How the Boston Bruins blew the Thornton, Kessel, Wheeler, Seguin trades…and lost out on T.J. Brodie, too

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Let’s play a little hindsight gymnastics.

Quick question: would you make this trade?

Joe Thornton, Phil Kessel, Blake Wheeler and Tyler Seguin for Matt Bartkowski, Loui Eriksson, Alexander Fallstrom, Matt Fraser, Dougie Hamilton, Alexander Khokhlachev, Jared Knight, Joe Morrow, Dennis Seidenberg and Reilly Smith.

Because that’s what the Boston Bruins are left with after trading three future superstars and one well above average player before their primes in four separate trades.

If Thornton, Kessel, Wheeler or Seguin were still with Boston today, each would be the team’s top scorer. Seguin, of course, leads the NHL in goals and points.

One dumb deal is a mistake. Two is a coincidence. Three is a trend. Four is…WTF is going on?

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Fun with numbers: Blue Jackets playoff prospects and Flames attendance

Brandon Dubinsky  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Getting Brandon Dubinsky back for their game tonight against the Philadelphia Flyers is almost as good news for the Columbus Blue Jackets as it is for teams like the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks that the salary cap is projected to go up to $73 million next season.

The presence of Dubinsky, who hasn’t played a game all season because of surgery to repair four tears in his abdomen and groin, will be an enormous boon to a Columbus Jackets team that is in need of an enormous boon. And we’re not talking about Jenner. At 6-foot-2 and 208, he’s already pretty enormous and thankfully, he’s one of the players who is healthy and productive at the moment for the Blue Jackets with a goal in each of his past three games. Read more

Are the Calgary Flames doing it with mirrors? It’s more like heart and Hartley

Brian Costello
Calgary Flames v Florida Panthers

For a team that was supposed to be one of the frontrunners in the Connor McDavid sweepstakes when the season began, the Calgary Flames have hit it out of the park so far in 2014-15.

A lot of credit has to go to the defense tandem of Mark Giordano and T.J. Brodie, the Nos. 1 and 2 blueline scorers in the NHL this season. But it goes way beyond that.

It starts with the coaching staff, led by third-year Flames coach Bob Hartley. Once described as a bench boss who relied heavily on veterans while being tough on rookies, Hartley has evolved since his time with the Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche.

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Hartley picks up 400th win, honored with fire helmet

Jared Clinton
Bob Hartley (Getty Images)

Like many teams, the Flames have their own post-game congratulatory badge of honor. The Washington Capitals have the Abe Lincoln hat and beard, the Chicago Blackhawks have a championship belt, and Calgary? Well, they’ve got a fire helmet.

After last night’s win, yet another come-from-behind overtime thriller for the Flames, Calgary didn’t hand the honor out to a player. Rather, they gave the lid to their bench boss, Bob Hartley, who picked up his 400th career coaching victory with the win. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Ottawa has options in goal, Lecavalier’s future uncertain

Lyle Richardson
Craig Anderson (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)

After finishing October with a 5-2-2 record, the Ottawa Senators find themselves struggling to remain in playoff contention. They enter their Dec. 4 matchup against the New York Islanders with only five wins in their last 15 games. The Senators are among the NHL’s worst defensive teams and among the bottom third in scoring. However, of the Senators losses since Nov. 1, all but one was by one or two goals. They can thank their goalie tandem of Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner for giving them a chance to win in those games. Read more

Flames star Sean Monahan: Boring, or the funniest “straight man” in NHL history?

Adam Proteau
Sean Monahan (Getty Images)

Calgary Flames star Sean Monahan has earned a reputation as one of the NHL’s, uh, drier personalities. He’s got a famous and popular Twitter account in his honor that is all about his poker-faced persona and devoid-of-color quotes. And in a new video the 20-year-old center made with teammate and housemate Lance Bouma, he’s done nothing to suggest that image is undeserved.
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Jamie ‘Noodles’ McLennan still has the best seat

Jamie McLennan featured

As a player always slotted as backup goalie, Jamie McLennan used to enter each season wondering how much work he’d get. During his NHL career that began in 1993 and ended in 2008, his games played in a season ranged from nine in 2006-07 with Calgary to 38 in 2000-01 with Minnesota. All told, McLennan appeared in 254 games (80-109-36 record and 13 shutouts).

“I’m very proud of it,” McLennan said. “I had some success and pitfalls. I am well aware it wasn’t Hall of Fame worthy, but I was a backup goalie who hung around for a long time.”

Today, as a hockey analyst with TSN and the NHL Network, McLennan is still viewed as a backup by some. With Bob McKenzie and Darren Dreger the go-to guys at TSN, McLennan gets duty on That’s Hockey and That’s Hockey 2Nite on TV and co-hosts Leafs Lunch for two hours a day on TSN Radio. That’s on top of providing color commentary for 36 regionally broadcast games for the Ottawa Senators. Read more