In this edition of Boston Bruins News & Rumors, there has been some chatter that the team may consider adding forward Andrew Copp from the Winnipeg Jets ahead of the trade deadline. In other news, Brad Marchand is set to return after serving his entire six-game suspension. Meanwhile, Urho Vaakanainen was taken off the injured reserve on Thursday but was forced to sit out of Monday night’s game versus the Colorado Avalanche with an undisclosed ailment. Last but not least, Jeremy Swayman recently sat down and explained his relationship with former Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask.
Bruins Looking Into Copp
According to Greg Wyshynski and Kristen Shilton of ESPN, the Bruins may be a perfect fit for Copp, who is a pending unrestricted free agent. With the Jets sitting seven points back of a playoff spot, it is looking like they will be sellers at the deadline, and Copp will be a player several teams inquire about. The 27-year-old is having himself a solid 2021-22 season with 12 goals and 28 points in 47 games.
As mentioned, Copp is on an expiring deal, and it carries a reasonable cap hit of $3.64 million. While the Jets have by no means ruled out re-signing him, they will almost certainly hear out offers from any and all teams who call. While he is currently on the shelf with an upper-body injury, he is listed as day-to-day and could be ready to return as soon as Wednesday night.
Marchand Denied Appeal on Suspension
Back on Feb. 9, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety chose to suspend Marchand for both roughing and high-sticking Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry. The Bruins forward admitted that while he needs to be smarter moving forward, he didn’t believe the incident was worthy of the penalty he was handed, and he chose to appeal the suspension.
With the appeal, the decision to keep or change the length of the suspension lay with league commissioner Gary Bettman, who ultimately chose to uphold the ruling. He explained his decision shortly afterward.
“Mr. Marchand’s behaviour and lack of judgement in respect of these incidents did not meet acceptable NHL standards. He created a distraction which reflected poorly on himself, on his team and on the League as a whole, and as such, I find he also deserves the penalty he received,” Bettman said. “Having said that, I encourage Mr. Marchand to reflect on this experience and to use it positively in furtherance of his efforts to refine and improve his on-ice image and game for everyone’s benefit.”
Though the suspension was upheld, Marchand has now sat out his six games and will return to the lineup on Thursday night versus the Seattle Kraken. Prior to his lapse in judgment, he was having a terrific season with 21 goals and 49 points through 39 games.
Vaakanainen’s Return Lasts Just Two Games
When the Bruins activated Vaakanainen off of injured reserve last Thursday, he looked quite solid, playing 20 minutes in games against the New York Islanders and the Ottawa Senators. Just as he was getting into a groove, however, the Bruins announced prior to Monday’s contest that he was a late scratch due to an undisclosed ailment.
The hope right now is that he is dealing with a minor injury, but the team has not said anything yet. The 23-year-old has suited up for 15 games with the Bruins this season, recording four assists. When he has been in the lineup, he appears to have the trust of head coach Bruce Cassidy, as he is averaging north of 19 minutes in ice time per game on the season.
Swayman Discusses Relationship with Rask
“I just want to take the positives out of every situation,” Swayman said. “I was super happy to get the start up with the team and get some good games in. But obviously Tuukka, he’s going to come back, and he’s going to perform. I knew that was a possibility, and he has every right to, he’s an incredible goalie. I’ve been really fortunate to create a great relationship with him as well off the ice. To see him retire officially was sad to see but in a way, I was excited for him. I think he’s done a lot of great things for the game of hockey and obviously with the Bruins. It’s my job to step up now and make sure I’m doing everything I can to help this team win games.”
Rask, 34, attempted a comeback recently after undergoing hip surgery last summer. It didn’t go the way he had hoped, as he recorded an ugly 4.28 goals-against average along with a .844 save percentage in just four starts before his hip started causing problems for him again. As a result of his hip acting back up, he chose to retire, which has led to Swayman rejoining the Bruins.
Up Next for the Bruins
As mentioned when discussing Marchand’s suspension, the Bruins’ next game will come on Thursday against the Kraken. They will then have a night off before finishing their week with a game on Saturday versus the San Jose Sharks. Both games should be winnable for this team as they look to build off two straight victories.
Colton Pankiw is a former Jr. A hockey player who now provides his knowledge of the game through writing. He’s been a very active and reliable source for nearly two years at The Hockey Writers. He is a credentialed writer for the Calgary Flames but also does features on other teams throughout the league. Other writing contributions include: Yahoo Sports, Las Vegas Chronicle, Oil On Whyte, and Markerzone.com. Colton is also a co-host of both Oilers Overtime and Flames Faceoff podcasts. Any interview requests or content info can be made through him on Twitter. Take a look at his work here.