With 30-goal scorer Jarome Iginla fresh out the door and the Bruins on an extended stint in the NHL Salary Cap Jail, it’s no surprise that much of the attention so far this offseason has been focused on how GM Peter Chiarelli will fill the gaps up front to ensure the black and gold remain contenders heading into the 2014-15 season. But while putting pucks in the net is a critical piece of the Stanley Cup puzzle, keeping them out of the net is just as important, and believe it or not Chiarelli and the B’s have another growing conundrum that requires some attention, and that’s who will man the team’s defensive blue line this year.
The Bruins currently have eight NHL-caliber defensemen – nine if you count the recently signed David Warsofsky – and probably seven spots to fill for the opening roster. Add to that the fact that one of those nine, budding star Torey Krug, still remains without a contract as a restricted free agent and you can see why Chiarelli has already said “I’ve got to do something” in regards to his current situation.
Interest in today’s trade deadline certainly peaked after the Boston Bruins dropped back to back games to – shall we say – sub-par opponents last week, but a offensive explosion against the Rangers on Sunday and a ‘take-care-of-business’ approach last night against the Florida Panthers have things looking up once again. And while GM Peter Chiarelli took his normal ‘right pieces of the puzzle’ approach during today’s trade madness, he was able to acquire some defensive depth in the name of Andrej Meszaros (trade with Flyers) and Corey Potter (waivers from Edmonton).
There has a somewhat concerning theme to the most recent Boston Bruin losses, namely the underperformance of the team’s normally good-to-very good special teams units. Such was the case again last night in Anaheim, where the Black and Gold surrendered four special teams goals en route to a 5-2 loss to the Ducks, including a shorthanded goal. Tuukka Rask took his tenth loss of the season in goal while Daniel Paille and Dougie Hamilton did the scoring for the B’s.
The Christmas break officially ends today, with the B’s home to face the Senators tonight at the Garden at 7pm. They’ll travel to Ottawa tomorrow to finish the back-to-back home-and-home series. To help you get back in the hockey swing, we’ve got some of the latest updates.
Niklas Svedberg Recalled from Providence – in a somewhat surprising move this morning, the Bruins have recalled goaltender Niklas Svedberg from the Providence Bruins. So far the Bruins haven’t given a reason for Svedberg’s call-up (it wasn’t an emergency call-up due to injury/illness) and both Tuukka Rask and Chad Johnson were on the ice this morning, so it will be interesting to see as the day goes on where this goes. Many fans were disappointed that Svedberg was even sent down in the first place after training camp, but nevertheless he’s been good (though not as sharp as last season) with the Baby B’s racking up an 11-5-3 record with a 2.91 GAA and .907 sv%. He will be eligible to play tonight, so there’s a good chance he could make his NHL debut in one of the next two games against the Senators.
Update 10:30am: CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty is reporting that no particular issue prompted the call-up of Svedberg, the Bruins just want to give him a look at the NHL level. Interesting.
Last night’s win was good, but there is still a lot of fallout going on from this weekend’s events. Haven’t done a ‘Loose Pucks’ in a while, so seemed like now would be a good time to get you caught up.