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

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

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

CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? CAN YOU?!

Lauryn and I, pregame game faces.

Lauryn and I, pregame game faces.

The Bruins came back from a FOUR – ONE DEFICIT TO WIN IN OVERTIME. I’LL SHOUT IN CAPS IF I WANT TOO. I was there and I can’t even put into words the emotions. The guy next to me was losing heart fast as fans in the ice seats started leaving around the ten minute mark. BUT THEY DID IT. Horton scores with nine minute back, and it was like a bleep on a heart monitor. The fans went from close to mourning to tense silence. Could they make the comeback?

My friend and I were on the edges of our seats. We pull Rask and 18:38 sees Lucic net one. Forget edge of our seats we were standing now. One more we needed ONE more. I stopped texting my dad the score after it was 4-2. Can’t jinx it. Don’t even think, no bad mojo coming out of me for that last two minutes.

We weren’t even finished celebrating Looch’s goal WHEN PATRICE SENDS A WRIST SHOT. CHARA TIPS IT IN. ITS GOOD. GOOD GOAL BRUINS TIED IT. FOUR-FOUR GREATEST COMEBACK WITH FIFTY SECONDS LEFT ON THE CLOCK.

I just watched the replay and still waves of excitement crash over me. I screamed, jumped, cheered, high fives all around! Unfreakingbelievable. But we still had fifty seconds left and THEY HAD A WICKED CHANCE TO TAKE IT. BUT IT DIDN’T MATTER BECAUSE OVERTIME. BECAUSE ITS THE CUP.

The hallway between the end of regulation and OT was crazy! High fives everywhere chants, cheers, I called my dad I think I left two crazy screaming messages. I didn’t even want to think of what was about to happen. Either they would win it and it would be the greatest comeback EVER (No seriously, its the first time this has ever happened), or they’d go out swinging.

I’m looking at the time of Bergeron’s goal now and I can’t believe that was really six minutes of play. It felt like one! Everyone was on their feet, screaming, cheering. And then he scored and forgettaboutit the place erupted! I was still riding the high when I woke up this morning. Wired for days.

I was keeping track of the Ranger’s game on the little scoreboard in the Garden. I stopped looking at it after it was 3-0, and after OT I recieved a text from my friend saying “5-0 Rangers, game one?” and I’m dying. My two favorite teams are playing against each other for the Eastern Conference Semifinals?! Shut the front door. (Sorry to all Dad’s work buddies, those tickets are MINE).

Ahhh I guess I can move onto the news portion of this program, Adam McQuaid was named as a finalist for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy. “The Masterton Trophy is given to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. Other finalists include Minnesota goaltender Josh Harding and Pittsburgh forward Sidney Crosby.”

Torey Krug is getting called up from Providence today as Dennis Seidenberg only played :37 seconds in last night’s game, and is out injured. Speaking of Providence Defense, Matt Bartkowski’s first ever NHL goal was last night in the first period. Not to mention he and Johnny Boychuk got the memo to throw body’s around. Good job for our D last night. Ridiculous.

There’s also a really good interview with Shawn Thornton here, and I’m not just saying that because he’s my favorite. I want to see the replay of his almost goal in the third. When asked if the Bruins were tired Shawn responded “No. Not now, I’m wired right now… I think this time of year that tired is just a state of mind, I think you can really fight through it, you can be tired tomorrow or the next day, but thats my personal opinion.”

Notable tweets from Charelli’s interview this morning:

We’ve got game one coming up Thursday night at the Garden! Game two Sunday afternoon at three, game three on Tuesday night, and game three is Thursday night. Game five if needed is scheduled for the 25th, game six next Monday, and game seven Wednesday the 29th.

I hope it goes to seven. Charelli said this morning that the Rangers “Play like us”, and it’s expected to be a low scoring series as both teams have phenomenal goaltending and a hard time finding the back of the net. Which is interesting as both teams managed to net five goals in both of their game sevens last night.

That’s all I’ve got for now. Keep it here for Playoff news and injury updates!

Go B’s!

-Kaylin

We caught up with Adam McQuaid and Dougie Hamilton post-game!

We caught up with Adam McQuaid and Dougie Hamilton post-game!

Never Underestimate your Opponent

If there’s one thing I’ve learned so far in these quarter finals matchups, is that anything can happen. Seriously, anything. The Wild and the Islanders are putting up the biggest fight against the Blackhawks and Penguins respectfully. Also the Leafs, the Toronto Maple Leafs, beat the Boston Bruins on Saturday night. How? Phil Kessel even managed to score Saturday night after not even having a shot on net until the third period of Game one. Talk about frustrating.

Granted, it might just be my luck, I knew I shouldn’t have made a bracket. If I get anything right I will be more than surprised.

This even counts for the AHL. Even the Providence Bruins lost their first two games against the Hershey Bears who were eighth seed, to Providence’s first. Just in this last weekend Providence managed to have a fantastic comeback, 5-1 on Saturday, and 5-4 today. Unlike the NHL these teams only have to win three games, making Wednesday Night’s game five one to see.

Back to the NHL boys. I don’t know what it is about the Bruins. They manage to underestimate their opponent when they feel they can be cocky. Saturday’s game is a perfect example. Toronto came to play and Boston thought they were going to ride a sweep. I knew Toronto wasn’t going to let their first playoff stint since 05 be a sweep, there’s no way they are going to go down without a fight. Now that we are headed into Leaf territory the boys should be more focused now than ever.

Joe Haggerty hassled Dennis Seidenberg about how they came out in game one and managed to flip a switch from how they were playing towards the end of the season. Apparently they were jesting too soon. We can only wait for Game 3 Monday night to see if the Bruins boys show up to play or if they’ll struggle through this round.

I’ll be with you throughout the playoffs so keep it here on Back to Black and Gold!

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

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