The Gang’s All Here

The infamous song of the post: Freaking Out by Flo Rida

This is my first post in quite some time. Nearly a year. I was busy with military training and then an awesome summer job so I drifted away from this lovely little blog. Here I am again, back in school and better than ever.

Since being away New England sports have had let down after let down. Which I’m neglecting to mention.

Today, a mere nine days to the Bruins 2014-2015 season, we look ahead.

466351393_slideKrug’s back.

Smith’s back.

The gang is all here. Something in the air tells me this team is hungry. This team is willing and ready to get our cup back. Tim Thomas may be gone but his logo is stamped on this team. Prove people wrong.

“This team is too slow, this team is too old fashioned, they can’t skate with the rest of the NHL.”

Yet they have the most talent depth defensive core in the NHL, they have a Vezina goalie, and two studs backing him up. They have a Norris trophy winner, and young puck moving defensemen to back the Mack Trucks of Boychuk, McQuaid and Kevan Miller. They have a center corps that is worthy of any NHL team, with Bergeron, a perennial Selke finalist as their 2nd line center. Two left-wingers are determined to bounce back from dismal postseasons. Not to mention the plethora of young talent fighting for their NHL career to take off.

The Bruins didn’t change much from last year aside from losing Thorty and  Jarome “30 Goals” Iginla, which as difficult as it may be to replace those two players I have full confidence that their production will be matched if not passed. If what these two players say is true, Marchand and Lucic are coming back into the season with a head full of steam and are ready to step up their game. Which should mean more scoring from them.

The player replacing Iginla missed significant time last year is Loui Eriksson, and he can score at least 20 goals in his sleep. And playing with a play-making center in Krejci, and a thumper in Lucic he should have plenty of space to snipe.

Reilly Smith is back and is also capable of scoring 20-25 goals, and with chemistry between his linemates already developed, they could be clicking pretty quickly.

The mysterious third line is going to be a work in progress all season. I think it could be beneficial though. I envision Soderberg-Kelly-Spooner as the interchangeable center. Winged by either Paille/Campbell and Fraser. Fraser has impressed me during preseason and might even push Smith for the 2-line RW position.

The fourth line will look quite a bit different from the Merlot line of years past. Campbell said a position change for him could be in effect, that meaning he may not be the center for that line. The fourth line may look like an AHL line of the past two years, bringing along a few of the kids whether it’s Khoklachev, or Caron/Florek may take up two of the positions on that fourth line.

The bottom six forwards will be mixed and matched until something clicks and that will be good, for competition and even production. 1297542845319_ORIGINAL

As for the defense; the top four are likely set in stone. Chara and Seidenberg for chokeholding the other team’s top line, then Boychuk and Hamilton for some  offensive spark and toughness.

The defense will be business as usual, and the bottom two spots may be open for anyone at camp. Although Torey Krug is our powerplay specialist, his spot is not given to him. The last two could be anyone from Krug, Bartkowski, McQuaid, Miller, Morrow or even Warsofsky.

The reigning President Trophy winners have 69 points to replace between a few players. They are hungry and ready to prove people wrong.

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The Talented, but Troubled Tampa Bay Rays and Where They Should Move

Song of the Post: Southern Comfort Zone by Brad Paisley || Aw Naw by Chris Young || The Greatest by Kenny Rogers

I feel bad for the players in the Tampa Bay Rays organization. They have wonderful scouts and wonderful players and they have plenty of talent. However, they have no fans, and those fans that are there are not very passionate. Baseball, all sports rather, are better when the teams have passionate fan bases. The Tampa Bay Rays have a young, talented and stocked farm system and should be given a chance to play in front of fans that care. dt.common.streams.StreamServer

I can look close to home to all the way West, and North and South; all of the Boston teams have the best fans, and is obvious by the sheer masses that come to the parades. Then you can look out West to the Seattle Seahawks and Sounders fans, loudest on the planet. I hate to say it but Montreal and Toronto have great fans; and then look at the southern college fans, ‘Bama and LSU have great fans that stay for life.

Tampa has none of those characteristics, but their players deserve better. And they can’t keep their players long enough to build on the team and retain the veterans to perhaps win a championship and maybe some fans. Not to mention their stadium is a dump and a rat festered area.

They need to move. Look what it did to the Expos organization. Now the Washington Nationals they have some fan interest and are nearly there to contend every year. The Rays are there every year (as of late at least) and a change of scenery would be best to jumpstart a fan base and keep some players there.

I am biased and want them to lose to the Sox perennially. However, they are too talented and deserve a better place to play.

I have often dreamed of winning the lottery. You know the huge one that’s like 300 million or more? Well I’d want that in one sum and buy out the Rays and move them somewhere nicer.

A place like Nashville, Tennessee. Random, sure but the facts about that city would be suitable for a baseball team. Known for country music and their whiskey Tennessee has one thing missing from being the most “American” city and that is a baseball team. Look at the Nashville Predators, a hockey team with fans in a southern town. I’d bet that Nashville has more people that are knowledgeable about baseball than they do hockey.

I believe that Nashville has a minor league team but they can switch places with Tampa.

A name change could be in order as well as a new color scheme. I’d call them the Nashville Pioneers with a gold, red and bronze color scheme; their logo an “x” made up of an axe and a rifle.

The players and manager would remain the same, just new colors and better fans. Opening day would feature Nashville-based artists singing the National Anthem. Maybe its just a dream but I think it’d be good for baseball.

-Lager

The Return Of Ty Seguin

Song of the post: Play that Funky Music by Wild Cherry

July 4th, 2013 fireworks exploded above the TD Garden, Tyler Seguin’s apartment, and the NHL buzz followed suit. The Boston Bruins had sent their 21 year old forward to the Dallas Stars in addition with Rich Peverley and in return would get Loui Eriksson, Reilly Smith, Joe Morrow and another prospect. tyler-seguin-dog-nap

The word was Seguin was either sleeping past practices or having too much fun after games and during the playoffs. The Bruins were fed up with their under performing star. The players in return were all supposedly good players and had the potential to be great. The one proven veteran was Loui Eriksson, considered the most underrated player in the Western Conference at the time.

The Bruins moved on from Tyler Seguin and were sticking with their game, their philosophy; not being begging for the kid to show his real talent.

It’s now about a month into the Seguin-less era and results are looking muddled. Seguin has been showing that talent we touted and had hoped for. And Reilly Smith has been what we asked of him, a goal scorer with some speed. Eriksson, has followed Seguin’s path and been unproductive and under performing, not so much underrated. He hadn’t found the system before the hit heard ’round the NHL and it’s unlikely he will after.

There are whisperings from the Boston fan base that perhaps the brass pulled the plug on the kid too early. That perhaps he needed a warning not a change of scenery. However, they went with the latter and can’t look back on it. The Bruins are right in the thick of it and will be, so long as they don’t see John Scott anytime soon.

Seguin will be this era’s Joe Thornton; won’t get any significant accomplishments until later in his years, if at all. Speaking of San Jose, they (as in most years) look to be early season favorites for the Cup.

Those who are worrying about the trade need to know two things; its early and that the future is still bright on many of our players. The Bruins will be fine, barring any significant injuries of course. The Krejci line is beyond what would be expected. Iginla has shown promise as his career wanes, his numbers haven’t. Bergeron has looked sharp, unfortunately his linemates have not. Brad Marchand has lost whatever he had and seems to be just swinging his stick out there. Eriksson had the head injury and that has set him back but he had looked more like he was floating as he was out there. The third line players, Kelly, Soderberg, Spooner, Caron and Smith have all looked fast and promising; and if there was a better showing from the second line they could see more results as well. Merlot line is at their par, can’t ask any more and wouldn’t expect any less from them. ????????????????????

The defense has been as advertised; a rotating door at the young position between Krug, Hamilton and Bartkowski. Also as expected is Chara and Seidenberg their decreased minutes and at times decreased skill, and increased age. One problem I don’t like out of the D core is the “non-Krug-Hamilton-Bartkowski” defensemen carrying the puck deep. One good thing is Krug was not a flash in the pan. One bad thing is that Bartkowski can’t be out there more.

Tuuka seems like the number one we will have him be for 8 years.

The penalty kill is shaky and that is uncharacteristic of this group. I don’t fret however, they will come around. The powerplay is also uncharacteristic. They have been buzzing all around the ice and have a new dimension–several dimensions actually, whether its Krug and Krejci toying with defenders or Iginla on the quick shot and Chara with the tip in, the powerplay is much improved.

No worries at the hub, at least not from me. They are running into a tough patch right now but with virtually 2 of the top 6 forwards missing that is natural. They will be on track soon enough. Seguin is going to be a Star (pause for drum kick) but the Bruins will raise a banner before he gets back to the show.

-Lager

+That Seguin picture doesn’t make it look all bad

The Baseball Epidemic

Song of the post: My Oh My by Macklemore || Glory Days by Bruce Springsteen || Centerfield by John Fogerty

They say that baseball is dying, that the sport doesn’t have the same passion and feel to it as the other sports. That’s the truth, but not the whole truth. We can’t refute the cold hard facts that the sport is drawing less interest as other sports, seeing the TV ratings compared to football and basketball. baseball

Baseball is not like any other sport out there. Most of the main sports; football, hockey, basketball, soccer and even lacrosse are goal based sports. Goal-based meaning the object of the game is to score on a basket or past a goalie. Baseball is not like that. There is a uniqueness about it, and a challenge to it. Within the other sports you can say that the same attributes can be carried over to the others. For example; a center in football can be a center in basketball, a midfielder in soccer will have great ease being a forward in hockey (assuming the athlete is capable of dual sports) and so on and so forth. You can pick up what I’m getting at.

Baseball is much different, because there is no “attackers” or “defenders.” It’s the batter against the pitcher and the fielders against the ball put in play. It is a frustrating game. A game so frustrating that as a kid or adult we can lose our tempers at it. Perhaps its the competitiveness but more often than not it’s because ‘I shouldn’t strike out’ makes more sense.

There’s the ball, now hit it.

I can’t remember a time in my life where I didn’t have my own baseball glove. I was three, or so I’ve been told that I was three when I started down the baseball life; and since then it has always been a part of me. Baseball is like a mafia or a nickname, once you’re in, you’re in for life. From the time you are just learning to play; your dad chasing the ball wherever you end up throwing it, until the neighborhood kids break your window with the ball as you reminisce on the glory days; baseball is in your blood.

Some kids lose the interest for the game others grow up to play. The lucky one’s who play on the big stage are the heroes to many. None more than to the kids who aspire and want to become their idols. Kids like me, who idolized Nomar Garciaparra and could play ball all day regardless of season. Ken_Griffey,_Jr._June_2009

Not everyone is like me however, some don’t understand the game, some get bored by it and others can’t stay up late to watch the games. The sport is dying but only for the unfortunate people who don’t know what it beholds.

The average age of the avid baseball fan is, let’s face it, old guys. Key word average. Let’s say 57 for good measure; they saw the glory days of baseball; they watched it explode. Some were lucky enough to watch it grow from post WWII until now. They saw local teams soon give way to the big city teams and then saw the big city teams create magic on the diamond.

Why are they such big fans? Why isn’t this generation finding the greatness of the game?

I point straight at the time of games. Back in the beginning there weren’t high-powered lights and electricity wasn’t available as is now. Back then the games went two and a half hours, not four. Back then the ads were on the fences not in between and longer than the innings themselves.

Now when you think of baseball you think of the 7 o’clock start and the cool of the night as well as the smell of dogs in the air. It wasn’t always like that. Games were played at 1, 2, or 3 in the afternoon; what importance does this have?

The games that start at that time are available to all, kids who get out of school and immediately flip the TV on, adults at work can tune in the radio and now stream it on the computer and keep them focused until the day’s out. That garnered interest in the past. However, as more places were able to afford the big lights and there was something special about the night game, began to push away the fans slowly. Ever so slowly. 2007-02-19-caps-med

That’s a hard line to connect to the decline in popularity. Hear out my thought; the 7 o’clock games are getting over around 10:30 or 11:00; and kids can’t stay up that late and expect to get to school in the morning. Heck, even adults can’t be expected to do that. The mentality, (not including postseason) is “I’ll watch the game until I fall asleep” believe it or not. That mentality is not beneficial for the sport.

I feel that you should be excited about the game and the close ones especially. Running from the bus stop to watch the 7th, 8th and 9th; or getting out of work to have a beer while the Sox walkoff with a win.

Would it be so hard for the MLB to make a major schedule change? Sunday-Wednesday more games on during the day; with one or two on at night. Then Thursday-Saturday one or two day games and the rest night-caps. I feel that is more conducive with the working person’s schedule.

Who am I to say though? murderer-row.1

Perhaps it’s not necessarily the times of games; because that would be utterly ridiculous as the only reason. There are others such as baseball not being exciting; and then I’d tell the neigh-sayers to watch Four Days in October; or even go to a game. Sure at times its slow, so is basketball. As a Sox fan I hate to say it but I think the lack dominance of the Yankees has a bit to do with it. Without them, that’s nearly 20 million fans not interested in the games.

When the Yankees are good, it’s good for the sport. Every team has a bullseye on them at all times, and that is very important. I hated to lose to the Yankees, but if David doesn’t have Goliath then where’s the story?

Baseball isn’t about watching fast people going back and forth, back and forth, side to side, it’s a competition each pitch. Even then baseball is more than that, to me its part of life.

-Lager

This One Time at Seguin’s House

Song(s) of the Post: Charlie Brown by Coldplay & Runnin’ Outta Moonlight by Randy Houser & Born in the U.S.A. by Bruce Springsteen

What a long strange trip it’s been since I last wrote a post. I mean 10 days ago? Holy shirts and shoes.

Well, what didn’t happen in the sporting world? Jeez there was a lot that went down since I took my holiday hiatus. Wind the clock back and you’d see that the Stanley Cup Just ended, we all still had Hernandez jerseys, the Celtics didn’t have 9 picks in 5 years, and the Red Sox weren’t…. yes they were in first place. That hasn’t changed.

I’ll start there. The Red Sox, first place Red Sox, wow it’s nice to say that again. Top of the league in almost every team category; they are the little team that could. Sure, at the current moment they have been skidding a bit, however they are on the West Coast road trip. That always kills them. Plus their best pitchers are hurt or cautious.

The Sox will be interesting to watch, as they have all season, but this year they are never the favorite. No way, no how.

We all counted them out, and for good reason, I mean????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????…. Look.

But we did in ’04, and that team was more thrown together than this one. I’m not saying they will win the World Series, the NL is too strong, I am saying that they are going to contend every team they face for a win.

________

Well, the least fun story to talk about is on tap next.

The New England Patriots, oh how we loveth thee. Whether you are an opposing fan, or a hometown boy they are an interesting topic. As an away fan you want to hate on them as though they slept with you mother and sister then laughed about it. As a townie you root for them ’til pigs fly.

Away fans cannot deny the fact that they are the classiest franchise on the planet right now. They are buying back their mistake’s jersey and burning them for you. You pick a new jersey as long as your bring in the one of the team murderer.

As for the future season, it is about to be time to talk about them nonstop. In Brady we trust on offense, and fingers crossed for defense. That’s the motto recently. I’m fine with Gronk not being 100% until sometime in November because that’s when we need our offense to get strong, then for him to hit his stride come February.

________

I’ll go with the Celtics here, because look at that hair. spt_2_olynyk_pic_t575

Last I wrote about them we had two if not three Hall Of Famers on the team. Then Danny dropped the ball and executed a great trade for the future team.

After drafting Kelly Olynyk in the draft Ainge made a call to shape the Celtics for years to come. They sent Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to the Nets for garbage and 3 picks in 5 years.

This may not be a good thing for some fans because they want to win and want to win now. However, the Celtics ABOSU-friggin-LUTELY need to be in the lottery this year. I don’t care how or why they do it, just get to the lottery boys. I feel that the luck will be upon them if they get there. Brad Stevens better play it right.

Not only is the top pick as coveted as LBJ, but the consolation prizes are also decently talented. My plan, which I hope you’re all on board with is to tank this year. Either sit Rondo for a year or trade him at the deadline, then get Wiggins as the first pick, him becoming Kobe, and McHale and getting back on track, then in 2018 get the Nets lottery pick for the Pippin to Wiggins’ MJ.

_______

The NHL’s runner up, Boston Bruins have some explaining to do.

Fine, Horton walked, and yeah Ference had younger competition with better upside, but Seguin could’ve warranted a better return at say the trade deadline?

However, that’s past us and now we finally have a talented top six instead of a decent top nine. I mean yeah I liked Seguin’s potential, but that’s all it seemed like it was, potential. Perhaps it was the system, his work ethic or the millions of women in the greater Boston area that wanted him (plus entry to any bar and get out of jail free cards); that caused the trade that will shape the NHL.

I don’t see why it will be a bad trade, basically getting similar numbers and some prospects. I’m excited about the prospects, one of them, Morrow, will fit nicely in with the rest in 2-3 years. He’s a bigger sized Bartkowski. Morrow, Krug, Bartkowski, Hamilton will be a top 5 D in the NHL in 5 years. Mark. My. Words.

Then we signed Iginla, WOW!!! I mean I’m still bitter about this winter’s tease but now I’m fine that we didn’t have to give up prospects. Next thing on the list is to sign Rask and then extend Bergeron.

I’m feeling the decade of dominance will be extended a few more years.

Lager

+Revs are doing well

Instant Classic

Song of the post: No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problem by Kenny Chesney

Bruins lost, Bruins lost, Bruins… AH….

I am disappointed that the Bruins lost? Yes.

To the Blackhawks? Not really. I’m not saying I llove the Blackhawks but I will say that they are one of the most respected franchises in the history of sports. Whereas the Yankees are dominant the Blackhawks are classy and deserve the win.????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

However, the series came down to a few inches and lucky bounces. The Bruins had them down and out going into game four, gave it their all and just couldn’t pull it off. A double deflection in 3OT and a few inches out of position by Rask cost them the cup.

Bruins played better than Chicago in 3 of the games, we matched evenly in one and got outskated in two games. The Bruins have nothing to be disappointed about and nothing really to hang their heads about. They were without the Merlot captain, in Campbell and Patrice Bergeron was 40% for the last 2 games. The three scorers they needed were all ghosts, Marchand, Jagr and Seguin were barely involved. The fact the Daugavins even touched the ice greatly diminished their chances of winning. Chara and Seidenberg were in a funk because they couldn’t catch up to Kane, move Bickell or lift Toews’s stick.

The Blackhawks showed what it took, shots on goal, and luck.

——–

However, you can’t dwell on the past in a business like hockey, so now we look to the offseason and the moves I think they should take.

– Sign Rask for the maximum length contract to keep him here

– Rid yourself of Peverley, and unfortunately Andrew Ference

– Let Nathan Horton walk because

– Its time to sign Bryan Bickell

Rask’s signing is obvious, he brought you as far as he could and won way too many games for you. Both Peverley and Ference are replaceable at least their skill sets are. Peverley was lost most of the postseason and couldn’t get it together. Ference, although a great locker room presence is going to be too expensive with the cap, and will be 34.

Letting Horton walk might be tough but in my opinion we should try to upgrade and sign Bickell, he’s a great Boston hockey style of play. He is Lucic part two. He would be a great fit in the system as well.  I mean look at the possible lines:

-Lucic-Krejci-Seguin
-Bickell-Bergeron-Marchand
-SOderberg-Kelly-Caron/Bourque/Spooner/Knight
-Paille-Campbell-Thornton

I think that is something to be reckoned with and with the D-Pairings just as potent as last year it would be a great thing to consider.

Keep the core, and move forward, we’ve done it before and can do it again, come back as bigger, badder Bruins.

Lager

Swing Game, Swedish House Merlot

Song of the post: Stockholm Syndrome by Muse

Game five is on tap, and so is Merlot. Daugavins has been dropped from the fourth line, and my guy, Carl Soderberg, the SWEDE is in his place!

Now he is not going to turn the game or series around but I feel he is going to put in serviceable minutes that he had a few times in the regular season. He’s 6’3″ and can fly. I hope he clicks with Peverley or Kelly. Maybe even get bumped up to the third line once Paille realizes he misses Thornton.

That’s all imaginary talk, now the game. Defense wins championships boys, but the legs feed the wolves. SO which is the more crucial, defense or speed?

brad-marchand-punching-sedin1I mean the Bruins proved to everyone that they can skate and score with the Blackhawks, and the Blackhawks proved anyone can score in overtime…. again.

So it’s more important for the Bruins to get back to the lockdown D that got them to this point. I think Tuukka will bounce back from his blunders in game four; but maybe he will prove me wrong. Chara and Seidenberg were not themselves so I expect they’ll bounce back to form. However I think the Blackhawks being at home might find it easier to force mistakes from the D-pairing.

It’s a must win and I am getting worried that the Bruins top line is not enough to keep the ship going, and can’t keep up with the Chicago first line. The speed, skill, defense and brute force of the trio is scary and something the Bruins will just have to contain to a simmer, and not let the other lines get involved. I think the Bruins certainly proved to everyone that you need three solid lines not just 2 like the Penguins.

Marchand needs to step up, he’s been nearly invisible the whole series and we could use a little smirk from him or a little bite to our pest. He has tried to play like Seguin and Jagr at the same time, just play you Brad.

Talk shit, score; that’s what Marchand does!

Lager