Because It’s the Cup.

Boston Bruins with Stanley Cup

Boston Bruins with Stanley Cup (Photo credit: slidingsideways)

The Boston Bruins start their playoff run tomorrow night at 7:00pm against the Toronto Maple Leafs. 

The Bruins’ Playoff run ended abrubtly last season. A heartbreaking loss in OT during game seven against the Washington Capitals in the Quarterfinals demolished the chance of a repeat 2011 Cup run. 

The Leafs haven’t seen the playoffs since before the 04/05 NHL Lockout and they haven’t won a championship since 1967! The Bruins have won nine of the last ten games against Toronto, however this could still be an interesting matchup. In April this season the Bruins were 2-1-0 agaist the Leafs, one of the wins coming from a shootout. 

These Original Six teams sparked new fuel to their rivalry fire when Phil Kessel was traded to the Leafs for drafts picks, which turned into Tyler Seguin, Dougie Hamilton, and PBruin Jared Knight. “Thank You Kessel” is a common chant when the Leafs blow into the Garden, along side a “boo”ing when he touches the puck. While Kessel scores big numbers for Toronto, leading the team with goals and assists, he manages to disappear when playing his former team. 

Joe Haggerty reports that Claude wants nothing to do with gossip about Kessel. It is not surprising since the two never really got along. Claude wanted to put an end to Kessel inquires immediately, “First of all, I have no intention of talking about other players on other teams… That’s got nothing to do with me… I can tell you Zdeno Chara is one of the best shutdown D’s in the league, and that’s what we utilize him for.”

Patrice Bergeron is positive about the playoffs. Having their first multi-day break since the end of March might have helped.

My NHL bracket has the Bruins sweeping the Leafs in four. However it’s no secret how much the Bruins love their game sevens, so this could draw itself out. It all starts tomorrow!!

Go B’s!

-Kaylin

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Winter Classic, Not So Classic Anymore

The Winter Classic, one outside game played on January 1st every year to spark a holiday event in hockey mid-season. A tradition that started in 2008 when the Pittsburgh Penguins played the Buffalo Sabers on the Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, New York. The event was such a hit with a crowd breaking record, that it sparked a fire. There has been a Winter Classic every year since, except for 2013. Most notably for this blog being the 2010 matchup between the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers in Fenway Park.

My point being, the Winter Classic is supposed to be just that, a classic. An event held once a year to have lasting significance or worth. Its going to be really hard to be an enduring value when the NHL is prepared to host not just one, not just two, but a whole handful of extra outdoor games on top of the already announced Winter Classic scheduled between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings to take place in Michigan Stadium, in Ann Arbor Michigan.

This Winter Classic was supposed to be held this year, January 1st, 2013. However the obnoxious NHL lockout prevented this growing tradition. Instead it will be head in 2014, same time, same place.

This post is more focused on the other games. They take place towards the end of January and the start of March. These games are striking up a controversy within the NHL fan base. Many fans argue that these additional games are going too far. They are going to take away from the excitement and feel of the what-should-have-been solo Winter Classic. Why should fans rally around the January 1st game when they can pick one of six to put their money behind instead?

On the plus side, this gives other teams a greater probability of taking part in one of these outdoor spectacles. Giving them an opportunity to grow their fan bases, and create a buzz to attract more profit. However the Rangers, Penguins, and Blackhawks will be making multiple outdoor appearances, while other teams are still left on their own.

These extra outdoor games host a number of big name rivalries. These games will draw in a large crowd, but the smaller rivalries will fall to the way-side.

I think the NHL jumped the gun with all of these outdoor games. The Winter Classic was budding in reputation, fans were still excited for it every year, they just started the HBO series. Now though, things are going to be different. They are going to bleed this marketing opportunity dry. Tsk.  Fans will still show support for their teams of course, but no more interest in the once a season Winter Classic.

.Anyway, that’s my take. Big mistake.

Go B’s!

-Kaylin

 

Here are the scheduled outdoor games for next season:

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Detroit Red Wings 1/1 @ Michigan Stadium

Anaheim Ducks vs. LA Kings 1/25 @ Dodger Stadium

New Jersey Devils vs. New York Rangers 1/26 @ Yankee Stadium

New York Islanders vs. New York Rangers 1/29 @ Yankee Stadium

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Chicago Blackhawks 3/01 @ Soldier Field

Ottawa Senators vs. Vancouver Canucks 3/02 @ BC Place

Video: ‘Traveling Jagrs’ add Boston member

When it comes to Jagr, the one thing that everyone talks about is his bodacious mullet. Majestic and beautiful in it’s form, these extreme Jagr fans want to canonize it’s glory. With his latest jersey change, it came time to induct a Bruins Jagr into the mix, in a heartfelt moving ceremony.

Did you cry too?

Go B’s!

-Kaylin

ProHockeyTalk

Sure, it’s been a while since Jaromir Jagr rocked a mullet (or even questionable facial hair), but the “Traveling Jagrs” honor his star-journeyman career by chronicling his many stops in jersey form. Now that the future Hall of Famer has been traded to the Boston Bruins, it only seems natural that the group added a Boston member.

Apparently they take the process very fake-seriously, too:

[nbcsports_video src=http://nhl.cdn.neulion.net/u/videocenter-v1/embed.swf service=nhl width=590 height=353 fv=catid=0&id=241954&server=http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/&pageurl=http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/&nlwa=http://app2.neulion.com/videocenter/nhl/]

Interesting that New York Rangers Jagr did the honors …

(Screenshot via NHL.com’s video.)

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Providence Goalie Shows Great Potential

While the Boston Bruins slid into second place in the conference this afternoon, beating Florida 3-0, their AHL affiliate has been sitting pretty at number 1 over all of the AHL since Friday.

The Providence Journal spelled out the stats, “With the win [Friday night], Providence clinched first place in the Eastern Conference with 101 points with two games remaining. Second-place Springfield has 97 with one game left. A loss by Texas late last night would clinch first place overall for Providence for the first time since 2007-08.”

The PBruins can thank their outstanding goaltender, Niklas Svedberg, for their turnaround success. Svedberg played in the AHL All-Star game, and was just named to the First Team AHL All-Star. (This really pissed off a Springfield Falcon fan who decided to take it out on me last weekend. Sorry not sorry sir.)

@AHLBruins: Niklas Svedberg with all six of his awards he received at today’s pre-game ceremony

Svedberg won four AHL awards, and an additional two from the Providence organization. From the AHL he received awards for being named to the AHL All-Rookie Team, named to the First All-Star Team, being the AHL Player of the month (March), and receiving the Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award. From Providence he was awarded Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player.

The Bastien Award honors the goaltender adjudged to be the best at his position, as voted by league coaches, media and players.

“It’s a great honor. It proves you’re doing something right,” said the 23-year-old from Sweden. “When you get an award like this, it’s not just yourself. It’s because of my teammates. I’m grateful, but I’ve got to stay focused and keep working hard every day. There’s always the next game. We have the playoffs coming up, which is the most important time,” Svedberg told the Providence Journal.

The AHL summed up Svedberg’s season and reflected his stats as follows.

“Entering the final weekend of the regular season, Svedberg is 36-8-2 in 47 appearances for the Bruins, helping them to the Atlantic Division title and the best record in the AHL. His 36 wins rank second in the league this season and are the second-most by a rookie in the 77-year history of the AHL. Svedberg also ranks sixth with a 2.15 goals-against average and fourth with a .925 save percentage, allowing two goals or fewer in 34 of his 47 outings while posting four shutouts. Svedberg has a record of 24-2-1 over his last 27 starts since Jan. 4, including a 10-game winning streak from Jan. 20 to Feb. 22.” There is also a highlight reel at the end of their article here.

With many Boston Bruins fans unhappy with the current goaltending, there has been talk of pulling up this rookie to see if he has NHL potential. We could see a breakout performance from him like that of Braden Holtby during the Washington Capitals 2012 playoff run.

I would much rather see Svedberg in our net than Malcolm Subban. Nothing against the latter, budding goaltender, but your brother is a grade A pain in the neck. Granted, this could give him the motivation to show everyone in Boston that he isn’t his brother, and blow us all out of the water. I’d be okay with that.

Anyway, all the best for Svedberg! I know I’ll be catching a few of the Calder Cup games, as the PBruins are now like a pet that I feel devoted to watch over. Poor them, hah!

Go B’s! (Both of them!)

-Kaylin

Devestation Never Hits as Hard as When It Hits Close to Home

I hope this finds you well, after the tragedy that occurred in Boston yesterday. The news found me at work, and after I anxiously awaited to hear if my best friend was alright, I found my nerves focused on the Bruins boys. In particular my mind jumped to the two Twitter-nuts Tyler Seguin and Andrew Ference. Seguin has tweeted maybe an hour before about all the traffic in Boston, and I’d assumed Ference would be all over the marathon. The boys both started tweeting around three, Ference showing his heart and sympathy.

Ference Twitter

The Bruins game was postponed for obvious reasons, Cam Neely offering an official statement. Meanwhile other hockey franchises reached out to show their support.

The Chicago Tribune devoted the cover of its Sports section to our city.

The Chicago Tribune devoted the cover of its Sports section to our city.

Twitter became flooded with well wishes for Boston, #prayforBoston ending most. NHL teams and individual players took to social media to express their sympathy. Multiple members of the New York Rangers tweeted their support, including Brian Boyle, Michael Del Zotto, Brad Richards, Henrik Lundqvist, along with many members of their farm team, the CTWhale, as well. The Dallas Stars were quick to offer their condolences.

@nhlbruins our deepest sympathies are with you and everyone in Boston. Stay safe, friends.

— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) April 15, 2013

The Chicago Tribune devoted the cover of its Sports section to our city (see right).

Moments of silence were held at multiple games last night, most heartwarming was the Montreal Canadiens v. Philidelphia Flyers silence. Showing that despite rivalries people can come together during difficult times. The Chicago Blackhawks v Dallas Stars game and the San Jose Sharks v Phoenix Coyotes game also paused pregame in support.

Keith Yandle, a Boston native, plays for the Phoenix Coyotes and showed his support for Boston on his skates.
Keith Yandle Skates

At practice this morning the Bruins Twitter had encouraging quotes from all of the guys on how to move forward.

Bruins tweets sympathy

I don’t want to say that there is a bright side from this, because it is hard to believe that anything bright can come from something so dark. But a silver lining would be to admire the love and respect the hockey community has for each other during these difficult times. Especially to look at those who risked their own lives to help the fallen. Ference tweeted about his girls and what it was like to be a parent in a situation like this.

I hope Brad Marchand is right in his desire to give Boston something to believe in. As it is needed more than ever now. Below is the eight year old boy, Martin Richards, who died in the explosions.

“My dear son Martin has died from injuries sustained in the attack on Boston. My wife and daughter are both recovering from serious injuries. We thank our family and friends, those we know and those we have never met, for their thoughts and prayers. I ask that you continue to pray for my family as we remember Martin. We also ask for your patience and for privacy as we work to simultaneously grieve and recover. Thank you.” - Bill Richard

“My dear son Martin has died from injuries sustained in the attack on Boston. My wife and daughter are both recovering from serious injuries. We thank our family and friends, those we know and those we have never met, for their thoughts and prayers. I ask that you continue to pray for my family as we remember Martin. We also ask for your patience and for privacy as we work to simultaneously grieve and recover. Thank you.” – Bill Richard

As Obama mentioned in his speech yesterday, “Boston is a resilient town; so are its people“. Boston will rally to push through this, and come out stronger on the other side.

As for rescheduling the game, Jack Edwards pointed out on twitter that “NHL season scheduled to end Sat 27Apr. In order to make up game Bs would have to play 3 nights in a row. Can’t do that by NHL rules. Sun 28?” So I’ll keep an ear to the ground for more on that.

EDIT: The Ottawa game has been rescheduled to Sunday, April 28 at TD Garden.

Best of luck to those injured and traumatized, my thoughts are with you. Go B’s!

-Kaylin

Hurricanes Swept Away, Return of the Fair Weather Fans?

With the return of the Boston Red Sox, and their surprisingly good start, the Bruins are falling to the far side of Boston’s interest. It doesn’t help that the B’s haven’t been their best in a few weeks. NESN airs the Sox, pushing the Bruins to their + station, and the sports coverage goes back to throwing in five minutes of Bruins at the end of their program.

Monday night’s 6-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes may have baseball fans pausing over their morning Wheaties to scan the Bruins coverage. While the news that the Bruins won by 4, and netted six goals will ignite an overwhelming sense of victory in the pit of fans that didn’t watch the game, there is more to the story.

Conrad, from Conrad’s Corner, summed it up nicely. “While a 6-2 victory is extremely hard to find faults with, the truth is, the score did not reflect the overall performance from either team. All it reflected was very poor goaltending from the Hurricanes and excellent goaltending from Tuukka Rask. The Bs were outshot 42-36 in the game and 18-9 in the first period, showing their inability to start games fast.”

Dan From Bruins Hockey Now was quick to spark a reality check, pointing out that the game was only against the Hurricanes. He continued from there, pointing out the positives and negatives from the night. “However, even I’m not taking last night’s win to mean everything is right in the world. There were plenty of good things, plenty of troubling things, and a few just plain bad things. The offense showed some jump and creativity (good), Jaromir Jagr looks like he’s settling in (good), the B’s allowed 40+ shots again (troubling), Tuukka Rask had to bail the team out a number of times when this was still a game (troubling) and Tyler Seguin all but disappeared (bad). A win is a win, sure, but let’s not take it to mean the B’s have righted the ship.” –Dan (Bruins Hockey Now)

A highlight from Wednesday’s game is the matchup of Jaromir Jagr and Brad Marchand.

Conrad’s Corner pointed this out well. “Brad Marchand and Jaromir Jagr seem to have found great chemistry as they continually connect on no-look passes and are great at creating space for one another to work in the offensive zone. I’d like to see them centered by someone more skilled like David Krejci, especially if the Bs are down late in a game and need a goal. For now, though, it’s hard to argue with Gregory Campbell’s 2 assist night while centering them. Campbell was one of six Bruins with a multi-point night on Monday, the others being Seidenberg, Ference, Marchand, Peverley and Jagr.”

I am a fan of Gregory Campbell, but I would absolutely love to see Jagr and Krejci on a line together. With Marchand meshing with Jagr, and Krejci’s currently line doing well, nothing, this could be a change the Bruins need to make.

Of course, it is now Friday, and the Bruins lost last night to the Islanders. Yes, the ISLANDERS. Where Brad Marchand was MIA with a mild concussion. So Claude’s solution? Moving Lucic up to work with Jagr and Campbell? Milan Lucic who has done close to nothing this season?

On The Sports Hub last night they were talking about how Claude should consider benching Looch a game, which I agree with. He’s playing lethargic hockey and isn’t making plays, he is a player who should be slamming the other team into the boards or starting fights to defend hits on his guys. Where was the Bruins comradery Wednesday when Marchand went down? There’s no fire, no one’s fighting, their checks are almost pathetic. I think I saw one good check by Looch in the third last night? ONE. In the last two minutes. Not acceptable.

With the day off today, we’ll see the boys Saturday in Carolina. The Bruins need to wake up, and not sit back thinking this could be a sweep. You know the Hurricanes are going to come back swinging from their loss, and the B’s need to be ready to play to win.

Go B’s!

Kaylin

Getting on the Air; 98.5 The Sports Hub

I was fortunate enough to go to the Bruins game tonight. Fortunate? You say, but they lost, you also say. True. They did lose and it was horrible. That is not why I am so ecstatic though.

Positive notes, the tickets were free (Thanks Mom!), so the night was starting on a good foot. Then there was the bonus that it was military appreciation night, with the very fitting digital camouflage jerseys for warm ups. Adam McQuaid was back!! Which was excellent of course. (Well, not for Dougie Hamilton, who was a healthy scratch this evening).

Negative notes, Jordan Caron was on the roster poster they handed out, and I think this blog knows my feelings on him quite well. Second Brad Marchand was not playing, due to an elbow to the head from Wednesday night’s game . Third being that they well, lost.

BUT HERES THE BEST PART.

I GOT ON THE AIR.

FOR 98.5 THE SPORTS HUB!!!

So the game ends, painfully. The Bruins had the whole third period to spark any sort of fire to get their team going. Do they? No of course not. They stood there with the puck, not even waiting on a line change! Andrew Ference stood there just waiting for something to open up, which is the worst play I’ve ever heard of. And then towards the end of the game, final two minutes Chara decides to take a huge detour with the puck back around the Bruins empty net! You’re the captain for Pete’s sake why on Earth are you making bad plays. Chara to me seems like a giant liability at times, but that’s a story for another day.

So my roommate Amanda and I are hanging out in the parking garage listening to the Sports Hub, because well, that’s what you do after going to a Bruins game. All of the sudden, Adam Jones starts taking the loss out on Claude. Which is an act I’ve never been a fan of, I understand that being a coach you’re supposed to push the boys in the right direction, but come on! How is it Claude’s fault that the boys are making all of these blind passes (heads up, if your name is not Marc Savard, don’t bother), turning over the puck, and just not being where they need to be?

So big mouth me decides, you know what. I’m going to text in.

AND I DID. AND ADAM JONES READ IT ON AIR. BOOM.

Screen Shot - SPORTSHUB

But before he read it I decided no, you know what I’m going to call. And so I did. And then I recited my text to the girl and she asked my name and where I was calling from and put me on hoooold! And I was shaking and my stomach was in knots and it was a really exciting thing for me, because my dad and I listened to the Sports Hub driving home from every Bruins game I’ve ever gone to. It has always been a want of mine to call in and say my opinion.

So anyway, while I was on hold they put on the radio through your phone. For anyone who hasn’t worked in a radio station, there is a delay between the radio you hear, and the person actually speaking. I put my phone on speaker so my friend could listen also, when all of the sudden I hear him reading my text. Flailing occurred I cannot lie.

Anyway I’m still on hold, and they’re talking about my text and how I’m right and the boys do hold the responsibility (duh). They take another caller who decides to go on about… er the Pats or the Red Sox. I don’t really remember. AND THEN ITS MY TURN.

We were still in the garage and my phone started going in and out of service so I like jumped out of the car and ran to the wall and he’s all “Hey” and I’m like “hi I’m coming from the game and I haveafewthingstosay” and then I remembered to breathe and continued.

I talked about how Milan Lucic spent the entire night looking like a loaf of bread. Which they loved. No, seriously, they loved it. They made a sound clip of it and kept playing it over the next two hours. Don’t get me wrong I used to be the biggest Looch fan. Now not so much. Why was he put on the line with Jagr and Campbell? He’s not playing well at all and should BE demoted down to third or fourth line.

I also mentioned that the Bruins had no sense of urgency in that dwindling last 10 minutes of the third. I quoted Jagr from the other night when he had talked about not knowing how much time was remaining on the clock, and about Chara’s detour and how the Bruins didn’t want to win tonight. And then my phone cut out.

But there it is ladies and gents! My five minutes of Sports Hub fame. I feel like I’ve caught a bug now. Maybe I’ll call in after every game! Eeee exciting.

Also, the Montreal Canadiens beat the Buffalo Sabers 5-1 so the Bruins fell back out of first in the division, and down the fourth in the conference. Great game to blow guys, not. This was supposed to be an easy week.

Anyway before that ruins my mood, does anyone know how I could get my hands on the mp3 of last night’s Adam Jones show?

Thanks much! Go B’s!

-Kaylin