Along with another loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins yesterday, Bruins fans had to deal with the possibility of being without center David Krejci for an extended period after he took a Johnny Boychuk slap shot to the top of the knee in the closing minutes of the game. Krejci would not return, and though he was seen walking afterwards and also traveled with the team to Winnipeg, there was no official word on his condition (you’ll remember Chris Kelly also traveled with the team to their next game before it was announced he had a broken tibia).
Day to Day, No Broken Bones
Luckily, coach Claude Julien had an update today, and it was relatively positive. ”He came in for treatment and he’s day-to-day. There’s no broken bones, the damage is from the shot, as you know. But, again, he’s getting treatment and we’re hoping he’ll be back soon. It’s nothing serious to the point where we’re talking about weeks.”
Julien added that they’ll check in again with him tomorrow and take it from there. Krejci didn’t skate today and likely will not play when the Bruins take on the Jets tomorrow night at the MTS IcePlex in Winnipeg. Many of the Bruins were already talking today about needing to step up in Krejci’s and Kelly’s absence, which will be important as the Jets are 6-3-1 in their last 10 games and have worked their way to the top of the Southeast Division.
It’s been a little while since we did a Loose Pucks Edition, but there were a lot of good Bruins tidbits in the news today.
Loose Pucks for Thursday, March 14
McQuaid Out Against Panthers, 7pm on NESN: First things first, the last place Florida Panthers are in town tonight. The Bruins will unfortunately be without Adam McQuaid tonight due to a “minor” injury suffered against the Penguins. He did extra skating today with Conditioning Coach John Whitesides and Coach Claude Julien expects him to be ready for the weekend. Aaron Johnson will be in McQuaid’s place on the blue line, and Tuukka Rask will get the start for the B’s in net. Julien also called out his “first line” today, saying they need to get back to the basics that make them successful, so look for some more energy from the Lucic/Krejci/Horton combo. The Panthers announced today that former Bruins-property Kris Versteeg will undergo season ending knee surgery, so the outlook isn’t bright in Florida. The Panthers are just 2-6-2 in their last 10 games.
Prospect Carl Soderberg Suspended – as we touched upon yesterday, Bruins prospect Carl Soderberg, currently playing for Linköpings HC in the Swedish Elite league, was given a match penalty in his team’s first playoff game, which they lost 6-0. Today Soderberg was officially suspended four actual games plus three more games worth of salary. Soderberg is his team’s and the league’s leading scorer, so that very well could spell trouble for his squad’s hopes for advancing. Word on the street is that Soderberg is finally interested in joining the Bruins once the playoffs are over for him. In case you missed it, here’s the hit (0:48 second mark).
Anthony Camara Signs Entry Level Deal – In other prospect news, the Bruins officially signed prospect Anthony Camara to a contract today. Camara goes 6-foot, 190-pounds and had a breakout year for the Barrie Colts of the OHL this season. He finished the year with 36 goals and 60 points with a +17 rating and a team-high 80 penalty minutes. Once thought of as a grinder, his performance this year certainly drew some attention to his offensive skill, and while he’s not expected to be a star by any means, he fits the Bruins mold well and could be a solid middle of the lineup addition. He’ll report to Providence once his season ends, though there are no guarantees he sees action there, especially if he joins after the regular season ends. Either way, he’s definitely a piece of the future and someone to keep an eye on next season. Here’s a highlight to get you through:
Realignment Finally Approved - After the NHLPA gave their sign off last week, all that was left to officially move forward with it’s realignment plan was for the NHL Board of Governors to approve. That approval was given today, meaning that next year the Detroit Red Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets will be part of the Eastern Conference, and the Winnipeg Jets will head west. If you missed it, we wrote up the details of the proposal HERE.
Revenge was sweet this morning for Team USA, who laid a 5-1 beating on Team Canada to advance to the World Junior Championship final on Saturday morning. The loss was Canada’s worst since their world junior program began in 1982.
After falling to Canada just four days ago in the prelims, the American offense has exploded for 21 goals in three games, led by Boston College star Johnny Gaudreau, who followed up a quarterfinal hat trick with two more goals in this morning’s win.
It was clear early that an extra day off for Team Canada was no favor, as they were noticeably flat and terribly sloppy in the opening period, especially in their own end. And as flat as Canada was, USA was that sharp. Defenseman and USA Captain Jake McCabe (BUF prospect), not normally known for his scoring, netted two goals in the first to put USA up 2-0 after one.
It was the same story in the second as just three minutes in Gaudreau went top shelf after a nifty toe-drag move in the slot for his first goal, and Harvard’s Jim Vesey ended Canadian goalie and Bruins prospect Malcolm Subban‘s morning early after he found space streaking through the right circle and buried a wrist shot far side.
Despite an early shorthanded goal by Canadian forward Ty Rattie early in the third to get the score to 4-1, solid play by US goalie John Gibson (ANA prospect) kept the Americans confidently ahead, and Gaudreau’s second goal with five minutes to go sealed the deal. You can check out the highlights below:
The US will now face Sweden on Saturday morning for the gold medal, while Canada will face Russia, who fell to the Swedes 3-2 in the other semifinal, for the bronze medal. The tournament final game has a much more reasonable 8am start time, so set the alarm and start the day off right.
In terms of Bruins prospects, this game was obviously pretty ugly. Obviously Subban would be the first one to jump on after allowing 4 goals on 16 shots before being pulled midway through the second, but the stats don’t really tell the story. Subban was screened on the first two goals of the game, especially on the first as there were no fewer than five players battling in front of him. On the third goal he faced a fly-by screen and let’s face it, few goalies would have stopped Gaudreau’s wrister. Vesey’s goal would probably be the one he would have wanted back, as he was deep in his net and with his team down 3-0 that would be one that you’d need your goalie to stop to give the team a chance. All in all the defense in front of Subban was terrible, as the US continued to dangle through the Canadians even after Subban was pulled.
This includes Dougie Hamilton, who had an unimpressive game as well. He mustered just two shots on net and finished a -2 for the game. He wasn’t as awful as some of his defensive counterparts, but Canada needed its stars to show up and Dougie was pretty quiet. He did have some good power play looks in the third, but he couldn’t beat Gibson. This was all after he reportedly spoke to his team before the game to caution them against the extra day layoff from his experiences last year. His leadership is obviously a good sign, but it’s just as important to back it up with his play, and he didn’t do much to turn the tides for his team.
Canadian forward Anthony Camara was a non-factor, though he did continue to play hard and physical throughout the game which was good to see. Russian prospect Alex Khokhlachev was quiet in his team’s loss to the Swedes as well.
Here’s an abridged version of ‘Loose Pucks’ for today, as there were a few updates from the last night’s lockout negotiations.
We mentioned earlier that the new CBA will probably include one-time ‘Amnesty Buyouts’ for teams to get out of bad contracts. The report now is that each team will get two of these. Fellow Bruins blog Days of Y’Orr has a good take on who might be on the chopping block for the black and gold.
The NHLPA decided against moving forward with a disclaimer of interest as its deadline passed last night, though now it seems the players will vote for a second window, this one 48 hours, to disclaim again. Obviously the decision not to disclaim last night should be a relatively good sign, especially knowing that Donald Fehr had full power to make that decision himself.
Who really knows what the state of negotiations are at this point. Talks reportedly grew contentious last night over HRR reporting, which led to the second disclaimer vote mentioned above. This is what my Twitter feed is looking like these days:
Just hours after their elder countrymen captured the Spengler Cup, the younger Team Canada was back on the ice in Russia at the World Junior Championship this morning taking on the tournament hosts. With a quarterfinal bye on the line, the Canadians remained undefeated in the preliminary round as they knocked off Team Russia by a score of 4-1.
Once again it was Bruins first round pick from last year’s draft Malcolm Subban between the pipes for Canada, just a day after he shut down Team USA. He didn’t have to be nearly as sharp as he was against the US however, as his teammates kept much of the play in the Russian end with strong defense and heavy offensive zone time. He did finish with 21 saves on 22 shots, the lone Russian goal coming off a Nikita Kucherov wrister from the slot that beat him top shelf. He did have a highlight reel save in the second period to keep Canada ahead by two, going cross crease to stuff another Kucherov opportunity. Here’s the video:
Subban also had a penalty shot save to keep the score 4-1, however the game was well in hand at that point with just 19 seconds left.
Perhaps just as good to see for Bruins fans was Dougie Hamilton breaking his scoring drought with Canada’s first goal. Hamilton looked uncomfortable and had trouble finding the net from the point against the US, despite being on the ice for two two-man advantages. It was a different story this morning though, as shortly after Russian Valeri Nichushkin earned himself a five minute major and game misconduct for his hit from behind on Canadian Tyler Wotherspoon, Hamilton blasted a one timer off a Ryan Nugent-Hopkins feed just under the crossbar to beat Russian goalie Andrei Makarov. Here’s the video of the goal:
It was one of six shots on net for Hamilton, who finished a +1, and looked far more comfortable in his own end and moving the puck.
Other Bruins prospects featured in the game were Canadian winger Anthony Camara and Russian centerman Alex Khokhlachev, both who were relatively quiet. Khokhlachev again played along side 2012 Edmonton first rounder Nail Yakupov, but was held scoreless despite managing three shots on yet. Camara was relegated to fourth line duty and managed a shot on goal, but was held off the scoresheet as well.
For Canada, Nugent-Hopkins added to his tournament leading point total with three assists, bringing the count to eleven, four ahead of the US’ Alex Galchenyuk. Winnipeg Jets prospect Mark Scheifele added a nifty backhand goal for Canada as well. You can catch full game highlights courtesy of TSN by clicking HERE.
Canada will be off until Thursday, awaiting an opponent from the quarterfinal games. Team USA earned one of those quarterfinal berths with a convincing 9-3 victory over Slovakia, and they will take on the Czechs on Wednesday with hopes of moving on. The Russians will take on the Swiss in the other match-up.
In what was one of the more anticipated games of the 2013 World Junior Championship so far, the USA and Canada took to the ice early this morning in a preliminary round game, with Canada eventually holding on for the 2-1 victory. Once again, Bruins prospects had their finger prints on the win for Canada, while it was a tough loss for the American squad, who now must beat Slovakia tomorrow in order to claim the last available spot for the playoff round.
It was Team USA that came out with the early chances, but it was Canada who struck first on the scoreboard, with Edmonton Oilers young star Ryan Nugent-Hopkins firing a wrist shot from the right circle past US goalie John Gibson just seven minutes into the game. Shortly after, Canada goalie and Bruins 2012 first round draft pick Malcolm Subban made a huge save at the other end of the ice, rejecting USA and Boston College star forward Johnny Gaudreau on a breakaway to keep Canada up 1-0.
With five minutes left in the first Canada struck again, with Islanders’ prospect Ryan Strome burying a nifty feed from line-mate Brett Ritchie. B’s prospect Anthony Camara also factored in on the goal with an assist, after his work in the left corner freed up the puck to Ritchie behind the net, who then found Strome open in front. The period would end with Canada up 2-0, with Subban making a few good stops on a late US powerplay.
Team USA had a prime opportunity to get back in the game early in the second after Canada defenseman Griffin Reinhart received a double minor for high sticking, but Subban was there to keep USA off the board. The young Canada star made 8 stops over the four minute span alone, and by the midpoint of the period he had already racked up 20 saves. The teams traded chances for the remainder of the period, but the score remained 2-0 Canada heading into the third.
It didn’t take long for things to get interesting in the third period, as Subban took a rare tripping penalty seven minutes in to send the US back to the man advantage. After killing off that penalty, Canada found themselves shorthanded less than a minute later after Strome lifted the puck over the glass for a delay of game call. While it was Canada that first had a great 2-on-1 shorthanded opportunity, a big save by Gibson sent the USA heading the other way on a 3-on-2 rush. The puck eventually found the stick of US defenseman Jacob Trouba, who beat Subban on on a fluky five hole goal after whiffing on his first attempt, to draw his team to within a goal at 2-1.
Photo by Mark Blinch (Reuters)
The ensuing minute had the US buzzing around the Canada goal, with Subban being forced to make a huge pad save on US forward Ryan Hartman to keep Canada ahead. While it looked like the US had finally wrestled the momentum from the Canadians, the change was short lived, as seconds later USA defenseman Jake McCabe took an ill advised hit to the head penalty which came with an automatic ten minute misconduct. It would get worse for the US, who went down another man after forward Tyler Biggs interfered with Subban while on the forecheck.
Team USA managed to kill those two penalties, but then immediately gave Canada their second two man advantage of the night after Hartman and Trouba drew simultaneous penalties with just three and a half minutes to play. Highly touted Bruins prospect Dougie Hamilton saw significant time at the point on both of Canada’s advantages, but had trouble finding the net despite numerous opportunities to unleash his slap shot. Some think Hamilton could be ready for the Bruins roster this year if play resumes, but he’s been relatively quiet during the tournament.
Photo by Mark Blinch (Reuters)
Despite Canada’s chance to seal the victory, the US once again escaped unscathed, and had a great opportunity of their own to tie the game after Nugent-Hopkins took a boarding penalty with just 1:37 left in the game. After pulling Gibson with just over a minute to play to give the US a 6-on-4 advantage, Subban once again stifled the Americans, making numerous stops from close range around the net. A final clear by the defense closed out the win for Canada, who earned their third straight victory of the tournament, sitting comfortably in first place in Pool B heading into their matchup with the Russians tomorrow morning.
This was the performance that many had been waiting for from Subban, who faced some criticism for his somewhat shaky play in the first two games, despite earning two victories. He took Player the Game honors for Canada (Gibson appropriately earned the honor for the US), and finished with 36 saves on the night and a tournament save percentage of 92%. He’s likely solidified his spot as Canada’s go-to goalie heading into the playoffs as well.
As mentioned above, tomorrow morning’s games will decide the final slotting for the WJC playoff round. USA and Slovakia play first at 5 am, being followed by Canada and Russia at 9 am. Both games will be carried by the NHL Network and NHL.com, so check out some future Bruin stars if you’re an early riser!