Monday, September 17, 2012

We Feared This Day Was Coming

Well, we knew that this was coming the night that the Los Angeles Kings hoisted the Stanley Cup in the air after defeating the New Jersey Devils in six games this past June. In what turned out to be a great NHL season in 2011-12, the 2012-13 season was in serious jeopardy.

It is now September 17th, two days after the collective bargaining agreement expired. 

What does this mean for the league and, more importantly, the fans of the NHL? A lockout. Plain and simple. It's unfortunate because this is the fourth work stoppage in 20 years. 

The players have taken a beating both on the ice (self-explanatory) and off the ice, meaning the owners have gotten the better of the players in past lockouts. This time, the players are standing their ground. 

Whether this lockout lasts two months, four months, or the entire season, the Boston Bruins have shored up their roster for when hockey finally resumes. 

The Bruins have re-signed forwards Brad Marchand, Tyler Seguin, and Milan Lucic to long-term deals. Marchand gets four years, $18 million while Seguin gets a six-year, $34.5 million deal. Those two players were the Bruins top two goal scorers last season. 

In what was a bit of a surprise, Lucic gets a three-year, $18 million contract, making him the second highest paid player on the team. Interesting. Lucic is a solid player, but after his struggles last season, one has to wonder if the B's overpaid in this situation. 

The only forward on the roster that is not locked up long term is Nathan Horton, which is understandable. The B's must wait and see just exactly how healthy he is once hockey resumes. 

Prior to the lockout, the Bruins sent Jordan Caron down to Providence and sent both Dougie Hamilton and Malcolm Subban back to their junior teams. They will be eligible to return to Boston once the season begins.

With that being said, no one knows exactly how long this lockout will last. The revenue splits and the length of the new collective bargaining agreement is where the two sides differ. The players are standing their ground and the owners are not budging. Essentially, this is your classic stalemate 

This lockout has occurred when the league had finally regained its popularity among sports fans. The fact that all of their momentum could be demolished is tragic. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

B's Sign Subban To Entry-Level Contract

This has been a painfully long off-season for the NHL. Unfortunately, it could get even longer with a potential lockout looming over all of our heads. Let's hope that does not happen, but that is a different story for a different day.

Anyway, the Boston Bruins finally broke some news that is worth writing about. The B's inked their 2012 first-round draft pick Malcolm Subban to a three-year, entry-level contract. According to the Bruins' media website, General Manager Peter Chiarelli made the announcement Thursday afternoon.

Subban, the 24th pick in the first round, posted a 2.50 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage, with a 25-14 record and three shutouts in 39 games with the Belleville Bulls of the Ontario Hockey League.

The 18-year-old goaltender propelled Canada to a series win over Russia in the 2012 Canada-Russia Challenge last month, and is expected to be a member of Canada's team at the World Junior Championships in December.

Subban will likely begin the year down in Providence, where he looks to contend for the starting goaltender job. 

This piece of news falls right in line with what the Bruins have been doing the entire off-season: a plethora of small signings as opposed to that one big splash of a deal. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Claude Julien Receives Contract Extension

This eventful offseason for the Boston Bruins could very well have culminated on Tuesday afternoon as General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced that they have signed Head Coach Claude Julien to a multi-year contract extension. 

"Technically, Claude is one of, if not, the best coaches in the NHL," said Chiarelli. "We have great plans in the future and we are happy to have him along for the ride."

Although the details of the contract were not released, having some stability behind the bench for the next few years is always a plus. The assistant coaches are likely to fall in line with extensions of their own. 
Julien was named the 28th head coach in Bruins history in 2007 and he led Boston to the club’s first Stanley Cup Championship in 39 years in 2011.

In five seasons with Boston, Julien has a record of 228-132-50. Currently, he is in third place in franchise history with 410 games coached and fourth in wins, trailing Art Ross (361), Milt Schmidt (245) and Don Cherry (231). Judging from those numbers, he will likely rise into second place by the end of the 2012-13 season.

Chiarelli also touched upon the statuses of several injured Bruins players during the press conference. He announced that Nathan Horton has been cleared for contact and should be ready for the start of training camp. Adam McQuaid, Tyler Seguin, and Anton Khudobin are all ahead of schedule as well.

The Bruins will likely carry their full compliment of players into training camp, but one should remain optimistic about the Bruins adding another key player by the end of the summer.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Bruins Add Depth, But No Big Pieces...Yet


As great as it is to be a fan of the Boston Bruins, it can also be a bit irritating and frustrating. 

The offseason for the B's has been very uneventful thus far. It was expected that they were not going to be realistic options for Zach Parise and Ryan Suter (even though the Bruins allegedly made offers to these superstars), but they have only made minor adjustments to the roster within the past week.

It started on Monday when Boston signed center Christian Hanson to a one-year contract. He has spent most of his career in the AHL, most recently for the Hershey Bears. He only played in 42 games at the NHL level, all for the Toronto Maple Leafs. The most attractive part of this player's resume is that his father was Dave Hanson, one of the Hanson brothers from the movie Slap Shot.

On Wednesday, the team announced that they had signed Garnet Exelby and Lane MacDermid. Exelby is a 30-year-old veteran defenseman who has skated in 408 NHL games where he recorded seven goals and 43 assists along with 584 penalty minutes. 

As for MacDermid, the youngster skated in five games for the Bruins last season. He dropped the gloves for his first-career NHL fight in his first game against the New York Rangers. These two players will continue to provide some toughness for the Providence Bruins next season.

Fast forwarding to Thursday, the Bruins re-signed defenseman Matt Bartkowski. He began last season up in Boston with the Bruins. He appeared in three games before being sent to Providence where he had three goals, 19 assists and 38 penalty minutes in 50 games.

All of the above mentioned players were signed to two-way contracts, allowing them to be called up to Boston from Providence. They will all make at least $600,000 if they earn a spot with the big club.

These signings are decent. It is always nice to have some depth at the minor league level. However, there has to be a point in time where Bruins' general manager Peter Chiarelli goes after a player who will help the B's get them back in the Stanley Cup conversation.

The Bruins have a strong core, which should make it an attractive destination for free agents.