Bruins pay tribute to Lucic, who responds with goal, assist and salute to the fans

Jared Clinton
Milan Lucic (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

For the past eight seasons, no player encapsulated the big, bad attitude of the Bruins quite like Milan Lucic. But with changes necessary in the off-season, Boston shipped Lucic to Los Angeles. In his first return to Beantown, though, the Bruins and the fans at TD Garden made sure to let Lucic know they appreciated all he did while wearing the Spoked ‘B’.

During a stoppage in the first period, the Bruins ran a video package paying tribute to Lucic. The package, set to Avicii’s ‘Wake Me Up’, shows the former Bruin doing work in the community, dropping the gloves, throwing a few big hits and highlights his Stanley Cup victory with Boston in 2011. After the package, Lucic saluted fans and received a standing ovation from the Bruins faithful: Read more

Rumor Roundup: Bruins may deal Eriksson rather than lose him to free agency

Loui Eriksson. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Boston Bruins right wing Loui Eriksson remains a hot topic of NHL trade speculation. Eligible for UFA status in July, recent reports claim the 30-year-old could seek a five-year deal worth over $6 million per season. That’s too expensive for the Bruins, who could trade Eriksson rather than lose him to free agency in July.

The Boston Globe’s Fluto Shinzawa reports the Bruins could try moving Eriksson for a defenseman. While that deal would address a pressing need for the Bruins, it will be difficult replacing a reliable two-way right winger. Indeed, trading Eriksson could adversely affect their playoff hopes.

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Update: Bruins’ Subban out indefinitely with fractured larynx after puck to throat

Jared Clinton
Malcolm Subban (Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

It’s been a rough couple weeks for Boston Bruins netminders. Jonas Gustavsson was hospitalized following the first period of a Jan. 26 game due to an elevated heart rate, and less than two weeks later, netminder Malcolm Subban was forced to spend his night in hospital after taking a puck to the throat ahead of Saturday’s AHL game.

During warmup ahead of the Providence Bruins’ game against the Portland Pirates, Subban was struck in the throat with a puck and had to head off ice. Once off the ice, he was transported to hospital by ambulance and held overnight. Read more

Taylor vs. Tyler: Almost six years later no clear winner in Hall, Seguin debate

Mike Brophy
Tyler Seguin and Taylor Hall. (Getty Images)

Admission of truth: This column started out as the definitive I’ll-tell-you-who-is-the-best-now.

Bottom line: It is not.

It was a coin toss in 2010 and it remains a coin toss in 2016.

Taylor or Tyler?

Who would you rather have playing for your team, Taylor Hall, who was chosen first in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft by the Edmonton Oilers, or Tyler Seguin, chosen No. 2 by the Boston Bruins?

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Bruins’ Marchand goes between the legs, fires backhand goal on beautiful solo effort

Jared Clinton
Brad Marchand (Rob Marczynski/NHLI via Getty Images)

One of the biggest reasons why the Bruins’ offense has seen such a great turnaround this season is the play of Brad Marchand. The 27-year-old has always been a contributor for Boston, but he’s been on fire in 2015-16 and he wasn’t about to slow down Thursday night against the Buffalo Sabres.

In the third period of Thursday’s game, the Bruins were killing a penalty when Marchand took possession of the puck in the Boston zone. With time winding down on the penalty, Marchand began to skate it out of the Bruins’ end, but circled back in order to kill a few extra seconds. The turn back ended up being the key to a beautiful goal, as Marchand wound up and gained speed through the neutral zone before burning Zach Bogosian with a between the legs move: Read more

Stars, Kings, Panthers headline best of 2014-15 non-playoff teams

Tyler Seguin rises to fourth in the rankings. (Getty Images)

The NHL All-Star weekend mostly gives players and teams a reprieve from the rigors of a long, tough season.

But as soon as it ends Sunday evening, it’s back to reality.

That signals crunch time, especially for teams that were on the outside of the playoff picture last April.

Each team has between 29 and 35 games remaining – those at the top of the standings are probably feeling pretty confident about a return to the post-season, while those on the outside know the margin for error is minute.

Here’s a quick look at the non-playoff teams from 2014-15 that have greater than a 50 percent chance making the dance, courtesy of sportsclubstats.com. It’s worth noting that the first four on this list are in the top six overall in terms of likelihood of making the playoffs.

Dallas Stars – 31-14-5, 99.8 percent
Led by the dynamic all-star duo of Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn, the Stars are near locks to continue playing after the regular season ends. While they’ve cooled off since winning 19 of their first 24 games by the end of November, they remain second in the Central Division. The Stars are three points behind Chicago, but with three games in hand. They are the league’s highest-scoring team with 160 goals for.

Los Angeles Kings – 30-16-3, 99.6 percent
The 2014 Stanley Cup champions were squeezed out of the playoffs last season, allowing the Calgary Flames to sneak in as the Pacific Division’s third season. They’re not taking any chances in 2015-16. Darryl Sutter’s crew has been the class of the division for the entire way. Backed by a league-high 56 percent Corsi, according to stats.hockeyanalysis.com, Los Angeles holds a seven-point lead over second place San Jose.

Florida Panthers – 29-15-5, 99.1 percent
Only twice since the turn of the century has Florida reached the playoffs – in 2000 and 2012. Barring a massive late-season collapse, there will be one more appearance to add to that list. Buoyed by a recent 12-game winning streak, the Panthers sit atop the Atlantic Division with a five-point lead on their intrastate rivals, the 2015 Stanley Cup finalist Tampa Bay Lightning.

San Jose Sharks – 26-18-4, 94.2 percent
The Sharks missed the playoffs last season for the first time since 2003. That led to a coaching change. Peter DeBoer came in. Todd McLellan went out. The Sharks also have a new starting goaltender. They acquired Martin Jones in the hours before the NHL draft. The former Calgary Hitmen goalie is 23-13-3 with a 2.39 goals-against average and a .915 save percentage.

Boston Bruins – 26-18-5, 80.9 percent
Coach Claude Julien was said to be on the hot seat after the Bruins missed the playoffs last season. However, he survived and has guided Boston to the fourth seed in the Atlantic Division at the break. They’re holding down the first wild card position with a three-point advantage on Pittsburgh and New Jersey.

Colorado Avalanche – 27-22-3, 61.4 percent
Patrick Roy was the beneficiary of Semyon Varlamov’s .927 save percentage as well as some good luck when he had to pull him early in 2013-14. But the bubble burst and the Avalanche tumbled from first to last in the Central Division. Colorado won five of its final six games heading into the All-Star Game and sits fourth in the division. The first wild card spot is in the Avs’ possession, too.

Rumor Roundup: Will Steven Stamkos end up in Toronto?

Lyle Richardson
Steven Stamkos (Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

The Toronto Maple Leafs 1-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning stoked more speculation of Lightning captain Steven Stamkos joining the Leafs in the near future. Stamkos, who turns 26 in February, is eligible in July for unrestricted free agency. While he and Lightning management decline to discuss contract talks with the media, his future in Tampa Bay remains a hot topic.

While some Leafs fans are imagining Stamkos coming to Toronto via trade or free agency, Sportsnet’s Mark Spector wonders if the Markham native is doing the same. The Leafs are a rebuilding club, which was painfully evident at times during that loss to the Lightning. If Stamkos was sizing up the Leafs in that game, Spector suggests he didn’t see much of a comparable to his current club.

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AHL to stream All-Star Challenge for free — here are five players to watch

Mikko Rantanen (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Fans will be watching Nashville this weekend as the some of the world’s greatest players gather for the 2016 NHL All-Star Game, but hockey fans looking to watch some great up-and-coming talent can tune into AHL’s skills competition Sunday and All-Star Challenge Monday.

The events, which will in large part mirror those of the NHL, will give fans the opportunity to see talents who could be breaking into the big league in a few season’s time. Best of all, there’s no reason not to be able to watch the game, either, as Canada’s Sportsnet and 25 regional networks in the United States will be carrying both Sunday’s skills competition and the mini-tournament Monday evening. And for fans without access, the league is offering a free stream of the All-Star Challenge. By going to AHLLive.com Monday evening, fans can access the broadcasts by entering in ‘ASC2016’ as a promotional code.

Unlike the NHL, which has gone full 3-on-3 for its All-Star Game, the AHL has decided to change the format up to increase action at the tail-end of the games. Four teams — one from each the Atlantic, North, Central and Pacific divisions — will play a six-game round-robin. Games will last nine minutes with play switching from 4-on-4 to 3-on-3 at the midway mark of each game. The top two teams when round robin play concludes will square off in the final — a six-minute, 3-on-3 game.

The AHL all-star weekend has, in the past, featured players such as Patrice Bergeron, Logan Couture, Tyler Johnson, Gustav Nyquist, Tuukka Rask, Cory Schneider, Patrick Sharp and P.K. Subban, so if you need more reason to watch, it could be your chance at watching a few future NHL all-stars before they make their climb to the NHL. Read more