Posts Tagged ‘Gordie Howe’

Winding Down, Gearing Up

April 8, 2011

This is an odd part of the season. Finishing up the regular season schedule whilst waiting for the Playoffs to begin can be a tedious excercise for both fans and teams when your position in the post-season is secured and pretty much set. The Boston Bruins are in danger of falling into cruise mode because of the seeming insignificance of the remaining games. New York Islanders? Ottawa Senators? New Jersey Devils?
Teams full of guys scheduling golf vacations.

It’s dangerous because it can lure a team into a malaise at the most important time of the year. All indications were that the Bruins were gearing up at the right time and then the two recent New York games seemed to show a team getting sleepy at the wheel. We all know what happened after the 1st period of that game at MSG. It was all too hauntingly familiar to what happened last season in Philadelphia, wasn’t it? Up 3-0 and you go to sleep as if the game is won. Meanwhile, an emotional, tough team gets on it’s horse and never gives up and ends up beating you silly.

It was one of the themes of the Boston Bruins’ 2009-2010 season and I mentioned it frequently here. It’s like the team can’t handle it’s own success. It gets complacent. That’s what allows teams to come back from 3-0 against you.

Seems to me it starts with the best players. Tell me what the top scoring line of Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Nathan Horton have done since the team clinched a playoff spot? Do they, more than any other players on the team, look like they’re going through the motions? Against the Islanders it seemed like they were skating in a practice scrimmage at Ristuccia. Non factors. If it wasn’t for the spark shown by the fourth line of Shawn Thornton, Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille, you would have lost that game.

Not really the signs you want to see from your team. Let’s hope that higher gear is still there and will be in motion next Thursday when the playoffs actually start. If not, there may be some truly hopeless Bruins’ fans wandering the streets outside TD Garden like the living dead. Again.

A few more notes on the end of the season.

  • It looks more and more with each passing day that the Montreal Canadiens will be the opponent in the first round. Can you imagine it? Can you picture the epic insanity of that? Apocalypse Now, folks. 2012 is here. World War III. Throngs of marching protesters in Montreal. Max Pacioretty potentially being in uniform to face Zdeno Chara. Total madness. I’m drooling already. Prepare for posts every hour on the hour during that series, people. This is what we live for.
  • This Saturday Mark Recchi will pass Chris Chelios for 4th All Time on the NHL’s games played list. The three guys ahead of him are Gordie Howe, Mark Messier and Ron Francis. Hallowed company and a monumental achievement by the gentleman. He will be honored accordingly one would think during the team’s final home game of the regular season.
  • The Bruins yesterday signed free agent college forward Carter Camper from Miami (of Ohio) University. A smallish forward at 5′-11″ and 173 lbs he was nonetheless an explosive scorer with 183 points (69-114-183) in 156 games in his college career. He’s a 2011 Hobey Baker Award finalist and will report to the Providence Bruins. An interesting addition and a great hockey name.
  • Steven Kampfer has been assigned to Providence leaving Shane Hnidy as the B’s 7th defenseman. He could return before the playoffs begin along with other possible depth players as the P-Bruins season will end without a trip to the Calder Cup Playoffs.