Archive for October, 2010

The Coward’s Way

October 30, 2010

chris neil dennis seidenberg

That should have been an instigator to Chris Neil.

Period.

Automatic suspension for the dumb animal and a $10,000 dollar fine to the coach.

Dennis Seidenberg has to be thinking, “Jesus, I came to Ottawa and had a great night kicking the hell out of the Senators so why the fuck do I need to have my head punched by some mouth-breathing goon to finish it off?”

Seriously, Chris Neil. It was Dennis Seidenberg you jumped.

Dennis.

Seidenberg.

Are you that big a pussy or were you just tired of having your own face beat in by Milan Lucic and Shawn Thornton lately so you go after a non-fighter? You should be ashamed of yourself. Of course, what should we expect from “fellows” who go around dressed like this before a hockey game.

chris neil gay ottawa senator

Anyway, Bruins are playing astonishingly well and it’s about as entertaining as it gets right now.

Share and enjoy.

Bruins Looking At Yandle

October 26, 2010
keith yandle boston bruins

Keith Yandle: Future Boston Bruin?

Joe Haggerty is reporting that the B’s are once again hot and heavy in the trade market and that they are scouting the Phoenix Coyotes with Milton native Keith Yandle, an offensive minded defenseman, at the top of their want list.

Of course, so would he be for a lot of NHL teams and there’s no indication that the ‘Yotes would be willing to move the 24 year old blueliner so easily. Other names from the Phoenix side that have supposedly come up are Mikkel Boedker and Viktor Tikhonov, both forwards currently playing for the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL.

The names being speculated on from the Bruins’ side are, as you might expect, Michael Ryder and Blake Wheeler with Matt Hunwick and Mark Stuart being thrown in for good measure.

How much of this is real? Well, we know the B’s are up against it with the Cap and with Marc Savard and Marco Sturm both skating today and nearing a possible return, the relief they have enjoyed due to injury is shortly due to come to an abrupt end. Wheeler, still young and fairly talented, making $2.2 million, and Ryder, having a hot start and making $4 million, are the obvious choices to move out and make space. The Coyotes apparently have $9 million under the cap right now and could fit some fatter contracts. Both are on 1-year deals.

It could all easily be pie-in-the-sky fantasy for Bruins fans, though. Wheeler and Ryder, neither of whom anyone would really miss, for a budding local star on defense? How realistic is that considering that Phoenix, and every other team in the NHL, knows damn well how desperate the Bruins are going to be to make room. Seems too good to be true, regardless of the “source” behind the the story.

Meanwhile, this 4-day gap between games is killing me. The Rangers game was a tantalizing affair, highly entertaining despite the loss, and I’m eager to see them square off against the Leafs on Thursday. Eager, also, to do more writing here now that my real life schedule, which has been utterly insane of late, will be a bit more relaxed and, hopefully, allow me to start bringing things here up to speed.

After all, I still owe you an article about the three weeks I spent in Japan with Jack Edwards during his whirlwind Haiku-palooza Tour. Suffice to say there were more than a few disturbingly violent and confusing incidents that convinced me that what they say about the man is true. That you don’t drink with Jack Edwards unless you’re cool with random bar brawls and executive class prostitutes.

More on that when the legal aspects have been ironed out.

Homeward Bound

October 12, 2010

The Bruins wrapped up their Griswold family European Vacation Sunday with a 3-0 shutout of the Phoenix Coyotes in O2 Arena in Prague. It was an interesting, impressive performance for many reasons, not the least of which was to make up for the poor effort shown on Saturday in the 5-2 loss.

  • Tyler Seguin’s first NHL goal, a thing of beauty. He takes a Michael Ryder aerial lob pass out of the air for a clear breakaway, couple little dekes and flips it past Ilya Bryzgalov on the back hand. Clear goalscorer’s move and the joyous celebration of an 18 year old getting his first in the big show.
  • Tim Thomas, the underdog in the B’s goaltending tandem to Tuukka Rask, pitching a shutout and clearly saying to Bruins coaching, management and fans: “I’m still here, guys.” Look for the Tank to challenge for the No. 1 spot all the way. Just two years removed from the Vezina and now fully healthy, there’s no reason he couldn’t win it back.
  • The line of David Krejci, Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic looks killer. Horton seems like a natural goal scorer and his release from his Floridian prison might very well do wonders for his game. Paired with a high level playmaker like Krejci and another big, skilled forward in Lucic, it seems like the best 3-man line combination the Bruins have had in ages. Until they have an off period and Claude Julien breaks them up, that is.
  • Seems like Zdeno Chara has been given the green light to get more involved with the offense. The team lacks a true offensive defenseman and I’m not sure that Big Z really has the hands to play that role on the team, to be honest. My feeling is that he can be the best defensive defenseman in the league with his size and reach and why push him to spend too much time up ice and take away from his responsibilities in his own end just because there’s no one else. It remains the team’s biggest need going forward. An offensive, puck moving defenseman of high calibre to compliment Chara. Find that and this team could be pretty near complete.
  • Some other bookkeeping notes. You all know about Chara’s new 7-year extension by now. The Bruins have also signed Brian McGrattan to a 1-year, two way deal to give the team some depth and added toughness.

    The B’s next game is this Saturday in New Jersey. Early reports have the Devils suiting up 5 forwards, 2 d-men and Ilya Kovalchuk in goal that night thanks to injuries, suspensions and waiver rules.

    Underway

    October 8, 2010

    steve macintyre vs raitis ivanans

    The 2010-11 NHL Season began yesterday. Rather exciting with 5 games spaced out over the day and evening. My favorite had to be the Edmonton-Calgary match-up as I’m a true sucker for the Battle of Alberta. Steve MacIntyre and Raitis Ivanans, a burgeoning little rivalry in itself considering they fought just days ago in the preseason, was the heavyweight slugfest du jour. I won’t post the video because I’m not a big one for clips where guys get injured but suffice to say the big MacIntyre has a solid steel right hand that looks like it weighs about 375 lbs when it hits Ivanans’ left eye. Ouch.

    This guy is at home in Edmonton, I think. He could become a bit of a cult hero there with performances like that. He’s goddamn huge, has rock-like hands and is willing and able. Florida might regret not giving him a real shot down there. I bet the Oilers are happy to have a guy like him to protect some of their young stars.

    Three of them, including much heralded 2010 number on overall pick Taylor Hall, made their NHL debuts last night. Hall, who has had a less than stellar training camp I guess, was outshone by 2008 first round pick Jordan Eberle who had a goal and an assist in the 4-0 win for the Oil. Apparently, a lot more folk are impressed by he and the young Swede Magnus Paajarvi, another first rounder (2009), than they have been with the teenager Hall. Might be a good thing, though, if it takes pressure off Taylor and allows him time to develop.

    taylor hall edmonton oilers
    Edmonton Oilers Taylor Hall

    Then again, if Tyler Seguin plays well a lot of other folks will want to compare the two and debate the order of the picks. I think it’s safe to say the two will be forever intertwined throughout their professional careers. People, especially in Boston and in Edmonton, will always want to compare the two.

    Speaking of which, the Bruins begin tomorrow in Prague. Game time is 12 pm Eastern and the match will take place at O2 Arena versus the Phoenix Coyotes. For what it’s worth, the B’s will be considered the home team tomorrow.

    Amidst all the hoopla, some extra celebration for Patrice Bergeron as he signs a three-year $15 Million dollar contact extension. He would have been an RFA next season but the team has obviously decided that he is too valuable a player to mess about with and have locked him in to three more, after which he will become an UFA. Good thing, on my opinion, as Bergeron has shown himself to be the most consistent and reliable forward on the entire team of late.

    Future Captain?

    2010-11 Season Preview

    October 6, 2010

    tyler seguin boston bruins

    It’s been an odd day already today in Boston sports. The Patriots seemingly shooting themselves in the foot by trading Randy Moss. The Red Sox ownership getting into the EPL by spending $500 Million on Liverpool FC. There’s a weird buzz in the air an on the local sports talk airwaves, I tell you.

    Seems like a great day to talk hockey, if you ask me.

    The Boston Bruins finished off their preseason schedule yesterday with a sound drubbing of Liberec of the Czech Elite league thanks to a 5-point effort from Patrice Bergeron and a goal each from youngsters Tyler Seguin and Jordan Caron. Feel free to pencil in each of them to the opening night roster because they will undoubtedly be there.

    In my mind, much of the story in the early going might very well be about these two impressive rookies. Not since the team debuted Joe Thornton and Sergei Samsonov in 1997 has there been an infusion of youthful talent as exciting as what we’ll be seeing here this season. Granted, there are no guarantees of success for either of them but the outlook is good and they have shown in the preseason that they belong. With Marc Savard out and a clear dearth of scoring from the wing last season, it’s obvious that both are needed.

    Here’s how I see the roster that will start the season. Line combinations based less on what’s happened in the preseason and more on how I configure them in NHL 11. What? 16 years of playing EA Sports hockey games doesn’t qualify me to be an NHL head coach? Whatever.

    Forwards

    Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
    Blake Wheeler-Tyler Seguin-Mark Recchi
    Daniel Paille-Patrice Bergeron-Jordan Caron
    Shawn-Thornton-Gregory Campbell-Michael Ryder

    Extra: Brad Marchand or Brian McGrattan

    Defense

    Zdeno Chara-Dennis Seidenberg
    Mark Stuart-Johnny Boychuk
    Andrew Ference-Matt Hunwick

    Extra: Adam McQuaid

    Goaltenders

    Tuukka Rask
    Tim Thomas

    Not much in the way of surprises there. Not much in the way of controversy, either. The only real debate I can see is whether or not McGrattan sticks around as a spare forward, sending Marchand to Providence, or vice versa. Adam McQuaid seems the logical choice to be the bubble d-man but it’s possible Matt Bartkowski could leap over him on the depth chart with a strong preseason.

    Actually, the defense is my one area of concern going into the season. At the top, it would seem like an area of real strengh with Zdeno Chara as the anchor but I have to admit to not being sold on the supporting cast. There remain a lot of questions concerning health, depth and ability. Andrew Ference and Mark Stuart have had some serious injury problems over the past few seasons, to the extent that I seriously question the sanity of the contract extension the latter received this past season from Peter Chiarelli, a three year deal for $2.25 each. Especially considering the Bruins’ current salary dilemmas. If either goes down, there are going to be some fresh faced youths having to be called into action because the defensive depth chart now, including McQuaid, consists of youngsters like Bartkowski, Steve Kampfer or someone like Nathan McIver. Yuri Alexandrov and many of the other prospects training in Providence just don’t have enough elite professional experience in their pockets to be totally NHL ready.

    I could be wrong, though. We’ll certainly get the chance to see.

    Salary Caps are a bitch, aren’t they, Pete? Pain in the ass.

    It’s not an issue you can ignore when discussion the 2010-2011 Boston Bruins. We saw what the Chicago Blackhawks had to do in the offseason. Trade away half your team. No easy task but they managed to do it.

    The Bruins, however, did not. Marc Savard was not traded. Tim Thomas was not traded. Michael Ryder (what? a guy can dream, can’t he?) was not traded. Silly contracts like Ference’s were added. It became a tight squeeze to fit under the cap and I ask, as a hardcore Be A GM Mode player on NHL 11, how can you not be prepared for that? Gotta think ahead. Avoid and get rid of bad deals that hamstring your ability to make moves. Add depth.

    Wait. Did I say earlier there was no controversy or debate surrounding this year’s version of the team? What was I smoking?

    Here are just some of the other issues the team will face this season.

  • Marc Savard. Will he ever be healthy again and if he is, how will they make salary room for him on the team. The elephant in the room is the idea that the star center’s absence might be a bit of a relief for the team because it puts them under the cap temporarily. Before he fell ill, Marc Savard was on the trading block because the Bruins needed salary space. Now they have it. Plus the chance to see what it will be like to play without him, if he ever gets traded which seems unlikely right now, doesn’t it? Makes you think about the seven year deal that he just signed, as well.
  • Tim Thomas. Sitting there as a clear back-up but making $5 million for the next three. I hope he plays well this season, for his own sake. If it means he can be traded then it’s a win-win as far as I’m concerned. My bet is he dying to show folks that he’s still one hell of a competitor no matter his age or what not. The Tank is nothing if not a battler. Meanwhile, Rask remains entrenched as the number one, a potential goaltending star on the rise.
  • Then, of course, there’s the sting of, oh, I don’t know, something we refer to around here as just THE WORST FUCKING LOSS IN THE HISTORY OF MANKIND. EVER. Up 3-0 in the series. Up 3-0 in game fucking seven at home in your own building. Jesusfuckingchristalmighty. How to live that down when many of the core members of that monumental choke are still on this team. I mean, Dennis Wideman wasn’t to blame for it all, folks.
  • Which leads me to one last controversy. Let’s talk about the so-called Hot Seat.

  • Claude Julien. Should he be on it for what happened in the playoffs last season and in previous campaigns? I’ve heard him making the injury excuse but the truth is his team had a tendency to fall flat and let teams walk all over them at other times during the season, too. Remember Pittsburgh? It was a theme last year. Let us not forget how bad they were at times. Will there be a return of the sort of commitment the team needs to be successful including a commitment to team toughness? Is that a fault of the coaching?
  • peter chiarelli claude julien

    I don’t know. Some might think Chiarelli more deserves the hot seat for his salary cap bumbling and his recent failures in the trade market. Nathan Horton was a nice move and the Phil Kessel deal was inspired but there has been little else for the GM to hang his hat on. Cam Neely is now looking down on him and the Sword of Damocles might very well be raised if his vision of the team does not begin to materialize this season. I’d feel more comfortable leading the charge for Chiarelli than Julien right now but there may come a time when they both go if things get bad again.

    Let’s just hope that doesn’t happen, eh? Let’s watch Seguin and Charon and Rask and see if they can become real players. Same thing goes for Blake Wheeler and Milan Lucic, for that matter. Can they be consistent producers on the wing? Goals, physical play, everything. That’s what the team needs from them, of that I am certain.

    Starting this Saturday in Prague, we’ll get see what happens.

    It won’t be boring I don’t think.

    Bruins vs. Giants Selects

    October 2, 2010

    The only place, after an exhaustive search, I can seem to find any real live information about this game is John Bishop’s blog on the Bruins’ official site.

    It is a crying shame that this game is not being featured on NESN or, at the least, streaming online. A unique opportunity to showcase a once in a lifetime event is being missed.

    Not cool.