Mitch's Sports Report: Grade For Bruins Trade Deadline Moves? Wait And 'C'

Mar 1, 2016

Well, some trade deadlines are the meteorological equivalent of a blizzard, with a flurry of deals made in a few hours before the storm settles. Yesterday's NHL deadline was more like a minor weather system, with a passing shower here and there, and just enough activity to alter the environment. Amid those changing weather patterns, the Boston Bruins acquired two players at the deadline, but made more news by who they kept on the roster.

Winger Loui Eriksson was shopped heavily by the Bruins, but he's having a career year with unrestricted free agency looming next season, and the Bruins weren't about to let him go for anything less than a roster ready impact player and a top prospect, and that asking price was apparently too high. So, kudos for Bruins GM Don Sweeney for not blinking and letting Eriksson go for just prospects, but the move only makes sense if one of two things happens: either the Bruins sign Eriksson to a contract extension before he skates for nothing in return come July first, or retaining him propels the Bruins deep into a playoff run, ideally ending with a trip to the Stanley Cup finals.

Well, the Bruins are exceeding expectations this year, but they are not among the league's elite teams, most of which are fortunately out west. The B's pose no real threat even in the east to the top team, Washington, and with the Rangers picking up Eric Staal, they're probably not putting any real fear into the Blueshirts either. So Sweeney really needs to work out some way to keep Eriksson in the black and gold fold or else the non-move will be for naught, especially if the Bruins go one and done in the playoffs, or fail to make them at all, which is still a possibility. They own one of two wild card spots right now.

As for the players they did get, well, they shored up their blue line a bit acquiring puck-moving defenseman John-Michael Liles from the Carolina Hurricanes for a third and a fifth-round pick and minor leaguer Anthony Camara, and they got winger Lee Stempniak from the New Jersey Devils for a fourth and second round pick. Liles is thirty-five, but still skates pretty well, and has six goals on the season. Stempniak is an interesting acquisition. He was the Devils leading scorer with sixteen goals and twenty-five assists, and this is the third year in a row that Stempniak has been traded at the deadline so he's used to moving around. The only thing that nags about that is the Bruins invited him to a try out before the season even began and could have had him for a song instead of giving up a couple of draft picks, but it's a much different landscape now than then. Overall grade? I'd say it's a "wait and C." Meaning if the Bruins make a deep playoff run and sign Eriksson to an extension after the season, the deal could be an A minus. But if they fail to reach the post-season, or get knocked out early while Eriksson signs elsewhere, it could be as low as a C minus or even a D.

The New York Rangers were in action with their new center-man Eric Staal at Madison Square Garden last night, and scored a win over the Columbus Blue Jackets when Derek Stepan tallied a short-handed goal late in the third period to break a tie and give New York a 2-1 win.

The Montreal Canadiens shed a number of players before the deadline. Tomas Fleischmann and Dale Weiss are now with Chicago, and they swapped Devante Smith-Pelly for Stefan Matteau before losing 6-2 to the Sharks in San Jose last night. The Habs are regrouping for next season and hoping beyond hope that Carey Price stays healthy.

There was an upset in the Division two girls' high school basketball playoffs last night as fourth-seeded Fair Haven scored a come-from-behind victory over the top-ranked U-32 Raiders 37-34 at Barre Auditorium. The Slaters were down twelve points at halftime, but clamped down on defense in the second half and with fifteen seconds to go in regulation, Adriana Dalto tied the game with a baseline jumper to send the game to overtime. Dalto added a 3-pointer in the extra frame to lead Fair Haven to the upset victory. Andrea Symonds led U-32 with sixteen points in the losing effort.

No upset in Division four, where defending champs and number one seed Mount St. Joseph punched their ticket back to the finals with a 50-34 win over Whitchester.

In the NBA the Boston Celtics have the kind of home record their hockey counterparts wish they had, now winners of eleven straight at TD Garden after a 100-95 win over the Utah Jazz last night. Jae Crowder had twenty-two to lead the C's.

A quick NFL note, the New England Patriots have extended the contract for quarterback Tom Brady to keep him in the fold through 2019. I hear Brady's pretty good.

The Boston Red Sox signed outfielder David Murphy to a minor league contract yesterday, a full-circle move as Murphy was initially a Red Sox draft pick back in 2006. He had a solid season with Cleveland last year, batting .283. Also, starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez has been diagnosed with a subluxation of the patella tendon in his right knee and, while there's no structural damage, he'll be shut down for 72 hours, which officially kicks off the start of Red Sox Nation Sky-Is-Falling spring training, so stretch out those groans and moans now so you can be ready to go when the season starts.

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