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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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

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

Complete Preview Stanley Cup

Song of the post: Keys to the City by Ministry – & – Good Ole Hockey Game

One day away from the Stanley Cup Finals and it is time to preview the teams.

This post will be featuring the forwards of the two teams.

The Bruins, who I always talk about are a dangerous team when they are scoring. The Blackhawks are very much the same.

Patrick+Kane+Stanley+Cup+Finals+Chicago+Blackhawks+b4Bkn6YXpdlxThe Blackhawks three most dangerous forwards between Toews, Kane and Hossa. Then their second tier players Bickell, Sharp, Saad, Stahlberg and the bunch are also forces and have come alive this postseason.

The Bruins have been rolling their lines and been successful with three of their four. The Krejci line has been phenomenal this playoffs, legendary even. Their next trio of Bergeron, Jagr and Marchand has stepped it up for a more even keeled attack. Their other two lines are the big questions in this series.

The question for the coaches is what forward line will play against the Toews and Kane line. If its Krejci and Horton going against their top line it’ll be interesting to see Bickell and Lucic trade heavy hits and see who is the bigger player. If the Toews line goes against the Bergeron line it’ll be a huge mismatch for Chicago, if they win the faceoff. Kane can outskate Jagr and dangle past Marchand; while Bickell will power past Jagr and potentially injure Marchand.

If I am Claude Julien I am matching up the Bergeron line with the Hossa-Sharp line, Marchand can get under their skins while Jagr can handle Hossa and his dangling.

The big question will be how the third lines will matchup. The “triple S” line of the Blackhawks, Saad, Stahlberg and Shaw have magically clicked and torn it up this postseason. Their counterparts on the other hand are not producing as much as we would like. However the new combination of Daugavins and Seguin will be quick and can pick the blocker side of Crawford.

The fourth lines of these two teams are the most talented in the league and will be tested by each other. The Bruins will miss Campbell but will hope to see Kelly produce similar numbers or even more. The Blackhawks are going to be tested by the merlot line, however the line led by Handzus will do it’s best to corrall the bunch and keep them from getting their chances. 116730365_crop_650x440

The defenses of these two team will be up to the test. The Bruins haven’t exactly faced this much of a team seeing as Pittsburgh gifted them by putting up 2 goals all series. The Blackhawks have faced a forechecking team like the Bruins before, they just beat the Kings who play a similar style of game.

The Bruins will have to face 3 lines that can really score and put the pressure on whenever they are on the ice. The Blackhawks will have the same test.

It’s going to come down to who has the better lower defensemen. For the Bruins it is Krug and McQuaid who have been awesome this postseason. The Blackhawks are at a clear disadvantage in this department because after Oduya their power is lesser.

Chara and Seidenberg will be put to the test no matter what line they are put up against. In fact each and every line is going to be a test for the D-pairs. Krug and McQuaid will have to stop Kane and Toews at least once on a two on two battle. It’ll be important for the forwards to cover the points in this series. If not Tuukka will have a tougher test ahead of him.

Speaking of Tuukka. Bot teams have lights out goalies who have just started playing their best hockey. Rask is a wall from the waist down, and Crawford is a quick side to side goalie who will frustrate the Bruins to no avail. The offenses will be put to the test and who ever is most patient will finally crack the scoresheet, and potentially the series.

The Coaches are two of the best in the league and each will be pinned against the wall in this series.

Lager

+I won’t make my prediction until tomorrow so check back in before puck drop.

 

There’s No Crying in Hockey

Song of the Post:  Warriors’ Code by Dropkick Murphys

Yes this is a little out of date, but this isn’t just speaking of last night’s Bruins/Penguins game. This is about hockey, the warrior’s sport.

To start it off, the Bruins played their most competitive game all year, the one that tested them on all parts of the ice. It was a different test than that a feww weeks ago against the Maple Leafs.

This game tested the forwards to beat a relentless defense and a formidable goalie. The defense and Rask had to stop the coveted offense we were expecting the first two games. Then every player on both teams battled fatigue in playing an extra 36 minutes of hockey. Hockey is for men.

Lucic, Marchand and Campbell will be looked at and evaluated in this entry:???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Milan Lucic has been a shadow of Cam Neely and himself in the regular season, but this postseason he has stepped it up. He hasn’t been afraid to throw that giant body of his around, and hasn’t cared for the opposition, crashing the net, dropping gloves and bodies all over the ice. When he has the puck he is a force to be reckoned with, the only time you get it off him is when he pushes it too far ahead of himself or he is passing to his hot handed linemates. Almost everytime he passes the puck he’s charging the net making noise and a shadow over the goaltender. He has been great the whole postseason. He is showing what it takes and what it means to be a Boston Bruin. I personally think he should wear the “A” next year and years to come seeing as Ference and Kelly could be leaving after this cup run.

Lucic has put fear in the Penguins “tough” guys. Both Engellund and Cooke have turned away from him when he gets his mean face on. In game 1 he buried Engellund in the corner then he got up and looked tough expecting it to be a Bruin, but not Lucic and then the dog’s tail was between his legs and he was calling for a ref. Lucic called him out and the Bruins won 3-0. In game three during a post-save scrum in the Bruins end, Lucic shoved Cooke aside and eventually planted him on the ice. The fake tough guy turtled and Lucic pounced on him strangling him to be a man and fight him back. Cooke did not, he hid in his cowardly shell. Lucic has been a Bruin through and through and it is showing in this Cup run.

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Marchand has been the Bruins pest, he has been their scorer and he has been their speed. He has been a hero as of game three. He set Patrice Bergeron up for the game winner in double OT. However, he commited a penalty that was dirty. He knew it was dirty, the Penguins knew it was dirty, Ulf Samuelsson knew it, Cam Neely knew it and Bobby Orr knows the consequences of a hit like that. Marchand was throwing the brakes on at the goalline and stuck his leg out a bit further than necessary and hit a Penguin player right in the knee. The player retaliated and whacked Marchand with his stick. Marchand was at fault and deserved the whack. He committed one of the most gruesome hits in hockey history. That type of hit has a past with the Bruins; not just the Bruins but the Penguins as well. Ulf Samuelsson went knee to knee with Cam Neely in the 90s  and got him out of the series. Before him their were countless others.

??????????????????????????????And then there’s the greatest. Number four, Bobby Orr was always attacked in this fashion. It cost him his career. He was so good and so fast that the only way players could stop him, or slow him down was to stick their leg out in his way and go knee to knee. It was affective for the opposition but not for Bobby. Orr has no cartilage in his knees, he can’t skate without extreme pain and it is difficult for him to walk. Orr effectively doesn’t have knees. All due to hits like that. Just like the Matt Cooke on Savard kind of hits are awful, so are the knee to knee blows.

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Soupy. Greg Campbell, a Boston Strong hockey player. Takes a slapper from the blue line, slides down to block it and breaks his leg. That in and of itself is a hockey play. But its what followed that wowed the crowd and amped the team. He stayed on the ice. His fibula was shattered and he couldn’t use it to push off to skate. He stayed on for his shift. He didn’t crawl into a Crosby, I mean a ball and wait for the whistle. He slowly got to his feet and contributed on the penalty kill. He helped the Bruins finish off the sniping Penguins powerplay by staying on and doing his best. Then the team couldn’t clear it, not once, not twice, and finally about 30 seconds after the break and the penalty expired he glided painfully off and down the tunnel.

He was trending on Twitter, the least of his worries. The crowd showed their appreciation in a standing ovation and a “Camp-bell! Camp-bell!” chant. And to cap it off his team won it for him.

Gregory Campbell showed us that there’s no crying in hockey.

Lager

The One Where the Bruins Looked Good When They Were Good.

Hey,

Anyone watch the Bruins/Capitals game Saturday? 

Well if you did, and you follow the Bruins than you saw all of their problems rise up in one game.

First off the forwards were slow, and the top line of Lucic-Krejci-Seguin can’t keep up their insane play as of the last 4 games. The third line, the one centered by Kelly is definitely the one that is missing Peverley, Horton, and Pouliot. They need scoring, and their scorers are all injured. I mean, Rolston has a nice shot, but he looks lost out there. 

The defense looks good at the top end, with Chara, Boychuk and Seidenberg, but after that, they look kind of conservative and confused. Joe Corvo needs to be dropped down to the last defensive line, he shouldn’t be out there as long as he is. And Zanon should be on that third line with him, they both aren’t very good in the Bruins’ scheme. 

Claude Julien needs to sit Thomas for more than a few games before the Playoffs. If he gets injured, then we will have a AHL goalie starting in the Stanley Cup Playoffs; because Turco is ineligible for the Playoffs. The Bruins time to get rolling is shortening and they need to, fast.

I hope Julien knows what he’s doing because I’d love to see them win back to back Cups. Right now though it doesn’t look like they’ll get past the first round. 

Thanks

-Lomonte