Has the dust settled on the Bruins roster for next season?

According to Peter Charelli and Cam Neely the answer is yes. So everyone can stop pushing the rumor of Chris Kelly and Brad Marchand making the next move. Not happening.

The team has faced major changes in the last month. Starting with letting go of Bruins defender Andrew Ference. Number 21 was told that we didn’t have the money to fund his stay in Boston, and with the talent we found in Krug and Bartkowski it was decided to let him go. I think the Bruins lost out on a huge part of their locker room. Ference is the one behind the Rangers jacket this post season, and the lock and chain last post season, and the 80′s jacket during the Stanley Cup winning run in 2011. Ference is also a big face in the Boston community, and a huge advocate for going green. Ference has signed with the Edmonton Oilers, his hometown team for four years. Fear not, the former Bruin would like to return to Boston after his playing career.

The first of many shocking moves came when Nathan Horton told the Bruins he wasn’t interested in returning next year and wanted to explore the market. Evidently this worked out for him, he signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets for a 7 years and $37.1 million contract.

On Thursday July fourth, it wasn’t fireworks you were hearing, but the millions of Seguinista hearts breaking as Seguin was traded with Rich Peverley to the Dallas Stars. Seguin had a nearly invisible post season, after a mediocre half season, and Charelli thought it was time to give up on Seguin’s shiny potential. Seguin was playing scared, letting go of pucks that he should have battled down the boards for and was too afraid of getting hit to really commit to the Bruins style of play. The Western Conference is known for playing more finesse hockey, so if Seguin was going to shine, here is his opportunity to play his game. It worked out well for Michael Ryder, who went to the Stars in 2011 and doubled the number of goals he had the previous season with Boston. (Ryder was also a free agent this summer, and Boston had interest but the winger signed with the NJD)

Tuukka Rask inked an 8-year contract extension with the Bruins, valued at $56 million. Rask has been with the Bruins since he was drafted in 2007 and admitted that he would like to be a Bruin “forever”. His save percentage for this season and last season were both 0.929, this season he played in 36 games with a goals against average of 2, and in 2011-2012 he played 36 games with a goals against average of 2.05.

Patrice Bergeron also signed an extension as well, eight years for $52 million. He would love to spend his entire career in Boston, and when he spoke to the media on the 2nd he said,

“That’s the goal since the beginning. It’s the team that believed in me when I was 18 and I was coming up. Now, it’s my home. I feel like it is. I love the city. I love the people. I definitely love the organization. It would mean a lot to me. Hopefully we can work something out” (Boston Globe).

As far as adding to the team, Charelli acquired Loui Erikkson along with three prospects from Dallas. The prospects are Reilly Smith, Matt Fraser, and Joe Morrow, two right wingers and a defender. Charelli noted that “It’s been well-documented, we’ve got to rebuild our right side so [Eriksson]‘s the first piece. We are going to have a couple younger guys challenging him. We may go out and get another guy, too” (ESPN.com)

And get another guy they did. Jerome Iginla will be putting on a spoked B’s jersey next season. For anyone who could forget, Iginla was all set to come to Boston this season, but instead at the last second he opted for the Pittsburgh Penguins. A factor that may have fueled the Bruins in their sweep of the Penguins in their run for the cup this year.

It is going to be exciting to see the Bruins experiment with three new altered lines, the Merlot line being the only one still standing. Along with the decision the team faces when it comes to defense with the valiant efforts of Krug and Bartkowski in the playoffs, and with Dougie Hamilton also available.

Lets Go B’s!

-Kaylin

The Series is TIED! Yippeeee Paille!

The Bruins are bringing the series back to Boston all tied up! These two games could have easily put either team up two, as both had to be determined in overtime. However, some things to point out…

In game one, the two Blackhawks goals that it took to tie up the game in the third were not anything to be super proud of. The first one from an ugly turnover by Mr. Torey Krug, and the tying goal bouncing off of Andrew Ference’s left skate. I’m not saying that the Blackhawks were handed the two goals, I’m just saying they had a little help.

I can give Andrew Shaw credit for his overtime goal, it was a nice goal. Granted the Bruins were playing down two forwards, Horton with his injury, and Thornton because Claude sees him as more of a liability. When really, Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley are just as big liabilities, if not more, the former was on the ice for three of the Chicago goals in game one, and Peverley has been invisible all season with only one goal in the playoffs.

Fortunately Kelly turned his game around for game two. The line of Kelly centering Paille and Seguin did WORK in game two. Just like in game three against the Rangers when the fourth line came out and won it for us, the Bruins are proving once again that all of their lines are dangerous. Common denominator being one Daniel Paille (Go Merlot!).

Now, to be clear I’m not whining about Chicago winning game one. The Bruins let go of their lead in the third like they had done a handful of times during the regular season. I am just pointing out that the Bruins could be up 2-0, and why I think so.

I mean Kaspars Daugaviņš could have just PUT THE PUCK IN THE NET instead of trying to be fancy and the Bruins could have taken game one in OT too. It was only game one, just unfortunate that Chicago won.

Looking at this from the other side, they could be up 2-0 as well. Every miss the Bruins made in their impressive game two OT could have easily lead to a Chicago goal.

This series is going to be tight, and exhausting if they keep this overtime pattern strong. Marc Savard picked the Bruins to win in six. While he was almost psychic with his predictions last season, he’s been a little off his guessing game this year. I picked the Bruins in five, so fingers crossed!

On another note, the pronunciations of the Bruins’ names by the NBC announcers is driving me nuts. For anyone who doesn’t know how they are pronounced, here is a funny video to help. Since it is the finals you would think they could learn 38 names. Especially the big names. Chair-a? Say-gan? No.

I think the Bruins will win the next two games. If they just play the whole 60minutes instead of giving up early (game one) and showing up late (game two). Actually make it 60+ minutes with all this OT stress. Come on boys you can bring it home again!

Go B’s!
-Kaylin

STANLEY CUP FINALS TONIGHT! Do you know who to look out for?

The Boston Bruins SWEPT the Pittsburgh Penguins. I can say this to myself a million times a day and not get sick of it. If anyone actually had the Bruins in four, I’d like to firmly shake your hand. Bravo you.
The Bruins put every ounce of themselves into that series. They got under the Penguins skin in game one, and didn’t let up. There wasn’t an inch of the ice the Penguins could take before running into Bruins defense. Or even offense, the boys were everywhere.

The final four minutes of that game killed me. I had my hat twisted into a knot with an overwhelming sense of hope, dread, and anxiety washing over me. It was almost worse than game seven against the Leafs waiting for that tying goal.
However those games are behind us now as the Bruins move on to face the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Finals!!! Raaaaah!

How exhilarating. Second go at the Cup in three years. Fun fact, want to know a pattern? The Bruins won the Cup in 1939 and 1941, and then later in 1970&1972, and if the pattern holds up we’re looking at a pretty fun coincidence.

Another fun fact, when the Pittsburgh Penguins won the Cup in 1992, they went through the New York Rangers (whom they beat in 6) and they swept the Bruins, and went on to sweep the Chicago Blackhawks for the cup. Guess who was on the team? JAGR!

HMMMM.

In any case the Bruins seemed to have hit their stride. Tuukka Rask is proving how phenomenal he is between the pipes, having shut down Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin completely and only allowing two goals in the four games.

Why were the Bruins so successful? David Krejci shed some light,

The Boston Bruins pride themselves on their camaraderie. They work together as a unit, with all four lines rolling and crazy depth. Their depth was highlighted with the call-ups of Torey Krug, Matt Bartkowski, and Kaspars Daugaviņš. The loss of Gregory Campbell had the potential to open up a gaping hole in the Bruins offense, particularly on their special teams, where Soupy and Daniel Paille are commonly seen fighting off penalties. However Daugaviņš was able to slide onto our third line, and I recall he had a wicked chance in the third to score.

I guess I should spend a little time talking about game one. Obviously the duo to look out for are Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. However just as dangerous is Marian Hossa. These three players lead their team in points during the regular season, and the playoffs are no different. They are all tied at 14 points. Duncan Keith is their leading D with the most assists (in regular season and playoffs), and someone to keep an eye out for when he is on the ice.

Another reason why Hossa is dangerous? He claims to know the secret to breaking Chara.

“I try to joke with him because he likes to be serious all the time on the ice,” the Hawks forward said. “I know he doesn’t like to talk on the ice. I try to throw some funny stories on the faceoff, make him laugh a little bit.”
Hossa knows these tricks not only because he was Chara’s teammate with the Senators [but] because their apartment buildings in the Czech Republic are across the street from one another.The Chicago Tribune.

It all starts tonight! Where will you be?

GOOOOO B’s!
-Kaylin

One Down, Three to Go. Eastern Conference Finals.

What just happened? The Bruins not only beat the Penguins in game one, but they shut out the Pens in game one. The anticipation for game one was getting on everyone’s nerves, or maybe that was just me. Everyone would proudly boast that the Bruins were going to win, but there was a nagging doubt.

Michael Felger expressed it in a way I can identify with. He said the his heart was pulling for the Bruins, but his head was logically figuring the Penguins would take it.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I totally understand that this is only game one. Anything can happen in the next three/four/five/six games. But again, what the heck did we just watch?

The Penguins came out trying to play a mockery of what “Bruins hockey” is, and it backfired. If they had focused on playing to their offensive scoring strengths, we may have been looking at a different outcome tonight. However, they decided to try and put on this tough guy front and beat us at our own game. I don’t know why they thought Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin were the guys for the job, the first trying to push our goaltender around and the next picking a fight with Bergeron? I’m still confused. It could be because Matt Cooke was thrown from the game.

Now I could go on a tangent about how Matt Cooke plays dirty and how much I hate him, but then Marchand went and made the same hit minutes later. Marchand was arguing that he “pushed” his player as opposed to Cooke who slammed into McQuaid. It doesn’t matter. The point is, hits from behind aren’t safe. Cooke should have expected to get thrown with his past history. Marchand could have received a similar five minute penalty, or what have you, because he just watched Cooke get thrown, he should have known better.

Also there is going to be no extra punishment on Cooke. Bummer, I really would like to see him thrown from this series before he takes a run at another guy who wasn’t as lucky as Adam tonight.

On a more positive note, can we just talk about what a ROCKSTAR Tuukka Rask was tonight? I mean there were some that were pure luck that didn’t go in (Chara’s horrible turn over being one), and the million posts Malkin hit tonight. Thirty saves tonight for Tuukka, and the one that stands out is when he jumped at Crosby, and made the initial save, and then made the save on the rebound. He came up big on so many levels tonight. The highlight reel of tonight’s game has GOT to include a number of his saves tonight. He had a crazy glove save too. I cant get over it.

Crosby must have awoken a a fire in Rask tonight. That shit Krej.

Speaking of David Krejci, he reminded all of his haters why we keep him around. Two goals tonight (the third from Nathan Horton), and his team recognized his efforts when Tuukka awarded him the Rangers player of the game jacket. When asked post game how he was able to keep such a level head and not get panicky during the games he responded “I don’t know… That’s just how I play.”

He was also compared to Crosby, which he declined. He went on to defend himself by saying that Crosby and Malkin “are the best players in the world. We don’t have guys like that. We have a team. We play as a team.”

A few other things I wanted to touch on before I wrap this up. The first thing has to be Shawn Thornton winning a face off against Crosby. I laughed. Granted, during the game they showned that Crosby had only won like a handful out of 14. The fourth line facing off against Crosby was amusing enough, but they held their own.

Also Torey Krug standing up for McQuaid was just the best. After Cooke’s hit on McQuaid, Krug gave Cooke the first shove before Kelly came in and roughed him up. D-pairs for life! Krug may be 5’9 but he’s built like a truck and will stand up for his teammates, something that is always a welcome sight on the Bruins bench.

Andrew Ference was back tonight. He managed to even rally up an assist on the first goal. This isn’t good news for Matt Bartkowski who was looking forward to playing his hometown team, but it is good for Ference. Claude might throw him a bone depending on how the series progresses as Bart has proven he can pull his own weight.

However Krug’s offense and speed are more in demand. The power play looked much different with Krug flying up from our end with the puck as opposed to Chara taking his sweet time to move with the puck. AND KRUG’S AWESOME SIDE STEP. OH MAN. Greatest. He has a finesse and patience with the puck that is just beautiful.

Side note, for those of you who don’t know. Tomas Vokoun is actual the backup goalie for the Penguins. Marc-Andre Fleury was pulled last round for being awful. Needless to say the goal tending is definitely their Achilles’ heel, and the Bruins need to SHOOT to get goals.

As long as the Bruins keep their heads on their shoulders, realize that this series is going to be a tough, apparently physical, battle, and play the full 60 minutes like I believe they did tonight, they can beat the Penguins.

We’ll see what Monday brings.

Go B’s!

-Kaylin

One Week will Tell

This time next week the Bruins will be getting ready for game four against the Penguins. This week, however, the boys are still prepping for game one, set to take place Saturday night at 8 o’clock in the home of the Eastern Conference leading Penguins.

Everyone is giving long winded lectures rooting for either side of this matchup. I found myself stressing about this matchup more than the others, for the fact that the Bruins haven’t won against the Penguins yet this season. However as I listened to the broadcasts and pried into the three games we’ve had against PITT this season I’m a little more optimistic.

A recap for those of you who need one:

Tuesday March 12, 2013, Bruins lost 2-3 at PITT. Zdeno Chara and Tyler Seguin scored the two goals for us. Chara’s was on the PP. The Penguins came back with six minutes left.

Sunday March 17, 2013 Bruins lost 1-2 at PITT. Tyler Seguin had the only goal for Boston. The Penguins were without their star defenseman Letang, and the B’s even outshot the Pens 32-18 but couldn’t capitalize.

Saturday April 20, 2013 at Boston the Bruins lost 3-2. Brad Marchand and Seguin had the two goals for the Bruins. The Bruins came out fighting, literally with Adam McQuaid and Tanner Glass dropping the gloves after 8minutes. Both teams had 30+hits, and the Bruins outshot the Pens 40-24.

What these games have said to me, is REUNITE SEGUIN, MARCHAND, AND PATRICE BERGERON. Please. We need speed. Look at Marchand’s goal in the third game, he tore through the Penguins players and shot it up over the shoulder of the goalie. Speed is key, hell the assists went to Rask and Chara, and it wasn’t even a breakaway. That line had made four of five goals? At least play them together once, humor me, Julien.

Second, we need to keep throwing pucks on net. The weakness for the Pens is their goaltending. We have scored against the Penguins, it took a large number of shots, but it has happened. We need to keep throwing the puck at the net, and I think our defense will be key, as long as Krug and Boychuk keep shooting to score. Marchand and Bergeron are going to come up big if they can produce more of their dynamic duo goals, I think Seguin could help there.

Finishing our checks is another big one. Lucic came up with huge hits in game five, he is a big guy, and he needs to finish his checks. If he starts strong, hitting hard in the first game or two, his intimidation factor alone can help open the ice for him later. Krug and Bartkowski are checking better than the rest of the Bruins (except maybe Chara), and they have been able to come up huge.

Speaking about Matt Bartkowski, he grew up a Pittsburgh Penguins fan. He had pictures of Jagr on his wall growing up, and now he is playing with Jags against his hometown team. As long as Bart can keep his head on his shoulders, he should be a contributing factor.

People can argue that this rivalry isn’t really a rivalry. I am going to disagree. Back when the Penguins crushed the Bruins on their way to the Cup in 1991 and 1992, that still rings bells for long-term fans. I mean my personal grudge is still on Matt Cooke for destroying Marc Savard. Also this drama with Jarome Iginla picking the Penguins over the Bruins should have added fuel to the Bruins drive to beat the Pens. I know I would love to see the Pens lose to the Bruins just so I can laugh at Iginla. Bartkowski should come up huge just because he could have gone to Calgary for Iginla, and now he can help prove that the Bruins didn’t miss out with Iginla.

I think the Bruins are going to put up a huge fight, this is going to go to game six or seven. The Bruins need to play the full 60 minutes. We can’t have a repeat of game four against the Rangers, no sluggish play behind the net (Chara) we need to fight every minute of this series.

That’s my take. A week waiting for this game has my nerves stretched to their limits. It all starts tomorrow, we’ll see if the Bruins can turn over a new leaf in the playoffs against the Pens. The Bruins have been this far before, they need to focus and remember the amount of effort they need to bring every night.

Go B’s!

-Kaylin

Rangers Fourth Line Revived With Whale Help

Back to the Garden for game five! Why not win it on home ice boys?

That would be nice, especially after the downfall of the Providence Bruins. They lost during game seven after being up 3-0 going into game four. The good news for the Boston Bruins is that we have the PBruins best defense, Torey Krug and Matt Bartkowski.

Krug of course who managed to net a goal.

Game three was all about Merlot. They walked all over Brad Richards, and the Rangers’ fourth line showed weak attempts to fight against the likes of Paille, Campbell, and Thornton. That all changed in game four with the addition of forwards Micheal Haley, and Kris Newbury. These AHL players had something to prove, and much like the outstanding work of Krug and Bartkowski they weren’t going to let the Rangers down.

So, I suppose spending fall semester tracking the Connecticut Whale paid off. With the Rangers calling up from their farm team for game four I found myself prepared and excited to see these players getting post-season opportunities. I’m not surprised that they helped the Blueshirts on Thursday night, as the two played big roles during the Whale’s season.

Haley was perfect to pull up to the lacking fourth line. This enforcer was new to the Whale this season; his five previous seasons were spent fighting on the Islanders. Haley racked up 170 penalty minutes, ten goals, and thirteen assists in 69 games with the Whale.

Game four wasn’t his first time up with the Rangers as Haley was called up in the beginning of March where he played nine regular season games. Torts must have liked what Haley had to offer, for when the Whale missed out on a post season, Haley was quickly added to the Rangers’ roster and made the journey to Washington with the team.

Toward the end of the Whale’s season, Haley found himself on the scoring line. Paired with center Kelsey Tessier and Christian Thomas, this line was affectionately dubbed the “Smurf” line as Haley stood the tallest at 5’10. In their first weekend together the line managed five of 11 goals against the St John’s IceCaps. Haley is able to hold his own in a fight, and plays smart with the puck. Just what the Rangers needed to counter the Bruins fourth line.

“You could put me against anybody and I’m going to do the same things… I’ve got one train of thought… Hittin’ and bangin’ and skatin’ hard.” Reported Haley when questioned about facing the Washington Capitals, guess not much changed when it came to facing the Bruins.

As for the AHL vet Kris Newbury, he made an appearance in the Rangers game one against the Washington Capitals this post-season. I really mean appearance, with only five minutes of ice time. This season with the Whale, Newbury scored 20 goals, had 42 assists and 127 penalty minutes in 70 games. Newbury was second on the Whale with goals, Brandon Segal holding first. Newbury was traded to the NYR organization in 2010 and has seen a handful of regular season games with the Rangers.

They also played Roman Hamrlik in place if the injured Stralman. Hamrlik was acquired from the Washington Capitals this season, and if his name sounds familiar it is because he played in all seven games against the Bruins last year in the playoffs. This was his first game back after playing for only 4minutes back on April first, 2013. He only played sixteen games this half-season and had only an assist and eight penalty minutes.

The Rangers played their best game of the series Thursday night. The Bruins need to get refocused, and play the full 60minutes during game five. The second Rangers goal was painful to watch, with Chara lollygagging behind the net. Sure Rask could have been ready for it, but I’m finding it hard to blame Rask who put faith in his Captain to get the puck out of their zone.

Anyway I guess I really just wanted an excuse to write about Micheal Haley.

Fingers crossed for game five!

GO B’S!

-Kaylin

Home on the Golf Range, Rangers?

Game three is in the bag! The Merlot line steps up and delivers in this tight game.

hadmeatmerlot

Me at Game 1 May 16th, 2013

The Rangers have struggled so far in this series. Their star center Brad Richards only played 8:10 of ice time tonight and his first (possibly only) shift during the third period was host to Johnny Boychuk’s goal. Speaking of Boychuk’s goal, it looked to me like he had help from Shawn Thornton, but as player 22 said post game, “As long as it’s in, that’s all that matters”. Our fourth line once again is proving to be an asset as they came up big, out playing the Ranger’s fourth line. Following game two, Gregory Campbell spoke of this line:

Three minutes into the third period of tonight’s game and Thornton and Campbell’s screening in front of Henrik Lundqvist helped the Bruins get on the scoreboard. Then with four minutes remaining in the third, the Fourth Line/Energy Line/Merlot line took the ice again to success. It wasn’t without a fight as the puck was determined to not go in the net, jumping high into the air over Lundqvist, and then hitting the backspin just right to bounce AWAY from instead of toward the goal line. Thornton thought it was in, raising his arms in victory but Daniel Paille saw the puck’s revolt. Determined, Paille swung around behind the net and whipped his stick in front to knock the stubborn puck behind the redline.

This 2-1 lead is the first time the Ranger’s have lost this season at home when leading going into the third, their record now 18-1. Lundqvist played his best game of the series tonight, shutting down breakaway chances from Chris Kelly and Tyler Seguin in the first period alone. Let alone the number of really good chances the Bruins had.

A big problem in this game was with the officiating. I’m not going to spend too much time here, but there were multiple high sticks, including an especially bloody one on Zdeno Chara that went uncalled. Marchand was at the butt end of some Dorsett taunting, but 63 kept his composure, and Thornton jumped out instead to drop gloves. krugtweetsHowever Dorsett backed down, which is not uncommon when put up against Thornton.

Torey Krug was playing with confidence tonight. He led the Bruins with four shots on net going into the third. The next was Bergeron with three; then Soupy, Looch, and Segs with two. I would have loved to see him net his third goal in just as many playoff games. Guess he’ll have to start a new streak come Thursday night. Brian Boyle was going after Dougie Hamilton and Krug, trying to intimidate the young guys early, but both baby Bruins had no problem throwing their own weight around. You’re going to have to come up with something better for game four Rangers.

Speaking of game four, I wouldn’t get your brooms out just yet. The Bruins need to continue to keep the pressure on the Rangers. Johnny Boychuk spoke to the media post game and let it be known they weren’t going to take it lightly. “That fourth game is going to be the toughest one. Out of any team in the NHL, we should probably know that the best”. According to Claude Julien the atmosphere in the locker room is a lot tighter, hopefully they are in a playoff mindset, and out of their Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde phase.

I guess we’ll find out Thursday night. The Rangers are going to be fighting with a desperation to stay in this series, it is the Bruins’ job to not get cocky, to play their own game and win it.

I know I’m excited! & Not just because I graduated this weekend.

Graduation picture

Go Bruins!

-Kaylin