Tag Archives: Tuukka Rask

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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B’s end skid at ten — one win shouldn’t convince fans

Still struggling to find the net with any regularity this season, the Bruins caught lightning in a bottle on Sunday afternoon at Centre’ Bell en route to a 3-0 victory over Montreal which saw Boston’s longest losing streak in 85 years come to an end.

Two of Boston’s three goals went in off of Montreal sticks, and for the first time in a long time, the Bruins were getting all the breaks. Adam McQuaid scored his first NHL goal, Marco Sturm added two of his own and Tuukka Rask looked like the clear-cut No. 1 goalie.

Yesterday’s win was great, but I hope it doesn’t distract the front office from the glaring defects in this team. First and foremost, goal scoring has been DEPLORABLE. The Bruins have been dead last in the NHL for a good part of the year and the margin only continues to grow. The Bruins have averaged 40+ shots in 3 of the last 4 games and I believe that adding one more piece (a 25 goal guy; Whitney, Ponikarovsky — who WILL be a 25+ goal guy) would translate into AT LEAST one more goal per game. Michael Ryder (13-9=22) has DISAPPEARED this season. I have trouble remembering whether or not he actually played each night.

The penalty kill has been superb this year, but 5 on 5 defense has been lackluster at best. I point to Dennis Wideman. He is simply not good enough to be a no. 2 defenseman; it required too much ice time/responsibility. He needs to go. Now. I could go on and on about the failings of Dennis Wideman, but chances are, you already know about them. God, he’s awful.

The issue that had fans most upset during this losing streak was the egregious increase in ticket prices for this season. Last season, I had a 10 game package and was sitting in the Loge (lower bowl) for an average cost of $66/per seat. This season, I’m in the balcony (sec. 318) for the same price. My old seats are now more than $120 per seat. The Bruins ownership simply jumped the gun here. The only way to for the Bruins to save face re: the ticket increase is if the Bruins can pull off a cinderal

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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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