What’s Bruin with the Bruins by Anthony Travilgia of http://www.bruinsdaily.com
(Photo Credit: Joe Makarski/Bruins Daily) Marchand’s third period power play goal ended up as the game winning goal as the Bruins beat the Jets 3-2 last night in Winnipeg
Heading into Winnipeg losers of their last two, the Bruins knew they needed to take two points out of this one and with Milan Lucic back in Boston due to personal reasons, the B’s needed some of their other role players to step up and carry the team, luckily for the Bruins they got the two points, and got key goals from two key players.
Goals by Daniel Paille, Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand helped the Bruins beat the Jets 3-2.
A lot of eyes have been closely watching Seguin as the 21 year-old has struggled in his third season in the National Hockey League, but last night was one of No.19’s best games of the season, and his hard work paid off with his third goal of the season.
The goal was very un-Seguin-like as the goal came off a tip from a Zdeno Chara shot from the point, but Seguin will take it.
“Even though it’s a tip that’s not usually my game, I’ll take it,” said Seguin. “Obviously when you’re not scoring and producing the guys see that you’re getting frustrated. The message I got over and over was to keep battling and to maybe take my grit up another level and my compete level up. That’s what I tried to do tonight.”
With things tied at two, and the Bruins on the power-play, Brad Marchand made sure he would once again step up and put the team on his back.
Marchand collected a nifty pass from Patrice Bergeron and beat Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec for his team leading eight goal.
“Its things we’ve worked on, trying to find holes and trying to use speed. It’s an example of when you execute it right, it will work” said Marchand.
Marchand has been one of the best Bruins forwards all season and is developing into a legitimate goal scoring threat. Marchand now has three goals in his last four games.
With the secondary scoring lacking a bit thus far the Bruins know they can only go as far as their key goal scorers will take them, and if the Bruins can get Seguin going things can get much better for a Bruins team that keeps finding ways to win.
What’s Brewin with the Bruins by Tim Rosenthal of http://www.Bruinsdaily.com
Thanks to the shortened season, the schedule makers at the National Hockey League were forced to make some strange and quirky decisions. Friday’s game between the Boston Bruins and Buffalo Sabres is just the latest example.
After defeating the Sabres last Sunday in Buffalo – with their third period comeback against the New York Rangers sandwiched in between – the Black and Gold return to the First Niagara Center for their first of five straight road games Friday night at the First Niagara Center.
Since their 7-4 loss to the Sabres, the Bruins have looked sharp defensively allowing just five goals in the four games since (3-0-1). But, even though Patrice Bergeron scored the game-winner on the man advantage last Sunday, the power play continues to be a sore spot for Boston as they are ranked dead last at 9.3 percent.
Buffalo, meanwhile, is coming off a 2-0 loss to the Ottawa Senators where they compiled a season-high 42 shots only to be stymied by Craig Anderson.
After the jump, lineups, storylines, linkage and tweets of interest
Gametime: 7 p.m.
Location: First Niagara Center
T.V./Radio: NESN/98.5 The Sports Hub
Records: Bruins (8-1-2, 18 points), Sabres (5-8-1, 11 points)
Bruins projected lineup
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Tyler Seguin
Chris Bourque-Chris Kelly-Rich Peverley
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg-Dougie Hamilton
Andrew Ference-Adam McQuaid
Sabres projected lineup
Thomas Vanek-Cody Hodgson-Jason Pominville
Nick Foligno-Tyler Ennis-Drew Stafford
Steve Ott-Mikhail Grigorenko-Nathan Gerbe
John Scott-Jochen Hecht-Patrick Kaleta
Christian Ehrhoff-Andrej Sekera
Robyn Reghr-Tyler Myers
Adam Weber-Jordan Leopold
Bruins to watch
After notching 25 saves in the last meeting, it looks like Claude Julien will go with Anton Khudobin again for Friday’s meeting. If so it will be his third start of the season, and this move might pay dividends. With a busy slate coming up in March, Tuukka Rask could use a little extra rest even though he might have to shake off some rust if or when he gets the start on Sunday. But the big picture is the stretch run and anytime Khudobin puts in a quality performance it means a little extra to give Rask a breather.
While Tyler Seguin’s struggles have been well documented, Chris Kelly is seeing the same type of slump early. Much to the disappointment of fellow colleague Anthony Travalgia, the veteran has only three points – all assists – and is a minus-3 through the first 11 games. No doubt Kelly’s linemates, Chris Bourque and Rich Peverley, have also struggled, but for a deep, veteran team like the B’s, I’m sure Claude will like to get this line going sooner rather than later.
Sabres to watch
After sitting out the last meeting, Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers will face the Black and Gold for the second time this season. The struggles of the former Calder Trophy winner have been well documented in Buffalo and was recently a healthy scratch against the Isles and B’s. Myers, a former first round pick, has just one goal and is a minus-9 on the season, both far from ideal stats for a top-four defenseman.
The Sabres’ secondary scoring has been an issue all season, but Tyler Ennis is starting to come along. The former first round pick has strung together a nice five-game stretch notching three goals and two assists. While Ennis and Nick Foligno have been a nice one-two punch, they will need to get production out of Drew Stafford, who is still without a goal on the season despite logging over 18 minutes a night. Look for Stafford to get some looks again as he tries to break out of his slump.
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The Days of Y’Orr crew have a good amount of material in store when they debut their pregame show tonight at 6:15 p.m.
With Nathan Horton on the last year of his contract, the Game 7 hero against Montreal and Tampa hopes to stay in Boston according to DJ Bean of WEEI.com.
Die By the Blade says the Sabres need production out of Stafford if they are to bust out of their offensive woes.
Sabres noise analyzes the team’s goaltending situation.
And Mike Harrington of The Buffalo News says Friday’s matchup might not be as much of a mismatch as you think.
Tweets of interest
Even though the focus is on the task in hand, the Bruins might want to bring some extra layers when they travel to Winnipeg for Sunday’s contest against the Jets (via@NHLBruins).
And in a rare instance, we are keeping today’s tweets of interest Bruins’ centric. Here’s what CSN New England Bruins Insider Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) tweeted in his conversation with Khudobin regarding the meteorite that hit Russia earlier today (our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and other effected by this circumstance overseas).
What’s Bruin with the Bruins by Chris Chirichiello of http://www.bruinsdaily.com
(Photo Credit: Joe Makarski/BruinsDaily) Tyler Seguin alongside David Krejci is a Bruins fan’s fantasy.
The Boston Bruins will embark on their longest road trip of the season starting this Friday as they travel to Buffalo. The black and gold will also have stops in Winnipeg (Tyler Seguin set your alarm the correct way please), Tampa, Florida and New York before returning home to host the Ottawa Senators at the end of February.
The B’s are off to their best start in franchise history (8-1-2) and will need to continue their torrid pace away from the TD Garden. The team has a 4-0-1 record away from home so it should not be an issue, but it is a crucial part of their schedule before the B’s will play a whopping 17 games in March.
Here are my five keys to having a successful five game road trip.
1. The Power Play must improve
The Bruins have converted on 9.3% (4-43) of their power-plays on the year. That is bad. That is unacceptable and it should not happen with the talent on this roster. When you have a man-advantage, you must punish the opposition as Andy Brickley stated the other night. The Bruins just do not attack the net on the man advantage and that must change because the chances are there and it will come back to haunt them. Sure, their defense is keeping them in games, but the Bruins need a nice 5-1 win on the road with two power-play goals to get their confidence back. And oh yeah, have Seguin on the power-play more than Chris Bourque. Also, why not try Brad Marchand on the man advantage? This “little ball of hate” has been lighting the lamp at will lately.
2. Give Anton Khudobin three starts so Tuukka Rask can clear his head
I know people want Rask to be “The Man” but why not give Khudobin some time and give Tuukka some time to rest? Khudobin is no push over. He is 2-0 this year and only has one loss in his career plus Tuukka will be called upon a lot in the month of March with 17 games to be played. There is nothing wrong with letting the back-up play if he is pretty good like Khudobin. Look for Khudobin on the road trip.
3. Leave Seguin with David Krejci
These two were paired together in the third period of the Montreal Canadiens game down 1-0. By the time you got comfortable after the intermission, the Bruins led 2-1 two minutes into the third period, goal by Seguin assisted by Krejci and then a game-winning Krejci goal assisted by Seguin. It is not hard that these two can make a lot happen while on the ice together. They are both play-makers and if each line essentially plays the same amount, why not try to utilize the best opportunities with these two alongside each other?
4. Third line scoring
The Bourque-Kelly-Peverley line must get going. This line has two goals in 11 games and has not put much together. It has been tough to watch as a fan, but once they gain more chemistry together, this line could finally get rolling. Chris Kelly has yet to score (sorry Ant) while netting 20 goals last season. Peverley netted 11 goals last season while dishing out 31 assists. Their statistics this year must balloon and they will, it will just take some, but Bruins fans are tired of waiting on this third line. Fans want the Bourque experiment to end, but he has played a few sound games in a row regaining his confidence.
5. Get Dougie Hamilton back on track.
Hamilton was off to a hot start in Boston, but lately he has been suspect over the last five games. He was a -1 versus the Rangers, a -1 versus Buffalo, and -2 versus Buffalo dating back to Jan. 31 to name a few. He has not recorded a point since Jan. 28 versus the Carolina Hurricanes.
Dougie is a rookie, but he is playing like a 10-year veteran. He has yet to record a penalty which is remarkable with the amount of time he is on the ice. Hamilton will be a star for years. I am not saying he is playing bad, but he needs to get his confidence back. Look for him to go on a little point streak during this road trip.
What’s Brewin with the Bruins by Tim Rosenthal of Bruins Daily
(Photo credit: Sharon Bradley) Tuukka Rask is one of the main reasons why the Boston Bruins are off to their best 10-game start in franchise history
By now, many Boston Bruins fans are aware of the team’s 8-1-1 record through the first 10 games – their best in franchise history. There have been some minor hiccups along the way, including their ongoing power play woes, but obviously for the most part things are looking up in The Hub of Hockey.
Here are 10 thoughts from your’s truly on the Bruins’ rampant start to the 2013 National Hockey League season.
1) Tuukka Rask’s stellar play
Many were wondering how Tuukka would respond as heir apparent to Tim Thomas, and so far he has been nothing short of extraordinary. The Finnish netminder is 5-1-1 on the season with a 1.96 goals against average and a .922 save percentage and is really positioning himself well from post to post.
This was the Bruins’ top question heading into the 2013 season and so far Tuukka has passed all the tests. But can he continue this roll?
2) The Tim Thomas trade
Count this as another win for Peter Chiarelli.
While the Bruins’ general manager might only get a second round pick in return – if Thomas actually reports to the New York Islanders – he got $5 million in cap relief by trading the two-time Vezina Trophy winner.
The Bruins now have a little over $8 million in cap space according to CapGeek.com. And after this hot start, they could potentially be that much better after the trade deadline. (Jarome Iginla or Steven Weiss, anyone?)
3) Brad Marchand leading the team in goals
After returning to the lineup Sunday from an upper-body injury, Marchand picked up right where he left off. The ‘little ball of hate’ scored the team’s first goal in the 3-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres increasing his team-leading total to six on the season. What’s more impressive is his shot percentage, which is at 42.9 percent.
Apparently, there’s no secret to his success.
“It’s different every time. You go through points of the year where things are going well and you go through others where things don’t click as well,” Marchand said after Monday’s practice. “You can go nine or ten games without a goal and go five games with goals. So it’s just how things go.”
Things are certainly clicking for Marchand right now on the scoresheet, but the Bruin with many monikers continues to play with an edge. And that is a welcomed sighting after slowing down when returning from last year’s suspension for his hit on Vancouver Canucks defenseman Sami Salo 13 months ago.
4) The play of Dougie Hamilton
So much for his struggles in the World Junior Championships. Even with the benefit of skating alongside Dennis Seidenberg – and with Zdeno Chara in a couple of instances – Hamilton has really provided a spark on the blueline as the second leading scorer on the team among defensemen. The 19-year old from Toronto sure has a bright future, but even now he is helping Peter Chiarelli’s decision to trade Phil Kessel to the Leafs.
5) Tyler Seguin
While one part of the Kessel trade has been doing quite well, the other is still looking for his groove. In what many expected another breakout season for Seguin, the 21-year old forward has only compiled three points thus far (two goals, one assist) and is still a little snakebitten. Seguin did provide a jolt in the third period of the Bruins’ 2-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens last Wednesday and he is still being assertive, which is a positive sign for coach Claude Julien.
Seguin, like Kessel, has been known to be a streaky scorer. So when he gets going, the goals should come in bunches.
6) The Merlot line
One of many benefits that Julien has is that they can roll all four lines on any given night. When the top lines struggle, Claude can usually count on Gregory Campbell, Shawn Thornton and Daniel Paille to provide more energy. Campbell and Thornton can drop the gloves at any moment and can muscle their way in battles for loose pucks, while Paille’s speed is something opposing defenses need to respect. All three can also provide a scoring touch if need be.
7) The power(less) play
Where to begin. Is it the lack of a “puck-moving defenseman”? Is it a lack of shots directed at opposing goalies? Is it because they don’t get many clean entries into the blue-line?
For a team that has struggled on the power play over the last few seasons, one would think this issue needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. They’ve certainly tried to spark the man advantage by putting David Krejci on the point and Tyler Seguin on the half-wall, but so far that has been to no avail.
Maybe things are heading in the right direction after Patrice Bergeron scored his game-winner on the power play Sunday night. But maybe its just hopeless optimism. Either way the man advantage continues to be a work in progress.
8) The polar opposite penalty kill
One thing that has been consistent in the Julien era has been the penalty kill and this year is no different. The Bruins are currently tied with the Chicago Blackhawks in PK percentage killing off nearly 93 percent of the opposing power plays.
That is impressive in it and itself, but the Black and Gold shorthanded units have come up huge in clutch situations that includes a 5-on-3 against the New York Rangers in the third period on opening night and two overtime kills in a shootout victory against the Winnipeg Jets. Even more impressive, the 6-foot-9 Chara was serving a penalty in both instances.
9) Claude’s coaching
It’s no secret that many consider Julien’s system a defensive first approach. But the players have bought in to the Bruins bench boss’ ways and it seems apparent again this year.
Aside from their 7-4 loss to Buffalo nearly two weeks ago, the Bruins defense has been solid allowing 2.1 goals per game. But the Black and Gold – even though they are in the middle of the league in scoring currently with 2.7 goals per game – also pride themselves using the D to transition into offense.
While they’ve had no stud 50-goal scorers, the B’s have often ended up as one the top 10 teams in scoring with several netting 20 or more goals. And Julien is pretty comfortable with that approach despite some early season struggles offensively.
“I don’t think we are a team that is bad at scoring. I think we are a team that scores by committee,” said Julien. “We struggle to get that 50-goal scorer – or this year that 30-goal scorer – but we are still a team that is usually in the top five in goals scored. I don’t anticipate that being an issue, but right now we are snake bitten with all the chances we have and that we haven’t been able to capitalize as we should.”
10) Familiarity breads success
Aside from Thomas, Michael Ryder and Tomas Kaberle, many members of the 2011 Cup run are still donning the Black and Gold. Not only has that been beneficial to the team’s hot start, but it’s also a testament to sticking with Julien’s system through good times and bad.
“It’s definitely huge,” Marchand said about the locker room familiarity. “It’s been a couple of years that we’ve been playing together and especially in a shortened season like we have this year where everything is so compact and we didn’t really have a training camp or a whole lot of practice time. It definitely makes things a little easier and it’s showing out there.”
In a shortened season, a veteran presence is a nice thing to have. And that can especially come in handy come playoff time.
by Tim Rosenthal, http://www.bruinsdaily.com
BOSTON — The champs are here.
While WWE superstar John Cena might overuse that reference, the same holds true for the Bruins as they begin their defense of Lord’s Stanley for the 2011-12 season.
On Friday, Bruins veterans reported to training camp for off-ice testing before they hit the ice for the first practice of the season Saturday at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. at the TD Garden. And its safe to say that they are eager to put last year behind already — even before they raise the banner on opening night — and focus on defending their title.
This year, they have a huge target on their backs as the defending champions.
And unlike the previous 12 champions, the Black and Gold are hoping they don’t suffer the same fate of the Stanley Cup hangover.
“The famous ‘Stanley Cup hangover’ talk is there,” said head coach Claude Julien. “We’re not different from anyone else. Teams are going to bring their best against you every night and we understand that part of it. We’re going to get ourselves ready [for the challenge] and respond properly.”
Although many players thoroughly enjoyed their summer of Stanley, they are doing their best to try to avoid the hangover during the off-season.
Forward Patrice Bergeron felt that his day with the Cup helped ease things a little bit.
“At some point you have to turn the page,” he said. “Honestly I felt like the day with the Cup helped me a lot in doing that. It was nice to share the Cup with my family and friends in doing that. But after that I felt like I needed to turn my focus on this year [and defending the Cup].”
Make no mistake, the Cup hangover is acknowledged from players and coaches alike in the organization. But at no point in the season will they use this as an excuse when they know they have that huge target on their backs.
Second year forward Tyler Seguin — who hopes to improve on his 22-point rookie season — believes his team has a great chance at repeating.
“Word being whispered around here is repeat,” said Seguin, who gained 10 pounds during the off-season. “I think we have the team to do it. There is the Cup hangover everyone talks about and we want to fight through it.”
WRITTEN BY CHRIS WASSEL | 29 AUGUST 2011
It comes now ladies and gentlemen. The days of rankings by 1-25 are gone withThe Program. Some thought we were crazy and we probably are. However, it was time for something new that has been tried but with our style of twist. Things are just done differently here. Why do a dog and pony show when you can just bring the hockey heat? Exactly!
There is the cold reality staring you in the face. Players are injured all the time on one’s fantasy team. How you adapt and adjust is paramount to success. There are players that are on the mend and we will use several tiers to determine fantasy viability. Surely, this is never perfect because it is not an exact science nor will it ever be.
When we take it up a notch, this is what we end up with. Our first category is On The Mend UP. These are players that are on the way up after returning from injury.
ON THE MEND UP:
Zach Parise (NJD) — Missed most of last year with torn meniscus.
Daymond Langkow (PHX) — Neck injury kept him out a full calendar year.
Nathan Horton (BOS) — Concussion symptoms gone…..
Mikael Samuelsson (VAN) — Sports hernia fine….onward!
Dany Heatley (MIN) — The injuries are behind him and so is SJ.
Why these five and not some others? Well it does not mean that there are not others, it just means these are the ones to look out for. While this is not guaranteed fantasy success, these players are due for fantasy goodness at the very least. These players endured a variety of injuries that causes them to miss either solid chunks of time or caused quite a drop in their effectiveness.
Zach Parise and his knee are much better than they were for the last week of last season. That one game audition of sorts was a complete, unmitigated disaster. It was an indication that he had just returned too soon. With power skating regimen and a more focused outlook (he is playing for a long term deal), Parise has much to prove that his gamble last year will not cost him this year and beyond.
What are most fantasy circles projecting for Parise? After a slow start, he is still expected by many to tally somewhere between 70 and 80 points. The start will be expected but to be honest, the New Jersey Devils just have to hope that the malaise does not persist too long. We do not and a point total in the mid 70′s seems like a good baseline.
Now Daymond Langkow has just been traded earlier today to the Phoenix Coyotes. This is his second stint with the Yotes pending his physical. While Langkow will be 35 and his best seasons were a few years back, there is no question that better chemistry could lead to a spike that gets him closer to his former numbers than what he did in his last healthy season (37 pts in 72 games). He does get partnered with Shane Doan and that is a good thing for fantasy owners as the two age into the south side of the 30′s. Here is a guy that could easily bounce back to 50 points if the price is right.
Look Nathan Horton was injured at the end of the playoffs but concussions are no laughing matter. Clearly if you read the reports, Horton is 100% and ready to roll. He did start off kind of slow but picked it up when it counted most (that Game 7 winner against Tampa). People forget that Horton had 57 points in his last season with FLA in 15 less games than Boston last year. Add that Horton only had 53 points but was a +29. If he ups the point total and there is no reason why to think he will not, then Horton is more than worthy to be not only 100% but a fantasy boon for owners.
For the rest, Mikael Samuelsson (sports hernia) and Dany Heatley (assorted) will also bounce back when the chips are down. Heatley had several injuries but now has the fortune to play with Mikko Koivu this year while Samuelsson should see good time with the Sedin Twins. Either way, these are now players that do need feeders to help them pad their fantasy totals. Samuelsson could easily have a 60 point season while Heatley may be back close to 80 points as he helps rejuvenate an already good power play unit in Minnesota.
However, for every five that must go up, there are five we must consider as obvious downers. These are the players to almost avoid under any circumstance at all. Sadly some we may never see in the NHL ever again and that is never good. There is cold fantasy reality and we are not hesitant to pull the trigger and let people know.
We may be right or we may be wrong but there are injuries that some just never quite recover from. These are their stories.
ON THE MEND DOWN:
Marc Savard (BOS) — He will not play this year and maybe never.
David Perron (STL) — Concussion still weighing his value in doubt.
Daniel Alfredsson (OTT) — At 38, will he produce again?
Justin Williams (LAK) — When will he get hurt again?
Chris Pronger (PHI) — Will he break down further?
Yes there are just cases that are just extremely icy cold. Sadly Marc Savard will not play this year for the Boston Bruins and there is a high chance that he may never play again. Savard is too talented a playmaking Center but the concussions have been too severe and too many. What matters is his life after hockey and his fantasy relevance going forward, which is zero.
Then there is David Perron, who could have great potential but again is having concussion problems for the St. Louis Blues. Now, potentially he may play later this year but when is anyone’s guess. What is clear is the Blues are a team on the down and when and if Perron plays again, it will not be pretty for fantasy owners. Stay away and by all means remember to wait until next year.
Next comes up Daniel Alfredsson. Alfredsson battled nerve stinosis all year and had surgery to repair it hopefully once and for all. He is now 38 years old and playing for an Ottawa team who clearly is in rebuilding mode. Could he have a comeback? Sure. However, the defensive side last year started to erode along with some of the finishing skill that made Alfredsson such a nice fantasy gem throughout the years. While he may get 45-50 points, he may also get hurt again. Either way, he is trending downward and eventually that down will just never go back up to what it was.
Here lies Justin Williams, a player with great skill who never can stay healthy. Well for the last four seasons, Williams has battled a litany of injuries and though he has mended 100%, one almost expects the next injury well before it even happens. Knee, shoulder, leg, and if you name a body part, it almost feels like Williams has injured it. Now, he will produce when in the lineup and then he will disappear. It is why he is not recommended to be drafted even if he produces 40, 50, or 60 points.
Everyone always has a surprise and Chris Pronger is ours. Pronger had several different injuries around and during the playoffs last year. The fact that he may not be ready for the season almost put him in the question mark category but then the points seem to be going to the forwards in Philadelphia. Pronger may be on his way down a bit due to injuries and breaking down. Playing physical for many years often has a price and this year may be the start of that trend. Tread lightly.
Lastly, we do get to the question marks. These are the players that no one is really sure about. Yes they could be just fine but until they play, it will be hard to tell how they really do after they make their full recovery. Here is that final tier.
ON THE MEND ????????
Sidney Crosby (PIT) — When will he return?
Teemu Selanne (ANA) — Is the knee 100% or will he play?
Max Pacioretty (MTL) — Will he play scared?
Ryan Kesler (VAN) — How will he play when he returns?
Matthew Lombardi (TOR) — Concussion or play?
Well we are near the end ladies and gentlemen. Sidney Crosby will produce but when will he play? That is an answer no one can really give. When a player is the #1 fantasy option period and he is in what is an uncertain injury situation, there is this dilemma that kills any “Fantasy GM”. He produced 66 points in 41 games last year before two straight concussions ended his season and put the fantasy and hockey world in disarray and chaos.
What will happen now? The forecast is he may be ready, he may not be ready for the season. No one knows. Will he be the same player? Again there is a not an answer there. Everyone just has to wait and hope. His draft status has dropped nonetheless so do not be shocked at all if he falls a couple rounds or more in year only leagues and even a round or two in keeper leagues. Our best guess is he will play but be carefully monitored more than any other player in the history of the NHL. It really is the nature of that fantasy beast. Guys that average 1.25 to 1.5 points a game do not just fall off trees.
Teemu Selanne comes down to whether he will or will not play. Yes he had knee surgery and whether that knee is 100% is a bit of a decision maker for the talented Finn. At the age of 40, he was a fantasy beast producing over a point a game and actually garnering some MVP consideration for his hot second half. Simply this guy can still play and is lethal on the man advantage. A 75-80 point season would surprise no one if he gives it one more year. His skills have actually not regressed like most players would at his age. He is truly a marvel. Now will he play?
Max Pacioretty could be a 50-60 point guy if he plays an 82 game schedule but how will the neck injury play a role in the rest of his career? Will it make him apprehensive or will it make him an even stronger player? No one is sure yet but the indications are that he will be 100% for the season. The potential exists for a 25-30 goal player based on the production levels he set. Yes 24 points in 37 games and increasing ice time got Pacioretty his notice. He can go two ways and it will take time to see if he trends up or digresses.
Now Ryan Kesler will be fine. Unfortunately, his return will not be until Christmas or sooner or later. Will he be able to catch that magic he has had production wise? Most assume that the answer is a given yes but we say not so fast. Kesler has been in the 70′s point wise but was not himself in the playoffs and rest did not work. Hopefully surgery makes him whole. It really is more of a question mark and for some, Kesler in 2011-12 may be a bit of a lost cause especially with options that abound, especially if he loses more than a couple months of the season.
Lastly, Matthew Lombardi is now a Toronto Maple Leaf. Here is the simplest question of all. Will he even play? Maybe we should ask Brian Burke. Then again, at this point if he is on the ice, he is worth maybe a Free Agent flier. To think Lombardi once had such fantasy promise.
Well there you have it, come back next week for more crazy tiers on the “Trail Of Tears”. Thanks for dropping in and go tell your friends as we continue this different fantasy look at the fantasy hockey landscape.
by Anthony Travalgia http://www.bruinsdaily.com
Nathan Horton is feeling 100% and is ready to opening up training camp in September
Attending line mate Milan Lucic’s charity Rock & Jock softball game at LeLacheur Park in Lowell last night, Horton revealed that he is symptom free and is ready to start training camp after being shut down for the remainder of the playoffs with a concussion due to a late hit in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals from Canucks defensemen Aaron Rome.
“I feel pretty good, I don’t have any headaches. I feel back to normal and I’m excited to start playing again” said Horton. “I think after such a long year that we had it’s nice to take time off, but it’s tough to get it back when you do take time off, I’ll definitely be ready. I’d be ready right now.”
The Bruins will start their title defense when they open up camp on September 16, their first preseason game comes five days later on the 21st.
Horton also let it be known that he felt okay after the hit in Game 3.
“I didn’t feel too bad; to go flying on the plane didn’t bother me. Obviously I was real excited that we won. I felt pretty good. Right after it happened I didn’t feel great, but I didn’t feel as bad as I thought I should have. Right now I feel great.”
When asked about being contacted by Rome after the hit, Horton wasn’t shy with his answer.
“Just through a text message I heard but I mean, if it was me, I wouldn’t be throwing a text message someone’s way, you know?” Horton said. “I’d have a little more respect to actually make a phone call.”
Horton who was inconsistent at times during the regular season, still managed to light the lamp 26 times, and add 27 assists. Horton elevated his game in the playoffs scoring two overtime game-winning-goals against the Montreal Canadiens in the opening round, and scored the only goal in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
Boston Bruins report card: No. 18 Nathan Horton
Delivered on a daily basis — by order of jersey number — today is Day 4 of many more to go. Yesterday was Milan Lucic; today we’ll be taking a look at his right-winger and linemate, No. 18 Nathan Horton.
Name: Nathan Horton
Contract: $4 million per thorough 2012-13 NHL season
Line combinations (Dobberhockey.com)
EV: Milan Lucic and David Krejci — 51.65% and 70.36% in the post season
PP: Lucic and Krejci — 29.28% and 62.65% in the post season
2010-11 NHL Stats:
Regular season: 80 GP: 26-27–53, plus-29, 85 PIM, 188 SOG
Playoffs: 8-9–17, plus-11, 35 PIM, 52 SOG
Anthony’s take: Bruins fans quickly fell in love with Nathan Horton when he started his Bruins career off with nine points (5 goals) in his first six games. After his quick start Horton hit a bit of a wall, with just seven goals in his next 42 games. As the calendar flipped to 2011, Horton regained his scoring touch. In the 32 games Horton played from January till the end of the regular season in April, Horton scored 14 times. Horton finished the year with 53 points. Yes, he was somewhat inconsistent at times, but yet he still managed to still score 26 times.
Playing in his first ever NHL postseason, Horton was the Bruins savior. Horton scored two-game-winning-overtime-goals in the opening round against the Montreal Canadiens, including the series clincher in Game 7. Fast forward a few weeks to another Game 7, this time in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning. With time winding down in the third in a scoreless game, Horton did it again, propelling the Bruins to the Stanley Cup Finals with another game winning Game 7 goal.
Horton was shut down for the remainder of the Stanley Cup Finals after suffering a concussion in Game 3 after a hit-to-the-head by Canucks defensemen Aaron Rome. The Bruins rallied around the hit and their fallen teammate to storm back and eventually win the Stanley Cup Finals in seven games.
Final grade: A
Marino’s grade: Without echoing Anthony in Horton’s offensive game, the one thing that made No. 18 a fan favorite, for me, was his tenacity. I was on the edge of my seat with what this guy brought to this club — a bit of anger, attitude, sandpaper-like game, a touch of finesse, and some serious cojones. His first bout in a Bruins’ uniform, above, came in the team’s third home game of the season inside the TD Garden. That really set the tone for Bruins’ fans on what exactly Nathan Horton was all about. His career-high fights in a single-season going into last season was just three. His first year in Boston, he had seven.
No. 18 also accounted for 33 hits in 21 post season games — plus all of his overtime heroics — keeping that same edge that made him rather unique in the regular season. His first-ever playoff run ended far too early. But his game, style, and persona will make him God-like here in The Hub for the next several years. And to sum his season all up: it was precisely the reason why he was drafted third overall in the NHL Draft eight years ago. Pure Talent.
Final Grade: A-
(Photo: Bridget Samuels) Thomas was a huge part to the Bruins 2010-11 season
There were certain points during the 2010-11 season where the Bruins could have easily caved in to the pressure.
Instead the resilient Boston squad embraced the situations they were given and were rewarded with hockey’s ultimate prize in Game 7 Wednesday night in Vancouver: the Stanley Cup.
At the end of last season, many fans throughout The Hub of Hockey were left scratching their heads again after an epic collapse in the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Philadelphia Flyers. But outside of drafting Tyler Seguin with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2010 NHL Draft — acquired in the Phil Kessel to Toronto trade in 2009 — little did anyone know that the Bruins would reload, starting with the addition of Nathan Horton and Gregory Campbell from Florida in exchange for defenseman Dennis Wideman and the Bruins’ first round pick (15th overall) just days before the Draft.
By adding a few pieces at the trade deadline like Chris Kelly, Rich Peverley and Tomas Kaberle, and also clearing some of the dead weight that also haunted them in recent years, Bruins fans were poised, and for the first time in quite a while, took the Black and Gold seriously as a legit contender for Lord’s Stanley.
Before that the team bonded with a trip to Prague for the first two games of the year against the Phoenix Coyotes. From there, Tim Thomas — fresh off of hip surgery — took over the starting job as one of the many pieces (a huge piece, albeit) to the Bruins’ run.
In the months to come they rallied behind several incidents beginning with Zdeno Chara’s hit on Max Pacioretty back in March.
However, at the start of the playoffs, the doubters nearly found another reason to let their voices heard — particularly towards coach Claude Julien — when they started in a 0-2 hole against the Montreal Canadiens in the first round. On the other hand, Julien and the Bruins came together and fought back taking two games in a hostile environment known as the Bell Centre, eventually winning the series in seven games (something they hadn’t done in the postseason since 1994).
After erasing the past by sweeping the Flyers, the Bruins earned a hard-fought series win in the conference finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning in seven to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals. There, obviously, the Bruins once again fell in a 0-2 hole to the Vancouver Canucks and could have easily caved in.
But after incidents from Alex Burrows in “Bitegate” and Maxim Lapierre’s taunt to Patrice Bergeron, and heartbreaking one-goal losses in Games 1 and 2, many thought that Vancouver would cruise to its first Cup in franchise history. But Aaron Rome’s hit on Horton in Game 3 once again tested the Bruins’ resiliency and once again they answered the bell with another rallying cry.
Despite falling in Game 5 after tying the series with two wins in Boston in Games 3 and 4, the Bruins easily cruised to wins in Games 6 and 7 (their first road Game 7 win in franchise history) and came away with the Cup.
This was certainly the Bruins’ time to shine in 2010-11. And now the sportrevitalized in The Hub of Hockey.
Brad Marchand #63 of the Boston Bruins celebrates after defeating the Vancouver Canucks in Game Seven of the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Rogers Arena on June 15, 2011 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The Boston Bruins defeated the Vancouver Canucks 4 to 0. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — The Boston Bruins have won the Stanley Cup for the first time since 1972, beating the Vancouver Canucks 4-0 in Game 7 of the finals on Wednesday night.
Tim Thomas capped a spectacular playoff run with 37 saves in the Canucks’ hostile home arena, and Patrice Bergeron scored two goals as the Bruins earned the only road victory in the two-week series.
Brad Marchand also scored two goals as the Bruins crushed an estimated 100,000 Canadian fans who gathered in downtown Vancouver to celebrate the Canucks’ shot at their first championship.
Boston had lost five straight Stanley Cup finals since winning its last championship. The Bruins hadn’t even reached the finals since 1990.
Boston had never ended a season with a Game 7 in the finals, but these Bruins became the first team in NHL history to win a Game 7 three times in the same postseason.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.).