Simon Gagne will not return to action after father’s death

Jared Clinton
(Fracois Lacasse/Getty Images)

After his father, Pierre Gagne, passed away on Dec. 26 following a battle with liver cancer, Simon Gagne has decided he will not return to the Boston Bruins this season.

Gagne left the team on Dec. 10 to be with his ailing father, and had not played since. The news came on Monday afternoon that Gagne has decided not return to the team, citing that he cannot give the team his all at this time. The Bruins have changed Gagne’s status to that of a suspended player. Read more

The Hot List: Pavel Zacha and other prospects from the world juniors

Pavel Zacha (Photo by Dennis Pajot/Getty Images)

Another world junior tournament is in the books and it was a dandy, with Canada holding off the Russians 5-4 in the gold medal game. Next year, the holiday classic shifts over to Finland, where the host nation will hope to rebound from a sub-par outing in 2014. There was a ton of talent in Montreal and Toronto, so here’s a wrap of some players that caught my eye. As always, only prospects who have yet to play an NHL game were eligible.

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Rumor Roundup: Blues may be looking for boost through trade

Patrik Berglund Blues featured

The St. Louis Blues began this season considered among the Stanley Cup contenders, but of late they’ve been plagued by inconsistency. Entering this week, they won only four of their last ten games. The production of veteran scorers David Backes, Alex Steen, and T.J. Oshie is down from last season Goaltenders Jake Allen and Martin Brodeur struggled at times during that stretch.

Though the Blues began the week among the top-four teams in the Western Conference, their recent stumbles added fuel to the speculation a shake-up via trade could be coming. They’ve been linked to the Boston Bruins for several weeks, with Oshie and Patrik Berglund often mentioned as potential trade candidates. Read more

Five vastly underrated players from this season’s first half

Colin Wilson. (Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Not every team can be filled with Crosbys and Malkins or Getzlafs and Perrys. And for every Steven Stamkos, you have five middle of the lineup players that give a game-in and game-out effort that helps propel a team to success.

With the advent of advanced statistics, it becomes somewhat easier to pick these players out. For instance, you can find the players driving play and maintaining puck possession or you can see the player who may be underachieving in point categories but still creating opportunities for his linemates. The following five players are the best of the rest, and while they may not get headlines, they’re certainly getting noticed. Read more

Wilting Bruins need shakeup to stop freefall to fringes of playoff race

Adam Proteau
Zdeno Chara (Getty images)

The Boston Bruins needed 16:55 of the first period to register their first shot on net against the dreadful Carolina Hurricanes Sunday. Yes, the same Boston Bruins that were the NHL’s top regular season team in 2013-14 are now looking like every championship boxer does sooner or later: tentative, ineffective, and corroded by self-doubt and/or delusion. The injury-related absence of captain Zdeno Chara for 19 games is sufficient excuse on its own for some of their struggles, and they’re by no means out of the playoff race – but one game removed from the current campaign’s halfway point, they are on a three-game losing skid, have gone 6-7-6 since Nov. 21 and are one standings point behind the Eastern Conference’s final wild card team.

Colorado’s change in fortunes this year have have surprised some, but at least some people (most notably, the advanced stats community) had an inkling that was coming. But the Bruins? Miss the playoffs? In the Eastern Conference? Nobody predicted that was a genuine possibility. And the way things are headed for the Bruins, that’s now a genuine possibility. Forget about the teams they have to overtake to grab a playoff spot – Boston is in danger of being leapfrogged by the Florida Panthers (who have one fewer point and three games in hand) for ninth place in the East. Another injury here or there, another two-or-three week team slump between now and April, and they could indeed wind up out of the post-season for the first time since 2006-07 – and with the amount of talent and experience on the roster, Boston missing the playoffs would be the biggest shock of the NHL season. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Bruins continued struggles puts Chiarelli on the hunt

Lyle Richardson

The Boston Bruins’ ongoing struggles has them firmly rooted in the NHL rumor mill. GM Peter Chiarelli has spent weeks shopping around for a scoring forward to bolster his struggling offense. Limited cap space and few sellers in the trade market are hampering his efforts.

If Chiarelli seeks a long-term solution to his scoring woes he must keep next season’s cap space in mind. The Bruins currently have over $55.6 million invested in just 13 players, with notables like Torey Krug, Reilly Smith, Carl Soderberg, Adam McQuaid and Dougie Hamilton to re-sign. Taking on a scorer with term remaining on his contract could force Chiarelli to shed salary. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Devils’ veterans could be shipped out in push for top pick

Jagr New Jersey Featured

The New Jersey Devils recent coaching change could stoke trade chatter in the coming weeks if the move fails to lift the club back into playoff contention.

Earlier this month, the New York Post’s Larry Brooks advocated shedding veterans to improve the Devils chances of winning the 2015 Draft lottery. Brooks suggested forwards Jaromir Jagr, Michael Ryder, Martin Havlat and Steve Bernier along with defenseman Marek Zidlicky might attract interest from playoff contenders. He also wondered if long-time Devils star Patrik Elias might waive his no-move clause to go to a Stanley Cup contender. Read more