How would life be different for the Maple Leafs and Bruins had Toronto won Game 7?

Ryan Kennedy
The Boston Bruins celebrate their Game 7 overtime victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

With 3:35 left in Game 7, Matt Frattin had a chance to bury the Bruins. Taking advantage of a fumbling Dougie Hamilton, Frattin stripped the Boston defenseman at the Toronto blueline and charged up the ice with the opportunity to extend what was already a shocking 4-2 lead for the Maple Leafs. But Frattin’s backhand attempt went wide of Tuukka Rask’s net, and the Bruins weren’t dead yet.

You know what happened next.

Boston scored twice in the waning minutes to send the game into overtime, then broke the hearts of Leafs Nation when Patrice Bergeron pounded a rebound past a prone James Reimer. The Bruins, heavy favorites entering the series, narrowly escaped a massive first-round upset. Boston went on to lose in the 2013 Stanley Cup final. Read more

Bruins make savvy signing, ink Irwin to one-year deal

Jared Clinton
Matt Irwin (Rocky W. Widner/Getty Images)

With Dougie Hamilton gone from Boston and the Bruins lacking depth on the blueline, it was evident that GM Don Sweeney needed to pick up some help on defense. Sweeney found that help Friday, inking Matt Irwin to a one-year, $800,000 deal.

The signing of Irwin won’t necessarily have Beantown and its faithful parading in the streets, but it’s a solid, savvy signing by the Bruins, one that automatically improves the defense corps and provides Boston with a solid, depth defenseman. That’s exactly what Boston needed, too.

Behind the top-four consisting of Zdeno Chara, Dennis Seidenberg, Torey Krug and Adam McQuaid, the Bruins’ defense was sorely lacking. While it’s not a knock against Kevan Miller, Joe Morrow, Zach Trotman or Colin Miller, the four have a combined 132 games of NHL experience. Irwin, who has spent most of the past three seasons in San Jose, has 153 games. While experience doesn’t always win out over skill, having Irwin, who has adjusted to the NHL game and won’t have to be broken in come October, is a boon to the Bruins backend.

It also helps there’s a lot more than simply experience to Irwin’s game, too. Read more

Jimmy Hayes to wear No. 11 with Bruins to honor late friend

Jared Clinton
Jimmy Hayes' No. 11 Bruins jersey. (via Boston Bruins)

Generally, when a player comes to a new team, they only switch their jersey number for one of a few reasons: it’s a number they had wanted previously but couldn’t wear, someone on the new club is wearing their favorite sweater number or there’s a retired jersey preventing the number from being worn.

The reason for newly acquired Boston Bruin Jimmy Hayes is entirely different.

For the past two seasons in Florida, Hayes has proudly worn the No. 12, but his new start in Boston is going to see him don a new number and he’ll do so proudly, knowing he’s paying tribute to a lost friend.

Hayes and the Bruins announced Wednesday that he will wear No. 11 in 2015-16 to honor the life of Corey Griffin, a friend of Hayes’ who passed away last summer. Read more

Why the AHL is becoming the new breeding ground for young Euros

Ryan Kennedy
David Pastrnak. (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Czech Republic came into the 2015 world juniors with high expectations thanks to its deepest lineup in years. But glory wasn’t to be had.

The Czechs struggled throughout their stay in Toronto, and everything ended with a dispirited quarterfinal loss to a much more game underdog squad from Slovakia. One player who didn’t disappoint, however, was David Pastrnak, the Boston Bruins first-rounder who had been playing in the AHL.

Had his team gone further at the world juniors, Pastrnak would have garnered more consideration for the tourney’s all-star team because of his combination of talent and drive. But even in the midst of the event, he knew his time in the AHL had been valuable so far. “It’s definitely different hockey,” he said. “I try to do my best, but sometimes it doesn’t go well and you feel bad. I have to get better with everything. I’m not satisfied right now.” Read more

Bruins win Matt Beleskey sweepstakes – and trade Reilly Smith for Jimmy Hayes

Matt Larkin
Matt Beleskey (Debora Robinson/Getty Images)

The Boston Bruins’ wild team turnover continued July 1, as GM Don Sweeney and president Cam Neely snagged the man plenty of insiders pegged as the top free agent forward on the market: Matt Beleskey, formerly of the Anaheim Ducks. Boston also traded wingers with the Florida Panthers, swapping Reilly Smith for Jimmy Hayes.

Beleskey, 27, is a rugged left winger who cut his teeth in the OHL and and has overachieved of late in the NHL. He earned every one of his 22 goals with hard work, and he’s a perfectly helpful complementary piece, but he’s not a natural scorer.

Sound familiar? Signing Beleskey carried the risk of signing the next David Clarkson. Beleskey has just one 20-goal season to his name. Clarkson had a Stanley Cup final and a 30-goal campaign when he signed his seven-year, $36.75-million contract. But the Beleskey money – five years and $19 million, meaning $3.8 million per – turned out to be fairly reasonable. It’s nowhere near Clarkson territory.

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Bruins’ Maxime Talbot takes to Twitter to squash trade rumor

Jared Clinton
Maxime Talbot (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

In an age of instant communication and social media rumor mills, one single report can sometimes spiral out of control. That’s why Boston Bruins winger Maxime Talbot took it upon himself to make sure he cleared the air when it came to a rumor that he had requested a trade out of Beantown.

The rumor itself began shortly after the Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers had swung a deal that saw Boston land checking-line left winger Zac Rinaldo in exchange for a third-round pick.

With Rinaldo coming into the Bruins lineup – he and Talbot can play similar roles, so it was believed that maybe this was the end of the line for the veteran Talbot – the rumor of a requested trade began. Some reports had the rumor beginning on a local Boston radio station and it continued to spread throughout Twitter. Just hours later, though, Talbot made sure to kill the buzz by taking to social media to deny the report. Read more

Bruins continue to baffle hockey world with Zac Rinaldo trade

Ryan Kennedy
Zac Rinaldo (Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Boston Bruins are by far the most fascinating team in the NHL right now. If you’re a fan of the venerable franchise, I apologize: car-crash fascinating is a lot different than the good kind. But here we are.

Milan Lucic is gone, yet some of his salary remains. Dougie Hamilton has been traded for assets that may or may not ever play an NHL game. And now, Zac Rinaldo acquired from Philadelphia for a third-round selection in 2017.

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