NHL: New Jersey Devils at Montreal Canadiens

New Boston Bruin Marcus Johansson, shown earlier this month.


The Bruins made a couple of deals, one days before and the other right at, the NHL trade deadline. They picked up a couple of useful parts, also adding veteran Lee Stempniak for added depth.

But nothing big.

And big names were traded.

Charlie Coyle. Nice player. Marcus Johansson, who was acquired on Monday. Nice player.

My buddy Steve Conroy of the Boston Herald said, “Bruins are better than they were yesterday. Is it enough? I certainly wouldn’t make them a favorite vs TBL. Toss-up v. Toronto.”


But sometimes, a key move at the deadline can tell the players still with the team that you think there’s a chance. Do these moves say that?

Here are the guys that were moved — NOT to Boston (goals-assists-points, through Sunday):

Mark Stone (to Vegas) — 28-34-62

Matt Duchene (Columbus) — 28-32-60

Gustav Nyquist (San Jose) — 16-33-49

Mikael Granlund (Nashville) — 15-34-49

Ryan Dzingel (Columbus) — 22-22-44

Kevin Hayes (Winnipeg) — 14-28-42 (51 games)

Mats Zuccarello (Dallas, where he broke his arm in his first game after a goal and an assist) — 12-27-39 (47 games)

Wayne Simmonds (Nashville) — 16-11-27

Derick Brassard (Colorado) — 10-9-19

The guys they got:

Coyle — 10-18-28; and Johansson — 12-15-27

Now, there are any number of reasons the Bruins weren’t able to pull the trigger on a deal for any of the above-mentioned players. One is that Stone signed a contract extension with the Golden Knights — at $9 million per year. The Bruins weren’t going to go there.

Another could be that the B’s just didn’t have much to offer. They traded Ryan Donato for Coyle and, naturally, Donato had an overtime winner and a couple of assists for the Wild. They swapped a couple of picks for Johansson.

Another factor: Does management think the Lightning are simply too far off in the distance to think a trip to the finals is a real thing? Tampa Bay looks VERY good.

Said GM Don Sweeney: “We’d been exploring things for a while at different levels. We were in on a bunch of things to explore where we’d have liked to improve our club for now and moving forward without necessarily handcuffing ourselves ... to keep long-term vision in place while trying to win.”

But so do the B’s, who return home for a six-game homestand with a quick rematch with the Sharks tonight. Boston’s seven-game winning streak came to an end in the shootout in St. Louis but the B’s ended their LONG trip at 4-0-1. They are 9-0-4 in their last 13.

As commentator Billy Jaffe said, “There’s no doubt that they are a deeper team” than they were. He noted they’re “a better team” and added, “the question is how good?”

The Bruins sent Peter Cehlarik and Karson Kuhlman to Providence on Monday.

Taking on water

Kyrie Irving says don’t sweat it. Marcus Smart doesn’t sound so sure.

The Celtics, coming off what has to be the worst loss in a strange season filled with bad losses (and good wins), visit Toronto tonight.

“I don’t get frustrated by this stuff any more,” said Irving, whose team lost Saturday night to a team it had beaten by 56 points the last time they played. “It’s just part of the regular season. In the playoffs, plan for a team, prepare for a team, I still don’t see anybody beating us in seven games.”


But Smart said, “Our toughness. Our will to fight. Our will to do everything. It’s like we ain’t got the will to do it anymore.”

Zach LaVine became the fourth player — all guards — to score 40 points in a game against Boston this season. He and Lauri Markkanen combined for 75 points. Robin Lopez killed them inside.

“We got outplayed in every which way,” said Brad Stevens, who did the coach-speak thing and put the blame on himself (Bill Belichick is forever saying, “We gotta coach better’). “Once they got rolling, there was no stopping them.”

It was ugly. But then again, we take you back to this: You’re probably thinking doom in Toronto but this team has shown all year it is capable of winning — or losing — any given game.

Standing pat

It seems like we have to keep talking about this, but the Red Sox continue to say that what you see is what you’re gonna get coming out of the bullpen in 2019.

“As far as signings are concerned, I would say we’re through at this point,” Dave Dombrowski said Monday. Asked about being comfortable with what he has, Dombrowski said, “I think so. Sure. I don’t think that has changed. We just have to continue to monitor and see what takes place. We haven’t even seen the guys perform yet in games. Nothing has really changed. We have felt that way before and continue to feel that way.”

This comes days after a report surfaced that Craig Kimbrel is willing to sit out the season if he doesn’t get the offer to make him sign. That idea, foolish at its very base, was quickly shot down, and it still seems logical that Kimbrel will wind up back with Atlanta.

Somehow, the righty’s struggles last postseason, which came at the end of a year that started with his baby fighting for her life, has defined a guy who has been as good as it gets through his career.

By the way, Kimbrel must sign by June for the Red Sox to maintain a compensation draft pick.

Welcome back Hanley Ramirez, who is giving it a shot with old manager Terry Francona and the Indians — at age 35.

The Indians need offense. Let’s see if Hanley, who will be paid a million bucks for the season, can still hit.

“Good for him,” said Alex Cora. “He went to winter ball and he played a little bit. He’s an everyday player. If he gets his at-bats he may be able to produce. He’s still young enough. In the situation we were in, the at-bats were going to be less and less and we weren’t going to maximize his talents.”

Remember, there was a $22 million option that would have been triggered had Ramirez played enough last year.

He was on pace to drive in 90 runs but was shown the door. Clearly, it didn’t hurt a team that went on to win the World Series.

From @redsoxnotes over the weekend: “Jackie Bradley Jr. homered in his first plate appearance of spring training. During the 2018 regular season, the Red Sox were 12-0 when Bradley homered.”

Carlos Pena made his NESN debut over the weekend. A bit nervous. A bit chatty. But knows what he’s talking about, at one point saying, “Sabermetrically speaking, you always want your best hitter batting second, maybe that’s not up your alley but it’s precisely why Betts is going to bat second.”

I like it.

Replacing Gronk?

We love our mock drafts, and the latest we’ve seen is from USA Today, which has the Pats taking tight end Noah Font from Iowa, with the words “In lieu of the outside threat New England needs, Fant can slide in as a dynamic pass catcher who can split out wide and eventually take over for Rob Gronkowski.”

Speaking of Gronk, he and his brothers were at the Carrier Dome Saturday night for the Syracuse-Duke game. The then-No. 1 Blue Devils won on a night that an emotional Jim Boeheim elected to coach after his car struck and killed a man walking on a highway.

Sporting a customized No. 4 Syracuse jersey, Gronk, who grew up in upstate New York, sat directly behind the Syracuse bench.

Tweeted Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel: “For those curious about Gronk at the Carrier Dome, his dad played football here. And he was a coveted Orange recruit from Buffalo area who chose Arizona.”


Kind words keep pouring in after the death of The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. The paper had colleagues and even Yankee manager Brian Cashman fill the space for Cafardo’s missing Sunday notes.

Monday, Steve Buckley, now of The Athletic, tweeted, “Since the late Nick Cafardo was all about celebrating birthdays, it’s an honor to wish a happy 45th to former Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell.”

Lowell answered with: “Thanks Steve. Appreciate the words and we all should find a way to honor Nick. A true professional always.”

Out in L.A. over the weekend, the Dodgers held a tribute to the great Frank Robinson, Hall of Fame writer Claire Smith tweeting, “Baseball royalty turned out today to celebrate a king: Frank Robinson. Hank Aaron, Joe Morgan, Brooks Robinson, Reggie Jackson, Ken Griffey Jr., Robin Yount, Joe Torre, & NBA icons Bill Russell, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul Jabber — HOFers all — gathered in loving salute to #20.”

Mike Shalin covers Boston pro sports for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. His email address is shalinmike@yahoo.com. Follow him on Twitter @mscotshay.