growing pains. The cost of the transition might end up being a quick exit from the playoffs in 2013 — despite their regular season success.

For more Pressing Playoff Questions, click here.

Bruins not optimistic about Seidenberg playoff return

Dennis Seidenberg

Last month, there was excitement coming out of Boston as reports suggested Dennis Seidenberg — out since December with a torn ACL — might be able to return to the lineup come playoff time.

On Monday, that enthusiasm was tempered a bit.

“We’re not counting on Dennis to be back,” B’s GM Peter Chiarelli said, per CSNNE. “We’re going to be very cautious with his injury. He has been skating, but that’s all I can say on it. It really hasn’t changed.”

Seidenberg resumed skating on Apr. 9 and, at the time, Boston Herald sources claimed the team was contemplating a possible lineup return should the Bruins go deep into the playoffs. The 32-year-old German rearguard emerged as a terrific shutdown defenseman during last year’s Stanley Cup run, averaging nearly 27 minutes a night and was rewarded for his efforts with a four-year, $16 million extension in October.

Without Seidenberg — and fellow blueliner Adam McQuaid — in the lineup, Boston has relied on youngsters like Dougie Hamilton (20), Torey Krug (22), Matt Bartkowski (25) and Kevan Miller (26) extensively this season, and has managed to squeeze some decent minutes out of trade deadline pickups Andrej Meszaros and Corey Potter.


Discuss: Bruins hold off late-surging Flyers 4-3 in shootout

Tuukka Rask

The Boston Bruins fought off a late-charging Philadelphia Flyers team to win 4-3 in the shootout.

Tuukka Rask stopped four out of five shooters in the shootout and made 49 saves to pace the Bruins. Reilly Smith ended the shootout in the fifth round with his goal against Steve Mason to give the Bruins their 15th win in the past 16 games and their ninth consecutive win on the road.

The Bruins got goals from former Flyer Andrej Meszaros, Zdeno Chara, and Patrice Bergeron. The Flyers got two goals from Vincent Lecavalier, including his game-tying goal with 24 seconds left in the third period. Kimmo Timonen added a goal and Mason stopped 27 shots.

Here are some talking points to take with you into the comments…

— Zdeno Chara scored his 10th power play goal of the season in the second period and did so by being parked around the net. If you’re a goalie, you’ll wake up in cold sweats thinking about that playing out over and over again.

— Yes, it was a big day for Lecavalier. Not bad for a guy playing on the fourth line, right? Check out his 400th career goal from the first period.

— We haven’t seen Jarome Iginla’s feisty side in a while. All it took was a big hit from Zac Rinaldo to help do that as the two dropped the gloves in the first period.

— The Flyers put up 52 shots on goal against the Bruins. The Bruins piled up 30 of their own. Whoever said offense is dead was merely dead wrong.

If you missed any of the action, here are the highlights from this afternoon’s thriller:

Bruins healthy scratch Krug for first time this season


Rookie defenseman Torey Krug has been dropped from the Boston lineup for the first time this year, the club has announced.

The decision was made just prior to tonight’s Bruins-Coyotes game at TD Garden.

Krug, 22, leads all rookie defensemen — and Bruins defensemen — in scoring this year with 12 goals and 35 points, and has been a mainstay on the blueline all season long, averaging 17:23 TOI per game.

That said, Krug has just one point in his last seven games and has seen his minutes decrease recently, playing just over 12 minutes against the Rangers last week and 14:58 in last night’s win over Montreal.

The Bruins are also looking at a variety of different line combinations and pairings on defense lately, having picked up Andrej Meszaros and Corey Potter at the trade deadline.


Report: Bruins had deal in place for Edler, but Canucks blew it

Alex Edler

Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Gillis has had a rough few days and if the latest report is true, perceptions won’t be getting any better.

Fluto Shinzawa of The Boston Globe reports the Canucks had a deal set to go with the Boston Bruins on trade deadline day that would’ve sent Alex Edler to the Bruins, but there was a hangup:

They were waiting for the Canucks to deal Ryan Kesler to Pittsburgh first.

As we know, that never happened. The Penguins’ deal for Kesler was reportedly for Brandon Sutter and draft picks, but the two sides couldn’t agree. According to Shinzawa, the Bruins were set to send either Ryan Spooner or Alexander Khoklachev and Matt Bartkowski to Vancouver for Edler.

If that deal sounds familiar, it’s essentially the same package they put together to try and land Jarome Iginla last season, a deal they were beat out for by the Penguins.

As it was, Shinzawa said the Bruins got Philadelphia to eat a lot of money on the Andrej Meszaros deal because they were looking to save cap space to acquire Edler. The Flyers have to be excited they did that now.

Gillis said at the conclusion of deadline day that they entertained many offers but none met their needs. Instead, the only deal the Canucks got done was the out-of-the-blue Roberto Luongo trade to Florida that signaled they were ready to blow things up and start over.

Instead, they’ve got a (likely) grumpy Kesler and now Edler stuck on a team that looks completely deflated. A 6-1 loss to Dallas last night showed that off.

If the Canucks can’t turn things around and crash into the postseason, it sets up the NHL Draft as their next opportunity to get things done. It’s never dull in Vancouver.