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

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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

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

Sidney Crosby out Indefinitely, Story from the Puck at Fault

Crosby Injured

Image provided from ESPN

One of the big names in hockey is Sidney Crosby. Or sorry, the big name in hockey is Sidney Crosby. Leading goal scorer in the NHL by 10 points, Crosby is a name that will always come up. Unfortunately for him, his ice time has often been plagued with injury. After his concussion in the midst of the 2010-2011 season, “he was sidelined for the final 41 games in 2011 and the Stanley Cup playoffs, in addition to skipping most of the 2012 regular season as symptoms lingered” (Denver Post).

It looks like Crosby is facing (hah) more bench time, as a puck to the mouth in the first two minutes of Saturday’s game against the Islanders hospitalized the star.

Joining us now is the puck that broke Crosby’s jaw.

B2B&G (Back to Black and Gold): Good morning Puck. How are you feeling today?

Puck: Probably better than Crosby.

B2B&G: Ah, diving right into it. So you’ve heard that Crosby is now out indefinately for the rest of the season, how does that make you feel?

Puck: Mournful, but, injuries are all a part of the game.

B2B&G: Was the hit intentional?

Puck: Of course not. You try steering once you’ve been launched into the air by a slapshot.

B2B&G: The Penguins have acquired a number of veteran stars to bolster their team. How much of an effect do you think Crosby’s absence will have on the Pens?

Puck: Well they won on Saturday didn’t they? I think they’ll be fine.

B2B&G: They are looking like the team to beat come the playoffs, what advice would you have for the other Eastern Conference teams?

Puck: Don’t try to take them all out with injury, they’re clearly capable of doing that themselves.

B2B&G: Crosby lost a few pearly whites in the hit. Do you think he’ll mirror the look of players like Dustin Brown (LA Kings) or Alex Ovechkin (Washington Capitals)?

Puck: That Diva? I’m sure he’ll come back flashing a full smile. Better looking than before even.

B2B&G: Well he is the ‘face of hockey’. Well, just like Crosby’s ice time from Saturday, we’re out fo time here. Thanks for joining us Puck, and I hope things work out for you. Go B’s!

-Kaylin