Tag Archives: Patrice Bergeron

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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End of Semester Musings – Tuukka Time (again)

I can only blame my sporadic updates on the end-of-semester crunch, which I am happy to report, is over. In order to re-kindle my creative juices, I felt like going on a bit of a rant about a few players who are stepping up this season:

Patrice Bergeron has finally become the player that we all knew he could be; strong on his skates, smart with the puck, always makes the right play, and when he feels like it, can flat out run people over. The Bruins have won three of the past five games, and Patrice Bergeron has had a least a point in all three (1-5=6; he did not record a point in the two losses to MTL and NYI). At face value his overall stats don’t grab you, but Patrice is bringing an attitude and determination that I haven’t seen from him since his pre-concussion days. Look for him to continue to be the offensive leader on this team (along with Savard).

From offense to defense —

It’s safe to say that it’s officially Tuukka Time here in Boston. His .932 save percentage and 1.97 Goals Against Average rank him 2nd and 3rd in the league respectively. With all the great moves the Bruins made this offseason, (yes, I loved the Kessel move) the only contract I am questioning is the one gifted to Tim Thomas. Sure, Thomas is a man that deserves a break and has probably earned the money simply because he’s been through so much to reach this point, but from a business standpoint, it doesn’t make much sense….I’m rambling; back to Rask: I’ve been to ten or so games so far this year and Rask has probably played in half of them and I can tell you that Rask is truly a sight to behold. The one thing that sticks out to me every game is how calm he is when the storm around the net is at is most fierce. His side to side movement is incredibly fluid and he almost never loses sight of the puck and it’s for that reason that he is able to direct nearly every rebound away from the front of the net.
Rask was slated for no more than 25 games this season, however a “lower body injury” to Thomas (purportedly a broken hand suffered after the OT loss to Pitt…wall punch???) has caused the young netminder to play in 14 games to this point. With more than 50 games remaining, I would expect Rask to play in at least 20, giving him closer to 35 starts (in the pre-season I predicted Rask would see as many as 30 starts). First Toronto gave us Rask for Raycroft and now, with their draft picks in our back pocket, Kessel and the Leafs are in last place, making it more likely that the Bruins will have a top 5 pick in the next draft. From now on, whenever Peter Chiarelli sees “Burke, Brian” on his caller-ID, he’ll pick it up on the first ring.

On the whole, the Bruins are finally playing better, more consistent hockey.  The incredible struggles they underwent during October are behind them and they’re back in the top third of the Eastern Conference where they belong.

HOT: Tuukka Rask, Patrice Bergeron, Michael Ryder (he’s going to score five goals in the next eight games…just wait)

NOT: Tim Thomas, Dennis Wideman (always and forever), Blake Wheeler (three goals since Nov. 1)

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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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