Bruins Notes: Don Sweeney Happy With Trade Acquisitions During NHL Playoffs

The B's punched their ticket to Round 2 on Sunday night


May 24, 2021

The Boston Bruins are on to Round 2 of the Stanley Cup playoffs after beating the Washington Capitals in Game 5 to win the series 4-1.

There certainly was a lot to like throughout the series, and it was refreshing to see the trade deadline acquisitions of Taylor Hall, Mike Reilly and Curtis Lazar continue to fit right in with their new team. Hall had three points in five games, Reilly had two and Lazar had one.

The trio made their presence on the ice felt in their own ways, and Bruins general manager Don Sweeney is happy with what he’s seen thus far, and addressed how trading for pieces the Bruins needed came to light.

“I think we, as a staff, tried to identify some areas in both meeting with our coaches and having input from all of our pro staff and analytics group that we had areas that we wanted to try to address,” Sweeney told reporters over Zoom on Monday. “You never know what injuries are going to present as you go along in a very, very compressed schedule. We also felt we needed to address the depth overall. Sometimes, it’s about who’s available. Doesn’t mean you’re going to be able to complete a deal, but we certainly identified some players we thought would help us and complement our group. Then find some areas of need.

“Obviously, Taylor has gone in and played well with (David Krejci) and (Craig Smith). Lazar has gone in and played really well with the fourth line and penalty killing. And obviously Reills has slid in a played with Brandon (Carlo) and given us puck play that we needed and the depth due to injuries. … They’ve all acclimated very well into our locker room. Testament to both those players themselves, individually, but also our locker room and the leadership of our group to welcome them in and make them feel comfortable.” 

The Bruins now await the winner of the New York Islanders-Pittsburgh Penguins, which could end as soon as Wednesday.

Here are some other notes from Don Sweeney’s press conference:

— The Bruins dealt with injuries throughout the regular season, and it seems to unfortunately be much of the same in the playoffs.

Kevan Miller, Jeremy Lauzon, Jakub Zboril and Ondrej Kase all are dealing with injuries. Sweeney is hopeful to have Lauzon and Zboril back for Round 2. As for Miller, it’s still too early to put a timetable on the defenseman’s return after taking a high hit from Capitals blueliner Dmitry Orlov.

Kase, though, who was injured in the second game of the season, returned May 10 and didn’t last the entire game before going down with another upper-body injury. Sweeney revealed Monday he’ll be shutdown the remainder of the playoffs.

— Brad Marchand took a few penalties throughout the series that easily could have been avoided. While only one ended up resulting in a Capitals goal, it still was important for the forward to keep his composure.

Sweeney, though, is looking at the bigger picture and the 21 (!) penalties the B’s took over the course of their first-round series.

“I mean, we took 21 minors in the course of the series, that’s far too many,” Sweeney said. “Self-inflicted with, I think we had two too many men penalties we went through a couple of times. You can’t necessarily count those ones as being not disciplined enough in some situations.”

The GM also credited Patrice Bergeron in helping Marchand get focused.

“He’s going to get pushed and he’s going to push back and occupy space and territory,” Sweeney said of Marchand. “He got caught a couple of times, we all had communication with him. I think Bergy in particular had communication with him to understand the importance that he has, to our hockey club when he’s on the ice, plus when he’s off and in the box. And he’s one of our key penalty killers.”

— There’s been a lot of speculation about Steven Kampfer.

The defenseman is dealing with an arm injury that will make him unavailable “going forward.” However, reports surfaced that he signed a deal with the KHL.

“You’d have to ask Steven that,” Sweeney said. “He’s under contract with us. Recently had arm surgery and he elected to have hand surgery. So, he’s in a recovery phase and not available for us.” 

— Massachusetts is set to ease COVID-19 restrictions May 29, and TD Garden should be going to back to close to full capacity — something it hasn’t been since March 2020.

“The players have gone through tremendous challenges over the course of a year and a half and missing the excitement, having the energy of an incredible fanbase,” Sweeney said. “And they persevered, it’s incredible the amount of adversity each and every one of those guys have to go through. It’s difficult. You’ve heard our players talk about it in pockets. To go out and perform at a level that we all, including the fans, expect them to do. It’s not an easy task and hopefully now we can get more fans in our building to fully support them the way that we know all Bruins fans will do.”

The schedule for Round 2 has yet to be announced, but we’re sure Bruins fans will be antsy to pack TD Garden.

— Because the schedule isn’t set, the Bruins have an undetermined amount of time off. Of course, the B’s will practice, but could go close to a week or longer without playing an NHL game. Still, the rest could play to their advantage.

“I honestly believe the time we have right now will be advantageous to us, to have a little bit of a reset,” Sweeney said. “I think if we can get in and stay healthy, we’ll be ready to go for the next round, because it’s going to be a hell of a challenge.”

Thumbnail photo via Brad Mills/USA TODAY Sports Images
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