Monthly Archives: October 2009

Bruins Week in Review — 10/25/09

Bergeron_RyderThe Boston Bruins faced their toughest test of the season this past week. With Milan Lucic and Marc Savard sidelined for the next month, and Chuck Kobasew gone to Minnesota via trade, the Bruins relied on some new faces, and saw the resurgence of an old one.

Being forced to face adversity this early in the season can only serve to help Boston down the road…provided they can win these games.

Over the past three games, the Bruins have shown a great deal of heart and determination — although they have had their share of mistakes, perhaps caused by all the new faces, the boys in black collected 5 out of a possible 6 points,including an improbable shootout victory Saturday night in Ottawa.

This win comes on the tail end of a win in Nashville and a shootout loss to Philadelphia, continuing Boston’s win,loss,win start to the 2009/10 season.

Last season, the Bruins cruised to a comfortable 116 point showing, never having to face serious adversity. Now, with Kessel in Toronto and Lucic and Savard injured, last year’s top line is gone, forcing the remainder of the squad to elevate their game.

One member of the Black and Gold who has picked up his play is Patrice Bergeron. His T.O.I has increased from less than 16 minutes against Phoenix (Lucic’s last game) to 21:01 on Saturday night. He has an unimpressive 2 points over that span, but the effort, intensity and confidence that Bruins scouts saw in him is finally back. Bergeron knows that they spotlight is now on him, and he is not shrinking.

For all of the criticism that the Bruins have been taking (I’ve been giving my fair share) thus far this season, they are only 2 points shy of where they were at this time last year. That’s not to say that these are the same old Bruins:  To date, the biggest concern for this team continues to be special teams, which not only failed to score a power play goal, but allowed its 3rd shorthanded goal of the season. Sheesh!

They simply need to get better in this department. First of all, STOP DUMPING THE PUCK IN! Carry it into the zone with speed, please.

Never fear, Claude Julien is here. Boston’s special teams will improve.

I always find myself getting to end of my articles without mentioning Tim Thomas. How dare I!?Senators Bruins Hockey

He was simply stellar this week. Making a number of key saves and giving the Bruins not just a chance to win games, but giving them the confidence to do so.  After the Bruins came back to take the lead against Nashville, Thomas shut out the Predators and after a day off on Friday, came out with his most complete effort thus far. He was in true Vezina form when he robbed Daniel Alfredsson.

The next month will be a true test of character for the Boston Bruins. They’re being forced to play tough, grinding hockey, which will only benefit them come April.

HOT: Daniel Paille – You have to love his tenacity and hockey sense. He’s very creative with the puck and never gives up. A definite upgrade over Kobasew.

NOT: Dennis Wideman – Boy, when he’s bad, he’s REALLY BAD. A number of turnovers tonight (well, every night really) and just looked lost. To Providence, perhaps?

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More Breaking News — Lucic placed on injured reserve

Milan Lucic has been placed on long term injured reserve and will miss the next 10 games. The Boston Bruins have recalled Guillaume Lefebvre, Brad Marchand and Vladimir Sobotka from their AHL affiliate in Providence.

Lucic suffered a broken finger last week in Boston’s 3-0 win in Dallas.

Now, this is purely speculation on my part (and it’s my blog so I can do whatever I want), but it s0unds like Lucic’s injury may require surgery. This is not good news for a Boston team that is struggling to find it’s identity.

milan-lucicLucic was held out of Saturday night’s game against Phoenix, a 4-1 loss for Boston.

Vladimir Sobotka nearly made the team out of training camp and will have no trouble fitting into to the Boston system where he played 25 games last season.

At this time, there is no reason to believe that the Kobasew trade with Minnesota had anything to do with Lucic’s injury, since the players acquired in the Minnesota trade will (most likely) not be playing with the Bruins any time soon.

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Breaking News — Chuck Kobasew traded to Wild (10/18/09)

KobasewChuck Kobasew has been traded to the Minnesota Wild.

Boston will receive a 2nd round draft pick in 2011, forward Craig Weller and the rights to unsigned prospect Alexander Fallstrom who is currently playing college hockey at Harvard University.

Kobasew has yet to score a  goal and has tallied  just one assist through his first seven games. Kobasew has been largely ineffective thus far, and has simply had a dismal start. I applaud the Bruins front office for making this trade.

Craig Weller RW, who has skated in just 95 NHL games over 7 seasons will most certainly be sent to Boston’s AHL affiliate in Providence.

Alexander Fallstrom is described as a prototypical power-forward who uses his size and strength to sniff out tough goals in front of the net.

All in all, I think that the Bruins are doing a great job of adding draft picks and young prospects without sacrificing any of their current talent. Bravo!

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Bruins Week in Review — 10/18/09

Bruins Coyotes Hockey

Boston left reeling in the desert.

OK – It’s time to panic.

The Bruins completed another lackluster week on Saturday night with a 4-1 drubbing at the hands of the Phoenix Coyotes. Yes, the Phoenix Coyotes.

Boston once again appeared to have found its form one night earlier when they stormed into Dallas and claimed a 3-0 victory on Friday.The Bruins were very solid in all areas of their game and did an outstanding job of using body contact to free up the puck as well as utilizing short tape-to-tape passes as a means of jump starting the transition game. Boston showed maximum effort, which is key to their success.

Tim Thomas had an important Continue reading

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Quick Hits – Julien shakes up Boston lines

Milan Lucic

Milan Lucic

Milan Lucic skated with 2nd liners David Krejci and Blake Wheeler in Wednesday’s practice. I believe that the 1st line will now have Marco Sturm at left wing (his natural position) and Michael Ryder moving up to play on the right side. Blake Wheeler could move to right wing on the second line.

I don’t see this as a demotion, but rather as a warning.

Thus far, Lucic just has not been the game-long physical presence that has earned him hero status in Boston. Lucic has said that enjoys being on the top line, and the hope is that re-aligning him will re-ignite the drive and competitiveness that makes him so enjoyable to watch.

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Bruins Week in Review — Columbus Day edition

The Bruins floundered this week

The Bruins floundered this week

Five games into the 2009/10 season, the Bruins have certainly not played up to expectations.

Having given up 19 goals over that span and looking more listless with every shift, the Bruins look like a team with an undue sense of entitlement; pre-season press predictions of a Stanley Cup Finals appearance seem to have undermined Boston’s sense of self.

There have been glimpses of the dominant team that accrued 116 points last season; Continue reading

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Bruins Week in Review 10/04/09

Milan Lucic

Milan Lucic

With the new slogan for the 2009/10 season, “Big and Bad are Back”, the Bruins gave their marketing department cause for concern opening night by portraying only one part of that slogan with a downright depressing 4-1 loss on Thursday night to the Washington Capitals.

From my seat in section 320, the Bruins appeared to have the jump on Washington for the first 10 minutes, but whatever pre-game adrenaline had been coursing through the veins of last season’s Eastern Conference Regular Season champions quickly faded. After Boston had a goal disallowed on quick whistle, the wheels simply came off. Continue reading

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