BostonBruins.com — The Bruins aren’t a team that takes their American League success for granted.
They know it’s not a coincidence that players who have bubbled up from the Providence pipeline — players like Torey Krug, Matt Bartkowski and Kevan Miller — have fared so well once they’re wearing Black and Gold in Boston.
They know they are fortunate that, as they look toward the 2014-15 season, they have viable options in Ryan Spooner, Alexander Khokhlachev, Matt Fraser, Justin Florek, Matt Fraser and more to fill any roster vacancies that remain.
In fact, Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien and Co. are quick to point to one source in particular as the reason behind the team’s success with players who come up from Providence.
“Bruce [Cassidy] has done an unbelievable job of developing players,” Julien said during a conference call last week. “And to me, he’s still a fairly young coach. He’s coached in the NHL, and I think at the same time, I think he’s one of those guys who should certainly be considered to be a coach in the NHL again, too.”
BostonBruins.com — Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien characterized Boston’s offseason thus far in just a few words:
“We don’t feel like were in a real tough situation.”
There have been some changes since the B’s packed up their dressing room on May 16. The biggest: Top line right winger Jarome Iginla departed for Colorado, leaving a big vacancy at an important place.
But as Julien emphasized during a conference call on July 24, there are plenty of options to fill that vacancy, and none of them leave him uneasy.
The No. 1 option: Slotting in Loui Eriksson alongside Milan Lucic and David Krejci. The winger played the bulk of the 2013-14 season on the third line with a variety of accomplices, but he was most successful on a line that featured Chris Kelly on the left and fellow Swede Carl Soderberg at center.
The first chunk of the 2013-14 season wasn’t easy for Eriksson. He suffered two concussions within five weeks early in the season, and when he finally returned to the lineup, it took him some time to acclimate.
BostonBruins.com — David Warsofsky got a taste of the NHL last season. Heading into this year’s rookie camp, the Bruins brass have indicated time and time again that they expect him to compete for a full-time NHL roster spot.
Now, it’s official: Warsofsky will have that opportunity.
On Thursday, the defenseman signed a one-year, two-way contract worth $600,000 at the NHL level to remain with the Bruins.
BostonBruins.com — In the end, the Bruins were the perfect fit for Joe Sacco.
The former forward — who played for five NHL teams during his 13-year career — had spent a year as an assistant coach for the Buffalo Sabres, and he wasn’t actively job-hunting, but when Geoff Ward announced that he was departing his assistant coaching job in Boston for the opportunity to be a head coach in Mannheim, Sacco saw the opportunity.
So he gave Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien a call and told him he was interested in Boston’s coaching vacancy, and about a month later, the club announced that he had been hired as Ward's replacement and Julien’s newest assistant.
“I reached out to Claude, and we connected at some point later in the month of June and sat down,” Sacco said during a conference call on Thursday. “I had the opportunity to talk with him and just really get to know each other a little bit. Obviously I knew of him, but didn’t know him that well personally, and I thought that the time that we spent together that first meeting went very well.”
BOSTON — Just as the sun was setting on a perfect summer day in the Boston Harbor, the M/V Provincetown II — filled to the brim with the Boston Bruins extended family — set off for an evening sail.
Wednesday marked the annual Boston Bruins Harbor Cruise to benefit the Boston Bruins Foundation Pan-Massachusetts Challenge Bike Team, which will set off on August 2. The team has already raised more than $80,000 for the bike-a-thon, which traverses 46 towns across Massachusetts. Since its inception in 1980, the event has raised $414 million for adult and pediatric cancer care and research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through the Jimmy Fund.
While aboard the boat on Wednesday night, guests had the opportunity to mingle with Bruins alumni and Bruins Ice Girls, enjoy some live music courtesy of Digger Dawg and participate in a raffle. Among the prizes were plenty of signed items courtesy of the current Bruins roster, including jerseys, sticks and photos.
BostonBruins.com — Last year was a year of transition for Justin Florek, a year of change and a year of growth.
During the season, Florek managed to make his mark with the big club. In the offseason, the goal was to make sure he would have the opportunity to continue to do so for another year.
On Friday, the Bruins agreed to terms with Florek, signing the Michigan-born forward to a one-year, two-way deal worth $600,000 at the NHL level and $90,000 at the AHL level.
“It’s amazing, and it’s another step in the right direction and a dream come true for me,” Florek said on Friday. “Boston is just a great city and a great hockey city and organization, and I am really looking forward to the opportunity to get another chance to play for Boston.”
Florek spent the bulk of the 2013-14 season in Providence, playing in 69 games and registering 19 goals and 19 assists for 38 points with a plus-17 rating. He also played in four regular-season games with the Boston Bruins, tallying a goal and an assist.
BostonBruins.com — After Tommy Cross and the Providence Bruins ended their 2013-14 season at the hands of Wilkes-Barre in a critical Game 7 in May, he focused on one objective: Making sure he remained in Providence in 2014-15.
On Thursday, that intention became a reality, as Cross signed a one-year, two-way deal with the B’s.
BostonBruins.com — Within the Bruins organization, there are plenty of players Tyler Randell has looked to for inspiration over the last several years.
One of them — Shawn Thornton — recently departed for Florida. The other is the home-grown Milan Lucic, and when Randell signed a one-year, two-way deal on Thursday to remain with the B’s, he was one step closer to following the very same path.
“It feels great to have the privilege to continue to play in the organization,” Randell said after finalizing the deal, “and it’s definitely great to get the contract signed and get ready to go back to work."
BostonBruins.com — As the Bruins prepare for their seventh annual Development Camp, there will be some new faces on the ice, as well as some that B’s fans have grown accustomed to seeing during the summer at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington, Mass.
In all, the Black and Gold will welcome 23 players — 13 forwards, nine defensemen and two goaltenders — for camp, which will run from Wednesday, July 9 through Sunday, July 13. Seventeen of the players are members of the Bruins organization, while six have been invited. (You can see a complete roster below.)
Some of the roster highlights include four of the Bruins’ 2014 NHL Entry Draft selections. First-rounder and Czech Republic native David Pastrnak arrived in Boston on Monday night ready for his first Development Camp with the B’s.
BostonBruins.com — Tuesday was a day of transition for the Bruins.
They also parted with top-line right winger Jarome Iginla, who signed a three-year deal with Colorado.
But Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli stressed that, despite the personnel changes, he is still confident in his team as it stands. The biggest reason? Its youth.
“You know what, we’ve got a strong core, and I believe there are guys that are going to replace those goals that we lost,” Chiarelli said during a conference call on Tuesday evening. “I also know that it’s important to make sure that these guys get a chance — these younger guys get a chance to show that they can play.”