Posts Tagged ‘Tyler Seguin’

Scratching Our Heads

March 29, 2011

michael ryder bust

A recently familiar note will appear next to Michael Ryder’s name in the box score for tonight’s game at TD Garden versus the Chicago Blackhawks.

Healthy scratch.

It would seem that Claude Julien and the Bruins have been listening to Mike Milbury of late and that the once seemingly infinite number of chances Ryder has had to prove himself worthy of a spot at forward in the line-up for the team has finally found a limit. Milbury, in a recent NESN broadcast, flew into a mini-rant about the floundering winger and labelled him a “bust” and suggested the team cut bait on the winger at last. Not really a revelation to anyone, of course, except to those whom Ryder’s teasing one-game-in-ten flashes of effort and offensive skill gave hope that he might find a way to finally become a more productive player on the team.

Not the case, however.

The infuriating winger will likely be benched once again tonight in favor of Daniel Paille, himself a healthy scratch for much of the season unless injuries or the youthful indiscretions of Tyler Seguin forced Julien to play him. That, in itself, speaks volumes. A winger being paid $4 Million dollars to score goals sitting on the sidelines in favor of a truly marginal, defensive minded player whom the Buffalo Sabres decided was a “bust” last season. Welcome to true ignominy, Michael. Welcome to total irrelevance.

No one’s wasting any time feeling bad for him, however. He’s had ample opportunity to show he was worth his paycheck. Chance after endless chance to at least show the effort and the desire to compete that we get glances of from time to time. The skill that once potted him 30 goals in the NHL. He’ll probably see some ice at some point before the season ends but it will only be to rest others in preparation for the upcoming playoffs in which, hopefully, he will remain in the press box. Put it this way; If the Bruins are dressing him it will be a sign things have gone horribly wrong.

Even with a bit of garbage time to close things out, however, his totals for 2010-11 will hover somewhere close to the underwhelmning 17 goals, 21 assists and a minus -5 he’s sitting on now (pun intended). Many of those points came in short bursts of surprising productivity which would, just as quickly, dry up and blow away. Pathetic numbers, really, when you consider how much ice time Claude Julien would give him at times earlier in the year, including a good deal of power play time. Pathetic for anyone considered an offensive player in any professional league.

So it certainly appears the curtain will close now (his contract is up after this season) on the Michael Ryder era in Boston without anyone, fans or players or management, understanding the mystery of why the guy could never pull it together. Why there were so many no-shows. Perhaps they knew the truth up in Montreal when they let him go prior to him signing with the Bruins. That he was a bust and always would be.

Hey, even a blind nut finds a squirrel once in a while, right?

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Negative Creep

December 29, 2010

Last night’s 4-3 win in Tampa Bay against an extremely decent Lightning team gave the Bruins two consecutive road wins on back-to-back nights and 3 wins in a row overall. Thay have lept over the Canadiens for the Northeast Division lead. Steve Kampfer scored his first NHL goal. Mark Recchi scored the game-winner on a power play resulting from a questionable boarding call on superstar Steven Stamkos with just 19 seconds left in the game.

All is right with the world. Right?

Not so fast. I feel like there are still a lot of troubling issues with this Bruins team right now. Let us discuss.

Line combinations. Everyone is talking about the reuininting of the Krejci-Wheeler-Ryder like it’s some sort of revelation, a genius move that sparked the offense. While they have showed some of the chemistry from a few years back in these initial games I feel like it’s not the best move in the long term because of what it’s done to the other lines.

Marc Savard is not ready to be a first line center in the NHL again. Not yet, anyway. The first line that had been so effective has been flat of late and, while Milan Lucic continues to generate scoring chances, Nathan Horton seems to have gone completely cold and I see no connection whatsoever between the two wingers and their new center. If there was a need to switch Krejci out of that spot to fire up his game then I think the more effective Patrice Bergeron should have been moved into that spot, as he was when Krejci was injured.

Meanwhile, Tyler Seguin is seeming a bit lost out there, a man without a spot, now riding the wing with Bergeron and Recchi who work reasonable well together. Seguin doesn’t seem to fit on that line, really. Guys who grind, work hard and are responsible defensively and a youngster who is all speed and potential offense. It doesn’t work for me and it seems Julien has slotted the young forward there as a default position because there are no other slots. I’m thinking even Daniel Paille would look better on that line.

What’s the solution? Why not give Savard and Seguin another chance together and limit their ice time? Keep Recchi with them. The old guy could use the rest. It’s a potentially dangerous offensive unit if used correctly, against other team’s lesser units. Meanwhile, more productive centers like Bergeron and Krejci are paired with more productive wingers.

More negative thoughts from your favorite font of bitterness.

Milan Lucic needs to be more of a leader. It would seem he was built for the role, a big, physical winger who can score and inspire the team. However, what I see from him these days is less hitting, less physicality and more whining. A half season as a successful goal-scorer seems to have gone directly to his head and the hard-working, buzzing, emotional leader has been replaced by a guy who, because of his reputation for on-the-edge dirty play and his constant whining to the refs, is getting called for a lot of penalties lately. He may be young but he’s been around long enough to understand his role as a potential leader here. The team needs more from him in that department.

Leadership on the whole is an issue with this team. Guys in place who are supposed to fill that role just seem too passive to me. Chara, Bergeron, Lucic, Horton. Veterans all and the team’s best players but guys who seem to do things too quietly. For some reason, also, I feel like no one in that room is going to listen to Marc Savard in that role. Another guy who just does too much whining on the ice.

Again, we wonder about the personell on the team. Ryder, Wheeler, Krejci. Quiet quys. Skilled players but lacking in that grit and fire that Bruins fans long to see.

In the end there remains something unsettling about this current Bruins team. Perhaps it’s PTSD from last year’s playoff collapse. I feel unconvinced that this is the team that can take us to the Promised Land and the Holy Chalice that awaits there. It seems it’s all about character right now or lack thereof.

Where can we find some?

Stamping Tampa

December 2, 2010

boston bruins

I’m pretty sure I heard Jack Edwards have a couple of actual on-air orgasms during the Bruins wildly entertaining 8-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning at home tonight. In fact, after Mark Recchi scored the team’s seventh goal, he leapt from the broadcast booth into the stands and was body surfing the TD Garden crowd in a crucifiction pose. It was that much fun.

Some noteworthy events besides the offensive explosion and Edwards’ manic revelry.

  • The return of Marc Savard. He didn’t look too bad, actually, and I find myself drooling over what he and Tyler Seguin could possibly do skating together. That’s a shit-load of quickness and talent working together. Add in the reborn Michael Ryder and suddenly the B’s have another wickedly dangerous scoring line. Certainly tonight was a massive tease in that respect. We’ll see how it develops.
  • Dennis Seidenberg’s sleight of hand goal to make it 2-0 just before the end of the 1st was a little slice of genius, faking Mike Smith out of the net on a supposed dump-in that he fired right on goal before Smith could adjust. Love goals like that. Makes the goaltender look like a right fool, that’s for sure.
  • A consistent, relentless attack and regular displays of real emotion from the entire team. They looked on the same page, finally, from the opening face-off where Shawn Thornton was jousting and yapping with David Tyrell. Chara had a big hit and played well. Lucic was an ongoing concern. Boychuck busted out that cannon of a shot from the point. Seemed like the entire team came to play physically. A beautiful thing to watch and it leaves one dreaming of more of the same. The B’s play like that they will sure as hell win a lot more than they lose. Hopefully, they understand that now.
  • David Krejci was dominant. Masterful with the puck. When he’s on his game he makes it look absolutely effortless. Total control, easy little plays that either spring other’s for genuine scoring chances or create his own. I think his recovery from his own concussion may be complete now as he becomes less tenative and feels more comfortable out there. He looked good tonight.
  • All in all one of the more entertaining games I can remember seeing in ages.

    Now somebody go call Jack Edwards from out of the rafters where he’s been swinging around the banners screaming like an out of control chimpanzee. It’s time to turn the lights out so the Bull Gang can go home.

    Sturm To Los Angeles?

    December 2, 2010

    UPDATE: Some serious questions about whether or not this trade will actually be consummated. Is it dead or is it just being delayed? Methinks the answer will not be provided until tomorrow. TSN has retracted their story on the deal.

    marco sturm

    Thanks for that goal in The Classic, Marco. Good luck in L.A.

    Amidst the speculation that Marc Savard will return to the Bruins’ line-up tonight at TD Garden versus the Tampa Bay Lightning , B’s brass seems to have cleared the final salary cap hurdle from their books by trading oft-injured wing Marco Sturm, and his $3.5 million dollar cap hit, to the Los Angeles Kings.

    It was that easy?

    After all that hullabaloo about the B’s salary cap woes it took two somewhat smallish, non-impact moves to get things into the clear. I know that Sturm, when healthy, can be a significant player (but when was the last time he was?) and that Hunwick showed some promise (that he never really delivered) but let’s be honest. Will anyone here really miss either of them?

    Not when the gentlemen previously though to be potential salary cap casualties, i.e. Blake Wheeler, Michael Ryder and Tim Thomas, have essentially played their way into key components of this current team.

    And who the hell would have thought that last season?

    Not me, I full admit.

    The fact is they have, though. Wheeler seems to have “got it” this season. How to use his size and speed and defensive instincts to become, at the least, a very effective, contributing 3rd line winger and possibly more. Ryder, meanwhile, has rediscovered his shot and his offensive instincts and has clicked fairly well with prize prospect Tyler Seguin. Tim Thomas? What do I need to even say?

    All of that made Sturm and his questionable knees (and his hefty salary) very much expendable. The Kings, meanwhile, have about $3.6 million still available under the cap and have essentially made themselves a very early trade deadline style addition. A veteran scoring presence with one year left on his deal. If Sturm pans out it’s an exellent acquisition for them.

    Works pretty well for everyone, eh?

    Unless Ryder and Wheeler go completely cold, that is. Then come back here for some blatant hindsight bitching from yours truly.

    What? You know by now how shameless I am.

    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.

    Looking Forward

    November 8, 2010

    david krejci boston bruins

    The Bruins currently have 14 forwards on their active NHL roster, so finding a live body to fill in David Krejci’s spot in the line-up on Wednesday night can be done without any emergency call-ups from Providence. Daniel Paille and Brian McGrattan are both seasoned NHL pro’s at this point of their careers and one of them can fill the now vacant 12th forward slot against Pittsburgh.

    Neither of them can replace Krejci, though. Neither of them can be the creative on ice straw that stirs the offensive drink that is the Bruins’ top line featuring the supremely talented Czech pivot with Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton on the wings. It’s no accident that the two of them look to be laying the foundations for career years as they play with Krejci. He is blossoming into a master playmaker. Puck skills, vision. The ability to do the unexpected and the smarts to play at both ends of the ice.

    There’s no replacing that.

    Hell, neither Paille or McGrattan are centers either. A position thought to be one of depth going into the season now looks a bit bare. Patrice Bergeron continues to shine but behind him are only the extremely raw Tyler Seguin and the always-game Gregory Campbell. The count there is three and none of the above can be said to be a real No. 1 center in the NHL, as Krejci is becoming. Marc Savard is likely weeks away, so that leaves a hole.

    There are a number of ways to plug it. The easiest is to shift another forward to the center position and insert Paille into the line-up at wing. Blake Wheeler seems the likliest candidate to me, given that he played the position in college and even in a couple of pre-season games. In fact, you could bump Seguin up to skate with Lucic and Horton for a couple of games, shift Wheeler to centering Michael Ryder and Paille. Or have Wheeler center Caron and Recchi while Bergeron takes that top slot. He’s earned the chance to play there, for sure.

    The Seguin flip, however, would enable Claude Julien to keep many of the current line combinations somewhat intact. Like this:

    Lucic-Seguin-Horton
    Recchi-Bergeron-Caron
    Paille-Wheeler-Ryder
    Thornton-Campbell-Marchand

    It seems extremely risky, however, to put the unnervingly young, and currently somewhat mistake prone, Seguin in a position that would entail so much ice time and responsibility. I have a hard time believing that a defensive minded coach like Julien would do that. Hell, he had Tyler on the bench for the entirety of that 3rd period against St. Louis after Seguin was guilty of a number of miscues on the ice earlier in the game. The kid has a lot to learn.

    A solution further down the probability slope, as Neil Asher called it, would be the call up of a true center from Providence. There’s no Trent Whitfield to look to right now but there is blue-chip prospect Joe Colborne who has done well for himself in the AHL so far this season. A steady 5 goals and 5 assists with a +6 in the stats columns. Seems to be developing well. Zach Hamill, however, is not. The former 8th overall pick (2007) has got some folks now wondering if he’ll ever show himself to be a serious NHL prospect.

    Regardless, I doubt the B’s will reach down without having at least tried the Wheeler experiment. Krejci might only miss a week or so which could mean anywhere from 4-6 games. More if the concussion is more serious. If the team responds to the situation well and plays fairly decent against Pittsburgh and Montreal, then perhaps no drastic moves will need be made.

    Practice this week should sort it all out, I would think, and give us a clearer picture of what Claude Julien and the boys upstairs have in mind.

    Update: Brian McGrattan has been waived for the purpose of sending him to Providence. That just leaves Paille at the moment to jump into the line-up for Krejci. We’ll see if this is a precursor to further movement.

    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 Belfast Bound

    September 29, 2010

    boston bruins ireland

    Guinness anyone?

    I know my old pal Gonz/Odd Brian wouldn’t mind attacking a pint or two, like Chris Nilan going after Kenny Linseman between the benches that night at the old Garden, in order to celebrate the next stop on the Boston Bruins’ exhibition game schedule. Of course, he’s likely going to be at Molly Malone’s hoisting a few, anyway, as his Cincinnati Reds have clinched the NL Central to earn their first Playoff appearance and division title since 1995. Those are some fans that deserve to celebrate, my friends. Those fans are real baseball fans. They love their team with a passion that’s almost carnal, I tell you. Rock on, Cinci. The Sox are done so it’s up to them Red Stockings.

    But, yes, folks, the Black and Gold are indeed off to Belfast, Ireland to play the Belfast Giants Selects, a squad of what are essentially all-stars from the United Kingdom’s Elite League. The game will take place at 2 p.m. Eastern Time and I, for one, can’t wait to watch it. You think those lads over there won’t have something to prove? I guarantee you they give the B’s a game and, if it gets physical, the B’s will want to respond in kind. Should be fun to watch.

    And tell me the Bruins aren’t going to have a good time travelling in Ireland. Might be a great team building experience, when you think about it. Seeing the Old Country, welcomed by the locals like celebrities, shown a good time. A visit to a pub or two for some laughs with Terry O’Reilly. Except for Tyler Seguin, that is. What is the legal drinking age in Ireland, anyone know?

    This is the sort of thing that might propel a team to a great season and, just maybe, all the way to the Stanley Cup. Who knows?

    What? You don’t believe in the Luck of the Irish? Or you think maybe I’ve been drinking as I wrote this.

    Anyway, it should be fun viewing. I’m guessing NESN has a camera crew travelling with them so we’ll get to see some of what the off-ice activities are like for the team.

    Six players, however, not heading to the Emerald Isle are Zach Hamill, Joe Colborne, Steve Kampfer, Jeremy Reich, Jeff LoVecchio, and Wyatt Smith. All returned to Rhode Island begin the season with the Providence Bruins.