Scrolling Marquee with text links

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Is it Tuuka Time??

Tuuka Rask recorded his first NHL shutout in only his 5 career game. Rask stopped all 35 shots from a below average offense. He looked very composed with his butterfly style of play. He was square on the majority of shots that came his way but one of his weaknesses was his rebound control. I am all for the dual goaltending tandem, but it makes you wonder, is Manny Fernandez now expendable? Would you trade him if you could get that lefthanded shooting winger? Or if you could get the puck moving defenseman? Tuuka was drafted in the same class as Carey Price and appears to be ready to make it to the next level. Once Fernandez comes back and starts playing well again, the question will be if Chiarelli can say no to trade proposals especially if they fit the need the Bruins want to address. If Rask continues to show he is ready, it may alter Chiarelli's decision to go further with the Thomas-Rask tandem instead of the Thomas-Fernandez tandem. Chiarelli likes getting value for his players and with Manny leaving at the end of the season as a UFA, it makes it even more of a difficult decision.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Confirmed - Kessel will play tonight

According to the BISH from, Phil Kessel will play tonight.

Bruins head coach Claude Julien has announced that Phil Kessel will return to the Bruins lineup this evening.

Kessel, who has 24 goals and 17 assists for 41 points in 42 games missed the last six games with mono.

"He get's the green light tonight," said Julien. "He'll be in the lineup.

"We had a good practice yesterday and worked with him one-on-one.

"Hopefully [he's] ready to go."

Expected lineup



Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tkachuk to Boston? Would you do it?

This is taken from Usually the information there is 100% inaccurate and made up, but I decided to post it anyway:
Sources close to Tkachuk tell me there are currently six NHL clubs on his current wish list.

In no particular order….

1. Boston
2. Rangers
3. Capitals
4. Possibly Pittsburgh (depending on where they are in the standings)
5. Detroit
6. San Jose

This is a preliminary list that includes NHL teams who are likely to be in position to strongly compete for a Stanley Cup.

This list is certainly subject to change.

Even if there is no credibility to that site, it got me thinking how nice he would look on a line with Bergeron. If the Bruins could make a move for him, it would add a lefthanded shooting veteran who can play both wing and center. Giving up a first round draft pick is something I would definitely consider, especially since the Bruins will pick between 26-30. Just a first rounder would not get it done but if the price were right, say two out of a combination of Karsums, Lashoff, Nokelainen, or Sobotka then its something to really consider. However, if acquiring him requires both a pick and prospect, and then the package of young players, there is no way Chiarelli pulls the trigger. Nonetheless, I feel that Chiarelli will make a move for a veteran forward before the deadline, but someone along the likes of Mark Recchi is more likely at this point.

Kessel cleared; could play tomorrow

Phil Kessel has been cleared by the doctors to participate in full contact. Kessel wore a protective strap around his wast to protect his spleen. He skated on a line with Lucic and Begeron in practice today. This means he may be available for tomorrow's game. Kessel only missed 7 games due to mononucleosis, less than a month of hockey.

"Hopefully after today and after tomorrow's morning skate, he should be able to come back," Claude Julien said

Caps - Bruins Notes

Great game last night from the Bruins pulling out the 3-2 overtime victory. The Bruins seemed a little rusty but nonetheless pulled out the win. Great game from Patrice Bergeron with the highlight diving play and excellent pass to Savard for the game-tying goal. He was great in the faceoff circle, but shifted over and played mostly wing and looked like the Patrice of old. Although he did not look 100% percent comfortable out there, he still played very well especially for his first game back. Lucic looked great out there, hitting everything he could. I'm pumped to see Lucic back with Savard. Andrew Ference looked the worst of the three returning players. He looked very rusty at times and did have a few bad clearing attempts. Ference is an important asset to this team and with extended playing time should be fine, especially playing with Dennis Wideman. Once again Thomas was awesome last night and Shawn Thornton played a hell of a game.

3 up
Thomas - great game probably the reason the Bruins won
Thornton - Not just a tough guy, he can pot some too.
Bergeron - So glad to have him back.

3 down
Stephane Yelle - Awful on defensive zone faceoffs. Also missed a golden chance to tie the game
Ference - Looked a little rusty and one really bad clearing attempt.
Axelsson - Stop standing at the offensive blueline when your linemates are behind the net, you are not the defenseman.

Now the question is what happens to the lineup when Ryder comes back from his injury. Do you keep Bergeron on the wing or put him back as the third line center? I would keep him on the wing until Kessel returns and then re-evaluate. What about Bitz vs Hunwick? Keep Bitz up and send Hunwick back or do you continue to use Hunwick on the wing?

Heres what I do for the next game:

Monday, January 26, 2009

Bergeron, Lucic and Ference to play tomorrow

In an interview on NESN, Peter Chiarelli said in all likelihood that all three of Bergeron, Lucic, and Ference will play tomorrow. It says it on the bottom line on NESN as well. Lucic is not much of a surprise. Ference has been skating lately, but wit his return who sits on d? Bergeron is the major question here. He has been skating and taking part in contact drills in practice for about two weeks now. It will be interesting to see if he actually is in the lineup tomorrow. Assuming Bergeron is back, he may be playing on the wing. As of now Sobotka and St. Pierre are both back in Providence, while Bitz is still up with the big club. Here's a possible lineup for tomorrow if these players do in fact return to action and there are no other call ups:



Friday, January 23, 2009

Trade targets

Here are some potential available players the Bruins may look to acquire before the trading deadline. These players all have expiring contracts after this season. I do not feel like the Bruins will target a player with any additional time on their contracts because their cap situation for the 09-10 season is projected to be right up against the ceiling (after they sign their RFA's and Thomas) and an additional move may be done in the offseason. Here are players with expiring contracts and potentially available at the trade deadline:

Player - Current Team - Stats (Goals-Assists-Total)
Michael Reasoner - Atlanta Thrashers - 7-8-15
Eric Perrin - Atlanta Thrashers - 5-7-12
Ian Lapperriere - Colorado Avalanche - 4-9-13
Tyler Arnason - Colorado Avalanche - 3-11-14
Michael Peca - Columbus Blue Jackets - 4-9-13
Eric Cole - Edmonton Oilers - 11-10-21
Richard Zednik - Florida Panthers - 6-10-16
Radek Dvorak - Florida Panthers - 7-14-21
Kyle Calder - LA Kings - 6-10-16
Mike Comrie - NY Islanders - 6-9-15
Doug Weight - NY Islanders - 7-25-32
Bill Guerin - NY Islanders - 14-18-32
Andy Hilbert - NY Islanders - 8-9-17
Chris Neil - Ottawa Senators - 2-4-6
Keith Tkachuk - St Louis Blues - 15-16-31
Dan Hinote - St. Louis Blues - 1-1-2
Andy McDonald - St. Louis Blues - 6-12-18
Mark Recchi - Tampa Bay Lightning - 10-21-31
Nik Antropov - Toronto Maple Leafs - 13-22-35
Dominic Moore - Toronto Maple Leafs - 9-16-25

Peter Chiarelli will probably acquire a player but not the impact "first line" guy we all may want him to get. Chiarelli will not risk trading away high draft picks or young prospects with high upside. Assuming this to be the case, look for Chiarelli to target a veteran who has playoff experience. A left handed shot is probably high on the Bruins wish list as is someone who has some size who can play physical in the postseason.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Bruins at Maple Leafs

Aaron Ward will play tonight after sitting out the previous 3 games with a charlie horse.

Tim Thomas is in goal once again for the Bruins. This is the sixth consecutive start for Thomas.

Sobotka-Savard-Kobasew (Like the Sobotka addition)



After this game, the Bruins get a much needed rest because of the All-star break. Hopefully with this rest, it allows all the injured to fully recover from their injuries. Expect to see Patrice Bergeron, Milan Lucic, and Andrew Ference in the near future. Lucic and Ference should be available for the first game back against Washington. There is no time table on Bergeron's return but he has been practicing on a daily basis and is close to being ready as well.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Blues at Bruins 1/19/08

Old friend Brad Boyes will be back in the Garden for today's matinee game against the Blues. Boyes leads St. Louis with 20 goals and 36 points this season after netting 43 goals last season. Looking back on the Wideman-Boyes swap, I still like how the Bruins made out in this deal, despite the big numbers Boyes has been putting up.

Milan Lucic, Patrice Bergeron, Andrew Ference, and Aaron Ward will all most likely miss the next two games, giving them that time plus the all-star break to fully heal. Lucic is the closest to returning, with Bergeron the furthest away from game time action.

The offense has looked awful lately hopefully playing the last place team in the Western Conference helps kick start it today. The Blues rank 28th in goals allowed this season.

I really like the Stuart and Chara pairing. It can only make Stuart a better overall player by giving him confidence from playing with Chara.

Sobotka-St. Pierre-Bitz



Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Next year cap commitments

Just a quick look at the cap situation and the players the Bruins have under contract for next season.

Forwards (10) $25.375 million

Marc Savard - 5.0
Patrice Bergeron - 4.750
Michael Ryder - 4.0
Marco Sturm - 3.5
Blake Wheeler - 2.825
Chuck Kobasew - 2.333
Petteri Nokelainen - 0.850
Milan Lucic - 0.850
Vladamir Sobotka - 0.750
Shawn Thornton - 0.517

Defensemen (5) $16.575
Zdeno Chara - 7.5
Dennis Wideman - 3.875
Aaron Ward - 2.5
Andrew Ference - 1.4
Mark Stuart - 1.30

Goaltenders (1) $3.2 million
Tuuka Rask - 3,200

Total - 10 forwards, 5 defensemen, and 1 goaltender = $45.15 million

The Bruins would need to sign a minimum of 2 forwards, 1 defenseman, and 1 goaltender. If the salary cap is around 56 million that would leave about 11 million to hopefully sign Kessel, Krejci, and Thomas.

Here is a look at the current free agents on this team.
UFA and RFA Forwards (4)
P.J. Axelsson (UFA)
David Krejci (RFA)
Phil Kessel (RFA)
Stephane Yelle (UFA)
Notes-St. Pierre, Bitz, and Karsums are also all RFA.

UFA and RFA Defensemen (3)
Matt Hunwick (RFA)
Shane Hnidy (UFA)
Matt Lashoff (RFA)
Notes- Boychuk is a RFA.

UFA and RFA Goaltenders (2)
Manny Fernandez (UFA)
Tim Thomas (UFA)

The Bruins will focus on getting long term deals for both Krejci and Kessel. Both are due for huge raises, Krejci maybe more so then Kessel just because Krejci will put up incredible numbers by the time this season is over. Tim Thomas has emerged as a great goaltender but will 3-4 million for 2 years be enough? My prediction is that the Bruins will move a defenseman and a forward to free up enough cap space to sign all three players. Sturm or Kobasew seem likely candidates from the forwards. Stuart, Ference, and Ward are the likely candidates on defense. If the Bruins move Kobasew, they can shift Wheeler back to the right wing and then have either Soderberg, Sobotka, or Marchand(on a younger player with a cap friendly number) play as the left wing on the 3rd or 4th line. I think the Bruins will attempt to resign Yelle at a similar price tag, or a similar veteran who will not command more than a million. On defense, Hunwick will be back at a higher price tag(1.5 million?), so the Bruins may elect to deal either Ference or Stuart to offset Hunwick's figure. Aaron Ward's contract looks bad now especially with his durability issues. They will then try and bring in a cheap veteran (similar to Hnidy, if they do not resign him) to be the team's 6 defensemen.

Manny Fernandez and P.J. Axelsson are likely gone next season. This team will look very similar next season with the exception of probably one player at both goaltender and defense and two on offense.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bruins 3 - Habs 1

Despite being outplayed, especially in the first period, the Bruins came away with a huge victory over the Montreal Canadiens. The Canadiens came out playing physical and hungry and obvious the more desperate of the two teams. However, the Bruins defended the Garden, stuck with their gameplan, and trusted in Julien's system to pull out the victory. Good teams find ways to win, no matter what the circumstances, and that is exactly what the Bruins did tonight, by winning a big game without 4 of their top forwards. Tim Thomas came up with unbelievable saves throughout the course of the game. Zdeno Chara was the best player on the ice tonight and came up huge both offensively and defensively.

In the third period, Julien cut his lines down to just three. Axelsson moved up to the first line while Karsums and St. Pierre did not skate a shift in the 3rd. Bitz, Nokelainen, and Thornton alternated playing the wings on Yelle's line.

Due to another injury to Aaron Ward (charlie horse again), the Bruins only had 5 defensemen for the entire third period. Wideman and Chara both logged over 30 minutes.

David Krejci continues to pile up the points, adding a goal and an assist.

The highlight of the night came when Tim Thomas leveled Andrei Kostitsyn after he hit Ward from behind. Thomas leveled Kostitsyn as he skated in front of his crease and received two minutes for roughing. Kostitsyn received 5 for boarding.

The Bruins now hold a 12 point lead over the Canadiens in the standings.

No Lucic tonight; Hnidy returns

Despite Lucic practicing today, he will not play in tonight's game against Montreal. No need to rush Lucic back especially if he is not fully healed. Montreal would definitely be gunning for him every opportunity they get. We do not want another Aaron Ward scenario and a reoccurring injury to sideline Lucic for any additional time.

In other news, Shane Hnidy is back and will play tonight. Patrice Bergeron skated for a third consecutive day. Andrew Ference and Manny Fernandez also skated today and are probably a week away from returning.

Projected lineup:

St. Pierre-Savard-Kobasew


Monday, January 12, 2009

Phil Kessel out with mononculeosis

The Bruins have placed Phil Kessel on the IR with mononculeosis. There is no given timetable on Kessel's return, although GM Peter Chiarelli estimated it may be around a month.

''The general assessment of mononucleosis is that a guy is typically out around a month,'' said Chiarelli. ''That said, it could be longer, could be shorter...all based on how an individual recovers.''

This is a huge blow to the Bruins, who are already missing Sturm, Bergeron, Lucic, and Ference. Knowing from experience, mono is the type of thing that is completely unpredictable. If Kessel misses only one month then the Bruins would be extremely lucky. In the meantime, the Bruins will give the opportunities to some Providence Bruins to see how they can contribute to this team. Right now the lineup looks a lot less talented in the offensive department. We still got the Krejci line in tact which has been arguably the best time in the NHL the past 2 months. Here is what I project Julien to do with the lineup(not what I would like to see, but my personal feeling he will put out there):

Nokelainen-St. Pierre- Bitz

Regan Recalled; Fernandez still out

Here is a press release from the Boston Bruins and their official website

Boston Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced today that the club has recalled goaltender Kevin Regan from the Providence Bruins (American Hockey League) on an emergency basis. Regan will join the club today and practice with the team at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington at 10:30 a.m.

Regan, a South Boston native, has appeared in 14 games this season for Providence and posted a 6-4-1 record with a 3.33 Goals Against Average and .875 save percentage. Regan played four years at the University of New Hampshire from 2004-2008, finishing as the Wildcats' all-time leader in wins and the only goaltender in school history to record back-to-back 20 win seasons. His 2007-2008 honors included a unanimous selection as Hockey East Player of the Year, finalist for the Hobey Baker Award for the nation's top collegiate player, First Team All-American, Fist Team All-Hockey East and the Walter Brown Award as the top American-born player in New England.

He made his professional debut lat year with the Providence Bruins at the conclusion of his college season and earned a 3-0 shutout on April 12, 2008 against Manchester.

The 24-year-old Regan was drafted by the Bruins in the ninth round (277th overall) in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.

The Bruins conclude their six game homestand Tuesday night, January 13, against the Montreal Canadiens at 7:00 p.m. ET.

The recall of Regan means Fernandez is still out and will probably miss Tuesday night's game against the Canadiens. The reason Fernandez has been held out of practice and the previous game has not been disclosed. Hopefully there is no serious injury and Fernandez misses limited time.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

A few firsts

Congratulations to Byron Bitz on his first NHL assist in his first NHL game. Bitz played physical and showed some agility for a bigger man. Bitz may stick around even if it is as an extra forward. He finished the game with 4 hits and nearly 10 minutes of ice time while playing on the fourth line.

Martins Karsums back with the big club for his second stint of the season also recorded his first assist. Karsums tipped a shot from Mark Stuart, which then redirected off the skate of Stephane Yelle which resulted in the Bruins second goal. Karsums played a steady game and finished with 9:10 of TOI.

Matt Hunwick caught Justin Williams with his head down coming through the neutral zone. Hunwick leveled Williams with a questionable open ice elbow. Williams chases Hunwick down and the 185 pound defenseman dropped his gloves for the first time as an NHLer. Hunwick with the take down but a draw overall.

The Wheeler, Krejci, Ryder combination is emerging as one of the top lines in the league. The Bruins officially have two number one lines which can both produce offensively and also play sound defensively. Krejci is just a magician with the puck. In his last 24 games he has 13 goals and 24 assists for 37 points and a +22. During that span the Bruins are 20-4-0.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Mid Season Grades

Here are my grades for each position player and goaltender. My grades are based on performance in opportunities and roles each player is given (i.e. poor powerplay or penalty killing will have a negative effect on grade). Each player who has played in a minimum of 12 games will get a grade based on their play even in limited action. I will evaluate on each grade sometime this weekend.

Zdeno Chara- A
Andrew Ference-B
Shane Hnidy- B-
Matt Hunwick- B
Matt Lashoff- D
Mark Stuart- C+
Aaron Ward- B-
Dennis Wideman- A-

P.J. Axelsson- C
Patrice Bergeron- B-
Phil Kessel- A
Chuck Kobasew- C+
David Krejci- A
Milan Lucic- B
Petteri Nokelainen- D-
Michael Ryder- B+
Marc Savard- A+
Vladmir Sobotka- D
Marco Sturm- B
Shawn Thornton- C+
Blake Wheeler- B+
Stephane Yelle- C+

Manny Fernandez- A
Tim Thomas - A

News and Notes from 1/9/09

Lots of news happening today in Bruins land. First off Patrice Bergeron addressed the media today. Patrice Bergeron is confident he will return to action this season. There is no timetable on his return but this is excellent news.

“I’m very confident I will play this year. It’s a matter of when. That’s why I don’t want to put a date on it and get disappointed like I was last year during the playoffs,” Bergeron stated.

Marco Sturm will undergo surgery on his knee. He may miss the remainded of the season. With Sturm out the Bruins need to address their left wing depth. A move for free agent Brendan Shanahan is a possibility. However, the Bruins may elect to wait until the deadline to try and acquire a veteran lefthanded shooting winger, especially if none of the younger players step up.

Martin St. Pierre and Vladmir Sobotka have both been assigned back to Providence. Both struggled last night and did not look good defensively. The Bruins now only have ten healthy forwards on their current roster.

Milan Lucic will miss tomorrow afternoon's game against the Hurricanes. He should be ready to go Tuesday against Montreal.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Game Notes 1/8/08 vs. Ottawa

According to Bish, P.J. Axelsson has finally been taken off the first line. Great news there. Axelsson is a good player, but putting him in a role where it makes it very difficult for him succeed only hurts this team, which was made more apparent the last 2 games. Axelsson is best used on a line that isn't expected to score multiple goals every night. Playing him on more of a checking line utilizes his skills much better. Good move by Julien after finally realizing Axelsson does not work on the first line, a move that hasn't worked for the past 3 seasons. Hopefully its the end of that experiment.

Martins Karsums was recalled on an emergency basis. He will probably stick around until Lucic is healthy enough to play again.

Stephane Yelle has recently been battling the flu. He is still expected to play tonight.

Aaron Ward is playing tonight. Lucic and Hnidy are both out.



Eastern Conference Reserves

Marc Savard, Tim Thomas, and Zdeno Chara will represent the Bruins in this years allstar game. Phil Kessel did not make the team despite being fourth in the league in goals with 24. Here is the rest of the lineup:

Alex Ovechkin - Washington
Vinny Lecavalier - Tampa Bay
Eric Staal - Carolina
Thomas Vanek - Buffalo
Marc Savard - Boston
Zach Parise - New Jersey
Dany Heatley - Ottawa
Ilya Kovalchuk - Atlanta
Jeff Carter - Philadelphia

Jay Bouwmeester - Florida
Zdeno Chara- Boston
Mark Streit - NY Islanders
Tomas Kaberle - Toronto

Tim Thomas - Boston
Henrik Lundqvist - NY Rangers

In the Sophomores vs rookies game, expect Lucic, Krejci, Hunwick, and Wheeler to get serious consideration. All could make those squads.

Lucic, Hnidy out tonight

Milan Lucic is out with an undisclosed injury. His status is day-to-day. Shawn Thornton will skate in his place on the third line with Stephane Yelle and Chuck Kobasew.

Shane Hnidy will also be out with an eye injury. In the 1-0 loss to Minnesota, Hnidy took a shot off the face. Hnidy is also day-to-day. Aaron Ward, who missed the previous game after suffering a charlie horse injury, will play tonight filling Hnidy's spot on the roster with Matt Lashoff also playing.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Lucic undisclosed injury - day to day

Milan Lucic missed practice today with an undisclosed injury. His status is day-to-day. Apparently Lucic injured himself in last night's 1-0 loss to Minnesota. Shawn Thornton skated in his place on the third line today.

"We'll see how he feels tomorrow and go from there," said Julien. "As I mentioned to you guys at the beginning of the year, there's certain times where we're going to protect our players, and I think this is one of the times we're going to protect our player. We'll leave it at an 'injury.'"

After rewatching the game, I could not see anything noticeably wrong with Lucic. Hopefully it is a minor injury which doesn't prevent him from playing tomorrow night. The Bruins lack depth at the left wing position, specifically left-handed shooting left wingers.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Lashoff in, Ward out

Peteri Nokelainen is skating during pregame warmups indicating he may be playing tonight. St. Pierre will be scratched if Nokelainen is inserted into the lineup. Nokelainen would skate on the fourth line.

Aaron Ward is out for tonight's game with a charlie horse. Matt Lashoff will take his roster spot and skate with Shane Hnidy on the third unit. Lashoff may also see powerplay time with the second unit.

Game Day - 1/6/08 - vs. Minnesota

In tonight's game against the Minnesota Wild, Aaron Ward will be a game time decision. Ward suffered a charlie horse in the loss to Buffalo on Saturday. If Ward cannot go, Matt Lashoff will play and be paired with Shane Hnidy on the 3rd pairing.

Manny Fernandez is starting in goal against his former team. In the previous meeting, Fernandez took the loss in a 4-3 defeat.

Andrew Ference who has been skating the past couple of days, was not present at practice today, indicating he is still a few games away from returning to action.

Optional skate this morning. Only regulars(excluding Ference) not to skate were Zdeno Chara, Stephane Yelle, and P.J. Axelsson.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Sturm to have surgery

From Joe Haggerty and

Marco Sturm will need surgery on his injured left knee in the coming weeks, according to a report out of the Boston Herald. The German-born winger had just returned from concussion/whiplash symptoms on Dec. 18 against the Toronto Maple Leafs, but immediately went down with the knee injury after scoring a first period goal. Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli wouldn't rule out a return by Sturm this season following the surgery, but that's certainly a good possibility given the lengthy delay leading up to his knee procedure. “He’s going to have surgery,” Chiarelli said. “It’s just a question of when. It’s a matter of letting it settle down and getting some strength back in before they do it. We’ll let you know more (next week)."

Looks like Marco Sturm will be out for quite some time. No timetable has been given for Sturm's return. With the absence of Sturm for a long period of time, expect P.J. Axelsson to continue to receive first line powerplay minutes as well as play on the top line with Savard and Kessel. The Bruins lack left handed shooting forwards on this team and refuse to try other options in obvious situations where Axelsson is asked to do something he simply cannot do. Reworking the top two powerplay units, to get Kessel or Krejci more powerplay time may be something that is looked at by Julien but unlikely to happen. If the powerplay struggles, look for Chuck Kobasew and Blake Wheeler to get some looks.
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