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

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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

Bergeron Selke Finalist, No Update on Seids

“The best two-way player” is a common phrase that gets tossed around whenever you talk about Patrice Bergeron. He is well-known for being a fantastic defense playing forward. This morning he was listed as one of three finalists for the Frank J. Selke Trophy, the trophy that he is currently in possesion of having won it last year.

“The Frank J. Selke Trophy is awarded annually to the National Hockey League forward who demonstrates the most skill in the defensive component of the game. The winner is selected by a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association following the regular season.”

The other nominees are Pavel Datsyuk from the Detroit Red Wings, and Jonathan Toews from the Chicago Blackhawks. Datsyuk is nominated for his sixth straight season, and has already won the award three times. Toews was second in face-off win percentage (59.9%) to Bergeron (62.1%), and is tied for takeaways with Datsyuk(56). All three of these players could easily take away this award.

Of course, we all want to see Bergeron take it again.

In other news, there was no update on Dennis Seidenberg this morning after practice. He, Ference and Redden were all MIA from the rink. Torey Krug was present however, so finger’s crossed he gets ice time come Thursday night. (I just really want to see him play okay?)

Cam Neely advises that while the Rangers “lack the speed [the Leafs] had… [the Rangers] will make up for it with physicality.” Hopefully Lucic can bottle that beast mode he unleashed in the last ten minutes of Monday night’s game and we can start finishing checks and bruise the Rangers up.

Incase you need an adrenaline rush, watch Jack’s reaction to Bergeron’s goal in OT.

Tomorrow night it starts again!
Get your rally towels waving, and Go B’s!

-Kaylin

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

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

Baseball is NOT better than Hockey.

But thanks for thinking so NESN.

Tonight’s Bruins v. Devils game is going to be aired on NESN+. Check your listings to see if you’re one of the lucky participants who can actually watch the game tonight. Jaromir Jagr’s DEBUT in a Bruins spoked B and fans without NESN+ get to miss this for April baseball?! NESN really?! Look at your choices.

Due to my campus not having channels over 70, I guess my roommate and I are off to bar hop in search of a restaurant that will let us watch the game. This is ridiculous. Bets being that most bars are going to be playing baseball also. Hockey can’t even win in Massachusetts, what even.

And to make news worse, Patrice Bergeron suffered his fourth concussion in Tuesday night’s win over the Senators. He is out indefinitely as it stands now.

After those hard hits, seeing a bright side isn’t going to be easy. But there is hope as Chris Kelly and Adam McQuaid took the ice Monday morning at practice. Kelly is even making the trip with the team to Montreal for the weekend.

Another note about tonight’s game, practice had Tyler Seguin centering Brad Marchand and Jagr. Jagr was also out practicing with both power play lines. This could be a resurgence in the Bruins power play that has been abysmal since the loss of Marc Savard.

Speaking of Savard, he tweeted his thoughts of tonights game just now,

Other lines include the newly acquired Kaspars Daugavins playing wing to Peverley and Pandolfo.

That’s all I’ve got for now. Hopefully I’ll find a way to watch the game tonight.

Go B’s!

-Kaylin