Tag Archives: Marc Savard

Bruins showing promise — Still need scoring help

Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli

Trade deadline #1 has come and gone with no movement from the Bruins. Another, more well known blogger, said that the past few weeks acted as  a “dress rehearsal” to what will occur once the trade freeze lifts at midnight on the 28th of February — a good deal of posturing and market testing. The sellers didn’t like the offering price, so we’ll have to wait until March for something to go down.

Rumor has it that the Bruins are pushing very hard for the services of Ray Whitey from the Carolina Hurricanes — Carolina is reportedly looking for a roster player and 1st round pick in return.

Sure, the Bruins have won 3 in a row and are starting to find some real chemistry, but they’re still much closer to the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings then they are to the top. That’s not a good place to be in February. The five goal outburst in the first 25 minutes of last night’s game in Tampa surely appears to be an abberation. Still dead last in scoring,  the Bruins have scored 5+ goals just six times (or 10% of their games) this season; compare that to a whopping 16 times (or 37% of their games) at this point last season. Clearly, the Bruins need scoring, and need it badly.

Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli has been very tight lipped with the media all season regarding potential trades/player movement, so I wont begin to openly speculate about whom they might acquire.

That being said, there have certainly been some positive things happening with this club lately — leading me to believe that a quality acquisition could propel the Bruins into at least a 2nd round match-up.

Here a few players that are catching my eye:

Milan Lucic:

At times since Lucic’s return on Jan 7th, he seemed unwilling or unable to take the body. Combine that with his modest offensive skills, and you’ve got a player who isn’t doing much more than taking up space.In the past handful of games he has returned to his body banging ways and even had a bout of fisticuffs with Adam Mair of the Buffalo Sabres. As I’ve been saying all season, Lucic’s physical game opens up tremendous amounts of ice for playmaker Marc Savard. Quite simply, he’s a beast — he’s a game-changer. One of his thunderous hits or ferocious bouts can change the complexion of an entire contest. As much as the Bruins have struggled to score goals, the physical play of Milan Lucic is something the Bruins cannot live without.

Marc Savard

Like Lucic,  Marc Savard’s season has been marred by injury. He appears to be back to full health now with 9 points (all assists — as they should be) in his eight games since returning from a knee injury sustained in that same Jan 7th game against Chicago. Having a healthy and productive Savard on this team seems to have raised the confidence level across all four lines. He is just so calm on the puck. While other Bruins players seem to be squeezing the stick, or feel that the puck is bouncing just out of their reach, the Sultan of the Saucer Pass allows the game, and opposing defenders to come to him — where he picks them both apart.

Tuukka Rask

“Two U’s, Two K’s, Two points.” Seems like I hear Jack Edwards (the Bruins play-by-play announcer) utter this phrase a few times a week now. The young Finnish goaltender has been nothing short of SPECTACULAR this year. Still a rookie, Rask is 3rd in the league in save percentage (.928) and 2nd goals against average (2.09). In a year when reigning Vezina Trophy winner has found himself richer both in salary and goals allowed, Rask has been incredibly solid. In fact, last night’s 5-4 win in Tampa Bay was Rask’s 5th start in a row (3-2, 2.20 g.a.a.).

One more game before the Olympic break. The Bruins will try to make it four in-a-row when they take on the Panthers in Sunrise, FL on Saturday.

Bruins fans — I’ll leave you with a clip I found of the best (or worst) Jack Edwards moments!!

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Postgame: Will a Bruins goal scorer please stand up?

Before the game, I said that it wasn’t going to be enough for the Bruins to merely compete; they needed to win.

They competed, and in many cases, OUT-competed the Buffalo Sabres in most aspects of the game. Boston was physical, caused turnovers, was pretty responsible defensively and showed tremendous effort. BUT – They can’t score. At all.  31 shots, including a 12 shot third period were not enough.

I was looking for Milan Lucic to bring his physical game – I’ll give him a B minus. He was there, but he looked more concerned with playing the puck (weakness) than doling out some back-alley justice (strength). His goal was great, but Boston can’t rely on their enforcer to fill the net. Of particular concern was the amount of rough stuff by Buffalo after the whistle that went largely unanswered; 3 first period penalties will have that effect on a team.

Marc Savard looked good given his eight game layoff – he flubbed a few passes, and hesitated a few times, but overall looked to have his wits (and more importantly his legs) about him.

Tuukka Rask looked pretty shaky all night – he was fighting the puck and had shoddy rebound control. He was able to pull himself together enough to keep Boston in the game, but is certainly capable of better play.

CLEARLY, the Bruins need a bona fide scorer (hmm, I think I said this last week….). Boston should get rid of Ryder, Wideman, and their own 1st round pick, which is currently 9th overall. This should fetch them something. Landing Kovalchuk, it appears, will cost at least that 9th pick, and someone like Bergeron or Krejci. I’m willing to part with Krejci if it brings Kovalchuk to Boston. It’s time for the front office to show that they care about the team, the town, and the fans. It’s time for a BIG move.

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Bruins v. Sabres — Pregame notes:

OK – the Bruins are facing their toughest character test of the season thus far. Currently in the midst of a 5 game losing streak where they have looked listless, lost and downright bored, Boston absolutely needs a win tonight; it won’t be enough to simply compete.

The return of Marc Savard from a partially torn MCL should provide a spark to the sputtering offense. Savard will most likely center the top line along with Milan Lucic and Miro Satan. The tandem of Lucic and Savard is a key component of the Bruins offense – Lucic uses his physical play to open up ice for Savard’s creativity. Let’s hope we see a physical Milan Lucic early on tonight.

Goaltending is another area which needs a marked improvement. Tuukka Rask will be in goal tonight, giving the struggling Tim Thomas the night off. I’m not sure what’s going on with Timmy, but he’s been out of position A LOT lately.

Tonight’s keys are pretty cliché: Stay out of the box, limit odd-man rushes, and most importantly for Boston, out-physical the Buffalo Sabres. I’ll be back after the game with my reactions.

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Bruins lose Savard; at least Toronto’s still losing…

In October, head coach Claude Julien stated that the Bruins would be a better playoff than regular season team this year. Let’s hope he’s right. It’s not so much that the Bruins have played poor hockey; currently 5th in the East; but perhaps they finally have been overcome with key injuries – Bergeron, Ference, Lucic and now Savard.

Milan Lucic did return last night against Chicago,but from my seat in section 309, he looked labored and lost out there. On many occasions he was unable to join the rush and often struggled to make it to the bench. I was disheartened to see that he had no interest in the physical game last night; it’s not as though that could be attributed to “rust” since there’s no real skill involved. This showed me that his ankle is still in rough shape. I was left wondering why he came back at all, but I guess his services, however limited, are needed.  I still expect him to play tomorrow, but only due to the rash of other injuries on the team.

After losing Savard last night, Boston was still able to get the jump on the NHL leading Blackhawks, but by the end of the period Chicago’s incredible skill became apparent and they completely turned the tables on the Black and Gold. Chicago reminded me a lot of last year’s Bruins team during their remarkable December; fast, physical, impossible to move off the puck and extremely opportunistic. They can really bring it.

As of right now, and notion of a Stanley Cup in Boston hardly bears mentioning and will remain so until the Bruins can show a sustained effort for a 15 or so game stretch at some point. Perhaps that point will never come. Boston will make the playoffs and with (fingers crossed) everyone healthy, perhaps, perhaps they can prove their coach right and make a run into early June. As of right now, all I have to look forward to is next year’s number draft pick, which currently sits at No. 3. Oh, and by the way, is anyone surprised that Phil Kessel has been called out up in Toronto for not playing hard enough? Anyone with a brain could have seen that one coming.

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Breaking news — Savard signs extenstion

Sources are confirming that Marc Savard has signed a 7-year extension that would keep the center-man in Boston through the ’16/’17 season.

The deal is worth a reported $29 million with an annual cap hit of $4.2 mil/year.

The Bruins struggled out of the gate this season while Savard was on the shelf with a broken foot. Since he has returned, the Bruins have vaulted from 11th in the Eastern Conference to as high as third. Clearly, the Bruins need Savard and Boston’s poor early-season play was great leverage when the two sides sat down to discuss this extension.

Top notch move by the Bruins here. I’m glad to see them spending the type of money (on the right players) that should keep the Bruins in championship contention for the foreseeable future.  

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Bruins finding their stride

Boston Bruins fans would be well advised to start an Aspirin regimen, as risk of cardiac arrest is high.

On Saturday night vs. Ottawa, the Bruins let another lead slip away in the final minute and were forced all the way to a shootout, where they prevailed on Michael Ryder’s snipe in the fourth round. However, turnabout is fair play – in their first meeting with Ottawa Boston scored two 6 on 5 goals in the last 2:30 of regulation; a game the Bruins would eventually win in a shootout. Thump, Thump.

Tim Thomas, making his first start since embarrassing himself against Pittsburgh on Nov. 14th — Pittsburgh tied the game with less than a second remaining in regulation; the Thomas lost control of the puck behind the net in OT leading directly to the winning score – did a serviceable job for 59 minutes, but once again allowed a game-tying goal, this time with 19 seconds remaining. THUMP, THUMP.

I’ll give Timmy the benefit and chalk it up to rust (but in reality it looked more like a lack of focus).

Faced with as much adversity as any team in the league, the Bruins have shown a great deal of resilience.  At current, they have won 5 of their last six games, with their only loss coming in yesterday’s shootout loss to New Jersey. It’s clear that the return of Marc Savard has buoyed the powerplay which connected on Boston’s three regulation goals against Ottawa. With Savard manning the half-wall, the other member of the PP seem more relaxed; able to play to their strengths (although I would like to see someone other than Recchi crash the net on a regular basis).

Their play is deserving of the No. 1 spot in the Northeast division, but that’s only because the Northeast division is weak. Boston must have a more consistent effort if they expect to have any chance to duplicate and/or exceed last year’s success.

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