Boston Bruins

Get your game notes: Team Toews vs. Team Foligno

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Today on NBC, it’s the Team Toews vs. Team Foligno in the 2015 NHL All-Star Game (NBCSN, 5 p.m. ET). Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL’s public relations department:

source:
NHL CLUB AND ALL-STAR GAME TEAMMATES

Team Foligno: D Duncan Keith and RW Patrick Kane (Chicago), LW Nick Foligno and C Ryan Johansen (Columbus), D Drew Doughty, C Anze Kopitar and head coach Darryl Sutter (Los Angeles) G Brian Elliott and D Kevin Shattenkirk (St. Louis)

Team Toews: D Mark Giordano and LW Johnny Gaudreau (Calgary), G Corey Crawford, D Brent Seabrook and C Jonathan Toews (Chicago), G Roberto Luongo and D Aaron Ekblad (Florida), D Shea Weber, C Filip Forsberg and head coach Peter Laviolette (Nashville), G Jaroslav Halak and C John Tavares (New York Islanders)

NHL CLUB TEAMMATES WHO ARE ALL-STAR GAME OPPONENTS

Chicago Blackhawks: D Duncan Keith and RW Patrick Kane (Team Foligno) vs. G Corey Crawford, D Brent Seabrook and C Jonathan Toews (Team Toews)

St. Louis Blues: G Brian Elliott and D Kevin Shattenkirk (Team Foligno) vs. RW Vladimir Tarasenko (Team Toews)

Philadelphia Flyers: C Claude Giroux (Team Foligno) vs. RW Jakub Voracek (Team Toews)

ALL-STAR GAME OFFICIALS

The referees for today’s game are Chris Lee (#28) and Chris Rooney (#5). Lee, who hails from Saint John, N.B., made his NHL debut in 1999-2000 while Rooney, a Boston native, has worked NHL games since 2000-01. They are joined by linesmen Steve Miller (#89) and Tony Sericolo (#84). Miller, from Stratford, Ont., also started officiating NHL games in 2000-01. Sericolo a native of Troy, N.Y., is the senior member of the crew, having made his League debut on Oct. 21, 1998 (Edmonton at NY Islanders). All four officials are making their All-Star Game debut.

ALL-STAR ENTERTAINMENT

The 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game will feature performances from Grammy Award-nominated and multi platinum selling recording artist Fall Out Boy, rock band O.A.R. and power-pop band Locksley.

Fall Out Boy will perform during the first intermission followed by a performance from Ohio State alumni O.A.R. during the second intermission.

Locksley will perform “The Whip,” its hit single and the song performed after every Columbus Blue Jackets goal, during the NHL All-Star player introductions. Twelve local boys and girls, between the ages of eight and 13 years old, will take part in the player introductions as part of McDonald’s “In the Lineup” program.

NHL SCORING LEADERS AT THE ALL-STAR BREAK

Goals: 1. (tie) Rick Nash, NYR (Team Toews) and Tyler Seguin, DAL (Team Toews), 28; 3. Alex Ovechkin, WSH (Team Foligno), 27.

Assists: 1. Jakub Voracek, PHI (Team Toews), 39; 2. Sidney Crosby, PIT, 36; 3. (tie) Ryan Getzlaf, ANA (Team Toews) and Claude Giroux, PHI (Team Foligno), 35.

Points: 1. Jakub Voracek, PHI (Team Toews), 17-39–56; 2. Tyler Seguin, DAL (Team Toews), 28-24–52; 3. Patrick Kane, CHI (Team Foligno), 22-29–51.

ALL-STAR GAME QUICK HITS

* Twelve players in the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game are under age 25. Thirty-two of the 41 players on both rosters have yet to celebrate their 30th birthday. The youngest 2015 NHL All- Stars are 18-year-old Aaron Ekblad (Florida Panthers/Team Toews, born 2/7/96) and 20-year-old Filip Forsberg (Nashville Predators/Team Toews, born 8/13/94). Ekblad will be the second 18- year-old to skate in the past three NHL All-Star Games, following Jeff Skinner in 2011 in Raleigh, N.C.

* The oldest player among the 2015 NHL All-Stars is 38-year-old Patrik Elias (New Jersey Devils/Team Toews, 4/13/76). Elias leads players from both rosters in career games (1,192), assists (604) and points (1,003).

* The 2015 NHL All-Star with the most career appearances in the midseason classic is Rangers forward Rick Nash (Team Toews) who will be skating in his sixth career game. Following Nash is Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (Team Foligno), who will play in his fifth NHL All-Star Game.

* Nash holds the NHL All-Star Game record for the fastest goal from the start of a game, tallying just 12 seconds into the 2008 contest in Atlanta.

* The 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game MVP will be determined by fans in-arena via a Twitter vote. Three finalists will be announced during the third period. The winner will receive a 2015 Honda Accord EX-L, made in Ohio.

* The last player to win NHL All-Star Game MVP honors in front of his home fans was Canadiens forward Alex Kovalev, in 2009 in Montreal.

* It has been 19 years since a defenseman captured NHL All-Star Game MVP honors (Ray Bourque, 1996) and 21 years since a goaltender won the award (Mike Richter, 1994).

* Penguins forward Mario Lemieux became the first rookie to earn NHL All-Star MVP honors in 1985. Lemieux, 19, notched 2-1—3 in leading the Prince of Wales Conference to a 6-4 win over the Campbell Conference.

* Blue Jackets forward and hometown star Ryan Johansen was the first overall pick in the 2015 NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft presented by DraftKings, held on Friday at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. Team Foligno won a ‘puck toss’ to pick first overall, with Nick Foligno selecting linemate and first-time All-Star Johansen. Team Toews chose Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel as its first choice and the second overall selection. Kessel later was traded to Team Foligno in exchange for Stars forward Tyler Seguin, marking the first trade in NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft history.

* The NHL became the first professional sports league to implement an All-Star player fantasy draft to determine team rosters, in 2011 in Raleigh. Eric Staal of the Hurricanes, one of the NHL All-Star captains, selected Hurricanes teammate Cam Ward with the first overall selection. Nicklas Lidstrom of the Red Wings, the other captain, nabbed Steven Stamkos of the Lightning with the second overall pick.

* In 2012 in Ottawa, NHL All-Star captain Zdeno Chara of the Bruins made Pavel Datsyuk of the Red Wings the first overall selection, followed by captain Daniel Alfredsson of the hometown Senators selecting teammate Erik Karlsson with his first pick.

Video: Weber wins hardest shot with 108.5 mph blast

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Shea Weber confirmed his reputation as one of the NHL’s most powerful shooters on Saturday, winning the Hardest Shot contest at the Skills Competition.

Weber captured the award on the strength of an 108.5 mph blast — on his second and final shot — to record one of the fastest shots in the competition’s history. Weber’s blast was just 0.3 mph shy of the record set by Zdeno Chara during the 2012 All-Star Game in Ottawa.

Here’s the shot that won it all tonight…

 

Lawson Crouse: ‘I’m a big power forward’

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When looking at the prospects for the upcoming NHL Draft many have heard of the likes of Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel – the two topped the NHL Central Scouting midterm rankings released this week.

At No. 4, behind Boston College defenseman Noah Hanifin, is a hulking 6-foot-4, 211-pound forward by the name of Lawson Crouse.

Crouse, who plays for the Kingston Frontenacs of the Ontario Hockey League, was listed at No. 3 on the International Scouting Services latest rankings released earlier this month.

“Everytime he’s out there, you know what he’s giving you,” said Benoit Groulx, who coached Crouse with Team Canada at the recent world junior hockey championship. “You know what he brings to the table. He’s a big body, likes to get involved. Smart player, solid with the puck. He’s solid also on the defensive game.”

The 17-year-old, who was a surprise to even make the Canadian team, spent much of the tournament on the fourth line registering a goal and three points in seven games.

Crouse has 16 goals and 23 points in 31 OHL games this season – a nice increase in production from the 15 goals and 27 points he registered in 63 games during the 2013-14 season.

“I’m a big power forward. I just try and bring it every night,” said Crouse describing his game. “If you want to play in the National Hockey League, I feel that’s what you have to do. I can score, but there are areas of my game that I’m strong at – in the defensive zone and doing the little things.

“That’s something that I focus on. Try and control the little things and do everything else.”

Crouse grew up idolizing current Colorado Avalanche veteran Jarome Iginla, but models his game after a couple of other NHL stars.

“Right now I like to watch Rick Nash and Milan Lucic- trying to find a balance between them both,” he said. “I have the ability to score, but I also have the meanness and ability to play physical like Lucic.”

Given his size, whoever selects Crouse in the first round in June could have an NHL-ready player for the start of next season.

Will the Youngstars even have a chance? (Updated)

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NOTE: An earlier version of this piece incorrectly listed the cutoff/eligibility birth date as Sept. 1, 1993. It is Sept. 1, 1992. Changes have been made to reflect this new date.

COLUMBUS — Gary Bettman said they’ll be “incredibly competitive.”

Patrick Kane said ‘it’s a young man’s game.”

Well, in 19 months we’ll know for sure.

During Saturday’s official announcement of the 2016 World Cup of Hockey — which will include new entities in Team Europe (players outside of Russia, Sweden, Finland and the Czech Republic) and the North American Youngstars — there was plenty of focus on the latter.

Specifically, who’s going to be on this team? And how good will it be?

Per ESPN, Youngstars-eligible players will need to be 23 or younger by Sept. 1, 2016 — meaning the cutoff birth date is Sept. 1, 1992. What’s more, 23-and-under players can only play for the Youngstars, not the Canadian or U.S. senior national teams.

And that could make for some interesting roster decisions.

Per Bettman, World Cup teams will carry traditional 23-man rosters. To give an idea of what the North American Youngstars are currently working with, here’s a list of eligible players that’ve participated in NHL games this year.

Forwards: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Brandon Saad, Matt Nieto, Sean Couturier, J.T. Miller, Nathan MacKinnon, Sean Monahan, Mark Scheifele, Jonathan Huberdeau, Boone Jenner, Ryan Strome, Johnny Gaudreau, Alex Galchenyuk, Jonathan Drouin, Bo Horvat, Sam Reinhart, Anthony Duclair, Curtis Lazar.

Defense: Connor Murphy, Dougie Hamilton, Aaron Ekblad, Jacob Trouba, Seth Jones, Morgan Rielly, Damon Severson, Ryan Murray, Cody Ceci, Derrick Pouliot, Griffin Reinhart, Matt Dumba, Darnell Nurse.

Goalies: John Gibson.

Obviously, the above players will have matured and gained experience, and players yet to make their NHL debuts will be in the mix. Many have already speculated about the projected top two picks at the 2015 Draft — Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel — becoming Youngstars teammates; there are also those that starred at the recently-completed World Junior Championships (think Max Domi, Samuel Morin, Josh Morrissey, Nic Petan, Dylan Larkin, Sonny Milano, Anthony DeAngelo, etc.)

Goaltending will probably be the biggest issue. Rarely do netminders become NHL regulars at that young an age; as such, you’ll speculatively hear the names of Malcolm Subban, Zach Fucale and Thatcher Demko get thrown around. The goaltending position is, by far, the most difficult to handicap.

All of which begs the question: While the Youngstars idea is great in theory, will it actually work when executed? Will the Youngstars provide stiffer competition than, say, Switzerland, which sits seventh in the latest IIHF Rankings?

One guy that sounded entirely on board with the Youngstars was Kane — who, you’ll remember, made his NHL debut at 18 and went on to win the Calder.

“If you look at hockey these days it’s a young man’s game, more that ever now,” Kane said on Saturday. “Teenagers are coming into the league and playing right away now, and the skill level is better and better.

“I think we all like watching young players play the game. I know myself I like watching the World Juniors to see who are the next up and coming guys, and I think fans enjoy that too.”

Here’s an early look at Team Europe

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COLUMBUS — First, they really need to figure out the name.

Officially it’s the straightforward-but-staid “Team Europe,” though we heard plenty of other monikers during Saturday’s announcement of the 2016 World Cup of Hockey: Pan-European, Team Other Europe and The Island of Misfit Boys (courtesy Bleacher Report’s Dave Lozo, which I feel might not stick)

For clarity’s sake, the squad is called Team Europe (for now) and comprised of players outside the traditional Big Four — Sweden, Finland, Russia and Czech Republic — of international hockey. As such, the NHL and NHLPA have hatched a Ryder Cup-style squad of players from Slovakia, Switzerland, Slovenia, Norway, Denmark, France, Belarus, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Austria and another other European country I’ve failed to mention.

Let’s take a look at potential roster choices shall we?

Forwards: Anze Kopitar (Slovenia), Marian Gaborik, Marian Hossa, Tomas Tatar, Tomas Jurco, Richard Panik, Tomas Kopecky (Slovakia), Thomas Vanek, Michael Raffl, Michael Grabner (Austria), Mikhail Grabovski (Belarus), Mikkel Boedker, Frans Nielsen, Jannik Hansen, Lars Eller (Denmark), Antoine Roussel, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (France), Tobias Rieder, Leon Draisaitl, Marcel Goc (Germany), Zemgus Girgensons (Latvia), Mats Zuccarello (Norway), Nino Niederreiter (Switzerland), Dainius Zubrus (Lithuania).

Defense: Zdeno Chara, Andrej Sekera, Lubomir Visnovsky, Andrej Meszaros (Slovakia), Roman Josi, Mark Streit, Yannick Weber, Luca Sbisa, Mirco Mueller, Raphael Diaz (Switzerland), Christian Ehrhoff, Dennis Seidenberg (Germany).

Goalie: Jaroslav Halak (Slovakia), Frederik Andersen (Denmark), Thomas Greiss (Germany), Jonas Hiller, Reto Berra (Switzerland).

Halak, who’s represented Slovakia internationally on a number of occasions, figures to be in the mix for one of the goaltending spots — and, one would think, the starting job — but has mixed feelings about the Team Europe concept.

“I would say if it was 10 years ago it would be upsetting because 10 years ago we had a lot of guys in the NHL,” he explained during . “Right now, we got maybe 12. So that would be tough to make a team out of 12 guys.

“Obviously you need 20. It will be different to see [the rest of Team Europe] but at the same time I’m open to it. It would be nice to play with some other players from different countries.”

As most assumed when reports of a Team Europe concept first broke, the team will be well-stocked at forward but thin on defense and in goal. On their own, Switzerland and Slovakia probably have the strongest contingents but lack depth certain positions. Other countries simply don’t have enough players period so, from a competition standpoint, the Ryder Cup-style amalgam makes sense.

It just remains to be seen if all the projected players fully embrace the idea.

“I’m sure it’s going to be strange at first, but playing against each other you know pretty much all of the guys anyway, Kopitar said. “I don’t think it’s going to be too hard to come together.”