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Possibility that the Bruins would stand pat? NESN’s Andy Brickley was having none of it

After recent left hip replacement surgery, Bruins NESN color analyst Andy Brickley gets around with help from a cane fashioned to resemble a hockey stick.Kevin Paul Dupont

One of the questions floating around this past week, before the Bruins bolstered an NHL-best roster with a big trade, was: Do they even need to make a move? Maybe they should keep the chemistry as is and stand pat.

Andy Brickley wasn’t entertaining the notion.

“Could you do it and still feel good about going into the postseason? Yes,” the longtime NESN color commentator said, the night before his former Bruins teammate, general manager Don Sweeney, traded for Dmitry Orlov and Garnet Hathaway. “But I don’t think that’s the best-case scenario.”

Brickley was looking at improvements on the back end, even though the unit was rolling confidently under coach Jim Montgomery.


“Even though it’s more risk-reward, everybody’s bought in,” Brickley said. “You’ve got great growth in [Matt Grzelcyk], [Brandon Carlo], [Connor Clifton], even [Derek Forbort]. Then you’ve got the other two studs [Charlie McAvoy and Hampus Lindholm]. As much as I think [Jakob] Zboril could be a legitimate top-six defenseman in this league, he’s not there. He’s not there. And he’s only played [15] games. He’s not ready for the NHL postseason. If you go into the postseason with your top six, the minute one of those guys go down, who’s the next guy up?”

Problem solved. The Bruins have some six weeks to figure out chemistry with their lines and defense pairs. Brickley will be there watching, because why would he miss this?

After having his left hip replaced Feb. 2, he didn’t miss a game. The Bruins tipped their caps to the former 11-year NHL veteran when he boarded the plane for a Feb. 14 game in Dallas. Most of them used the All-Star break to escape to the beach. Brickley, who had his left knee replaced four years ago and still needs a new right knee, saw a window to fix his hip.


“They didn’t want me to travel for a month, which I told them was unacceptable,” said the 61-year-old, who was raised in Melrose and resides in Hingham. “I wasn’t going to miss any games. I made a strong argument about my travel relative to most other people is different. I’m not schlepping through terminals, carrying a bag, going through TSA, sitting in the middle seat on Spirit Airlines.

“My travel is a lot different, and not only that, I’m traveling with professional medical people that are willing to help me. They bit on that. They said, ‘OK, listen to your body.’ But they thought it was awfully aggressive. My choice.

“Hey, national [TV] takes 13 of our games. I’m not missing any more. I like working. Especially this year, with this group.”

Andy Brickley (right) has been looking down from the TD Garden rafters calling games with Jack Edwards for over a decade.Stan Grossfeld/ Globe Staff/The Boston Globe

With a special cane, Brickley was strolling the hilly Seattle downtown on Thursday. “Bit off a little more than I could chew,” he said, horizontal in his Four Seasons hotel room while talking on the phone. The cane is the shaft of a Bauer Supreme 2S (he likes how “2S” looks like 25, his number in Boston), outfitted with a rubber stopper and a wooden handle. It was a Christmas gift from his daughters — approved by his doctors as a medical device — in advance of his procedure.

A composite stick? What in the name of Koho is going on here? No, it’s not the ash-and-fiberglass Sherwood that Brickley might have used in his Bruins days (1988-92), but he uses a composite shaft (with a wood blade) while playing with the Black and Gold alumni squad. Plus, it is a conversation piece.


“I get the comments first: ‘You look good, you’re moving good, you’re walking better than before the surgery,’ which is nice to hear,” Brickley said. “But they immediately want to take a look at the cane.”

Talk then typically turns to the Black and Gold. Orlov gives the Bruins a top-four, left-side defenseman who plays in any situation. Hathaway, a Kennebunkport, Maine, and Brown product, adds some size and snarl to the bottom six forwards. Montgomery has the luxury of resting players who might be banged up, and using the newcomers in multiple formations down the stretch.

Consider: Orlov and Hathaway were on the ice in crunch time three Saturdays ago, as the Capitals sealed a 2-1 win at TD Garden. Orlov (assist) blocked a shot in the final seconds. Hathaway (goal) bumped Brad Marchand after the buzzer.

The night before the trade, Brickley was thinking about the Bruins adding that kind of clutch play and versatility.

And an even bigger move to come.

“You want to go back to ‘11, [Chris] Kelly was great, [Tomas] Kaberle was good — he wasn’t what we anticipated, but he was still part of a winning culture, a winning team,” Brickley said. “But Rich Peverley was big. He could slide up in the order and be impactful and productive when Nathan Horton went out, or whatever the scenario would be. I see that kind of move.


“I don’t see a move for the future. I don’t see a top-two centerman in a trade deadline deal. I’m more concerned about, just get [David] Pastrnak’s name on the contract first.”


Bruins tune out during warm-ups

The Bruins have some interesting tunes on their pre-game playlist.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

As the Bruins warm up before games at TD Garden, a 12-song playlist rattles the speakers. It is loaded with current hip-hop and throwback rap jams. Standard stuff, with one obvious outlier.

Song No. 8 on the mix, by the pop group Zapresic Boys, is a chorus of five deep, male Slavic voices, set to a soaring, arena-friendly rock beat. If it sounds like something that sprouted from the supporter section of a soccer stadium, that’s because it did.

Given that the song plays while the likes of David Pastrnak, David Krejci, and Pavel Zacha are stretching and shooting, people in the stands may assume it is Czech.

It is not.

“It’s a Croatian song Krecho loves,” said Pastrnak, whose musical tastes are energetic and eclectic.

The title, “Igraj Moja Hrvatska,” means “Play my Croatia.” It somehow became a locker room favorite of HC Olomouc, when Krejci was playing there last season, and it got his juices flowing so much he brought it to Boston.

Croatian and Czech, Pastrnak explained, are “very similar languages,” the nations separated by some eight hours in a car, with Austria in between.

“We don’t know all of the words, but half of the song is pretty much the same, it’s just different pronunciation,” Pastrnak said. “We understand what it means.”


His favorite part?

“The refrain, right?” Pastrnak said. “You sing the refrain because you know the words. It’s soccer fans singing about soccer and Croatia. One of the refrain says, ‘My heart is on fire.’ ”

Krejci claimed he didn’t know what it meant, nodding toward Pastrnak: “He knows all the languages.”

“Brusque” is a French word for “short of speech.” Jake DeBrusk is rarely that, on this topic especially.

“I was confused,” he said of his reaction to hearing the Slavic singalong. “But I’ve heard it before in the room. Sometimes we play it for Krech, or we’d be together as a group, he’d play it. Once I heard it, I was laughing and looking around — I can’t believe you got that in there.”

Asked to name his favorite warm-up song, DeBrusk had two.

When the Edmontonian left at 17 to play junior hockey in Saskatchewan, he returned home to play a game at old Rexall Place. They played Jay-Z’s “Public Service Announcement” as his Swift Current Broncos took the ice.

“It was, ‘Allow me to reintroduce myself … ’ when we were walking out, and I was back home for the first time,” DeBrusk said. “I was like, ‘Whoa, this is sick.’ It was an NHL rink too.”

No longer, of course. The arena also formerly known as Northlands Coliseum, where the Oilers celebrated Stanley Cup championships in the 1980s, will be demolished in 2025.

As for the Bruins’ warm-up mix, DeBrusk always vibes to Lil Uzi Vert’s “Just Wanna Rock.” DeBrusk and A.J. Greer liked that song, he said, after walking in New York City when the Bruins visited in November.

“We were walking by and they had one of the streets closed off because they were actually filming the music video,” DeBrusk said, excitedly. “It’s funny to hear the song because we didn’t know what song it was going to be, and now obviously it’s posted. The part of the video where they’re in the streets, we were lurking from the side trying to get in there.”


Taking a look at the numbers

The Bruins have been dominant with Patrice Bergeron on the ice.John Froschauer/Associated Press

▪ Entering the weekend, the Bruins were up, 33-11, at five on five with Patrice Bergeron on the ice. Teams were averaging 0.99 goals per hour against the captain. After he retires, will they have a three-year waiting period for renaming the Selke Trophy, or does it become The Bergeron that day?

▪ Five of the top six skaters in five-on-five goal differential (450-plus minutes played) were Bruins: 1. Bergeron, Boston, 75 percent (33-11); 1. Brad Marchand, Boston, 75 percent (33-11); 3. Tomas Tatar, New Jersey, 74.1 percent (46-16); 4. Matt Grzelcyk, Boston, 72.4 percent (50-19); 5. Nick Foligno, Boston, 71.1 percent (32-13); 6. Jake DeBrusk, Boston, 69.2 percent (27-12).

▪ As of Friday, the top five teams in the league standings (Boston, Carolina, New Jersey, Toronto, and Tampa Bay) were all from the Eastern Conference. The East was 232-133-49 against the West, a .620 points percentage. The West was underwater — 182-185-47 — against the East, a .496 points percentage.

Loose pucks

Connor McDavid scored his 800th point this past week, becoming the fifth-fastest to reach that milestone (545 games). Here’s the thing, though: The rest of the top five — Wayne Gretzky (352 games), Mario Lemieux (410), Mike Bossy (525), and Peter Stastny (531) — played in the era when stand-up goalies wore water-logged, leather-and-animal-hair pads. During their heyday, one season (1984-85) had as many as 16 players who scored 100 points in a season. In McDavid’s eight-year career, 22 players have scored 100 points, eight last season … The only player to score 100 points in McDavid’s rookie year (2015-16), Patrick Kane, remains productive for the basement Blackhawks (16-29–45 in 54 games). After the Rangers and Maple Leafs looked elsewhere, Kane’s agent, Pat Brisson, pushed back on the idea that the market had dried up for the 34-year-old, telling ESPN “plenty of contender clubs are interested.” Any contender would have to launder Kane’s $10.5 million cap hit through a third party … Keeping track of local milestones, entering the weekend: Marchand (369 goals, 477 assists, 846 points) could hit 400, 500, and 900 next season. With some luck, David Krejci (776 points) could hit 800 by the end of this season. Taylor Hall (692) is closing in on 700. If he stays red-hot, David Pastrnak (282 goals) could hit 300 by the end of the season … With the Penguins entering the weekend on a four-game skid and the Capitals losing six in a row and waving the white flag, this looks like it will be the first playoffs with no Sidney Crosby and no Alex Ovechkin since 2005-06 … Montreal’s 22-year-old standout, Kirby Dach, this past week produced a strange medical report. Dach missed three games with what the team called a non-COVID-related illness — then sat out a fourth on Friday because, according to the team, further testing revealed his symptoms were related to a lower-body injury … They’ve been getting along fine without him, but the Maple Leafs could have used Jake Muzzin. The rugged defenseman (neck), who appeared in four games this season, has been shut down … Playoff chances took a hit on Long Island, with Mathew Barzal out week to week, and in Nashville, with Ryan Johansen (leg) done for the season … Another measure of how hard it has been in Anaheim: Only one netminder in NHL history has faced more shots through his first 40 games than John Gibson (1,493). Jacques Plante (1,526 with the 1963-64 Rangers) stands atop a list that began when the league started tracking shots in 1955 … The wheels are bouncing off the road in St. Louis, where coach Craig Berube complained to reporters that his “best players don’t play with any passion, no emotion, and no inspiration at all. They don’t play inspired hockey. They’re getting paid lots of money and they’re not doing the job. End of story.” Yikes … Next year is the last season adidas will produce the NHL’s jerseys, the company last summer opting not to renew its contract that began in 2017-18. NHL equipment managers have regularly expressed dissatisfaction with the adidas product, noting that the jerseys tear more easily than the Reebok ones. Nike seems like a logical next-brand-up, but it’s unclear if the Swoosh has interest … The Canucks’ First Nations tribute warm-up sweater has a bird in the style of Vancouver’s old “Flying Skate” logo, and a jaw-dropping price: $750 Canadian, $556 US. A team spokesperson explained the exorbitant tag by saying all proceeds go to charity, the details are hand-sewn in Vancouver, and they’re making a limited amount … Arizona adding Shea Weber’s contract from Vegas puts him on the list of stars who appeared on the Coyotes’ books, but never on their ice. They already had the ghosts of Marian Hossa, Pavel Datsyuk, and Chris Pronger pass through the desert … Not sure if the Canadiens watch wrestling or not, but Montreal-born WWE fan favorite Sami Zayn has an entrance theme that would fit perfectly as their goal song. The right key, the right refrain, and Zayn loves the Habs … No team entering the weekend had lost more one-goal games than Calgary (22), which entered Friday a point out of the playoffs … Ex-Boston College winger Cam Atkinson will have a full summer of training after neck surgery seven weeks ago. His camp originally believed he could rehab the spine issue. It has kept Atkinson, who turns 34 in June, from suiting up for Philadelphia this season … Best wishes to Darien, Conn., native and BC product Spencer Knight, who entered the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program. Knight, 21, has yet to shine as a pro (.906 save percentage in 57 games) … Doubt that Tampa Bay would trade bottom-sixer Vladislav Namestnikov, but if it did so on deadline day, Namestnikov would tie an NHL record for most times traded on deadline day. The suitcase award goes to Alan May, who was traded on four deadlines (1988, 1989, 1994, and 1995) ... Another player traded three times on deadline day: Ottawa’s Derick Brassard, who is on his 10th organization, changing hands eight time in the last five seasons. The record for NHL teams played for is 12, held by Mike Sillinger ... The first trade deadline on record, 1980, saw arguably the most consequential NHL deadline deal ever: Butch Goring to the Islanders for Billy Harris and Dave Lewis. While the Kings did OK, the Islanders won the next four Stanley Cup titles with Goring as a key contributor. Also that year, the Kings added a big-name defenseman — Jerry “King Kong” Korab — for a first-round pick. The pick wound up being first overall in 1982, and Phil Housley built the foundation of his Hall of Fame career in Buffalo.

Matt Porter can be reached at matthew.porter@globe.com. Follow him @mattyports.