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BOSTON — The Boston Bruins re-signed two local players on Wednesday afternoon, inking forwards Charlie Coyle and Chris Wagner to multi-year extensions, according to an official release from the team.

BOSTON – Boston Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney announced today, November 27, that the team has signed forwards Charlie Coyle and Chris Wagner to multi-year contract extensions.

Coyle, a Weymouth native, signed a 6-year deal with an average annual value (AAV) of $5.25 million per season. That extension will carry him through the end of the 2025-2026 season with the black and gold.

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Wagner, a product of Walpole, Mass., will be under contract with the Bruins through the end of the 2022-2023 season after signing a 3-year extension with the team. His deal is worth an AAV of $1.35 million.

The Bruins acquired Coyle, 27, at the 2019 trade deadline from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for fellow local Ryan Donato. Since his acquisition, Coyle has amassed 20 regular-season points — 14 of which have come in 24 games this season.

PREVIOUS: Bruins acquire Charlie Coyle for Ryan Donato in trade with Wild

His nine goals in last year’s Stanley Cup Final run were tied for the team lead. Coyle was set to become an unrestricted free agent at year’s end, but will now receive a significant pay bump from his $3.2 million in salary this season.

Boston Bruins

Wagner, 28, signed a two-year deal with the Bruins in July 2018 after spending four years with three different NHL teams. In his 99 games with Boston thus far, Wagner has 24 points (13-11–24) and led the team with 247 hits a season ago.

The forward’s current deal pays him $1.25 million this season, with his extension keeping him from hitting free agency at the end of the current 2019-2020 season.

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The Boston Bruins lost five games in a row for the first time under Bruce Cassidy. The middle-six right-winger is a big question mark, but Brett Ritchie doesn’t seem like an answer.
It is what it is. The Bruins have hit five straight losses for the first time under Bruce Cassidy. There was one obvious change Cassidy could have made headed to the back-to-back situation against the Tampa Bay Lightning, but he refused to. Brett Ritchie did little to deserve staying in the lineup.

When a team loses four straight games, especially a demanding team like a Boston Bruins, they naturally look for a slight lineup shakeup. The onlu change Cassidy made was to replace Connor Clifton with John Moore.

St. Louis Blues Pros And Cons From Game 34 Vs.
Chicago

A few eyebrows were raised as Brett Ritchie stayed in the lineup and remained on the second line.

The Bruins have limited possibilities to address this problem. With Zach Senyshyn and Karson Kuhlman injured, the Bruins are short-handed. David Backes returned to the action, and he seemed to click in for a few games.

Backes scored a game-winner against the Canadiens and also looked lively during his next two games versus Carolina and Chicago. Since then, he has been a healthy scratch at the expense of Brett Ritchie. Is that a reason why the Bruins lost the four next games?

No, Backes is not as critical to the Bruins system. For them, it would the best option if the 35-year-old veteran forward was gone for good, and the B’s would clear the salary-cap space. But given the situation as it is, it’s mindblowing that Ritchie stayed in the lineup throughout all four regulation losses, including a back-to-back situation.

After scoring only seven goals in the last four regulation losses, the Bruins need offense, and Brett Ritchie is not bringing what they are looking for.

We also mentioned John Moore, whose place should be taken by Connor Clifton. Moore took two penalties on Thursday in Tampa, and the Bruins gave up goals on both occasions. However, Moore did bounce back with a goal of his own.

Moore managed to bring some offense even after significant shoulder-surgery recovery. On the other hand, Ritchie contributed exactly zero points.

The trade deadline nears. If the Bruins collect another similar five-game losing streak down the stretch, the pressure on acquiring a reliable second-line right-winger will only increase on Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney.

As for Ritchie, he scored in his first shift for the Bruins against his former teammate Ben Bishop. He only has one goal since then, so he doesn’t deserve a top-six spot.

Cassidy sees it too, as Ritchie played only 10:03 versus the Lightning, and averages only 10:36 of the ice-time per game, which is suitable for the fourth-line duties. The Bruins need to find a better and more consistent player to fill that second right wing spot.

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Charlie McAvoy is the only Boston Bruins player without a goal yet this season. Why can’t McAvoy find the back of the net?

Charlie McAvoy started this season with sky-high expectations for the Boston Bruins. He was clearly the team’s best all-around defenseman, and consequently some people pegged him as an early Norris Trophy favorite.

Now, 23 games into the regular season, we all still wait for McAvoy to reach his peak, at least when it comes to his offense.

McAvoy is the only Bruins player without a goal this season. Everybody else, including fourth liners and bottom-pair defenders, scored at least one goal.

That’s not to say McAvoy hasn’t had many chances. In fact, he’s had a number of good looks, but he can’t snag his first.

All these chances seemed to culminate Saturday night against the Minnesota Wild when the Bruins had the ultra-rare three-on-zero opportunity. That’s right, three Bruins players with only the goalie to beat.

Brad Marchand skated down the left wing and then dished a pass to McAvoy out front. It looked like McAvoy had an easy one-time goal, but Wild goalie Alex Stalock somehow made the save.

After this denial, McAvoy had a couple more chances that all came up short. He finished with two shots on goal and a few that missed the net.

The game against the Wild pretty much sums up McAvoy’s season so far on the offensive front. Even when he has an straightforward opportunity, he can’t seem to score.

As the old saying goes, McAvoy can’t buy a goal right now.

Why doesn’t McAvoy have a goal yet this year? Honestly, a lot of it is puck luck.

McAvoy now has 25 shots and over 50 attempts without a goal. Based on his shooting percentage over the past two years, we’d expect him to have two or three goals. Instead, he has zero.

We have to consider McAvoy’s place in the lineup as well. Alongside Zdeno Chara, McAvoy faces tough matchups at even strength every night. We can’t expect him to score a lot when he consistently goes against top forwards.

That’s why McAvoy, even without a goal, still makes a big difference for the Bruins. He can negate opposing attacks, as we saw when he matched up against Alex Ovechkin last weekend.

Also, one last thing: think about McAvoy’s role on the power play. Torey Krug‘s presence in the lineup means that McAvoy plays on the second unit. He therefore doesn’t see a ton of power play time, and when he does, it isn’t with Boston’s best forwards.

McAvoy isn’t exactly a premier scorer from the blueline. He only had seven goals each of the last two seasons. He’s more of an all-around, two-way defender who goes out there to stop opposing attacks.

That said, McAvoy clearly has the skills to put up more points. Expect him to turn things around soon. He’s too good not to.

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All it took was one breathtaking rush up the ice in overtime last weekend for Torey Krug to show exactly what he means to the Boston Bruins.

Clearly it was more than that with Krug posting three points, six shots on net and a plus-2 in 20:26 of ice time in the 5-4 overtime win, his first game in nearly two weeks due to an upper body injury, but the 28-year-old defenseman showed exactly what kind of impact he’s capable of with the end-to-end rush and big offensive night while balancing that with his usual top-4 defenseman duties.

“Torey was good. He had to kill a lot of penalties, which coming off a five-game layoff isn’t ideal. Zee (Chara) got whistled a few times tonight so, we’re a little bit shorthanded in that regard in terms of how they try to generate on the power play. [The Wild have] got bigger bodies up front so, Griz (Grzelyck) and Kampfer and Krug had their hands full,” said Bruce Cassidy. “I think it was seven by the end of the night. I can’t remember the last time we had to kill seven [penalties], so that’s a lot or work for them.

“It’s good that he had a little left in the tank offensively at the end of the night and he played to his strength at the end and finished well. Had a nice spurt through the middle, obviously that took a little bit of conditioning to be able to do that at the end of the game. Clearly he looked after himself while he was out.”

But a funny thing happened for the five-game stretch when Krug was out with an upper body injury. Matt Grzelcyk stepped up in the absence of Krug, played in his spot as Brandon Carlo’s defensive partner and upped his offensive game in the void left by Krug. Grzelcyk posted two goals, four points and a plus-3 rating in the five games along with eight shots on net, and averaged well over 20 minutes of ice time during that stretch.

Where does Marchand rank among NHL’s top LW?
The 25-year-old Grzelcyk might not have been everything that Krug is for the Bruins, particularly on the power play, but his performance gives the Bruins something to think about with Krug in the last year of his contract with the B’s. Krug will easily be able to demand $7 million-plus per season based on the contracts handed out to Thomas Chabot (eight years, $64 million), Roman Josi (eight years, $72.4 million) and Jared Spurgeon (seven years, $53 million) over the last couple of months, and it remains to be seen if the Bruins will be able to afford that kind of contract.

But it was noticeable that Grzelcyk shot the puck with greater frequency in Krug’s stead and stepped up his offense to the point where he’s on a pace to post career highs on offense with seven goals and 25 points.

“I think he’s a little more comfortable where he knows the plays that are there that we’re trying to run. He hasn’t had a ton of practice time [on the top PP] either, so I just think from being here, just doing it in the game, he’ll watch [Torey] Krug. He’s been on that unit a little bit before. [Against Buffalo] he was able to get in all alone, make a few, didn’t hesitate to shoot, one of them led to a goal and on one he scored himself,” said Cassidy. “He kept the puck alive, so yeah, he’s taken on a little bit more [responsibility]. As long as he doesn’t overdo it — I think that’s a group that functions as a group of five for the most part.”

Both the Bruins and Torey Krug’s camp have engaged in discussions on a contract extension since prior to the season once things got done with McAvoy and Carlo on contracts, but there’s been no indication they are anywhere close on a new deal. Part of that is about the Bruins evaluating what else they hold organizationally on the back end, and forecasting how readily they can replace everything that Krug gives them at both ends of the ice.

Bruins unveil sharp new alternate jerseys
Is it conceivable that Grzelcyk can really take a leap forward and do everything that Krug is able to do in quarterbacking a power play, absorbing top-4 minutes and doing it with consistency year-in and year-out?

That’s not going to be easy given that Krug has been one of the most productive NHL defensemen over the last three seasons, right up there with other elite D-men like Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns and John Klingberg. It’s also in question whether Grzelcyk has the same kind of dangerous shot from the point that Krug has featured since coming into the league.

What it does do is give the Bruins a backup plan should they decide they are unable to afford Krug, or even allow Bruins management at some point this season to explore dealing the offensive defenseman for whatever serious value he could yield in return. The calculus for keeping Krug comes down to whether the Bruins believe they can replace his offense with the continued development of Grzelcyk, Charlie McAvoy and Urho Vaakanainen, or whether the 10 goals and 50 points per season and explosive playmaking is something that only Krug can provide.

So far McAvoy and Vaakanainen haven’t really lived up to their end of the bargain this season when it comes to giving the Bruins confidence they can thrive in a post-Krug world, but the recent performance of Grzelcyk at least gives them something to think about.

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The Providence Bruins continue to deal with a shortened lineup. Jack Studnicka and his teammates look to step up to lead the team.

The Providence Bruins continued the November schedule with a couple games last weekend. How did things turn out down on the farm?

Providence welcomed the Hartford Wolf Pack to the Dunkin’ Donuts Center last Friday night. The Baby B’s protected home ice with a 4-3 shootout win. I guess some Bruins can score in the shootout!

Jack Studnicka scored his fifth goal of the season for Providence. Robert Lantosi had a goal, and he also scored the winner in the shootout.

Providence and Hartford completed the home-and-home on Saturday. Hartford won the second game 5-2. Ryan Fitzgerald scored the first goal, and then Studnicka added another.

Unfortunately, Providence goal Kyle Keyser surrendered four unanswered goals (before an empty-netter) to take the loss.

The weekend split brought Providence’s record to 9-7-2 over the first 18 games of the season. Providence sits fourth in the Atlantic Division.

Studnicka continues to be one of the biggest stories in Providence right now.

Jack Studnicka keeps up his streak
Studnicka had a goal and an assist in the first game against Hartford. Then, he followed that up with another goal the next night.

With points in both games, Stundicka now has six points in his last six games.

Mark Divver had a nice recap of Studnicka’s play over weekend. Studnicka dominated special teams, as he got a shorthanded assist and a power play goal on Friday. He scored on the power play again Saturday.

On top of that, Studnicka buried his shootout attempt to help Providence grab the extra point in the first game.

All in all, Studnicka looked impressive over the weekend. After a so-so start to the season, he now has 13 points in 18 games.

Studnicka’s been one of Providence’s best forwards over this last stretch of games. This is good news for Boston, as Studnicka remains one of the top prospects. Expectations are certainly high.

That said, we have to pump the brakes on Studnicka a little. He won’t be ready to make an impact in Boston this year, so he needs to continue his development down in the minors.

Providence hit hard by injuries
Injuries are a big issue in Boston, as the Bruins seem to face a new one every game. Providence felt these effects because Boston needed to recall a few players to the NHL.

To make things worse, Providence dealt with even more injuries at the AHL level.

Take a look at Providence’s current injury list: Chris Breen, Brendan Woods, Dan Vladar, and now Kyle Keyser. That doesn’t include Anton Blidh, who has yet to play this year after a preseason injury.

With so many players either hurt or in Boston, Providence has an uphill battle over the next few games. This is especially daunting given the nature of the AHL schedule.

AHL teams typically play games in bunches. There are a lot of back-to-backs over the weekends, for example.

Int his case, Providence has three games in three nights on the horizon. This is a tough task with a rather thin lineup.

Kyle Keyser is one of the newest Providence Bruins on the injury report. He joins fellow goalie Dan Vladar on the shelf.

With two goalies out, Providence needs to add another to backup Max Legace. According to Mark Divver, Brandon Halverson is likely to be the new goalie.

With Dan Vladar & Kyle Keyser out, look for Providence Bruins to add goalie Brandon Halverson from Norfolk of ECHL on PTO for the weekend. NYR 2nd rounder in 2014.

— Mark Divver (@MarkDivver) November 21, 2019

The New York Rangers drafted Halverson in the second round of the 2014 Draft, but he never made an impact in New York. He only made one appearance in relief two years ago.

Halverson split last season between Hartford in the AHL and Maine in the ECHL. He started this year with Norfolk in the ECHL.

Since he’ll sign a PTO, Halverson won’t be an official member of the Bruins organization. He still is set to see some ice time if Keyser isn’t ready to come back by this weekend.

Providence starts the three game stretch Friday night against Bridgeport. Then, Providence plays Springfield on Saturday and Hershey on Sunday afternoon. Let’s hope Studnicka and the rest of the top players step up and lead the team through this difficult run of games.

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The Boston Bruins won’t have ailing center Patrice Bergeron for road games Tuesday at Montreal and Wednesday at Ottawa.

Bergeron won’t make the trip with the team due to a lower-body injury, coach Bruce Cassidy said Monday.

“No timeline on it,” Cassidy told reporters. “Just want to make sure that when he’s in the lineup he’s not gonna put himself at further risk. Medical staff will keep on top of it and go from there.”

Bergeron missed two games earlier this month with a lower-body injury. Cassidy said Bergeron’s latest injury is in the same area as the first one.

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Afternoon Delight – The Caps start a three-game homestand on Saturday afternoon against the Vancouver Canucks. The game finishes off the season’s series between the two teams; the Caps rallied from a 5-1 deficit on Oct. 25 and came back to defeat the Canucks 6-5 in a Friday night game in Vancouver earlier this season.

This is Washington’s second afternoon game of the season, and the first one went poorly. That was back on Oct. 14, when the Caps hosted Colorado on Canadian Thanksgiving. The Avalanche scored on its first three shots of that game, rolling to a 6-3 victory over the Capitals. It’s one of only four regulation losses the Caps have suffered in 24 games this season.

Today against Vancouver, the Caps will aim for a better start as they try to adjust their body clocks for early afternoon hockey.

“They are routine-based athletes for sure, that rely on that for their preparation,” says Caps coach Todd Reirden, speaking of NHL players in general, “So we give them a couple of things to do, earlier in the day than they normally would.

“Other than that, we try to limit the number of video meetings where you turn the lights off early in the morning. So there really won’t be any of those, and immediately they get into their normal game day routine. We don’t change much in terms of their arrival time and what preparation we do, both in terms of special teams and our 5-on-5 stuff.”

Since the outset of their Stanley Cup championship season in 2017-18, the Caps have had difficulty with regular season afternoon games. Washington is 11-9-2 in afternoon contests over that span, for a points pct. of .545. But in night games over the same time period, the Caps have rolled up a much gaudier 101-44-17 mark, which translates to a .676 points pct.

Birthday Boy – The Caps have two birthday boys today, as Nicklas Backstrom celebrates his 32nd birthday and Garnet Hathaway celebrates his 28th birthday. Neither will play against the Canucks; Backstrom is still day-to-day with an upper body injury while Hathaway will be serving the second game of his three-game NHL suspension.

Growing up in Kennebunkport, Maine, Hathaway became a Caps fan as a kid, largely because his older brother latched onto the Caps as his favorite team at a young age. Twenty-one years ago this week, Hathaway and his family traveled down from Maine to see the Caps play in Boston on a Saturday afternoon as part of the celebration of young Garnet’s seventh birthday.

“We always parked in the Government Center lot, and walked over to the game,” remembers Hathaway, who saw a few Caps-Bruins games at TD Garden as a youth. “We were lower bowl in the corner. It was always special. Those are great memories.”

That November 21, 1998 Caps-Bruins game – also a Saturday matinee – turned into quite the memorable event.

With Boston leading 2-0 midway through the first period, an old-fashioned donnybrook broke out on the ice. All 12 players – including the goaltenders, the Caps’ Olie Kolzig and the Bruins’ Byron Dafoe, who served as the best man at each others’ weddings – squared off and had at each other, and all 12 were subsequently ejected from the game.

Washington lost Kolzig, defensemen Mark Tinordi and Dmitri Mironov and forwards Craig Berube, Dale Hunter and Ken Klee. Boston lost Dafoe, defensemen Don Sweeney and Grant Ledyard, and forwards Ken Belanger, Peter Ferraro and Kan Baumgartner. Rick Tabaracci took over in net for the Caps and Robbie Tallas for Boston.

Benches were sparsely populated the rest of the way, and several players had to step up and absorb a much larger workload than normal. Sergei Gonchar (33:36) and Joe Reekie (32:15) led the Caps in ice time, and Adam Oates (27:54) and Joé Juneau (27:18) led the forwards. Boston blueliner Raymond Bourque (39:20) led all players on both sides, and Boston center Jason Allison, a former Cap who scored the game-winner that afternoon, led B’s forwards with 25:04.

“At that age, you kind of feed off the crowd around you,” says Hathaway, “and when they stand up, you can’t see, unless you’re standing on the chair. I remember standing on the chair and trying to see, trying to look over people. I’m sure my dad was holding my brother and me as high as he could so we could see. I remember seeing Kolzig skating down, and later finding out that they were the best man at each other’s wedding. It doesn’t really set in at that point. But later on down the road thinking about it, it’s a pretty crazy story.”

Asked who his favorite Caps of that era was, Hathaway rattles off a few names.

“My brother was a huge Kolzig fan,” he says, “so it was tough not to lean on my big brother for advice for that. But those were the days of [Peter] Bondra, who was just unbelievable. When I got a Calle Johansson stick, that turned me a little bit. They had Oates, Juneau, and Chris Simon, too.”

Boston won that game 21 years ago, 5-4, on Allison’s overtime goal.

In The Nets – Braden Holtby gets the net for Saturday’s matinee match against Vancouver. Holtby’s streak of seven straight victories was halted on Wednesday when the Caps fell 4-1 to the Rangers in New York. In seven November starts this season, Holtby is 6-1-0 with a 2.25 GAA and a .926 save pct.

Lifetime against the Canucks, he is 5-2-0 with a shutout, with a 2.44 GAA and a .914 save pct.

For the Canucks, we’re expecting to see Jacob Markstrom in net. Markstrom is coming off a season-high 45-save performance in Vancouver’s 6-3 win over the Predators in Nashville on Thursday, his sixth win of the season.

Markstrom is still seeking his first-ever victory over the Capitals. Lifetime against Washington, he is 0-7-1 with a 3.59 GAA and an .887 save pct.

All Lined Up – Here is a look at how we expect the Capitals and the Canucks to look on Saturday afternoon in the District when they get together for the second and final time this season:

WASHINGTON

Forwards

8-Ovechkin, 92-Kuznetsov, 43-Wilson

13-Vrana, 20-Eller, 77-Oshie

14-Panik, 18-Stephenson, 72-Boyd

47-Malenstyn, 23-Sgarbossa, 28-Leipsic

Defensemen

6-Kempny, 74-Carlson

9-Orlov, 33-Gudas

34-Siegenthaler, 3-Jensen

Goaltenders

70-Holtby

30-Samsonov

Injuries

19-Backstrom (upper body)

21-Hathaway (suspension)

26-Dowd (upper body)

62-Hagelin (upper body)

Scratches

29-Djoos

VANCOUVER

Forwards

70-Pearson, 40-Pettersson, 6-Boeser

9-Miller, 53-Horvat, 71-MacEwen

17-Leivo, 88-Gaudette, 18-Virtanen

59-Schaller, 44-Graovac, 21-Eriksson

Defensemen

43-Hughes, 8-Tanev

23-Edler, 51-Stecher

4-Benn, 57-Myers

Goaltenders

25-Markstrom

35-Demko

Injuries

20-Sutter (lower body)

64-Motte (lower body)

26-Roussel (lower body)

79-Ferland (upper body)

83-Beagle (upper body)

Scratches

5-Fantenburg

47-Baertschi

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Longtime Bruins winger Ed Sandford had played against Gordie Howe in the late 1940s and ’50s. But it wasn’t until he became a teammate of Howe’s in 1955 — in Sandford’s first training camp with the Detroit Red Wings — that he came to fully appreciate the legendary Howe, who died Friday at 88.

And Sandford got an early hint of the incredible longevity that Howe would enjoy as a player.

“In training camp, we had these skating drills, and the skating drills would be exhaustive, but he would be the last guy going. I don’t know where he got the energy from, but when the rest of us were hanging with our heads down, he was still going ahead. He had tremendous stamina,” Sandford said on Friday. “After two or three minutes of it, everyone was huffing and puffing and trying to get their breath, but, God, I’d take a look at him and he was still plowing ahead. He had this exhaustive stamina and more energy of all of us put together.”

Howe would go on to play another 23 professional seasons in both the NHL and WHA after that training camp in which Sandford participated with “Mr. Hockey.”

Sandford recalled what an incredible athlete Howe was.

“He played defense a lot when Detroit was winning the game in the last 10 minutes or so,” Sandford said. “He’d play a shift at right wing and then drop back for a shift on defense. He had the ability to do that because he was so darn strong and he handled the puck so well. It seemed he was playing 35, 40 minutes some nights.”

Many of the stories being told of Howe in the wake of his death the last couple of days centered on the ferocity with which he played. The terrible thumping he gave New York Rangers enforcer Lou Fontinato, culminating their long-running feud in 1959 — he broke the nose and dislocated the jaw of the Blueshirts enforcer — is perhaps the most vivid example of just how brutal Howe could be on the ice. And of course, when a player now has a goal, an assist and a fight, it’s called a Gordie Howe hat trick.

But in reality, Howe didn’t fight that much. The toughest guys didn’t have to after a while.

“I played against him a lot, but I never saw him in a fight that we had. But he was strong, he was tough,” said Sandford, born the same year as Howe in 1928. “When he checked you, he checked you with a very heavy stick. But we all did about the same. The talk was he was a great fighter and I guess he beat up the guy from New York one time and that became connected to him all the time. But I never saw that. He was not dirty, he was not vicious, he was hard-working and he was durable.”

Johnny McKenzie, who came into his own with the Bruins of the ’60s and ’70s remembers Howe as a player you crossed at your peril.

“Well, if you left him alone, he’d leave you alone,” McKenzie said. “But if you ever raised a stick or an elbow, he’d be more than willing to do the same to you, that’s for sure.”

Like Sandford, MacKenzie played both with and against Howe. After his rookie year in Chicago, McKenzie played with the Red Wings and Howe from 1959-61.

“I came from a small town in Alberta and when they told me I was going up to play for the Detroit Red Wings, I just about died,” McKenzie said. “Everybody wanted to play with that team in the ’50s.”

While Howe was known for his sharp elbows as much as the 801 NHL goals he scored (plus 174 WHA tallies), it was his off-ice kindnesses that stuck with many.

“Gordie was pretty good to the young kids that were up in camp for the first time. He had a car at camp, I think it was an Oldsmobile or something, and he’d see the kids walking back from the arena and give them a ride back to the hotel,” said Sandford. “He had no airs to him and he was a very modest person off the ice. Extremely modest. He didn’t want to have anyone talk about anything that he did, just a real good guy off the ice to a lot of kids, to tell them ‘You’re playing well in practice, just keep going, keep working.’ ”

Johnny Bucyk started his career with Howe in Detroit before going on to a Hall of Fame career in Boston.

“We were really close. He took great care of me when I first came up in Detroit, and any time he was in Boston he made a point of coming to see me,” said Bucyk. “He was mean and tough on the ice, but just a big pussycat off the ice. He never refused to sign an autograph. And he was a great family man, just so proud of his wife and kids. He was a great man.”

“I was so lucky to play with two of the best ever, Gordie and Bobby Orr,” said McKenzie. “If anyone says they saw anyone better than those two, then they must have seen something special, because I sure never saw anyone better.”

B’S SUMMER IS ABOUT TO HEAT UP

It has been pretty quiet in Bruins Nation for a couple of months now, but that’s about to change as the NHL offseason officially kicks off when the Stanley Cup is finally raised tonight or Wednesday.

The buyout period begins later in the week (Dennis Seidenberg?) and there is expected to be a gaggle of trades leading up the NHL draft to be held in Buffalo June 24-25. The period in which the unrestricted free agents (goodbye, Loui Eriksson?) can speak to other teams begins on June 25, the opening bell for free agency on July 1. Another important date is Aug. 15, when Harvard’s Jimmy Vesey becomes a free agent after declining to sign with the Nashville Predators, the team that originally drafted him.

The B’s have approximately $20 million to spend this summer, though a good chunk of that could go to RFAs Torey Krug, Colin Miller, Joe Morrow, Brett Connolly and/or Landon Ferraro. They also have to plan for significant pay raises to Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak for 2017-18.

On the open market, there are plenty of forwards who’d look good in a Bruins uniform — Steven Stamkos, Kyle Okposo, Troy Brower — but there are no bargains in that end of the UFA pool. Their big money acquisition could come via the trade market, perhaps grabbing a young RFA defenseman who has become unaffordable for his present team.

Whatever happens, Bruins fans can expect a fair amount of action this summer.

GUY: CUT IT OUT!

Retired sharpshooter Guy Lafleur took aim at the Civil War era beards of San Jose Sharks’ Brent Burns and Joe Thornton (right) last week.

“I think it’s a disgrace for hockey. I hate it. It’s not a good image for the game,” the Hall of Famer told the Montreal Gazette. “I don’t mind a guy wearing a beard, but to his belly?…enough is enough. The team’s managers should put their foot down.

He added with a laugh: “They can’t see the puck. That’s why they’re struggling.”

Not for nothing, but I wonder what, say, Eddie Shore thought of the long, flowing locks Lafleur wore as a player.

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John Shea Crawford (October 26, 1916 – January 19, 1973) was a Canadian ice hockey defenceman and coach. He was born in Dublin, Ontario. Despite Crawford’s preference to be called “Johnny” or “John”, the media often referred to him as “Jack”.[1]

Crawford started his National Hockey League career with the Boston Bruins in 1938. He played his entire career with the Bruins and retired after the 1950 season. In 1943 and 1946, he was a member of the NHL All-Star Team. He won two Stanley Cups with Boston 1939, 1941.

Crawford coached 659 games in the American Hockey League (10th on the all-time list)[2] with the Hershey Bears (1950–52), Providence Reds (1955–60), Rochester Americans (1961–62), and Baltimore Clippers (1964-66). He was the general manager of the Cape Cod Cubs of the Eastern Hockey League when he collapsed on January 17, 1973 while attending his team’s home game. He died at the Cape Cod Hospital on January 19, 1973. He was 56 years old.[3]

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Harvard sports legend George Owen, Jr. ’23, a member of both the college football and pro hockey Halls of Fame, died of a stroke Tuesday in Milton, Mass. He was 84.

Owen, a three–sport star at Harvard, captained the 1923 hockey team and later led the Boston Bruins to the Stanley Cup Championship in 1929. He also earned three varsity baseball and football letters at Harvard.

Owen was especially renowned for foiling Yale. The hero in a series of legendary comeback victories, Owen never lost to the Elis in any sport during three years of varsity play. The day of Owen’s graduation, the president of Yale sent the following telegram to Harvard: “Please be sure Owen graduates today and gets his degree.”

Owen later coached football, hockey and baseball at Milton Academy for 20 years until he retired in 1965.

He remained active in sports, however, as a scout for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He also tutored pitchers at Harvard and other area high schools and colleges.

Humble

Neighbor and Milton Academy collegue Barclay Feather ’41 said, “one thing that characterzed George was his humbleness about his own athletic abilities. He claimed he was merely doing his best with the talents God had given him.”

Assistant Harvard football Coach George Clemens said Owen often attended Harvard sporting events, even in his later years.

“He was an inspirational man to have around. He took a great interest in all of our kids, whether they were freshmen, JV or varsity players,” Clemens said.

Approximately 250 people attended a memorial service for Owen yesterday at the Milton Academy chapel.