Boston Bruins

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - OCTOBER 06: Charlie Coyle #13 of the Boston Bruins celebrates with Craig Smith #12 after scoring a goal against the Washington Capitals during the first period of the preseason game at TD Garden on October 06, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

PSA for fans of the Boston Bruins, and for that matter, the Washington Capitals: Thursday night’s game between the B’s and Caps won’t be on regular TV. So no NESN, ESPN, or TNT.

Instead, the game is streaming exclusively on ESPN+ and Hulu. So at the very least, you’ll need an internet connection. Hard to believe there are many Bruins fans out there (people, really) who only have cable TV and no internet, but finding the Bruins-Capitals game will require a couple of extra steps for those who aren’t prepared.

You’ll need to sign up to ESPN+ and/or Hulu in order to access the game, but wouldn’t have to pay for it, since both services offer a 30-day free trial. If you’re OK just paying up, your best deal would be the “Disney Bundle,” which gets you Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu for $12.99 a month.

ESPN+ costs $6.99 a month on its own, which in my opinion makes it a worthwhile investment for die-hard hockey fans. You can stream dozens of out-of-market games every week. On Thursday alone, when the Bruins and Capitals aren’t on, you can use the streaming service to watch Golden Knights-Canadiens, Panthers-Oilers, Predators-Jets, and Sharks-Kraken. (This is NOT an advertisement!)

The broadcast Thursday night will be an ESPN production, with Bob Wischusen on play-by-play, Brian Boucher on color commentary, and A.J. Mleczko reporting from rinkside.

  • Nick Foligno back in the lineup

    Oct 6, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Washington Capitals left wing Carl Hagelin (62) falls on Boston Bruins left wing Nick Foligno (17) during the second period at the TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

    Oct 6, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Washington Capitals left wing Carl Hagelin (62) falls on Boston Bruins left wing Nick Foligno (17) during the second period at the TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

    Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy told reporters on Thursday that forward Nick Foligno is likely to return to the lineup against the Capitals. That left Cassidy with a decision on who to take out, and he landed on 23-year-old winger Oskar Steen.

    Cassidy clarified that it’s not necessarily a disciplinary type of move to make Steen a healthy scratch. He wants the young forward to observe a game as something of a learning experience.

    “Just as I said, watch the game from up there and take a breather and our intention is to get you back in there,” Cassidy said, as he described his conversation with Steen. “I can’t guarantee that’ll be [the next game] Saturday, because that depends on today’s game, but it’s not like we’re disappointed in your play. It’s dropped a little bit of late, but not to the point where we don’t think he can help us win. It’s just we have 13 healthy forwards, someone has to sit, and it’s your turn tonight. Make sure you bring your work ethic in Friday’s practice, be ready to go Saturday if your name’s up on the board.”

    Ty Anderson of 985TheSportsHub.com talked about this exact decision in the newest episode of the Sports Hub Underground podcast. He hoped that Steen would get a chance to stick in the lineup even when Foligno returned, and that Jake DeBrusk should be a candidate for a healthy scratch.

  • Vaakanaien building confidence

    Jan 10, 2022; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Urho Vaakanainen (58) advances the puck as Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov (92) chases during the first period at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

    Jan 10, 2022; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Urho Vaakanainen (58) advances the puck as Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov (92) chases during the first period at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

    For a former mid-first-round pick, Urho Vaakanainen doesn’t get talked about nearly enough. The defenseman is now 23 years old and has struggled to crack the lineup, even as the Bruins have dealt with injuries and depth problems on the blue line throughout his young career.

    It’s normal for defensemen to take more time to develop their game and be ready for the NHL level, and that’s especially true for a defensive-minded player. But Vaakanainen’s inability to get an opportunity has been concerning, especially in the last two years.

    He had an ugly giveaway that led to the Hurricanes’ fourth goal on Tuesday night It was perhaps a small example of why he hasn’t been ready to take on a regular role at the NHL level. But prior to Tuesday, Vaakanainen had notched four assists in five games while averaging 19:26 of ice time. He appeared to score his first NHL goal against the Canadiens, but a scoring change gave him an assist to Curtis Lazar on a deflection.

    Vaakanainen told reporters on Thursday that his confidence is growing after playing well in the AHL and aiming to translate that success to Boston.

    “I’ve been playing good hockey all year, building confidence in Providence and just been doing that same thing up here,” Vaakanainen said. “When you play good, you build some confidence … it’s been pretty good.”

    Bruins GM Don Sweeney has had plenty of draft misses to point to in his seven seasons at the helm, but there’s still hope that Vaakanainen won’t be one of them. For a Bruins team that has struggled to find impact players in the draft, if Vaakanainen can simply become a viable NHL defenseman, that would be most welcome.

  • Sports Hub Underground Podcast

    Ty Anderson and I talked a lot of hockey this week on the Sports Hub Underground, as we do every week. Check out the latest episode above.