A Good Ol’ Shake-Up

Song of the Post- The Hockey Song

Happy New Year to you! And a not so happy New Year in the TD Garden. Tanking and underperforming teams are a constant as of late.

The underperforming team is the most confusing and perpetuating case that I mention. The Bruins were really effected by that Montreal series, it seems to have shaken the entire franchise to it’s core. They went from being feared and being in the top tier of the NHL to out of the wild card at this point in the season.

Nearly halfway through the ’14-15 campaign and the Bruins have more questions than the start of the season, which is concerning. What is this team to do? CRV5tvm

What are Julien and Chiarelli to do with the current cast of characters in the clubhouse?

The Bruins have gotten complacent and are contempt with their roles. They, and their coach, are set in their ways and know they have job security. Player like, Lucic, Marchand and others have their contracts, feel that their 1-2 seasons of success mean that they are firmly rooted in Bruins history. The Bruins brass needs to make a move that will fetch them either immediate returns or a haul like the Kessel trade.

We as fans deserve better than what has been put on the ice and as the Habs did when they lost to the Bruins in ’11, they rebuilt. They identified their core and upgraded around them. Unfortunately the Bruins were overconfident in their system as well as the players on the roster.

In my opinion, which most assuredly will not be taken into consideration as this team moves forward with the season, the team should sell off some key players this season; mend the ailing players and reload in the offseason. That meaning the B’s should ID some stars they can build on and ones they can lose. That will mean getting younger and getting some weight off the team.

Lucic, Marchand, Kelly, Campbell, Chara, McQuaid and Bartkowski are on my chopping block. Trade these players in bunches and in packages, attempting to obtain some younger talent and picks.

Kelly and Chara to Edmonton for Yakupov or some future picks would be fine by me, that team needs veteran leadership and defensive depth, those players would help solidify the Oilers on almost all fronts.

Lucic, McQuaid/Bartkowski to the Blues for TJ Oshie, as I alluded to in a previous post would help the B’s out on offense and help the Blues with their cap situation.

Marchand, and Campbell to the Blue Jackets or the Hurricanes for picks and/or some prospects in their systems. The Blue Jackets, although they annihilated the Bruins after Christmas, have few offensive options and while Campbell isn’t known for his offense, he can slot somewhere to help them and Marchand can further their edge that they play with. The Hurricanes are slipping and sliding and are thought to be shopping Eric Staal, I think they should do the opposite and add Marchand to his weapons.

Clearly the Bruins aren’t going anywhere, and their system is loaded with young top-4 defensemen, which is why I focused solely on adding forwards. They need a shake up and now is the time to fix it.

-Lomonte

+Pastrnak should not be moved.

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

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

Yippie Paille!

Song of the post- Drink in My Hand by Eric Church

Well we got the win….

The Bruins came out of the gate slow and sloppy much like… ah– well I’ll keep it PG. hqdefault

They came out slow, sloppy and stumbling over the puck. Their counterparts however were skating crisply passing crispier and flying in the Madhouse on Madison. They scored quick and it looked like us Bruins fans were in for a dreadful night.

Nathan Horton was able to play and it certainly helped. Sure, the hottest line in the league didn’t score in the game but they had good looks. The man we all thought was going to replace him however, “Taylor Seguin” was playing like he was on the top line, not the third.

He had two assists and looked like the player we wanted in the all important second away game. He flew all over the ice, once he got his legs under him, tried to throw his body around, got to the dirty areas and made the game winning assist.

He was aligned with underachieving away assistant captain, Chris Kelly and speedster Dan Paille. Something clicked with them and they were off. Speed of Seguin and Paille, the defensive zone presence from Kelly and Paille and the will to win it before it got to yet another OT.

This line will hopefully gain momentum and add to the Bruins potential and further put worry into the Blackhawks dressing room. They got lucky in game one, came out swinging in game two missing on all but one; and now in game three they will be put to the test against the Bruins and the seventh man, the Big, Bad, Bostonian, Bruins fans!

What’s in the away dressing room? Oh a seed of doubt.

Lager

+Seguin to Marchand, you’ll get it.

Drop the Gloves, the Batting Gloves

Song of the post: My Own Worst Enemy by Lit

Who says baseball isn’t a contact sport?

The past few days there have been several bench clearing “brawls,” which is wonderful for baseball. I mean the Red Sox/Rays one didn’t have fireworks like the Dodgers/Diamondbacks fights. However, the commonness of these brawls are great for baseball. Not only is it showing that the league is getting more competitive but the players are caring more than say, the average Josh Beckett.

Fights in baseball are great you get the chance to see all weight types go at it; young and old, Pedro and Zimmer, big and small, Papi and Gregg, or two evenly matched talents, Varitek and A-Rod. It’s great seeing managers against bullpen pitchers, and old teammates against each other. It adds a spark to baseball that we haven’t seen since the home run race between Sosa and McGwire. It keeps game number 67 of 162 interesting. It holds the interest of anyone who hears “bench clearing brawl.”

The recent fights have been due to the “broken” unwritten rule in baseball about retaliation after one pitcher plunks another team’s batter. For example, Lackey hit a Rays player, after he took him deep once then nearly cranked another one just foul. Lackey had had enough and hit him, saying, “I’m sick of your shit.”

The guy walked toward Lackey and Saltalamacchia stepped in and the benches cleared.

I like the move by Lackey. It keeps the batter on his toes.

However the Dodgers game was nuts, the Dodgers way overreacted. Their little rookie sensation Puig was hit by a botched pitch. Then they retaliated twice. Look, a hot rookie should be hit, I said it last year with Bryce Harper and I’ll say it again with Puig. It puts them in their place; brings them down to earth and tells them this is a man’s game.

I’m a fan of brawls. Whether bench clearing, line, or Super Smash Brothers I think they are great.

Lager

If the Penguins are The Heat, the Blackhawks are The Thunder

Song of the post: Fade into Darkness by Avicii

It’s finally here! The Stanley Cup Finals start tonight!

Now for the picks we all are thinking about: Who will win? In how many games? Who will win the Conn Smythe?

The first two come in one package and unfortunately I am picking against the Bruins. I think the Blackhawks will win the Cup in 6 games.

The Bruins won’t be able to shut down two of the best offenses and beat two goalies in 3 separate rounds. The Bruins took care of King Henrik Lundqvist and moved onto a juggernaut in the Penguins offense; they beat two of the best on each side of the puck and won’t be able to continue their ways against a more balanced Blackhawks team.

The Blackhawks have a great offense who is coming unto their own after being down 3-1 to the Red Wings. Then to make things more dangerous for them, Kane got on a hot streak with the last two games. They are going to come out furiously after the Bruins “D-to-D” passes in the Chicago offensive zone. They have done that to the Kings and will roll onto the Bruins like so. Their defense is quick and can score, and a few of them can hit hard, Oduya and Seabrook will hit hard and shoot harder creating rebounds for their potent offense. ku-xlarge

Their goalie is nothing to thumb your nose at. He’s no Reimer, or Voukoun or Fluerry. He beat the best goalie in the world, head to head. Crawford has been great and beat Ray Emery, who had a great season, for the starting job. He had to take on a lot of big bodies at LA last series.* He had no trouble with them at all. It will be a battle for goals in the first 30 seconds.

The Conn Smythe trophy winner will be the soon to be Selke trophy winner, Johnathan Toews. He will take on Kerjci, Bergeron, Chara, and Seidenberg with ease. He has hands like butter and passes on a rope, with lasers for shots. He will have no issue trying and succeeding against the Boston Bruins. He will change the series and be the MVP. He will haul up the Stanley Cup with the Conn Smythe in tow. He will slingshot past Chara as the best Captain in the league.

I’m rooting for the Bruins, but the ‘Hawks will win. In six. “Well they’re a lock.”

Lager

+If the Bruins throw the sink at them like in the Ranger series Crawford won’t stop anything.

+Quoted- Peter Chairelli on the Penguins being a favorite for the cup after the Iginla trade.

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.