Bruins notebook: Momentum building for Rick Nash deal to Boston?
TORONTO — With less than 48 hours to go before the NHL’s trade deadline, Bruins GM Don Sweeney met with reporters yesterday at Air Canada Centre, but he wasn’t giving away a ton of clues about what he planned on doing before tomorrow at 3 p.m.
But throughout the game, several Canadian national reporters tweeted the Bruins were chasing the Rangers’ Rick Nash, perhaps that they were even the frontrunner in those sweepstakes.
After the game, Sweeney didn’t have anything to add to the reports, which suggested the B’s were looking for ways to make it work financially under the salary cap.
“I talked to a lot of teams. I’m not going to deny talking to the Rangers, but nothing to report tonight,” said Sweeney as he was leaving the ACC.
Earlier in the day, Sweeney gave a general update on his dealings.
“There’s a lot of talks going on, but you never know,” Sweeney said. “You realize the one that went down (Friday, with Ottawa sending Derick Brassard to Pittsburgh in a three-team deal) how complicated these things get at this time of the year. We’ll just continue to explore and see what clubs are willing to do, what you’re willing to do and maybe something fits. We really have to be pretty target specific for us. Our club would like to maybe add a piece but I just don’t know between now and Monday.”
The 33-year-old Nash — a two-time 40 goal scorer who has 18 tallies in 60 games this year — may cost a pretty package, but Sweeney reiterated early last night that he wouldn’t give up his young players easily.
“I’ve been pretty protective of our younger players in general. We set out a path and a plan a few years ago to grow it the right way and to incorporate with our core players. And our core players have had terrific years,” said Sweeney, who addressed his need to bolster his defense depth on Tuesday by obtaining Nick Holden from the Rangers.
“We’ve got a long way to go. We have a very difficult March and some of those younger players are going to go through a stretch. But it’s safe to say we’ve cognizant of not giving away what we think are real good players.”
At the start of the season, it appeared the best-case scenario for the B’s would be for them to be among the teams fighting down to the wire for a playoff spot. But now they are one of the NHL’s top teams. Does that make rental deals any more attractive to him?
“It’s hard to say. We’ve got a long way to go here in March,” Sweeney said. “You’d like to think the group can continue along the same path they have been on. But if you can add to it and help it, with the rental market it depends what you’re going to give up and what the impact that player is going to have and how he’s going to fit into the group.”
Wing it with Gionta?
The B’s have been linked in several reports to free agent Brian Gionta, who just finished up his gig captain of Team USA. He didn’t have a great tournament — no goals, minus-4 — but he is a right wing. Sweeney conceded they were kicking some tires when asked about Gionta.
Bruins property Ryan Donato did have a very good Olympic tournament and it sounded like Sweeney will take a run at signing him once Harvard’s season is done.
“I know he enjoyed the experience and rightfully so. He jumped right back in played for Harvard (on Friday),” Sweeney said. “We’re excited about Ryan. He’s got to finish his season and then we’ll have discussions about what his decision will be going forward.”
Brandon Carlo was on the ice for three of the four Toronto goals — two of which were on the power play — and played just 13:32.
“Brandon, there are some nights where I think he has to find his game quicker if something doesn’t go his way and I thought he could be harder in a game like this in terms of on the puck, moving the puck, defending. It’s that simple. We talked to him about and hopefully he’s better the next time,” coach Bruce Cassidy said. . . .
Kevan Miller returned to the lineup after missing nine games with an upper body injury. H played 21:50, was plus-2 and blocked five shots. . . .
Anton Khudobin will start against the Sabres tonight.