Dominic Tiano: What’s Next (Pt. 8)- Young Gun Senyshyn Charging Ahead

Zachary Senyshyn of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.(Photo credit: Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

If you’ve been following along here at The Scouting Post, then you know we’ve been covering some of the decisions Boston Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney is facing at the NHL level this offseason. There’s no shortage of forward prospects knocking at the door to make the jump to the NHL. Some appear to be ready, and some do not. Today, we’ll look at Zachary Senyshyn.

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Dominc Tiano: What’s Next for the Bruins (Pt. 6)- the Goaltenders

(Editor’s note- Dominic Tiano returns with his view on the B’s and the situation between the pipes. Enjoy!- KL)

Tuukka Rask came up big for the B’s in Brooklyn (Photo courtesy of Alison M. Foley)

It’s obvious, and General Manager Don Sweeney has stated as much, that one area of concern the Boston Bruins should look to address during the offseason is the goaltending situation. There is no questioning that Tuukka Rask is the de facto number one. Barring a major trade, that position is set in stone. Although it’s been said that the Bruins were in discussions at the 2015 draft in a possible Rask deal, there will be no such discussion this summer.

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Dominic Tiano: What’s Next for the Bruins (pt 5)- Zdeno Chara

Editor’s note- After a bit of a hiatus, we’re firing up the What’s Next series with Dominic Tiano addressing what could be considered by some as the “elephant in the room” with the Bruins- Zdeno Chara’s future- as he enters the final year of his contract, signed back before the B’s won the Stanley Cup- a seven-year extension on October 10, 2010. He’s not the bell cow defender he once was, but Dom tries to present a balanced case for both sides here, and so we leave it to you, the reader, to decide…- KL

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Zdeno Chara returns for his eleventh season as the captain of the Boston Bruins (photo courtesy of Alison M. Foley)

It was January 7, 2017. The Boston Bruins were facing the Florida Panthers in the Sunshine State, a game they would win 4-0. But the biggest news from that game came when Panthers color commentator and Hall of Fame Defenceman Denis Potvin announced that he had a conversation with Zdeno Chara. Potvin stated Chara said he would like to play beyond his current contract and that he looks to Jaromir Jagr as inspiration. We now know, as reported by several media, that is the case.

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Cassidy on Cassidy

If you haven’t yet had a chance to listen to the Bruce Cassidy interview conducted this morning on 98.5’s Toucher & Rich Show, stop what you’re doing and devote your next 19 minutes to one of the more candid engagements in radio format that you’ll hear from an NHL coach, period.

This is vintage Cassidy- in my dealings with him, he’s always taken extra time to go into the details of what makes a player successful or why he’s not performing to a level capable. Cassidy is a true student of the game and he won’t sugarcoat things. If someone plays well (he once went into an extended commentary about Brian Ferlin that timed out at more than 3 minutes- it’s a shame injuries- a concussion and major knee injury have derailed his development in Boston.) he says so. If someone isn’t holding up their end of things, or their play doesn’t warrant a key role in the lineup, he says so. And, he does it by giving the listener more details and a rationale that you don’t always get from bench bosses who will speak cryptically and in clichés more often than not.

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Dominic Tiano: What’s Next for the Bruins (Part 4)

So, here I am with another post with my 3 Amigos colleagues Kirk Luedeke (the founder of TSP) and Reed Duthie. If you missed the previous posts, look back not too far and you will find them. I hope (I’m sure) you will find them informative.

Decisions, decisions, decisions: That’s what is facing Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney, President Cam Neely and the brain trust of your Boston Bruins. The most critical decision dropped this week when the interim tag was removed from coach Bruce Cassidy. It was crucial for this to be done as early as possible because, despite being two months away from the expansion draft and the entry draft, some key decisions are going to have to be made by mid-June as to which players receive qualifying offers and contracts, and who moves on, potential buyouts and buried contracts.

This is what we’ll focus on today.

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Dominic Tiano: What’s Next for the Bruins? (Part 3)

Editor’s note: We continue our series here at the Scouting Post on the end of the 2016-17 Boston Bruins season and 3 Amigo/guest columnist and fan favorite Dominic Tiano is here to provide his informed perspective once again. -KL

TSP founder Kirk Luedeke began this series once the Boston Bruins were eliminated by the Ottawa Senators Sunday from the Stanley Cup Playoffs. When he asked 3 Amigos Podcast Partners Reed Duthie and myself for our contributions, I immediately jumped on the task of shining some light on a few of the boys in Black in Gold that have, for a large part of the season, been “whipping boys” among the Bruins faithful.

Take this as one person’s opinion. Constructive criticism is always welcome but it is what it is, an opinion.

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It’s official: Bruce Cassidy sheds interim tag- named HC of the Boston B’s

The Bruins and GM Don Sweeney made official what most believed was the case today- Bruce Cassidy has been named the 28th head coach in team history.

Here’s a part of the release. The rest is over at the Boston Bruins website.

BOSTON – Boston Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney announced today, April 26, that Bruce Cassidy has been named the 28th head coach of the Boston Bruins.

Cassidy served as Interim Head Coach for the Bruins’ final 33 regular and postseason games, compiling a 18-8-1 regular season record and propelling the team to a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since the 2013-14 season. Since Cassidy assumed head coaching responsibilities on February 9, the Bruins ranked first in the NHL in goals per game (3.37), first in the NHL in fewest shots allowed (741), tied for second in the NHL in wins (18), tied for second in the NHL in power play percentage (27.8%), tied for third in the NHL in goals allowed per game (2.30), tied for fifth in the NHL in faceoff percentage (53.6%) and tied for sixth in the NHL in takeaways (229).

Before joining Boston as an assistant prior to the start of the 2016-17 season, Cassidy spent five seasons (2011-16) as head coach of the Providence Bruins, having spent the three previous seasons (2008-11) with the club as an assistant. The 51-year-old native of Ottawa, Ontario compiled a 207-128-45 overall record in 380 games at the helm, including winning seasons in all five years and postseason berths in each of his final four seasons in Providence. In 2015-16, Cassidy helped lead the P-Bruins to a 41-22-13 record.

 

TSP take: It’s hard to argue with the way the team pulled together down the stretch to make the playoffs after two cringe-inducing flameouts in 2015 and 2016. Cassidy earned the chance to take charge of the team going forward. He’s a very knowledgeable hockey guy who appears to have learned from some mistakes and missteps that were publicized when he was with the Washington Capitals.

As pointed out by a fan on Twitter, he doesn’t have a stellar playoff record in the AHL, but it’s hard to hold the 2017 series against Ottawa against him with the kind of depleted lineup he oversaw- the guys played hard and showed a lot of fight in a closely-contested series with the Senators. It could have gone Boston’s way, but didn’t.

Cassidy’s work in Providence gives him an advantage that Claude Julien didn’t have when he was hired in 2007, coming into the organization new after being dismissed by New Jersey. Cassidy’s firsthand knowledge of many of the younger players in the system who either played for him in the AHL or at the summer development camps will allow for a different mindset and decision-making than fans were perhaps used to seeing with Julien. At least in the next year or two, that is-  as Cassidy spreads his wings and establishes himself as the Boston bench boss. We could see a change in personnel in the coaching staff as well, but for now- the focus is on Cassidy and a fresh new era in B’s coaching for the first time in a decade.

We’ll always respect Julien for what he accomplished, culminating in one Stanley Cup championship in 2011 and nearly another in 2013. Nothing lasts forever, and for now- Cassidy is the right person to lead the team in a new direction.

We congratulate Coach Cassidy on securing the job and know he’s already rolling up the sleeves and getting to work. As a kid who grew up cheering for Bobby Orr and the Boston Bruins, you have to be happy for him- this is truly a dream job, and you can bet that he’ll do his best to stay on.

 

Reed Duthie: Bruins are out…What’s next? (Part 2)

Editor’s note- Reed Duthie debuts at the Scouting Post with his thoughts on what could be on the horizon for the Boston Bruins personnel-wise. Reed is not only one of the 3 Amigos, but he is the accomplished play-by-play announcer for the OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs. With the hockey season over, we hope to see more of Reed’s contributions here in the offseason as a longtime follower of the Bruins and astute analyst.

You have to crawl before you can walk, and you have to walk before you can run. If this season was any indication, the Boston Bruins as a group are certainly finding their way, maybe not running just yet but certainly getting up to a brisk jog.

Although the end of season / early playoff injuries put the Bruins a hole they couldn’t recover from we learned a lot about this team in terms of heart and soul. The additions of traditional blue collar players like Noel Acciari & Sean Kuraly gave the Bruins an energy boost, while Charlie McAvoy made Bruins fans begin to dream in optimistic terms once again.

But after a hard fought loss where do the Bruins go from here?

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Bruins are out…what’s next? (Part 1)

For the sixth time in as many games in the Boston Bruins-Ottawa Senators 2017 NHL playoff series, the contest was decided by just one goal, and went to overtime for the fourth occasion. Unfortunately for the B’s and their faithful, an untimely David Pastrnak penalty (and it was a penalty, even though the men in stripes once again open themselves up to criticism by not calling other similar infractions in OT) opened the door for the Senators to send them home.

Given the tumultuous season that ultimately ended in what we feel is positive fashion despite the disappointing outcome (the B’s lost all three of its home games), there are reasons for fans to be optimistic about the organization going forward. Here are a few story lines to keep an eye on as the B’s made the postseason for the first time in Don Sweeney’s tenure as GM, and gave the Senators all they could handle. Some bounces here and there, and perhaps a little more consistency in the officiating, and who knows? Maybe the team could’ve pulled off an upset, but we see more reasons to  be positive than negative given where things stood in early February when Claude Julien was fired.

This post will focus on Bruce Cassidy and Charlie McAvoy as the team clears out lockers and begins the offseason. Other parts will look at different topics rather  than generate one gigantic 4,000-word (or more) post. Yes, the posts have been more and more infrequent- what can we tell you- professional and personal life has intervened and this is a side project. As always- appreciate the support of this blog.

Now, for the first in a series of “calling it like we see it” posts about the Bruins and where they go from here:

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Dominic Tiano breaks down Bruins playoff scenarios

Editor’s Note: Dominic Tiano has written this post which does a great job of laying out where things stand as the 2016-17 NHL season winds down for your Black and Gold.

Well, the Boston Bruins are down to six games remaining in the 2016-2017 National Hockey League Season and we will try and provide you with the possibilities.

Let’s begin by looking at the remaining schedule

Vs Dallas

Vs Florida (1st game of back-to-back)

At Chicago (2nd game of back-to-back)

Vs Tampa

Vs Ottawa

Vs Washington

The only situations for the Bruins that is set is stone are: Mathematically none of New Jersey, Detroit and Buffalo can catch the Bruins. On the other hand, the Bruins can not mathematically catch the top 4 Metropolitan Division teams, which, when it comes to the wild Card position, they can only challenge for the second Wild Card, the position they currently hold – and that means a first-round matchup versus the first-place Metro Team.

Let’s stay with the Wild Card spot for now before we break down the Atlantic Division possibilities.

The Bruins currently hold a 3-point lead over Tampa Bay, with the Lightning holding a game in hand. And the have a head-to-head matchup. Should Tampa win their remaining 7 games (including the game versus the Bruins) in any fashion, they would finish in the wild Card and the Bruins would be on the outside looking in, even if they win their 5 other remaining games. On the other hand, if the Bruins beat the Lightning in the head-to-head matchup in regulation or overtime, and Tampa wins their other six games, the Bruins would need 7 points in their other 5 games to clinch the Wild Card. That would leave the teams tied and the Bruins will have already clinched the tie breaker. In fact, one more regulation win and the Bruins will have clinched the tie breaker versus Tampa with any possible scenario remaining.

Tampa’s remaining schedule

Vs Detroit

Vs Montreal (1st game of back-to-back)

Vs Dallas (2nd game of back-to-back)

At Boston

At Toronto (1st game of back-to-back)

At Montreal (2nd game of back-to-back)

Vs Buffalo

Next up is the Islanders who sit 4 points back with a game in hand. Should the Islanders win their 7 remaining games in regulation or overtime, the Bruins would have to win 5 of their 6 remaining games and only one of those five would have to come in regulation or overtime as the Bruins would hold the tie breaker. The Bruins would just have to win one remaining game in regulation or overtime to hold the tie breaker versus the Islander in any other scenario.

Islanders remaining schedule

At Philadelphia (1st game of back-to-back)

Vs New Jersey (2nd game of back-to-back)

At Buffalo

At Nashville

At Carolina

At New Jersey (1st game of back-to-back)

Vs Ottawa (2nd game of back-to-back)

Next up is Carolina who also sit 4 points back with a game in hand. The high-flying Canes with no regulation losses (8-0-4) in their last 12 are climbing fast. Same situation as the Islanders scenario. Because the season series is tied the Bruins hold a huge margin in goals differential – +28 higher than the Canes, the Bruins need just one regulation or overtime win to clinch the tie breaker with the Canes. The key here is the Canes and Islanders have a head-to-head matchup and that means one team is giving up an ROW, and thus the Bruins not needing an ROW to clinch the tie breaker over the team that misses out on it.

Carolina’s remaining schedule

Vs Columbus

Vs Dallas (1st game of back-to-back)

At Pittsburgh (2nd game of back-to-back)

At Minnesota

Vs Islanders

Vs St Louis (1st game of back-to-back)

At Philadelphia (2nd game of back-to-back)

Next up are Philadelphia and Florida and while not mathematically out of it, are virtually done.

So, let’s look at the Atlantic

The Bruins could mathematically catch Montreal for first place, but realistically, not a chance.

Ottawa sits 5 points up with a game in hand. If they lose that game in hand, and the Bruins can beat them in regulation, and then this becomes interesting. But it could also be decided well before the Bruins face them. If the Sens win the game in hand, then it’s pretty much lights out. But, as we saw last year, (and in 2015, when Ottawa rode Andrew Hammond to a playoff spot) anything can happen

Ottawa’s remaining schedule

At Minnesota

At Winnipeg

At Detroit (1st game of back-to-back)

Vs Detroit (2nd game of back-to-back)

At Boston

Vs Rangers (1st game of back-to-back)

At Islanders (2nd game of back-to-back)

Finally, we have the Leafs, one point up with a game in hand. Compare their remaining schedule to the Bruins and pick the one you’d prefer

At Nashville

At Detroit

At Buffalo (1st game of back-to-back)

Vs Washington (2nd game of back-to-back)

Vs Tampa Bay

Vs Pittsburgh (1st game of back-to-back)

Vs Columbus (2nd game of back-to-back)

The key here, if they end up tied is for the Bruins to remain ahead in ROW’s – currently 38-35 for the Bruins since the Leafs hold the second tie-breaker which is head to head meetings which is held by the Leafs. In the end, I think it takes 94 points to get into the playoffs. That means 3-3-1 for the Leafs in their final 7 games.