LAS VEGAS — The NHL is expanding to Las Vegas.
The announcement came from Commissioner Gary Bettman during a press conference prior to the 2016 NHL Awards on Wednesday, June 22.
The decision to award an NHL franchise to Las Vegas beginning with the 2017-18 season came at the Board of Governors Meeting, where it was approved in a unanimous vote. It makes the NHL the first of the four major North American professional sports leagues to put a team in Las Vegas.
This marks the NHL’s first expansion since Columbus and Minnesota entered the League during the 2000-01 season.
Boston Bruins Owner and Chairman of the NHL Board of Governors Jeremy Jacobs was on hand to introduce the NHL’s newest owner, Bill Foley, who spearheaded the expansion effort to bring the League to the 2.3 million residents of Las Vegas.
“The executive committee had four objectives in considering a League expansion,” Jacobs said in his remarks. “First, to evaluate the viabilities of a respective franchise owner. Secondly, to determine the quality and suitability of the respective market. And third, to certify the NHL’s readiness in the arena and respective market. Most importantly, to determine the franchise that had all three attributes would also enhance the National Hockey League and make it stronger.”
LAS VEGAS — The 2016 NHL Awards came and went on Wednesday night at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
Patrice Bergeron was nominated for the Frank J. Selke Trophy for the fifth straight time, given to the NHL’s top defensive forward. Instead of Bergeron earning his fourth straight tropy, LA’s Anze Kopitar took the win for his first-ever Selke.
Kopitar garnered 1,145 voting points, including 77 first-place votes, while Bergeron received 996 points with 46 first-place votes. The other finalist, Anaheim’s Ryan Kesler, had 424 points and nine first-place votes.
“Obviously you’re up against amazing players and it’s just the nature of it,” said Bergeron. “It’s one of those things where I’ve always said, win or lose, I would play the same way and I still feel the same. That’s still how I feel.”
LAS VEGAS — For Patrice Bergeron, the month of June usually brings with it a routine trip to Las Vegas.
As such, the Bruins alternate captain received his fifth straight nomination for the Frank J. Selke Trophy in 2016, given each year to the NHL’s top defensive forward.
The 2016 NHL Awards will take place on Wednesday, June 22, at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (7:00 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN).
“It’s special,” Bergeron said during Tuesday’s NHL Awards Media Day at Encore Las Vegas. “It’s always a great honor to be nominated, but at the same time, it’s one of those things where I wouldn’t change the way I play whether I’m nominated or not.”
“That’s the way I was brought up. It’s special. There’s no individual awards without the the help of your teammates and that goes without saying. It’s fun to be here.”
It is difficult to find a new angle for Bergeron’s Selke prowess — but isn’t that exactly what makes Bergeron, Bergeron?
LAS VEGAS — The NHL’s offseason docket of events kicks into gear this week with the NHL Awards in Las Vegas on Wednesday, June 22 and the NHL Entry Draft in Buffalo, N.Y. on Friday, June 24 and Saturday, June 25.
Patrice Bergeron is on hand for the Awards in Vegas as a finalist for the Frank J. Selke Trophy, given annually to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game.
Meanwhile, Loui Eriksson is up for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, an annual award given to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.
BostonBruins.com — There’s a new date for Bruins fans to add to their calendars.
As announced by the NHL on Monday, the puck will drop for the Bruins’ 2016-17 home opener on Thursday, Oct. 20, at TD Garden against the New Jersey Devils.
It marks just the second time in franchise history that Boston will open its home schedule against the Devils. The first time was in 2003-04, with a game that resulted in a 3-3 tie.
“It’s really exciting,” said defenseman Adam McQuaid. “It’s been a long offseason; it can’t come soon enough.”
“Just excited for the possibilities of a new year and hopefully what’s to come and to get in front of our fans here and have that excitement, to feel the energy again. It’s a new year and I think everyone’s really looking forward to it, and we’ll hopefully have a lot of success.”
The full 2016-17 regular season schedule is forthcoming from the NHL.
The Bruins took the season series against New Jersey in 2015-16, going 2-1-0. They won their lone game at TD Garden against the Devils on Dec. 20, with Ryan Spooner nothing the shootout winner in a 2-1 victory. Spooner also scored the winner in a 4-1 win on Jan. 8 at the Prudential Center.
Boston’s all-time home record against New Jersey is 32-14-8-6 (60-34-14-10 overall).
The franchise’s all-time record in home openers is 38-37-16.
BostonBruins.com — On Saturday night, Boston Bruins Owner and Chairman of Delaware North Jeremy Jacobs was inducted into the Massachusetts Hockey Hall of Fame.
The 2016 Hall of Fame Class included Jeremy Jacobs, David A. Jensen, former NHL player and Olympian; Stephen Palmacci, past President of Massachusetts Hockey; and Jack Parker, longtime head coach of Boston University and three-time NCAA Champion. As the 21st class, they joined a roster of past and current hockey greats recognized for their accomplishments and contribution to the sport of ice hockey in Massachusetts.
The ceremony and dinner were held at Hotel 1620, in Plymouth, Mass.
"My selection reflects the entire Bruins organization as well as the team's true owners, its dedicated and loyal fans,” Jacobs said upon his induction. “Massachusetts is a great hockey state, and we are proud to play a role in the sport's continued growth and development. I am tremendously honored."
Jeremy Jacobs has been the owner of the Boston Bruins for 41 years and is the chairman of Delaware North. Recently, Jacobs won the 2015 Lester Patrick Award for outstanding service to hockey in the United States.
BostonBruins.com — More than 100 prospects recently gathered for a week of testing and interviews in Buffalo as part of the NHL Scouting Combine, taking place three weeks prior the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.
When their names are called on June 24 and 25 at the First Niagara Center, they will be presented with the first step to reaching the National Hockey League.
The NHL Combine serves as the final benchmark prior to that weekend.
General managers of the 30 NHL clubs, and their scouting staffs, were all on hand to interview the prospects in a high-pressure interview setting. The players also participated in medicals and fitness testing.
Saturday served as the final day of the Combine, with the next wave of NHL talent completing a round of tests that will serve as their baselines moving forward. Multiple rounds of testing kicked off at 7:30 a.m., and lasted all day.
BUFFALO — NHL clubs wrapped up the one-on-one interview portion of the NHL Scouting Combine on Friday in Buffalo, after four straight days of meeting with draft-eligible prospects.
The 2016 NHL Entry Draft will commence in three weeks back in Buffalo on June 24 and 25.
“The quality of the draft is good. I saw some really, really impressive kids over the course of the last four days,” Bruins General Manager Sweeney told reporters on Friday evening in Buffalo. “We feel very good with two picks in the first round, and again in the second round, that we’re going to get good players.”
The Bruins currently own the 14th overall selection in the 2016 NHL Draft. Depending on San Jose’s finish in the Stanley Cup Final, the Bruins will also have either the 29th or 30th pick in the first round. Their second round selection — 49th overall — was acquired from the New York Islanders in the 2014 trade involving Johnny Boychuk.
Sweeney and his staff’s approach will be to acquire the best player available, and one based on organizational need.
“Selfishly, you’d like to have the best of both,” said Sweeney. “You’d like to identify the best player that you can possibly get and hopefully it’s a positional need. We’ve addressed areas that we’d like to continue to bolster within our organization and if the right player’s there, we’re going to be excited about taking him there.”
BUFFALO — The 2016 NHL Draft is nearly three weeks away, and preparations continue to be made for the two-day event in Buffalo on June 24 and 25.
There have been constant viewings of players throughout the season, conversations with coaches and a number of initiatives put into place to try and project the 18-year-olds’ potential.
One more piece to that process involves the 2016 annual NHL Scouting Combine. This year’s event is taking place all week in Buffalo, with 114 draft-eligible prospects interviewing with NHL clubs, and taking part in medical examinations and fitness testing.
The one-on-one interview portion occurs from May 30 - June 3 at the First Niagara Center, with several prospects sitting down with numerous NHL general managers and their staffs. The physical testing will take place on Saturday, June 4 at the HarborCenter across the street from the arena.
Bruins Director of Amateur Scouting Keith Gretzky provided some insight on the week after wrapping up the third day of interviews on Thursday.
“What we do is we bring in a number of players that we have interest in, just to gauge what they’re like,” said Gretzky. “All of our scouts in the areas have interviewed the kids before, so it gives us a second reading of what they’ve seen.”
“It’s a piece of the puzzle, is what we say,” said Gretzky. “You have the on-ice, you just want to meet them and see what they’re like, see what their growth is going to be, how they see themselves as a hockey player, really, and off-ice. You want good players and good people. This is part of it.”
BostonBruins.com — Unlike the seven other Bruins who were named to World Cup of Hockey rosters in early March, Brad Marchand held out hope for the final roster selection.
That final announcement came on Friday evening, with Marchand joining Patrice Bergeron on Team Canada’s squad for the much anticipated World Cup of Hockey 2016, taking place from Sept. 17 - Oct.1 at Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
Eight teams will compete in the two-week tournament with 23-man rosters comprised of 173 NHL players in total.
In addition to Marchand and Bergeron, six other Bruins are on World Cup of Hockey rosters, including Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg on Team Europe, Loui Eriksson on Team Sweden, David Krejci and David Pastrnak on Team Czech Republic, and Tuukka Rask on Team Finland.
“It’s an incredible honor to play for Team Canada,” Marchand said on a conference call with media Friday evening. “It’s something that I think we all take a lot of pride in, and something that is — it’s not an easy accomplishment.”