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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Why The Bruins WILL Make the Playoffs This Year

Given the fact that the Bruins have not won a playoff series since the '98-'99 season, it's obviously difficult to establish some semblance of optimism these days on Causeway Street. To make it worse, the Bruins have yet to establish a plus .500 record in the post-lockout era. Nevertheless, put your pessimism aside, for the Bruins will make the playoffs in '07-'08.

As any knowledgeable hockey fan should and does know, the success of any franchise, especially playoff time, begins between the pipes. With the acquisition of Manny Fernandez in the off season, Chiarelli has certainly improved upon this. Yes, Fernandez is not the legit top tier goalie that a contender should have, but he is certainly an improvement upon what was in the black and gold last season (Fernandez: 52 wins and a 2.42 GAA over the past two seasons). With the arrival of Fernandez, Tim Thomas will most likely be relegated to backup duty. Thomas, for all the effort and heart, is not a number one goaltender. However, he instantly becomes one of the top five backup goalies in the league. I dare you to find five better.

Number two: Claude Julien. For as confusing as his firing was in New Jersey, Julien has the experience of coaching a winning team (Side note: Remember the team that beat the Bruins in the horrific choke of a playoff series in 2004? Yeah, that was the Canadiens led by none other than our new head coach). Julien brings a knowledge of the game that will better suit the team than anything Dave Lewis could do. The defense will markedly improve with the player benefiting the most being the captain. Chara was overused last season on power plays, short handed situations, etc. A trim back in minutes will lead to better overall play from the man everyone expected to be a dominant force. Also, and as we have seen thus far in the preseason, the Bruins, under Julien, will be a tougher more physical team to play against.

Lastly, it's no secret that the offense struggled last year, just look at the plus/minus ratings. Browse the roster this year and try to say the Bruins subtracted anything substantial. On the contrary, they've only improved, namely the acquisition of Peter Shaefer, another year of healthy development for the closer himself, Phil Kessel, and finally two enforcers to protect the goal scorers in Thornton and Reich. Brandon Bochenski will also reap the benefits of playing a full season. He was a natural goal scorer last year and will only improve upon that. Also, for those that wanted to trade Bergeron, get a clue. Bergy possesses the most talent out of anyone on this team outside of Mark Savard and the upside of Kessel (nevermind the fact that he should be captain of this team).

Take a look at the details folks. Don't typecast me as a yahoo just yet because I'm not saying they will be first in the Eastern Conference and a Cup contender. What I AM saying is that they will be certainly better than last year and earn a 7th or 8th seed come April.

21 Comments:

Anonymous Matt said...

Good post Jay. I think the Bruins could finish from 5th-10th in the conference. Fernandez will definately add some wins for the team hopefully we can see 2.5 GAA or something like that. My hope is Bergeron can step it up into the upper 80s for points while Savard tops 100. Look for Bochenski to become a goalscoring machine and for Schaefer to be a goal scoring Axlesson. I also want to see guys like Lucic and Krecji.

9:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

kessel should be captain???????

10:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i want to see krecji and lucic make the team. Neely seems to love lucic. Maybe he can sweet talk them over there and fit him in the 3rd line

2:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

maybe he can sweet talk someone to trade pansies like pj axelsson. this team needs players who can shoot, score, skate, hit and bring excitement to the game. pj possesses none of those qualities.

2:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trade murray and axelsson

3:05 AM  
Anonymous big-e said...

Pathetic Leafs fans wanting our guys. You don't trade Axelsson as he is a great checker and penalty killer. Here's a weird fact - the last two seasons the Bruins began to dive just after PJ went down with an injury. Remember PJ shutting down Kovalchuk, then Crosby the Ovechkin? He's a keeper. And Murray? When they traded Joe he could have easily gone into MOC and said get me out fo here. And he didn't. In the offseason, Chia told him he'd get him a new Center - Savard. Remember the Toronto OT game with Murray with blood in his eye, taking the pass top shelf for the win? All these trade rumours and Muzz is still here. The only player to be there when Bourque and Neely was around. A guy who during the lockout didn't run to another team like Rolston or Knuble. He does not act like a Kovalev and decides to play only when he feels like it. He's not afraid to hit and fight. He's a player who can score 40 goals a year if he's healthy, and he's paid 4MM to do so. Gomez, Drury and Briere never scored 40 in their careers - Murray's done it twice. And is paid half! Murray stays, PJ stays - Bruins finished 4th or 5th on the conf and pass teh first round.

8:57 AM  
Blogger BruinsHockey08 said...

Big-e excellent post. By I have only one small issue with what you said. Murray is not a fighter, never has been and never will be. Also as a fan of the Bruins I want to believe they can finish 4th or 5th in the east. I am thinking they will finish 6-10th in the east depending on how good the defense can be and how tough they are, lets be honest, last year they were a bunch of pushovers, this year they need to change that if they want to have any kind of success.

10:45 AM  
Anonymous big-e said...

Oh yes he hasn't faught, but I meant more he doesn't walk away like Heatley or Spezza. I like what I've seen so far, that even the slightest shove by the opposing team and the everyone piles in - like Saturday against the Laffs when they ran Timmy a bit. We don't need an mazing goalie - we need a goalie who can save the puck and we have two. We don't need a 100 goal scorer, we need 3-4 20 goal scorers. As I said before, if you look at NYR, shut down their top line and that's about it. If you can roll 3 decent lines and a hard checking line with 6 tough D-men, who knows. I think last year, no one stepped up to push this team when they tripped, and it has just been horrible to get motivated. I can't wait to see the full roster Thursday against the Habs.

11:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah i remember the shadowin axelsson did of opposin forwards. that completely throws out the entire game plan for the whole team. to substitute a whole line bcuz of one player is ridiculous. for defensemen it is easier and much more valuable a tool to do so. for forwards it is a waste of time, preparation and management. if u recall in those games when he shadowed those forwards they were 1-0, 2-1 games. Very very boring to watch. if u want ur bruins to be like that again then u must be some time of dave lewis lover, since he loved the defense first mentality where 2-1 games r his preference, yet the briuns seemed to come out on the losing end more often then not.

11:33 AM  
Anonymous big-e said...

I never liked Lewis from day 1. And if the Bruins win, I didn't care if it was 1-0 or 2-1. I didn't like 7-1, 8-1 and 10-2 as the B's got smacked. That was really fun to watch! Shows you never played hockey if you'd have your D forechecking. Alfredsson scored a nice goal last night by stealing the puck in mid ice...he must have been a defenceman!

1:19 PM  
Anonymous seabass said...

I agee with all of you that the bruins should be a playoff team this year. anywhere from 7th to 10th in the confrence. I LOVE HOW EVERY ANALYST predicts the B's being at the bottom of the ocnf, yet they say we are vastly improved with manny and shaefer...i feel like this will be a season where boston starts to get its respect back as one of the best hockey towns in the country

2:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

simple fact-the players need to want it--julien and chara will be that motivation this year. plus bergy says he is going to be a bigger leader...

2:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ESPN thinks we will finish last in the conference.Thats bullshit

3:10 PM  
Anonymous jha said...

ESPN is full of a bunch of blowhards that provide as much over-the-top material that you can handle.

Case and point - "Who's Now"

As much as I love ESPN for their blatant East Coast bias, they constantly write/say things simply to insight debate and to gain notoriety in sports media. It's something you have to accept but you don't have to like it.

Just as a quick note too, I wasn't saying Kessell should be captain, I was saying Bergeron should. However, I'm interested to see what Chara can do this year under the right conditions. Maybe he does have the leadership skills a man wearing the C on the sweater needs.

3:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe we'll win Lord Stanley if we could clone Manny Fernandez 20 times...
Adding a mediocre starting goalie won't turn around momentum.

5:08 PM  
Anonymous spokedB said...

Please leave the negativity for last season, and give this roster a fresh start, okay.

5:48 PM  
Anonymous bruinsfanupnorth said...

i think this team will be improved over last year, simply in attitude alone. Telling your players not to drop their gloves is ridiculous, putting doubt as to when or where they should be tough. Knowing you arent being held back allows u to play more aggressively. I think murray will have a big year and i do believe there is a role for PJ on this team. And we definitely will not be last in the conf. here is hoping that falls to the leafs or habs ha ha.

7:06 PM  
Blogger Federko said...

I love how the negative whiney posters here hide behind the "anonymous" tag. Go back into your holes if you want to stay anonymous.

This team will be better than last year for one reason alone.. coaching. It will not win the cup but at least should be more entertaining and be able to build toward an even better season next year. Stop condemning this team before they have even played half the season. If they suck at that point then you will start to see more changes.

9:47 AM  
Blogger Latrappe said...

No playoffs guys...


1- Teams in our conference improved. Florida and Toronto get decent upgrades in the off-season. In Toronto, Toskala have yet to prove that he can sustain the workload of a #1 but his addition should provide stability. Jason Blake should be a nice addition to the offense and will produce. Florida is full of talented young players and the addition of Vokoun will make them very dangerous, this season.

2- Depth is an issue. On paper, the B's look great. Their main problem, IMO, is depth. In the upfront, losing Bergy, Savvy or Murray could be very damaging. There's good young players, in Providence, but these guys are definitely not ready to take the slack if a major injury occur. The B's are pretty tight against the cap and a trade to fill the void seems unlikely. The D corps is decent but there's serious question marks: How Chara will play this year? Do Aaron Ward will re-adjust his game to this new and speedy NHL? Will Mark Stuart develop and turn into a good D-man? Lots of questions but very few answers, for now. In the net, Manny will provide consistency but if he's injuried, the team will rely on Thomas and considering his past records, things can turn sour, very quickly.

3- The learning curve. I'm a big believer that building a winning team require time and a strong developing plan. There's was no such plan, last year, and the B's will have to improve 3 areas: 1- play 60 min, 2- retain a lead and 3- create a win. Since the team will have a couple of youngsters in their lineup, the progression will be slower. For young players, only experience can help them to reach the next level. In that regard, the B's are not close to be consider as a " winning team ".

As any fan, i'd love to see the B's qualify for a playoffs spot. But, when i look on how tough will be our conference, i don't see that happenning. There's too many question marks and depth is a real issue. In a perfect world, the B's will probably chase for an 8th spot but they will come short, in the end. Close but no cigar.

12:13 PM  
Anonymous David said...

I like the simple fact that they kept the core intact while patching a few key holes. The more comfortable you are with your linemates the better. Teams like Detroit have kept their core together and annually are good, teams like NYR keep buying good players and hope they mesh but seldomly get the results.

2:31 PM  
Blogger Pekese said...

Good points made my Latrappe. I want to see Krejci and Lucic on this team for the entire year getting atleast 3rd line action, even if it is at the expense of P.J. Axelsson. I think it will be great for their development. After this season, onces certain contracts are up, I feel that the Bruins are in excellent shape to build a contending team.

6:06 PM  

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