Archive for November, 2010

Hunwick To Colorado

November 30, 2010

Matt Hunwick, it appears, is the first casualty of the Boston Bruins’ salary cap dilemma. The young, mobile defenseman has been traded to the Colorado Avalanche for former Boston University Terrier Colby Cohen, now in his first full season of professional hockey. The move clears $1.45 million from the B’s cap and reportedly allows for the activation of Marc Savard later this week.

If that’s all it takes to bring back your potential number one center and, hopefully, jumpstart a team gone stagnant, then it’s not a bad move. The B’s need something badly right now, losers of 4 of their last 5 and looking flat out horrible at times like in Sunday’s vicious beating at the hands of the Atlanta Thrashers. A shake-up like this is as good as anything. The return of Savard could help immensely if he’s anything resembling the player he once was.

That, however, remains to be seen.

colby cohen

Cohen, meanwhile, was a standout at BU on defense, is 6′-2″, 200 lbs. and was a second round pick of the Avalanche in 2007. In 2009 he helped the Terriers win the national title with the game winning goal in overtime against Miami of Ohio and was named Outstanding Player of the Tournament. As an NHL prospect, he’d fall in the upper middle range, the B’s obviously hoping he’ll develop into the offensive minded, puck moving defenseman that Matt Hunwick, with a bit more consisteny, might have been. For the moment, he will report to the Providence Bruins.

Meanwhile, in Boston, Adam McQuaid will return to the line-up in Hunwick’s place, bringing a bit more size and agression. Oddly enough, Hunwick looked like he had taken a page out of McQuaid’s book against the Thrashers when he threw down with Evander Kane, one of the few Bruins showing any battle in the game.

Off to Colorado you go.

Pat Burns 1952-2010

November 20, 2010

This time it’s for real.

Sad but not unexpected, it hurts when one of the good guys shuffles off this mortal coil to whatever lies beyond, if anything. In my more wistful moments, the afterlife for hockey tough guys, for the old schoolers who did things the right way, is something akin to a Valhalla in the form of the Old Boston Garden. Ancient, hallowed and filled with the echoing sounds and faint smells of a thousand great games, the fading cheers of the adoring lunch pailers who loved the way they played the game or, in this case, coached it.

Pat Burns deserves to be there. In the company of the Old Gallery Gods. Raising a cup.

Hopefully, he is.

From Cam Neely, representing the Bruins.

“On behalf of the Jacobs family and the entire Boston Bruins family, I would like to express our deep sorrow on the passing of Pat Burns. Pat was a great coach and more importantly a wonderful man. The Bruins are honored to have him as a part of our history. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Burns family.”

Good Times Garden

November 19, 2010

Things are going well when a guy scores a hat trick and is the second star of the game.

The party atmosphere at TD Garden was thanks to a phenomanal game by Tuukka Rask who made 41 saves to earn his first win of the year via a 4-0 shutout of the visiting Florida Panthers. The Bruins were a bit on their heels all night with Panther forwards buzzing around Rask’s goal but the young Finnish netminder rescued everyone’s bacon with save after save.

In the end, it allowed Milan Lucic to slam home three goals for his second career hat trick. Cue the music and dancing. Fun times at the Beantown Rink.

Lucic is blossoming in a big way this season. He’s becoming the sort of Power Forward that NHL scouts have wet dreams about. Big, nasty and talented. The puck is going in for him like never before in his career. One thing is certain, the man is finally healthy. I don’t think we can discount just how badly that high ankle sprain hampered his game last season. We all said it at the time. He wasn’t the same player.

So welcome back, Looch. You have arrived in style, for sure.

Nathan Horton had three assists on all three Lucic goals. The Bruins’ number one line, even without pivot David Krejci, is becoming one of the killer lines in the entire NHL. Something to keep other teams’ coaches awake at night before they play Boston.

The fun part is that we all know the team can play better, too. With Krejci back and a guy like Boychuk shaking off the rust, the team’s performance will only improve. You now have what might be the best goaltending tandem in the entire League. Think about it. A recent Vezina winner currently leading the league in all goaltending statistical categories in Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask, the guy who finished the year as the leader in those same categories last season.

It’s all going pretty well. Hell, Shawn Thornton has 4 goals. Talk about a gentleman who deserves a little success. Go toe-to-toe with the nastiest pugilists the NHL has to offer (last night it was Darcy Hordichuk) then go out an pop one in the net in the third period. How valuable is a guy who can do that and also play a solid defensive game on your grinding line? The Bruins seem to have all the puzzle pieces falling into place this season and last night was a great example of how excellent things can be when that happens.

Good times, indeed.

Fire Colin Campbell

November 16, 2010
colin campbell

Shut Your Pie Hole and Pack Up Your Desk

Now.

The more you look at this e-mail thing and really see what sort of person Campbell is and how he is conducting business, the more obvious it is that he is completely unsuited for his position or any other of real importance in the NHL.

The correspondence makes a number of things utterly clear:

  • A bias towards Marc Savard that may already have been reflected in actual disciplinary situations that went against the player; i.e. the Matt Cooke hit. Campbell apparently holds a grudge against Savard from his days as head coach of the New York Rangers and believes him to be the “biggest faker going”. As a result, Campbell is now unsuited to make any ruling concerning Savard or the Boston Bruins. Period. All would have to be in question now given his obvious, proven bias.
  • Campbell also has a clear bias concerning incidents involving his son Gregory. Understandable, as he’s the guy’s dad but, in his position of power in the NHL, it becomes a monsterous conflict of interest. It’s illustrated not just in the Savard comments but in the anger shown about a Florida-Atlanta game in 2007 when Gregory (then a Panther) was penalized late in the game, which the Florida was winning 2-1, and it resulted in the Thrashers tying it up and eventually winning in overtime. From two separate e-mails:

    Game not televised. Radio announcers said it was a bullshit penalty.you need to find out for me. How.I don.t know but this was awful. 1:30 left in 2-1 game for [team] and [player] scored with 2 second left to tie it up them won in OT. FUCK

    Did you find out anything? It was [another referee] that made the call. Keep Warren and gas this shithead. 90 seconds left and he calls a weak penalty.tripping. Makes me sick. If I was at the game I would have had to fine me.

    You know what makes me sick? Someone that high up in the NHL heirarchy acting like that, clearly reacting to a play, bad call or not, that went poorly against his son and suggesting a referee should be fired as a result. Without even seeing the play. He’s going on what the radio announcers are saying, obviously sitting around listening to his son’s game. Drinking maybe? You have to wonder.

  • The other thing that’s apparent in the e-mails is that Colin Campbell’s aspirations in the NHL are not limited to being it’s head of discipline. Clearly he’s been keeping his eyes open for a GM job and, according to some, was interested in the Maple Leafs’ before Brian Burke came on the scene. I have little doubt that he still envisions himself in that position at some point, with the money and power that it entails, and (hopefully) jokes with Stephen Walkom at one point:

    I hate soft penalties.remember that when I am a GM!

    As Tyler Dellow suggests, if Colin Campbell is ever hired by some clinically insane NHL owner to actually be the GM of a team, we need to pay close attention to which referees get assigned to his club’s games. Is it really so far fetched to think that he wouldn’t have some folks’ ears in the NHL head office if and when that time comes? Not by the evidence we’re presented with here that illustrates the buffoonery that goes on behind closed doors there.

  • It’s all so very embarrassing for the league, isn’t it?

    You’ve a got the NHL’s so-called Czar of Discipline with clear biases for and against teams and players that it is supposed to be his job to preside over. He’s obviously bucking for an NHL GM job, another massive conflict of interest in his dealings with upper management with any team that he might be interested in working for. He has a son in the league, one that plays an admirably rugged style that could, however lead to a seriosly awkward situation if the kid is ever involved in anything serious. Like, say, a shot to someone’s head anywhere resembling the one Matt Cooke put on Marc Savard.

    The reason’s are a clear as the giant glass of vodka Gary Bettman poured himself as soon as he saw these e-mails go public.

  • Colin Campbell is not performing his job remotely adequately. He cannot be trusted to be an impartial judge to the players over which he presides in a position of extreme power.
  • He demonstrates an obvious, ongoing bias against certain players still active in the league based on his time as an NHL head coach. By his own admission.
  • He has not recused himself from officiating decisions involving his son Gregory. Quite the opposite, he has offered strong opinions on at least two controversial incidents and attempted to influence on-ice officiating, albeit after the fact, in that regard.
  • His desire for a General Manager’s job in the NHL makes suspect his dealings with those teams in the league he might consider possible employers. That those teams are unknown makes him unreliable in his dealings with every team as a result.
  • Colin Campbell needs to be fired.

    Now.

    Colin Campbell: Savard A “Little Fake Artist”

    November 16, 2010

    Okay, this looks bad.

    For Colin Campbell, that is. A series of e-mails from 2006-2007, unearthed by the above linked Tyler Dellow, a Torontonian lawyer and blogger, between the embattled NHL Head of Discipline and then Director of Officiating, Referee Stephen Walkom as they discuss firing Referee Dean Warren who’s employment with the league was terminated in April, 2008. Mr. Warren had filed a lawsuit claiming unlawful termination because he was an “advocate for officials” whom the NHL viewed as a “threat to it’s plan”.

    In the course of these e-mails, Campbell reveals a serious bias towards Marc Savard, referencing a game February 24th, 2007 featuring the Boston Bruins against the Florida Panthers and an incident between his son, current Bruin Gregory Campbell, and Savard and a high-sticking call made by Warren.

    “Your answer re: his high stick calls and the score of the game were horse shit. The 3rd call on [Gregory Campbell] was while they were down 5 on 4 and on a def zone face off vs that little fake artist [Marc Savard] I had him in [New York] biggest faker going. And Warren fell for it when he grabbed his face on a face off. Your supposed to see the act, not call the embellishing act. Dean Warren has to go…” – Colin Campbell

    Joe Haggerty offers an excellent summation of the situation. Puck Daddy has some good stuff, as you’d expect.

    This is just ugly, folks. real ugly. It looks bad for the NHL. It looks bad for Colin Campbell. The Bruins are going to find themselves right in the middle of it for many reasons, not the least of which is that they now have the two players involved in that very incident on the team together and one of them is trying to come back currently from a very high profile head injury resulting from a highly controversial incident that, guess who, Colin Campbell failed rule correctly on.

    People are already asking.

    Matt Cooke wasn’t suspended for concussing Marc Savard last year. Did Campbell’s apparent loathing of Savard play into it? – Dellow

    This is just the beginning of this one, kids. Stay tuned.

    Heads are going to roll.

    And they should.

    Sunday Bludgeon

    November 15, 2010

    Only a few games on the schedule yesterday but there was no shortage of action for those of us enamoured with a little something known on the street as Old Time Hockey. Most notable was a brawl half way through the third period of the Rangers-Oilers game resulting from a Sean Avery sucker punch on Ladislav Smid. Check out the video.

    Some folks are saying that Smid should have been more ready but I think it’s clear what Avery was doing there and how it violates Fight Code. He declined the square-off being offered (by a European non-fighter, mind you) and then, having confused Smid that they were going back to the play, quickly sheds gloves and lunges out with a quick punch before Smid has a chance to set up. Technically not a true sucker punch, I know, as Smid was challenging, but utterly cheap nonetheless. Then, of course, in true cat fight style Avery lands on top of his opponent and attempts to throw more shots while the guy is on his back. On his way toward being escorted off the ice by a linesman, Avery puts such a smirk on his face for the Oilers players who are barking at him that all hell breaks loose and we get a nice little brawl.

    What is it, Sean Avery? You’re afraid of going with Ladislav Smid in a fair square off?

    Oilers’ tough guy Steve MacIntyre wasn’t impressed.

    “I thought it was pretty gutless. It just shows you what kind of guy he is. He’ll get his. Somebody who is bigger and tougher … he’ll get what’s coming.”

    MacIntyre’s courage cannot be questioned as the man engaged in not one but two bouts with towering Rangers über-pugilist Derek Boogaard.

    The other battle of note on the day came from the Washington Capitals-Atlanta Thrashers contest where John Erskine and Eric Boulton went toe-to-toe in a scrap that’s garnering rave reviews. Currently with a 9.4 rating on hockeyfights.com, that’s high praise from the folks in the know. Well worth a look.

    Who Gets Neil?

    November 13, 2010
    milan lucic chris neil

    Who's Up For A Beat Down?

    Not to be a total mouth breathing knuckle dragger but the main question in my mind going into tonight’s game against Ottawa at TD Garden is who is Chris Neil going to have to answer to for jumping Dennis Seidenberg at the end of the October 30th game between the B’s and Senators? Milan Lucic, who has bloodied Neil badly in previous fights or maybe Shawn Thornton, who has beaten him on a number of occasions?

    I would say that it was those losses that has led to Neil’s last two fights against the Bruins being Seidenberg and Steve Begin, neither of whom are remotely in his class. But that’s what getting your ass kicked will do, I guess. Turn you into a chicken shit punk.

    Certainly, according to former Senators teammate Brian McGrattan, that’s been Neil’s MO for a long time. Quite an indictment.

    All I know is that, at some point, Neil will need to answer for himself tonight.

    Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.

    Update: Well, it was Chara and I wish it hadn’t been because it was a crap fight and then a crap game to follow. Why can’t Big Z keep his balance in a fight these days? Is it simply a function of being so awkwardly tall? Because that was embarrassing. Mark Recchi looked better in his bout with Chris Campoli.

    Bruins 1-3-1 in last five games now.

    The only good news is the Leafs lost to Vancouver to bring their losing streak to eight.

    Cheap Thoughts Unrated

    November 12, 2010

    Wherein I give myself license to prattle on about all manner of random nonsense.

  • Frustrating loss to the Canadiens last night. Not because the B’s were horrible or didn’t show up but because, after the glorious comeback against Pitt, I was hoping for a much more spirited affair at home against the Ancient Rivals. Instead, the B’s just looked a bit tired and out of sorts, especially the defense. Chara looked exhausted by the end and maybe it had something to do with chasing around all those little waterbug forwards the Habs have populated their team with these days. God, I hate that team. For different reasons entirely than I used to, mind you, but it’s still a grim measure of despite I carry for them.
  • Speaking of which, there seems to be no sign whatsoever that Maxim Lapierre will ever realize the shame of the reputation he now carries as the NHL’s most frequent, obvious diver (yet another penalty for it last night). It’s embarrassing for everyone who watches him do that sort of thing, night in and night out; fans, teammates, opponents, officials, home or away it doesn’t matter. It goes against every sort of honorable code the game is supposed to have, in my opinion. The man has lost the respect of everyone except the most pale and sickly Montreal fanboys who have had the gene that recognizes Good Hockey edited out of them, likely through inbreeding.
  • The Maple Leafs plummet continues, now losers of 7 straight. A peek at Pension Plan Puppets has yielded amusing results lately as the awkward blend of hysteria and denial becomes a volatile mix. Posters decry the negativity of commenters, using the monsterously absurd phrase “Keep it cute or put it on mute” to try and encourage constructive complaing.

    I can’t take negativity from fellow fans when the Leafs give me nothing but negativity. But don’t mind me, OK? Everyone’s gotta cope and when we get a win or two we’ll get back to having fun together.

    There’s the Elephant in the Room right there. People don’t want to admit they jumped on the bandwagon a little too early and that six games does not a season make. That Clark MacArthur and Tim Brent aren’t carrying you to the promised land. Neither is Nazem Kadri, I’m sorry. Dion Phaneuf is hurt. Nobody can score. Streaky Phil Kessel has found his level, as he always does, and so have the Leafs, now a few meagre points out of last overall in the league. Again.

    Be afraid, Toronto. Be very afraid.

  • On a more positive note, instead of obsessing about a horrible hockey team, maybe Torontonians can hang their hat on this:

  • Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is the best goddamned movie I’ve seen in years. Gotta be up there with Dark Knight and a few others as Best of the Decade when we shake it all out. Astonishly entertaining mix of superheroes, video games, indie music and character study. Edgar Wright is a bleedin’ genius, folks. It’s that simple. So the coolest movie of 2010 was filmed in Hogtown. You’ve got that at least.
  • Anyway. Who are the top prospects in the 2011 Draft? Anyone?

    Just asking.

    Kevin Paul Dupont: Insane

    November 11, 2010

    It seems like I’ve been reading the Boston Globe’s Kevin Paul Dupont forever. He’s widely regarded as the most well respected hockey journalist in town. The man’s in the Hockey Hall of Fame, for chrissakes. He does say some crazy things however.

    I mean barking mad, doo-lally, masturbating in public type stuff.

    Good example would be today’s interview on 98.5 The Sports Hub where he’s discussing the return of Marc Savard and Tyler Seguin possibly moving to the wing when that happens. He suggests he’s excited to see what Seguin can do with “16 or 17 minutes” a game and then suggests he’d like to see Tyler on the penalty kill because he sees him picking off all sorts of passes and getting himself “one or two breakaways a game”.

    Um. Okay…

    Maybe someday, Dupes, yeah. But not now, I don’t think. Those hopeful breakaways, which would surely be less than one or two per game, might be at the expense of your P.K. unit, currently best in the NHL at 90.9 %, giving up another two goals a game.

    Tyler Seguin is too raw and too inexperienced. The responsibilities of playing in his own end at the NHL level are going to take him many years to learn and the mistakes he’s going to make, the mistakes he’s already making, in his defensive zone do not need to be highlighted against the best players in the league in a penalty killing situation. The very idea is completely mental. It could shatter whatever confidence he’s building and dramatically hurt the team.

    Sorry, KPD. Maybe this particular idea wasn’t HOF quality.

    Just saying.

    Pitt Stop

    November 10, 2010

    campbell talbot

    Very nice win for the Bruins tonight in Pittsburgh. Down 4-2 going into the 3rd period, they responded by scoring the next 5 goals of the game to take home a rousing 7-4 victory over the Penguins.

    It was nice for many reasons.

  • A win right after losing Krejci is a big boost for morale, I think. Shows them (and us) that they can do it and feeds into the sort of positive team-wide mojo you need to win games when one of your superstars is out. Full team contributions. 15 different players with points.
  • Responding physically to a team that tried to assert some sort of presence in their own building. In three excellent fights the B’s answered the bell and answered Pitt’s attempt to go all macho on them. Shawn Thornton with a clear win over Eric Godard in the heavyweight bout of the night. Gregory Campbell swinging for the fences against Maxime Talbot. Another wild one had Arron the Misspelled Asham against Adam McQuaid.
  • Speaking of Thornton, he does it again on the offensive side, too. Scores the go ahead goal to make it 5-4, unassisted at 12:40 of the third. B’s never looked back. First you beat up Eric Godard, then you score the game the game winner. It’s good to be the King.
  • Matt Hunwick and Dennis Seidenberg both finished the game +3.
  • Right back home for a game against another bitter rival, the Montreal Canadiens. Momentum will be on their side I think.
  • I don’t want to be dramatic but could a game like htis be a Defining Moment in the same way that a certain game against the Penguins last year was a defining moment for last season? Long way to go, I know, but I’m always trying to read the signs that might tell me if it’s going to be a good season or not. Looks to me like this is a different Bruins team completely from the one that soiled the mattress last season.

    Which is a good thing.