Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Boston Extends Affiliation With Providence
- Don Sweeney Named Providence General Manager
- Jay Pandolfo Hired as Development Coach

Press Release From

Boston, MA – Boston Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced today, August 27, that the club has agreed to a long-term affiliation agreement with the Providence Bruins.

Chiarelli also announced that Assistant General Manager Don Sweeney has been named the General Manager of the Providence Bruins and that Jay Pandolfo has been hired as Development Coach. In Sweeney’s role as General Manager of Providence, he will be responsible for hockey operations with the P-Bruins in addition to his current responsibilities. Pandolfo will be responsible for aiding in the development of players and prospects throughout Boston’s system.

The P-Bruins have served as the American Hockey League affiliate for Boston since their inception in 1992, making the 23 consecutive season affiliation between Boston and Providence one of the longest standing player development agreements in either league’s history.

“On behalf of the Bruins organization we are happy to have our relationship with the Providence Bruins extended,” said Bruins President Cam Neely. “Having our AHL affiliate so close is a great asset to not only our hockey team, but to our fans, as they can watch our prospects develop. I’d like to thank H. Larue Renfroe, Jeff Fear and Matt Poore and the rest of the Providence Bruins organization for their continued commitment to Bruins Hockey. I would also like to congratulate Don Sweeney on being named General Manager of the Providence Bruins."

“We are proud to continue our long standing affiliation with the Boston Bruins.” said Providence Bruins team owner H. Larue Renfroe, adding “We take great pride in helping provide a high end development environment for the prospects and coaches of the Boston Bruins. The Jacobs family, Cam Neely, Peter Chiarelli and Don Sweeney have been outstanding partners and we look forward to working with them for many years to come.”

“The city and fans of Providence have a history in the AHL that dates back to the league’s formation in 1936,” said David Andrews, President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Hockey League. “Providence has been a natural partner for the Boston Bruins for the last 22 years, and it is wonderful to see that relationship extended for the foreseeable future.”

With the P-Bruins serving as the primary pipeline for Boston, over 190 players that have spent time with Providence have played for the big club as well. Current players in the organization that have played at least one game for both Providence and Boston include: Matt Bartkowski, Patrice Bergeron, Johnny Boychuk, Jordan Caron, Craig Cunningham, Justin Florek, Matt Fraser, Alexander Khokhlachev, David Krejci, Torey Krug, Matt Lindblad, Brad Marchand, Adam McQuaid, Kevan Miller, Tuukka Rask, Ryan Spooner, Niklas Svedberg, Zach Trotman and David Warsofsky.

“Having a solid working relationship with your AHL affiliate is so integral to the long term success of your NHL team,” said Chiarelli. “With Providence and H. Larue Renfroe's stewardship, we have that and more. We look forward to many more years with the Providence Bruins.

Sweeney enters his ninth season in the Bruins front office and is in his sixth as Assistant General Manager. He joined Chiarelli’s staff in June of 2006 as the team’s Director of Player Development and added the position of Director of Hockey Operations to his resume in July of 2007 before being named Assistant GM.

“Don takes a lot of pride in the development and success of the younger players, most of whom come through Providence,” said Chiarelli. “Don has been in charge of Providence for some time now and he will continue to oversee that important relationship with enthusiasm and passion and ultimately, success.”

The 16-year NHL veteran was drafted by the Boston Bruins in the 1984 Draft (166th overall) after spending four seasons at Harvard University where he graduated with a degree in economics. The former NHL blueliner is one of just two defensemen and four players in team history to have played in over 1,000 games in a Boston sweater and still ranks third on the team’s all-time games played list.

“During the past eight years, I have been very fortunate to have been afforded the opportunity to work closely with some outstanding people in Providence,” said Sweeney. “I can fully attest to their total commitment to developing young men as both aspiring NHL Players and quality people. Our partnership with Providence is about providing an opportunity for Players to develop in a competitive and winning environment. Peter Chiarelli and the Bruins have chartered a relationship with H. Larue Renfroe and his staff that continuously reinforces the ideals of a successful Player Development System.”

Pandolfo, 39, appeared in 899 NHL games throughout his career, notching 100 goals and 126 assists for 226 points. The forward also brings 131 games of postseason experience to Boston, where he racked up 11 goals and 22 assists, winning two Stanley Cups with the New Jersey Devils in 2000 and 2003. The Burlington, MA native played his final NHL season with the Boston Bruins in the 2012-13 season, where the winger skated in 18 games.
“Jay got a good sense of how we approach things during his time as a player here,” said Chiarelli. “He has a real common sense approach that focuses on commitment and dedication. These are attributes that he showed also as a player and he will use in development of our younger players and prospects.”

Prior to being drafted by the New Jersey Devils in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft (Second round, 32nd overall), Pandolfo skated four seasons at Boston University (1992-96) where he picked up a career 169 points (ranks 11th most in school history) and 79 goals (tied for ninth in school history). Under Head Coach Jack Parker and Assistant Coaches Bill Berglund, Mike Eruzione and Blaise MacDonald, Pandolfo and his BU teammates won the NCAA National Championship in 1995. The left wing was named Terrier Captain in 1996 – the same season he finished as the runner-up for the Hobey Baker Award.

“We are excited to have Jay rejoin the Bruins organization as he brings a wealth of NHL experience to our group,” said Sweeney. “He knows what it takes for forwards to play in all sorts of different roles on Stanley Cup winning teams. I believe Jay will be a huge asset to aid our staff in the development of our young players.”

Pandolfo announced his retirement from his 15-season NHL career in January of 2014.
“I am very excited to start the next chapter in my career and rejoin the Boston Bruins organization as the team’s Development Coach,” said Pandolfo. “Working with the younger players in the system and helping them improve as professionals is an opportunity I am grateful for and a challenge that I look forward to.”

Friday, April 11, 2014

Providence Primed For Playoffs

Providence Defenders Buy In

April 10, 2014

Thomas Chace Jr.



It took a while, but the Providence defenders have fully bought into the Bruins system at the right time of the season.  With just five games remaining, the Boston Bruins AHL farm club is ready to make a serious run in the playoffs.  The ability to defend as a team started in training camp and is now bearing the fruits of the team believing in the system.

Head Coach Bruce Cassidy explains, “That part of the game, the guys are buying into it.  As long as we keep our transition and quick strike offense going and we’re a threat to score and keep our PP working like it can, it makes us a pretty well-rounded team.”  Specifically, regarding the defensive part of the Providence team, Cassidy says, “I like that we are defending better, I really do, the guys are buying in.”

The difference between the defense in October and November to where the team is now is quite apparent.  They have been involved in numerous low scoring games of late, with a couple of blowout victories thrown in.  Balanced scoring has also been a great asset to the club this season as well. 

As always, good defense starts with goaltending.  Boston has a plethora of solid netminders in their system.  The Bruins had enough of them that they let Anton Khudobin go to the Carolina Hurricanes where he has mostly thrived in his first NHL season.  Providence retained solid goaltending in Niklas Svedberg and first year pro Malcolm Subban.  Svedberg played most of the games early and was let down many times by the young or new Providence defense.  Subban has improved his play in the second half and at times has been outstanding.  Cassidy says that, “They are competing against one another on a regular basis now.  They are pushing each other now and it’s going to go down to the wire as to who’s going to play at the end.”

Currently Providence sits in 6th place with just five games to go in the regular season.  Albany, Hershey, and Norfolk are three to five points back.  The Bruins have a big weekend coming up as they play Albany, Norfolk, and 1st place Manchester over the course of those three days.  The Bruins are 10th in points overall in the entire AHL.  Their home and away records are almost identical which again shows the balance in their overall play.  The Bruins are 19-11-2-3 on home ice at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center and sport a 19-12-0-5 on the road.  They also lead the league in overtime games with 23 games played and a record of 2-2-11-8 in those games.  Svedberg leads the AHL with 7 shootout wins to his credit. Rookie forward Seth Griffith is second in the league in shootout goals with seven on the season thus far.  Another rookie, Anthony Camara, leads the team in game winning goals with five; three of those were in shootout wins.

Rookies have played a significant role in the Bruins season, none more than Russian Alexander Khokhlachev.  Second among rookies in scoring with 56 points in 61 games, he, along with line mates Justin Florek and Seth Griffith, has become a force on offense. Providence presently has three 20 goal scorers in Khokhlachev, Griffith, and Craig Cunningham.  On the verge of hitting 20 goals is Florek with 19, Matt Fraser with 18, and Nick Johnson with 17 tallies.

Providence, much like their big club in Boston, can play whatever style the game takes on.  If you want to mix it up, you’ll have to deal with several willing combatants, including Bobby Robins, Tyler Randell, and Captain Mike Moore.  Robins is third in the league in fighting majors with 25 and is the heart and soul of the team.  Randell does not get many takers due to his stamina and fierce punching power. Moore, as classy a player as you’ll meet, has stood up numerous times for the more skilled Providence players.

The AHL playoffs are around the corner and Providence hasn’t lost in regulation in the last six games. The team has bought into what Head Coach Cassidy and Coach Kevin Dean have been selling all year and this bodes well as they approach the AHL tournament.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Carter Camper Traded

Blue Jackets Acquire Camper

February 7, 2014

The Columbus Blue Jackets have acquired forward Carter Camper from the Boston Bruins in exchange for defenseman Blake Parlett. In addition, the Springfield Falcons traded defenseman Joe Lavin to the Providence Bruins for future considerations.

Camper, 25, has totaled 128 points (37 goals, 91 assists) in 170 career AHL games, all with Providence. In 41 games this season, the Rocky River, Ohio, native has amassed 31 points (eight goals, 23 assists), 16 penalty minutes and a minus-2 rating.

Before beginning his professional career, Camper played four seasons at Miami University from 2007-11. The 5-foot-9, 173-pound forward totaled 183 points (69 goals, 114 assists) in 156 games, including 57 points (19 goals, 38 assists) in 39 games during his senior season.

Parlett, 24, has recorded 18 points (four goals, 14 assists) in 37 games with Springfield this season. In 192 career AHL games, the Bracebridge, Ont., native 76 points (18 goals, 58 assists) with the Falcons and the Connecticut Whale.

Lavin, 24, has not appeared in a regular season game with the Falcons this season. In 24 games with the ECHL’s Evansville IceMen, the Shrewsbury, Mass., native has totaled 10 points (three goals, seven assists), 20 penalty minutes and a +1 rating. Lavin spent the previous two seasons with the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs, totaling 27 points (four goals, 23 assists) in 112 games.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Spooner and Trotman Back in Providence

Ryan Spooner and Zach Trotman Assigned to Providence
Tuesday - January 28, 2014
Boston Bruins Press Release

BOSTON, MA - Boston Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced today, January 28, that the team has activated Chris Kelly from injured reserve and assigned forward Ryan Spooner and defenseman Zach Trotman to the Providence Bruins (American Hockey League). Kelly will be eligible for Tuesday’s game against the Florida Panthers.

Spooner has appeared in 22 games with Boston this season, racking up 11 assists. In total, the forward has played in 28 NHL games for Boston (2012-14).

Spooner will rejoin Providence where he has skated in 21 games earlier this year, earning five goals and 18 assists for 23 points with six penalty minutes.

In total, the 21-year-old Spooner has skated is 88 AHL games with Providence from 2010 to 2014, accruing 25 goals and 62 assists for 87 points.

The 5’10’’, 180-pound native of Kanata, Ontario was drafted by the Boston Bruins in the second round (45th overall) of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

Trotman has skated in 32 games for Providence this season and recorded four goals and eight assists with a +13 rating (tied for second on the team).

Trotman made his NHL debut earlier this season against the Senators in Ottawa on December 29, where he registered three shots on net in 16:41 time on ice. The defenseman skated in his second game with the Bruins on January 20 against the Los Angeles Kings in Boston, where he registered one shot on goal.

Prior to joining Providence, Trotman played three seasons at Lake Superior State University (2009-12) where he racked up 19 goals and 20 assists in 114 games.

The 6'3", 219-pound defenseman hails from Noblesville, Indiana and was drafted by Boston in the seventh round (210th overall) of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Manchester Monarchs at Providence Bruins

December 6, 2013
Dunkin Donuts Center
Providence, RI

Photographs by Thomas Chace Jr.


Friday, October 25, 2013

Providence Gets First Win on Home Ice

Bruins Beat Undefeated Springfield in Shootout
Warsofsky With Game Winner
October 25, 2013

Providence Bruins Press Release

Providence, RI-- The Providence Bruins defeated the Springfield Falcons 4-3 in a shootout Friday night at the Dunkin’ Donuts CenterNick Johnson scored twice and Justin Florek added a goal in regulation, while Ryan Spooner and David Warsofsky tallied goals in the shootout.  Niklas Svedberg recorded 36 saves.

After a scoreless opening period where both teams had many scoring chances, the P-Bruins took a 1-0 lead 4:29 into the second when defensemen Zach Trotman took a hard shot from center ice which tipped off Johnson and into the net.  For Johnson it was his third goal of the season and Carter Camper got the second assist.  Springfield bounced back quickly at the 8:10 mark when a rush up the ice led to a crowd of players in front of the net, which helped Falcons forward Sean Collins flip the puck into the net for his first goal of the season.  Jake Hansen and Patrick McNeill recorded the assists.  Springfield took its first lead of the night, while on the power play at the 10:23 mark.  Defensemen Jean-Francois Jacques scored a power play goal, his first goal of the season, with Collins and Darryl Boyce getting the assists.  The Falcons led 2-1 going into the second intermission.

Bobby Robins returned to action for Providence after missing the first six games of the season and recorded his first point of the season with an assist on the P-Bruins goal at the 15:56 mark of the third period.  He fed a long pass from Warsofsky to the front of the net where Florek flipped it into the net. The scoring was not over when Collins tallied his second goal of the night to put the Falcons up 3-2 at the 17:34 mark.  St. Denis and Hansen picked up the assists.  The P-Bruins would again match their rival when Johnson scored his second goal of the game off a shot from the point by Joe Morrow at the 18:27 mark.  Camper had the second assist as the game went into overtime tied at three.

After a scoreless overtime the game went into a shootout.  In the shootout, Spooner scored in the first round to give the P-Bruins a 1-0 lead.  Springfield answered back in round four with a goal from Jonathan Marchessault to tie the shootout at one.  Providence grabbed the victory when Warsofsky scored in the sixth round to give the P-Bruins the 4-3 victory. 

Svedberg stopped 36 of 39 shots for the P-Bruins, while Jeremy Smith made 32 saves for the Falcons.  Providence was 0-for-4 on the power play and 3-for-4 on the penalty kill.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Providence Team Has a Lot to Learn

Young Squad Needs Time
October 16, 2013
Thomas Chace Jr.
With just four games played and a couple of wins it’s no time for Providence Bruins fans to cast too much judgment on this year’s team.  The one home game they played on Friday October 11th did not end well, as the B’s gave away a two goal lead and were beaten in a shootout by the Manchester Monarchs.  The season is long and there are many young players on the roster that will be learning along the way about the professional style of play in the AHL.

The current roster for Providence includes just seven players that were born in the 1980’s.  Defenseman, Mike Moore, will be 29 years old in December and is the elder statesman of the group.  Injured forward, Bobby Robins is 31 years old, but is recuperating from a knee injury suffered in an exhibition game vs. the Washington Capitals in September and as of yet has no return date.

One of Boston’s last assignments to Providence after training camp was 27 year old Nick Johnson, who has picked up where he left off in Boston, tallying 3 goals and an assist in their four contests so far.  No one else on the team was born before 1985.

Most of the team is 23 years old or younger and will have to learn to adjust to the AHL’s weekend heavy series of games and what to do on their own, during the week when meetings and practices conclude.  It’s an adjustment for anyone in that age group, but to play a professional game with men takes some getting used to.

The Boston Bruins philosophy of how to play the game filters through all their levels of play in the minor leagues.  Many times during the season a player from Providence seemingly fits seamlessly into the Boston line-up while filling in for an injury or as a reward for solid two-way play in Providence. 

The biggest job asked of the Providence Bruins is to develop players for the big club in Boston and hopefully win along the way.  Last year that happened in big fashion.  Providence finished with a flurry and got to the Conference Semi-finals against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins where they took a 3-0 lead in their best of seven series.  However, after Game 2, both defensemen, Matt Bartkowski and Torey Krug, were now summoned to Boston for their playoff run.  Leaving Providence with no blue line scoring and facing a hot goalie, the P-Bruins caved and eventually lost in seven games to the Pens.  The team lost and it was heartbreaking but the big picture showed Providence coaches and staff getting it done in preparing the players for Boston. Bartkowski and Krug are both integral parts of the Boston defensive corps today.

Ryan Spooner, due to his position at center was a tough cut for the Boston club.  He played well enough on offense but needs to work better along the wall and be stronger on his stick.  Battling for a job with Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Chris Kelly and Greg Campbell was a no win situation for Spooner.  His future is bright because he is such a great skater.  Forwards, Nick Johnson, Matt Lindblad, and Craig Cunningham battled to the end of Boston’s camp and should excel in Providence.

On the defensive side, Zach Trotman, Tommy Cross, Joe Morrow, Kevan Miller, Chris Casto, Mike Moore, and David Warsofsky anchor a strong defense.  Warsofsky was expected to improve to the point that he would get the recall to Boston last year but he watched Krug skate past him into the Boston line-up.  Mike Moore, a Princeton graduate, is the veteran as mentioned earlier, who is a solid d-man and unafraid to drop the gloves when needed.  Miller was essentially the 8th defenseman in Boston’s camp and plays a style like Adam McQuaid.  He played over 60 games last year for Providence and along with the other Providence defensemen has good size and understands the Bruins systems.

Jared Knight was injured most of last year but is in great shape this season and it shows already.  Knight, a left wing, has already scored two goals and is playing a solid game thus far.  Younger players like Russian Alexander Khokhlachev, rookies Seth Griffith, Alexander Fallstrom, Anthony Camara, and Justin Florek are expected to improve on last year or gain knowledge this year to give them a chance down the road to see NHL action.

Carter Camper, Rob Flick, Matt Fraser and enforcers Bobby Robins and Tyler Randell round out a very young club in Providence which is ultimately backed up by two stalwart goaltenders in Niklas Svedberg and rookie Malcolm Subban.  Thus far Svedberg has played in three of the four games and playing time as always in Providence is based on how the week goes in regards to practice, preparation, and attitude.

Scoring looks like it should be balanced among several lines; the defense appears to be pretty solid but lacks the offensive creativity Bartkowski and Krug provided.  Warsofsky and others need to step up their games in that regard.  Toughness is covered by Moore, Randell, Flick, and Robins.  The Providence Bruins are capable of playing several styles of hockey but they all involve a work ethic and a philosophy developed by the Boston brass and carried out by Head Coach Bruce Cassidy and Asst. Coach Kevin Dean.

Make no mistake; these young guys have much to learn about professional hockey and playing against grown men but the blueprint is written.  Keep learning, take direction, and follow instructions and you’ll get a chance like Krug and all those before him, who got to wear the spoked “B”.