Torey Krug

McQuaid camp ‘holding out hope’ to re-sign with Bruins

6 Comments

New Bruins GM Don Sweeney has some decisions to make on the blue line.

As of now, the B’s only have four of their defensemen from the past season under contract: Zdeno Chara, Dennis Seidenberg, Torey Krug, and Kevan Miller. They have one big restricted free agent to sign in Dougie Hamilton, but that’s expected to get done somehow.

One of their unrestricted free agents is Adam McQuaid. The 28-year-old said last month he “can’t picture” moving on from Boston. But that may not be his call.

“We’re holding out hope [to get something done],” McQuaid’s agent, Paul Krepelka, tells CSNNE.com. “He’s a good fit here [in Boston].”

The other UFA on defense is Matt Bartkowski, who just so happened to be the subject of a speculative piece in today’s Vancouver Province. (The Canucks are, of course, led by GM Jim Benning, who knows Bartkowski well from his time in Boston.)

But it’s McQuaid that has the larger history with the B’s. He was a young depth defenseman on the 2011 Stanley Cup champion team, providing size and toughness behind an excellent top four of Chara, Seidenberg, Johnny Boychuk, and Andrew Ference. He played a similar role in 2013, when the B’s lost to Chicago in the final.

McQuaid is the kind of player that would seem to match the Bruins’ plans to get back to their aggressive ways. On the other hand, after being asked to play a larger role this season following the departure of Boychuk, he definitely had his struggles.

It begs the question — if the B’s choose to bring him back, what role do they envision him playing? Because the top four may be too big of an ask.

“I guess time will tell,” McQuaid said in April. “I’ll wait and see if it comes to [hitting free agency], and then obviously you have to go down that avenue.”

Chara doesn’t ‘understand why all of a sudden my age is an issue’

35 Comments

Zdeno Chara doesn’t get why his age is such a big deal. And the 38-year-old, younger than just 13 other NHLers this season, is getting tired of hearing about it.

“I don’t understand why all of a sudden my age is an issue just because I got hurt and I missed a lot of games, a big chunk of the season,” Chara told the Boston Globe. “I don’t like it. I don’t like when people start to judge you based on age or the amount of games you played.

“I still feel very motivated, very confident that I’m going to be healthy and strong next season. I don’t know. Obviously I am planning to play beyond what maybe people are guessing or expecting.

“Age is obviously a number, but some players or some people are meant to play for way beyond that.”

The counterpoint is that Chara’s advancing age was a topic well before he got hurt this season. The big defenseman’s fitness is legendary, but he’s still human. Next season, there will be even fewer NHLers older than he is. (Kimmo Timonen, 40, will retire, to name just one.)

Really, it’s the ultimate compliment when Bruins fans fret and skeptics wonder how Chara’s age will affect his team’s chances at competing for a Stanley Cup. Without him, would the B’s have won it all in 2011? Almost certainly not. It was the same thing in Detroit when Nicklas Lidstrom was approaching retirement. Lidstrom called it quits soon after he turned 42. The Wings last won the Cup when he was 38.

To be sure, Chara still has a couple of seasons left where he can play at a high level (even if it’s not as high as it used to be). If the Bruins are going to compete for a title while he’s still around, it’ll be up to youngsters like Dougie Hamilton and Torey Krug to keep improving, and for whoever the next GM may be to improve the depth on the back end, not to mention any issues up front.

Stunner: Unbeaten Americans fall to Belarus at Worlds

19 Comments

USA Hockey’s feel-good story has taken a rough turn at the 2015 World Hockey Championships.

The Americans, who got off to an impressive 3-0-0-0 start in the Czech Republic, dropped a shocking 5-2 decision to minnows Belarus at CEZ Arena on Thursday.

Belarus has never defeated the U.S. and its current squad is devoid of NHLers, though it does feature two former players in brothers Andrei and Sergei Kostitsyn. The pair proved vital in today’s win, combining for four points, while Alexander Kitarov scored what proved to be the eventual game-winner in the second period.

As for the Americans, today’s loss comes after arguably its biggest win at the tourney — a 4-2 win over Russia, in which the club knocked off a powerhouse team featuring the likes of Evgeni Malkin, Vladimir Tarasenko, Sergei Bobrovsky, Dmitry Kulikov, Artem Anisimov and Ilya Kovalchuk.

The U.S. goals versus Belarus were scored by Brock Nelson and Torey Krug, with Boston University product Jack Eichel assisting on both tallies. It was a forgettable game for goalie Jack Campbell, who allowed five goals on 23 shots.

Campbell’s counterpart, Belarus’ Kevin Lalande, stopped 28 of 30 shots for the win and continued his stellar run of play at this tournament. The former Flames draftee now boasts a .938 save percentage and 1.74 GAA.

Video: U.S. stays unbeaten at Worlds with win over defending champs Russia

10 Comments

The U.S. continued to surprise at the 2015 World Hockey Championships on Monday, scoring a 4-2 win over defending champion Russia to remain undefeated in the group phase.

Arizona Coyotes center Mark Arcobello scored the game-winner for the Americans (3-0-0-0) midway though the third period, while Dallas prospect Jack Campbell stopped 15 of 17 shots for his first win of the tournament.

Anton Belov and Sergei Plotnikov replied for the Russians, who suffered their first loss.

It’s been a banner tourney for the Americans thus far, especially given their roster makeup. USA Hockey opted to rely heavily on youth; collegians Jack Eichel (Boston University), Jimmy Vesey (Harvard), Dylan Larkin (Michigan) and Mike Reilly (Minnesota) have all played significant minutes while in goal, Campbell and fellow AHLer Connor Hellebuyck have carried the load and done remarkably well, allowing just four goals over the first three games.

Of course, the U.S. is boasting a strong, NHL-heavy defensive unit led by Justin Faulk, Torey Krug and Seth Jones. The trio combined to play over 70 minutes in the win over Russia, with Krug scoring a goal and Jones finishing with two assists.

The U.S. will next play on Thursday against Belarus (10 a.m. ET), then face Denmark on Friday (2. p.m. ET), Slovenia on Sunday (3p.m. ET) and Slovakia on Tuesday (10 a.m. ET) to close out the group stage.

All Team USA games will be televised on NBCSN.

NBCSN to air every Team USA game at Worlds

7 Comments

Hockey fans wanting to get an early look at Jack Eichel ahead of June’s NHL Entry Draft will be able to do so, courtesy NBC.

On Monday, the NBC Sports Group announced that every Team USA game from the upcoming World Hockey Championships will be televised on NBCSN, as part of more than 40 hours of tournament coverage across television and online digital platforms.

Eichel, the reigning Hobey Baker Award winner, highlights the American roster along with the likes of Justin Faulk, Nick Bonino, Jake Gardiner and Torey Krug.

“As the U.S. television home of hockey, we’re thrilled to present comprehensive coverage for the fifth consecutive year of IIHF World Hockey Championship, the sport’s premier annual international tournament,” said Jon Miller, President, Programming, NBC Sports and NBCSN. “The World Championship is another example of our commitment to hockey, from our near-200 games of regular-season and Stanley Cup Playoff coverage, to our presentations of international hockey at the Olympic, Paralympic and Championship levels.”

More:

Live coverage begins on NBCSN on Friday, May 1, at 10 a.m. ET, when Team USA faces Finland, the 2014 silver medalist, in the first of seven preliminary-round games, which will all air on NBCSN. Team USA’s preliminary-round matchups also feature a showdown with 2014 IIHF gold medalist Russia, on Monday, May 4, at 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN. Last year, Team USA finished second in preliminary-round play before losing 4-3 to the Czech Republic in the quarterfinal round.

Full Schedule (all times ET)

Fri., May 1

Team USA vs. Finland NBCSN 10 a.m.

Sat., May 2

Team USA vs. Norway* NBCSN 11 p.m.

Mon., May 4

Team USA vs. Russia NBCSN 10 a.m.

Thur., May 7

Team USA vs. Belarus NBCSN 10 a.m.

Fri., May 8

Team USA vs. Denmark NBCSN 2 p.m.

Sun., May 10

Team USA vs. Slovenia* NBCSN 3 p.m.

Tue., May 12

Team USA vs. Slovakia NBCSN 10 a.m.

Thu., May 14

IIHF Quarterfinals NBCSN 9 a.m.
IIHF Quarterfinals NBC Sports Live Extra 10 a.m.
IIHF Quarterfinals** NBCSN 11:30 a.m.
IIHF Quarterfinals NBC Sports Live Extra 1 p.m.
IIHF Quarterfinals NBC Sports Live Extra 2 p.m.
IIHF Quarterfinals* NBCSN 11:30 p.m.

Sat., May 16

IIHF Semifinals NBC Sports Live Extra 9:30 a.m.
IIHF Semifinals NBC Sports Live Extra 1 p.m.

Sun., May 17

IIHF Bronze Medal Game NBC Sports Live Extra 10 a.m.
IIHF Championship Game NBCSN 2:30 p.m.

*denotes same-day delay

**denotes joined-in-progress