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Thursday, March 27, 2008

The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

Unbelievable, it literally is un-friggin-believable. How many players on this team can possibly get hurt in a given season? As if significant injuries to Patrice Bergeron and Andrew Alberts wasn't enough, now we have to contend with Marc Savard and Chuck Kobasew missing significant time. Two of our best offensive options for an already offensively deficient team will probably be gone for the remainder of the regular season.

Savard, a cracked bone in his back, and Kobasew, fractured tibia, won't be seeing game action any time soon. Once again, how many things have to actually go wrong before it's too much?

I don't think I could be rooting for the B's anymore than I am now. If they are able to make it to the playoffs with a band of rookies, some aftermarket players, and one Norris trophey candidate, it will be improbable and unbelievable.

As always, lets go B's.

Lets take a short look at the injuries so far this season.
  1. Patrice Bergeron - Grade 3 concussion, out since October
  2. Andrew Alberts - Concussion, neck problems, out since November
  3. Manny Fernandez - Knee, has missed almost all season
  4. Tim Thomas - Groin, missed several games
  5. Zdeno Chara - Shoulder, missed 5 games
  6. Marc Savard - Cracked bone in back, out indefinitely
  7. Chuck Kobasew - Fracutred tibia, out at least a month
  8. Aaron Ward - Ankle/Back - missed portions of the season
  9. Andrew Ference - Sprained knee, Misssed past few games, will be missing more
  10. Glen Murray - Groin, missed significant time

Feel free to add on anymore casualties as this could be just a short list. We have lived and died by compensating for injuries this season and it will be no different in the remaining 6 games. So, sit back and enjoy, as this should be interesting.

Injury Update

Marc Savard will not play tonight against Toronto because of a broken bone in his back. There is no timetable on his return.

Chuck Kobasew is expected to miss between 4 and 8 weeks after taking a Zdeno Chara slapshot off his leg which fractured his tibia.

Patrice Bergeron is continuing to make strides towards full recovery. He passed a neuro-psych test yesterday but is still far from returning to the lineup. He is still 10 pounds less than he wants to be and has still not participated in contact drills. This is great news for the Bruins, just to see him progressing. I would love to see him return this season (playoffs, if we make it?), but the most important thing is that he recovers fully and does not rush himself back into the lineup.

Andrew Ference will also miss tonight's game.

Manny Ferandez is close to returning to action, but do the Bruins want to risk playing a goaltender who has barely played all season? I think not, especially with the tight standings their dealing with now.

Andrew Alberts has been cleared for full contact in practice. He is close to returning as well, but right now Matt Lashoff is probably the better option back on the blueline.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I Stand Corrected

Perhaps all it takes is venting your frustrations to get this team going? If so, I'm going to write the most horrible and insensitive post come Thursday afternoon so the B's lay a 10-0 route on the Leafs at home. But in all seriousness, I couldn't believe the way the B's looked last night. They were a completely different team, all without Savvy.

They got in front of the net for the tough chances, see Krejci's goal. They were able to convert on power play chances with a beautiful cross ice pass to Sturm. And they were able to play shut down D on a team that was facing a must win to keep up in the playoff hunt.

The magical theme here that will continue to follow this team with six games remaining, is if they can carry this over to the next day/game. Show me that you can do this again come Thursday when you face the same team. Show me you're willing to pay the price like Chuck Kobasew did last night to give yourself the opportunity to punch in rebounds.

Washington and Philly both won last night so the race basically stays the same with Philly in 7th, Boston in 8th, and Washington in 9th. Nipping at the heels are the Pathers who still have a very real shot.

Prove to me you belong.

Note to Jefe:
I'd be happy to go up to Cam Neely and tell him my thoughts about the Bruins. One, the guy's my hero so I would love to meet him. And two, he'd probably agree with me because this team has been nothing short of dreadful for over a decade. He'd agree with me and be one of the first to admit it. What's he going to do, pull my shirt over my head and break my nose? If anything, you're the one not seeing things right here. I realize that this team has serious issues and concerns, yet I'm still here writing aren't I (actually, I'm the only one writing here but that's another story)? Don't ever try and question my dedication to this team, pal.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

It Gets Worse

As if the Bruins recent fortunes couldn't get any worse, WEEI reported this morning that Marc Savard will be out of the lineup the next two games with what is being reported as "a lower back injury."

I have nothing else to say besides that this team has everything stacked against them in the attempt to make the playoffs. The B's might want to dust off the irons in their basements and set a tee time, this team might be golfing early this year.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Saddle Up Folks

This is a big one tonight folks. The Habs are in town, the playoffs are on the line, and Zdeno Chara could possibly be making his return to the lineup.

I have my tickets in hand ready to go. There was no way I was going to miss this one.

Lets just get the logistics out of the way. Yes, the B's have lost all 6 games against the Habs so far this season. Yes, they can't put the puck in the net still. And yes, it is true that the B's have won every time that I've said it's time to get up for a game like this.

So, dare I say it, it's time to get up for this game. The comfort zone for a playoff spot is razor thin with the Capitals, Sabres, and even the Panthers making a late season run for it. Try and ask a Capitals fan if their trades made a difference for their team and you'll see why the B's should have made some sort of move. There would have been a way for the B's to land Federov for the stretch run.

Expect a physical game and the B's to set the tone early. They have to prove that they belong while keeping themselves out of the box by taking stupid penalties. Each time the B's have lost their way this season against the Canadiens is when they started running around and playing out of their system.

Tim Thomas gets the nod tonight and here's the rest of the lineup per Fluto Shinzawa of The Globe




Monday, March 17, 2008

Monday Afternoon Reactions

OK, this wasn't a bad weekend at all from the Bruins. Two games against teams that are right in the thick of the playoff race just like the B's are. With an inspiring and confidence building 3-2 OT win over Philly on Saturday and the hard luck shootout loss to the Capitals yesterday, three out of a possible four points were earned.

Just when you think this team couldn't frustrate you anymore, they come back with two passionate performances. In some ways this team reminds me in ways of last year's squad, who was always madingly inconsistent, accept this year the success comes around a bit more often.

There are a few positives that you can take from this weekend. One, the Bruins have shown two weekends in a row now that they can get up for big games. Two, this team has the uncanny ability to make up for holes left by injuries. Zdeno Chara's absence for the past five games has hurt, but the defense has been able to stem the bleeding a bit. The good news is that Chara sounds like he should be back very soon. Three, goaltending has stepped it up when it matters most. Alex Auld has been nothing short of fantastic in his recent stretch of games while Tim Thomas was struggling. Thomas appears to be fine now, but Auld has bailed the B's out now on two separate occassions this season (the first being when he was acquired from Phoenix when Fernandez went down).

Still, this team is not without its issues. The offense has continued to be horribly underperforming with Chuck Kobasew appearing to be the only forward that has brushed off the month long slump. The B's are playing their own little version of Russian Roulette with their season if they continue to score 1 or 2 goals and take games to overtime and shootouts. As it stands today, with 83 points, the Bruins hold a 4 point lead over the 9th place Sabres and the streaking Panthers.

In other B's news, this Thursday should be a classic matchup against the Habs at the Garden. The only thing that could make this game more hyped is if it were on a Saturday night. I fully expect the place to be sold out and I am going to do my hardest to get some tickets. This team is fully aware of their struggles (putting it lightly) against the Habs this year. In order earn some respect and legitimacy for a playoff spot, they absolutely have to win 1, if not, both games of the home and home this Thursday and Saturday. Be expecting a highly physical, highly contested game by both clubs since the remaining games are just as important for both.

Random Thought: It's amazing to look at the standings and see that both the New Jersey Devils AND the New York Rangers have scored less goals than the Bruins this season. The only difference? Goaltending. The Devils and Rangers have given up a collective 68 less goals than our hometown B's. Argue all you want, but Martin Brodeur is definitely one of the greatest goaltenders of all time.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Time To Press The Panic Button

Going up against the worst team in the Eastern Conference, the Bruins lost yet another game tonight 3-1 to the Lightning. The offense continues to be, and this is putting it lightly, anemic. The defense is mediocre at best. Clearly the absence of Zdeno Chara hurts this team's ability to produce in not only the defensive zone, but on the power play as well.

It is amazing how fast this team's fortunes have turned around from their six game winning streak a couple weeks ago to their current horrific state. Chuck Kobasew has basically been absent from any scoring sheet since the beginning of February, Glenn Murray is completely washed up, and Tim Thomas seems to be finally falling back to earth after his season long all-star run.

Myself, just like everyone else, certainly hopes that the B's can tread water for the remaining eleven games of the year. But, with a potential playoff matchup against New Jersey, Pittsburgh, or dare I say it, Montreal, the Black and Gold lack any sufficient weapons to make any impact come the post season. Something drastically needs to change with this team in order to gain some momentum and the schedule certainly doesn't play into the favor of this team either. With games remaining against the Habs, Philly, Ottawa, Washington, New Jersey, etc., it does not look too promising.

I hate to be the pessimist in the conversation but it's certainly time to stop looking at this team through the rosey Bruins beer goggles we've been wearing for a little while here.

Bruins-Lightning; Chara out again

The Bruins need to get back on track tonight against Tampa Bay. However, they will be without their captain, as Zdeno Chara will miss another game tonight with an upper body injury. Peter Chiarelli and Claude Julien both stated that it Chara's injury is minor and that he is day-to-day.

For tonight's game the Bruins must shut down Martin St.Louis and Vinny Lecavalier. They will be without Chara so that means the rest of the defense must step up. If the Bruins win this game big games must come from Ward, Stuart, and Wideman, the latter of the two will probably log the most minutes against Tampa's top line. They must also stay out of the box since Tampa has the 7th rank powerplay in the league. The Bruins have no excuse to lose at home to the worst team in the Eastern Conference. If the Bruins drop another game to a bad team then they better start looking over their shoulder. This is not the time to be playing their worst hockey of the year.

Tim Thomas will get the nod in goal tonight over Alex Auld. Auld started the last 3 games. Thomas has no fared well in his previous two outings, allowing 5 and 7 goals respectively.

Note from practice: Bergeron, Alberts, and Fernandez all skated today. No updates on any of them, but Fernandez is said to be the closest to returning to action.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Chara out again

Zdeno Chara will miss his second straight game tonight because of an upper body injury. Chara may be ready for the Bruins next game against Tampa Bay on Thursday. Aaron Ward will suit up tonight after missing the previous four games with a right foot injury. Alex Auld will start in goal for the third consecutive game.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Matt Lashoff Recalled

The Bruins have recalled defenseman Matt Lashoff from Providence following their 2-1 victory over the Washington Capitals. Lashoff has been recalled because of in-game injuries to Bobby Allen, Zdeno Chara, and Dennis Wideman. All three of the defensemen returned in the game. Chara is questionable for next game.

Where Are You, pt. 2

So, clearly this last post generated some spirited discussion, which is exactly what I like to see on this blog. I want to take this second post to elaborate just a bit more on the first one so all can understand where I really was coming from.

My problem with the Bruins at the deadline didn't stem from the fact that they didn't get Marion Hossa. In fact, I'm glad they didn't give up Kessel because I'm convinced he will become a much better player, and soon. My problem arises with the fact that a simple swap of a draft pick or mid-level prospect in Providence would have yielded, at the very least, a depth defenseman. It's no secret that Shane Hnidy really isn't doing much. Couple that with the absence of Aaron Ward for the past three games and Andrew Alberts for months now, and clearly there are going to be issues on defense.

It wouldn't have taken much to help this team out and it most certainly wouldn't have screwed up the precious "chemistry" that made this team so good over their 6 game winning streak. Each person reading this needs to take a second and really think about whether this team is really better without having made any move whatsoever. Sure would have come in handy with a savvy veteran like Ward out of the lineup.

On another thought, today and tomorrow mark two extremely important games for the Bruins. The Capitals are first up for the B's at home today and retribution is the key word of the day. If this team can't get up for a game like this after the 10-2 drubbing they took last Tuesday then they have no business being in the playoffs. Furthermore, this is a weekend where the Bruins have to win both games to prove to themselves that they belong in the race for Lord Stanley.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Where Are You?

Just curious to see where the folks are that decided to rip me a new one at the trade deadline when I was criticizing the team for not making a move? After being outscored 19-4 over the past 3 games, some defensive depth would be nice right around now wouldn't it? Plus after losting Aaron Ward for the past few games it would have helped even more.

Anyone care to question this again?

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Two positives from the night

No nothing that the Bruins did. However, Montreal and Ottawa both lost tonight so they did not pick up any additional points on the Bruins. Montreal stays at 81 while Ottawa remains with 80. The Bruins currently have 76. I don't even want to get into the terrible performance the Bruins displayed tonight. They need to respond tomorrow versus Florida.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Remember this from the 06 draft???

Looking back at the draft it makes you wonder why the Bruins wanted " The Swede" at the draft. Phil Kessel is a fan favorite of many Bruins and has tremendous upside, but he almost wasn't a Bruin.

On draft day in 2006, there is video of Jeff Gorton, former assistant GM and acting GM at the time, speaking with Washington's GM offering the 5th and the 37th picks overall to move up one spot. Washington then asked who they wanted to pick with the 4th pick and Gorton responded "the Swede". The Capitals declined the trade proposal and took Backstrom while the Bruins took Kessel. The 37th pick for the Bruins was defenseman Yuri Alexandrov. Here is the video

Backstrom may win the Calder trophy as the rookie of the year this season . However, Kessel has obviously not reached his potential yet and will continue to get better. Who would you rather have Kessel and Alexandrov or Backstrom?

Here are their stats:
Kessel: 2006 11 goals 18 assists, -12
2007-08:15 goals 16 assists, -7

Yuri Alexandrov 2006-2007(Russia): 1 goal 1 assist, +1
2007-08 (Russia): 5 goals, 5 assists

Backstrom:2006 (Sweden)- 12 goals 28 assists, -1
2007-08: 10 goals 43 assists, +/- 0


Are you shitting me? 6-0 after one. This is the WORST period of hockey I may have EVER seen.

Lopsided from the beginning. They score 32 seconds in and it seems like every minute after that. I go upstairs to get some food and I come back, 3-0. How do you leave Ovechkin wide open?

I guess for all the goodness in the past 6, the shittness comes out in this one. If we lose 12-0 I won't be surprised. We are barely getting chances.

I don't know if the goaltending or defense is worse either. I am done watching this crapfest. I hope we play better tomorrow.

Bruins-Capitals Preview

The Bruins are only 5 points out of first in the Eastern Conference and are well within striking distance. They also have two games in hand on Montreal and 3 on Pittsburgh (both teams have 81 points). The Capitals enter tonight with a 30-28-8 record and 6 points out of the 8th seed. However, they are only 5 points below top ranked Carolina in the weak Southeast division. The Capitals need this game to keep their playoff hopes from slipping even further. They made some deals at the deadline to bolster their offense (Fedorov)and goaltending(Huet). The Bruins have been hot lately and I expect them to pull off a victory tonight. Former Canadien Cristobal Huet will start in goal tonight. Tim Thomas is in goal for the Bruins. Here are the rest of the lineups for both teams.






Saturday, March 01, 2008

Hockey Journal Notes

Interesting notes from today's installment of the New England Hockey Journal radio show on ESPN 890
  • Matt Kalman, Kevin Paul Dupont, and Mick Colageo brought up the intriguing words spoken by Marion Hossa after he was traded to Pittsburgh earlier this week. According to them, Hossa had nothing but great things to say about Boston, when asked. He said he would love to be able to play alongside fellow Slovak Zdeno Chara as well as former teammate Marc Savard.
  • Dave Molinari from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette called in to discuss the Penguins trade deadline moves and anything else hockey related. He labeled the Pens moves "a go for broke" style that you don't have many chances to do in today's salary cap era. He also made note of Pittsburgh's very "ordinary" defense, which conveniently, is manned by none other than former Boston whipping boy, Hal Gill.
  • The words Claude Julien and Jack Adams Award were mentioned in the same sentence and I have no reason to disagree.
  • Interesting note: Bill Guerin was the man that the Bruins lost to free agency and with the compensation draft pick, Patrice Bergeron was the man selected in the 2nd round of the 2003 draft.
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