Wednesday, December 31, 2008


At some level, deep down perhaps, the Bruins almost have to feel like exclaiming that famous line by Clarence the Barber from "Coming to America". I mean, they've taken on all comers and walked away with convincing wins, nearly every time (The Caps being the one exception). For the most part, it doesn't matter who you are or how you want to play. The Bruins will find a way to match your skill and effort and come out on top. Be it Detroit or Montreal or Pittsburgh. The B's have taken on the "iron" of the NHL and shown they're more than up to the challenge. But, the answer to the "who's next" question is, the Penguins. And I've always said the hardest thing to do in sports is beat a good NHL team in twice in a row. You can sweep home & home's with lesser teams, but a good team, which Pittsburgh is (at least a very talented team) is a whole other thing. The Pens were not happy with the loss either. They called a players meeting after the game to discuss their "lack of effort" etc. This makes Thursday night's rematch in Boston that much more difficult. Expect to see the Pens bring not only their skill, but a tremendous effort. The physicality and speed of the game will be ratcheted up quite a bit I would expect. And I can't wait. It's been a long time since they boys have been home, and I'm chomping at the bit for this one. As far as last night's game What a complete team effort that was. Thomas was outstanding. Chara was a force, being more physical than he's been in a long time. Savard and Kessel clearly got the message from Julien about working harder. Lucic, although slowed by so much special teams play, got it going pretty well as the game went on, ending his night with a spectacular beat down of Tim Wallace, who probably left the ice feeling like Mike Wallace. (props to Wallace though for A)shedding the helmet/visor and B) for standing in there after taking a few bombs from Looch). Axe seemed revitalized by playing on the top line (which I still hope is very temporary), picking up a pair of assists. The power play showed signs of life, scoring a couple times. And the PK was much improved as well, even collecting a shortie by the shortie, Martin St. Pierre (who's reward was an assignment back to Providence). All in all, this was the best 60 minute effort I've seen form the boys in quite awhile. They'll need at least the same effort Thursday to repeat the results. With St. Pierre being sent down, that must mean that Nokelainen is ready to return. Hopefully he's 100%, because the B's could use his physical presence in the lineup. As I've mentioned, I fully expect a very motivated Pittsburgh team to show up tomorrow. Tough guy Eric Goddard has missed the last couple games with an injury, but if he's healthy enough to go, I'd count on him being in the line-up....and looking for Lucic. No way a guy like him lets that beating go without a response. It also would be a great motivator for the Pens to see a guy like Looch (possibly) lose a bout and, more importantly, be off the ice for 5 minutes. Other than Goddard and Nokelainen being possible additions to the line-up, the only other change will probably be Fernandez in net. Which, as well as Thomas played, I like. Having a classic butterfly guy like Manny in there right after seeing the "battling" Thomas is a lot like calling on the fire-balling closer after your knuckle-baller has baffled batters for eight innings. Just one more little thing for the opposition to think about. Since I'll be wrapped up watching the festivities from Wrigley field all day tomorrow, I'll do a quick prediction/preview now. ROUGH STUFF: IF (and it's a big if) Goddard is in the lineup, expect him to be on the ice for Lucic's first shift. I just can't see how they don't let him get things rolling by "paying back" Milan for beating up Wallace. Again, this could provide the Pens with an early spark. However, the B's also have a savvy veteran tough guy on their roster. So it wouldn't shock me to see Thornton launch a preemptive strike against Goddard and invite him to tangle before he can get to Looch. Either way, Goddard will be involved early if he's playing. That's probably the only action we'll see, unless the game gets out of hand. Although yes, I will be holding out hope that Chara pummels Gill, just for old times sake. PREDICTIONS: I gave up predicting B's losses long ago. I'm not much of a gambler (as I proved once again at Mohegan Sun last night), but I do know when the odds are stacked against me. So, I'm calling for another B's win on New Year's Day. This time, I'm guessing 4-3. Lucic, Ryder, Krejci and Kobasew score. Go B's, and everyone PLEASE have a very happy and SAFE holiday!-Kynch

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Game Day @ Pittsburgh 12/30/08

No time for a long preview today, since I'm on my way to give my money to the Indians (Mohegan Sun). But, tonight's tilt should be a good one. Pittsburgh hasn't exactly been lighting it up lately, so they'll be looking to break their offense open a bit tonight. They may have Crosby and Malkin, two of the top scorers in the game, but they still sit in 7th place in the Eastern Conference. Guess that goes to show how important "quality depth" is. Boston's strength all year has been it's ability to have more than one line going at any one time. It also affords Coach Julien the luxury to "shake things up" if he isn't happy with a certain player. Which brings up the Milan Lucic. Looch has found himself on the third line tonight, after seeing his game tail off the last couple times out. No shots and only one hit the other night just isn't good enough. Julien's message (which seems to already understand) is very clear;Simplify. Lucic is developing into a better and better "skill" player all the time. But if he thinks he can suddenly change his game to that of a finesse player, he's sadly mistaken. As he admits, he needs to play a straight forward game. Up and down his wing, knocking anyone who gets in his way on their arse. When he does that, he makes himself a better player and at the same time, creates space for his line mates. Tough to be the wrecking ball out there for 82 games, I know. But that is how he has to play. My expectation is that he'll take this as a personal affront and make the Pens pay for it. I expect a good solid 8 hit or so performance. I suspect he'll get a few shots on net. And I am almost willing to bet the ranch he finds a dance partner as well. The Pens aren't exactly a brawl happy team though. They have 18 total fights this year....and Eric Goddard has 11 of them. Not sure I want to "waste" Looch on Goddard, but hey, if it helps get his game back on track, I'm fine with it I guess. The one to benefit the most from Milan's demotion (Axe will replace him on the top line) I think, will be Chuck Kobasew. With Lucic playing the Left side with Chuckie and Yelle, I expect Kobasew to get on the board tonight. Those three could cause some mayhem out there, and Chucky is just the kind of player to find the loose change created by all the banging. Would it surprise anyone if Hal Gill is the one to cough it up? Predictions: Bruins win this one, 4-2. Kobasew, Lucic, Kessel and Ryder score. Lucic also picks up an assist on Kobasews goal (probably of the "ugly" variety). Looch drops the gloves, possibly with Goddard, but I'd prefer to see him go with a Matt Cooke type (Maybe he jumps Gill! :) ). Go B's-Kynch

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Game day @ Atlanta 12/28/08

The B's continue their 5 game road trip with an afternoon tilt in Atlanta today. And is anyone else as sick of seeing Atlanta as I am? The schedule makers need to be fired. Seems like Boston plays teams in bunches, then that's it for the year. Would be nice if they could spread out some of these meetings, but I guess we don't have much choice. The good news is, the B's are getting to play a lot of the "weak sisters" of the NHL while they're recovering from some injuries. The B's, winners of 7 straight, look to keep the momentum going against a Thrashers team that is, let's say, "struggling" at the moment. Besides Kovulchuk, the Thrashers don't exactly have a lot of offensive weapons that scare you. So look for Chara to be on the ice whenever the Russian star is. The thing that could make this game interesting is the bad blood that has been evident in their last two meetings. With 5 total fights between the two clubs in those 2 games, I would expect to see at least one or two bouts today. Not sure Boris Valabik looks to avenge his beat down by Chara though. I do expect a guy like Eric Boulton to stir it up a but, possibly going after Lucic again, if not Thornton. Chris Thorburn, who apparently lost his mind momentarily and challenged big Z to a bout, is another candidate to go after Lucic and/or Thornton. Sadly, these potential bouts are about I can mention that adds much intrigue to this game. I know, "any given day" and all that. Sure. Atlanta absolutely could beat the Bruins today. Stranger things have happened. But honestly, does anyone expect that to happen? Didn't think so. I see this one being over after a period. It could turn into a laugher after two. I'm going to predict a B's win, with the final score being 6-1. And that's being kind. For some reason, I almost expect more scoring than that for the good guys. If the B's jump out to a big lead early, look for things to spiral into an ugly, fight filled contest. I'll say this for Atlanta and their 'tough guys'; they have some pride and at the very least don't appreciate being pushed around. That's all I've got for now.....kind of a hard game to get all fired up over.

Another game in which the B's didn't exactly bring their A game, but found a way to win. That is what quality depth does for you. The Savard line, despite Savvy picking up a pair of helpers, had a rough night. Not terrible, just not a factor for most of the game. The two other guys that really stood out for not having great night, in my opinion, were Axe and Yelle. Axe especially was shaky at best. Two minor penalties for lazy stick violations. Too many bad passes to count. For the life of me, I will never understand why PJ remains on the top PP unit. With all the skill they have on that roster, throwing out a 'defensive specialist' on your top PP makes no sense to me. Yelle, while not making as many glaring mistakes as Axe, just seemed "off" for most of the night. But in his defense, he's been thrust into second line minutes because of Bergeron's injury. He's much more effective with fewer minutes.
To a lesser extent, I thought Mark Stuart had a shaky night too. It's becoming more obvious (to me) that when Ward and Ference are both back in the line-up, it should be Stuart and Lashoff that sits. Hunwick is clearly entrenched as an every day player. And Hnidy is a much more steady presence back there than Stuart. I still think Stu will be fine, but he's being out played by every other member of the D at this point.
On the plus side of last night's game (they did WIN after all), Wheeler continues to pile up the points. Kid is just in a nice groove right now. Tends to over handle the puck at times, but after pulling off some of the moves he has recently, it's understandable. And Ryder? Boy oh boy, THIS is the Michael Ryder we were hoping for. He's on an absolute tear now. His release is scary good and he's doing a great job finding open ice.
And Tim Thomas, despite having several shots clang off posts, looked much better than in his previous start (yes, also a win). I still say it looks like he's breaking in a new catching glove though. He didn't seem to think he had pucks in his grasp that he didn't last night, but he seemed to swat at a couple instead of catching them. I know, I'm getting picky. But it's just an observation and something worth looking for in his next start.
Go B's-Kynch

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Game day @ New Jersey

After receiving nothing but warm Christmas wishes from their opponents of late, the B's will finally face off against a top level team tonight in NJ. I guess the rumors of the Devils demise after Brodeur got hurt were greatly exaggerated.huh? Former Boston College netminder Scott Clemenson has been playing out of his mind for the Devils. Overall, the Dev's are 12-2-1 in their last 15 games. Pretty impressive run to be sure. Clemenson is getting a lot of help up front, especially from Patrick Elias, who comes into tonight with a 10 game point streak. Zack Parise is NJ's leading scorer, with 18G 22A 40PTS on the season. The Blue Line is patrolled by local boy Mike Mottau, of Quincy. Have to feel good for a guy like "Motts" (to his friends). Made the team last year as a 29 Year Old rookie and looks like he should have been there much sooner. Sometimes it just takes the right bit of luck to get your foot in the door.....just ask Tim Thomas. The Devils also get the hard working pest John Madden back from IR tonight, making them an even tougher team to play against. The plan for Boston has to be simple. Play their game. Not necessarily the game they've been playing the last few games. But that tough, physical, defense-first style that got them rolling in the first place. I don't see the B's getting away with all the defensive lapses tonight. NJ won't require a "perfect" game to beat, but a sloppy one will cost the Bruins.

ROUGH STUFF PREVIEW: Let's just say I'm curious to see if David Clarkson wants another shot at Lucic. Last year, Looch put a pretty good beating on him in a one sided bout. I wouldn't be surprised to see Mike Rupp step up and challenge Lucic tonight. Rupp, at is 6'5" 230lbs, is a bigger man than Clarkson, and may fare better. That one could be an interesting bout, but I can also see Thornton heading that one off at the pass and challenging Rupp before he gets a shot at Looch.

PREDICTIONS: I don't think we'll see the B's pot another 6 or 7 goals tonight. But I do think we'll see another win. I say, 3-2 with Kessel, Kobasew and Wideman the scorers for Boston. Both of NJ's goals come from "Motts" (hey, If I'm predicting his first 2 goals of the year, I get to call him Motts!). Go B's- Kynch

REMINDER- Game is on VS tonight, NOT NESN (Brickley is doing color, alongside Mike "Doc" Emrick)

The Lucky "13 Days of Christmas"- Black & Gold Style!

A bit of fun below but a sincere note wishing all of our KBBK readers a very Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad & Joyeux Noel! Also be sure to be good to Santa & she'll be GOOD to you (If not get a new Santa I say!) Let’s Go Broounze!! – KingKrej!

On the 1st Day of Christmas that Jackass Bettman Gave to ME!
*The STUPID Instigator Penalty…!

On the 2nd Day of Christmas that Jackass Bettman Gave to ME!
*2 for Hooking!... & The STUPID Instigator Penalty…!

On the 3rd Day of Christmas that Jackass Bettman Gave to ME!
*3 more past Price!…. 2 for Hooking!...& The STUPID Instigator Penalty…!

On the 4th Day of Christmas that Jackass Bettman Gave to ME!
*4 blind refs!...3 more past Price!...2 for Hooking!...& The STUPID Instigator Penalty…!

On the 5th Day of Christmas that Jackass Bettman Gave to ME!
*5...for...Fighting!..4 blind refs!...3 more past Price!...2 for Hooking!...& The STUPID Instigator Penalty…!

On the 6th Day of Christmas that Jackass Bettman Gave to ME!
*6 New Baby B’s!...5...for...Fighting!...4 blind refs!...3 more past Price!...2 for Hooking!...& The STUPID Instigator Penalty…!

On the 7th of Christmas that Jackass Bettman Gave to ME!
*7 Habs a Diving!...6 New Baby B’s!...5...for...Fighting!...4 Blind Refs!... 3 more past Price!... 2 for hooking!... & The STUPID Instigator Penalty…!

On the 8th of Christmas that Jackass Bettman Gave to ME!
*8 Weak Franchises… 7 Habs a Diving!...6 New Baby B’s!...5...for...Fighting!...4 Blind Refs!... 3 more past Price!... 2 for Hooking!...& The STUPID Instigator Penalty…!

On the 9th of Christmas that Jackass Bettman Gave to ME!
*9 Ice Girls Dancing!...8 Weak Franchises!…7 Habs a Diving!...6 New Baby B's!...5...for...Fighting!...4 Blind Refs!...3 more past Price!...2 for Hooking!...& The STUPID Instigator Penalty…!

On the 10th of Christmas that Jackass Bettman Gave to ME!
*10 Points on Montreal!...9 Ice Girls Dancing!...8 Weak Franchises!…7 Habs a Diving!...6 New Baby B’s!...5...for...Fighting!...4 Blind Refs!...3 more past Price!...2 for hooking!...& The STUPID Instigator Penalty…!

On the 11th of Christmas that Jackass Bettman Gave to ME!
*11 Bru’s at Sully’s (Oh Boy)!...10 Points on Montreal! ...9 Ice Girls Dancing!...8 Weak Franchises!…7 Habs a Diving!...6 New Baby B’s!...5...for...Fighting!...4 Blind Refs!...3 more past Price!...2 for Hooking!...& The STUPID Instigator Penalty…!

On the 12th day of Christmas – Bettman gave to me…
*12 Forwards Just Like the B's!...11 Bru’s at Sully’s!...10 Points on Montreal!...9 Ice Girls Dancing!...8 Weak Franchises!…7 Habs a Diving!...6 New Baby B’s!...5...for... Fighting!...4 Blind Refs!...3 more past Price!...2 for Hooking!...& The STUPID Instigator Penalty…!

And finally...On the LUCKY 13th Day of Christmas that Jackass Bettman Gave to ME!
*That Friggin’ Stanley Cup we’ve been waiting on for the B’s!..
Merry Christmas all!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Thoughts and Prayers

The Bruins 13th straight win at home was completely overshawdowed by the sight of Patrice Bergeron laying face down on the ice for several minutes. He struggled mightily to get to his feet, but made it to the bench eventually under his own power (after being assisted initially by teammates). You could almost feel Bergy willing himself to his skates. As if in his mind he was saying "I am NOT being taken off the ice on a stretcher again". This hit, unlike last years, was not a dirt hit at all. In fact, it was Bergeron himself that initiated contact. Just more bad luck for the 23 year old Bergeron. In a cruel twist, Patrice was having what may have been his best game of the season prior to this latest set-back. No official word from the Bruins at this hour, but it's assumed he suffered another concussion. Now the question becomes "how bad is it?". If it is a concussion, he'll have to miss at least one week per league rules. Personally, I'd be stunned to see him back in anything less than 2 weeks, probably more (obviously depending on seriousness). The B's are on the road for 5 straight to end the month of December, and my money is on Bergeron not playing in any of them. The most optimistic return date I can see would be New Years Day against the Pens. The B's were very patient with Patrice's recovery last year, and I see no reason to believe they won't just as patient this time around. I never like to see anyone get hurt, bit when it's one of the truly "good guys" in the game, it's that much worse. Here's wishing Patrice a speedy and complete recovery. That would be the best Christmas gift of all. Go B's, get well Patrice.-Kynch

In other news- The Bruins have recalled Martin St. Pierre from Providence and placed Marco Sturm on the Long Term Injured reserve list. I believe that move was made prior to the Bergeron injury, so we may see another call-up to ensure the Bs have an extra body in St. Louis and the rest of the trip.
The injury bug is starting to make it's presence knownin Boston. Let's hope the boys can hold the fort until they start to get some healthy bodies back......which hopefully will be very soon.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Goals galore!

While I don't think coach Julien will be too thrilled with the overall team D last night, he has to love having the luxury of such a good offense. Sure, once it to 5-1, you me and everyone else thought it was going to be a blow-out. Problem is, nobody told the Leafs. To their credit, they kept coming at the B's and made a game of it. Getting it to 6-5 before the end of the second period was huge for them. But here's where this Bruins team is different than the ones we've seen for the last few years. They simply went out and scored two more to seal the deal. And thanks in no small part to Manny Fernandez, they kept Toronto off the board in the third. Amazing that they can seemingly turn it on and off at will. As much as I hate seeing them blow big leads, it doesn't seem like it bothers them too much. But, it has to be said that this trend lately of jumping out to big leads, then having to scramble to come away with a win could be worrisome. Is it just a fluke? Or is it a sign that things are starting to slip a bit? The bottom line is they are winning, but against much "easier" competition this month, they've seemed to be challenged more than they should be. Things just don't look as "sharp" as they did in November. Then again, they played nearly perfectly for a solid month. So that's a pretty tough act to follow I guess. In my last post I raved about Phil Kessel and how he's matured as a player this year. Well, I'd be remiss if I didn't do the same for Krejci. Remember the David Krejci we saw early last season? The guy that seemed to get a million chances, but just couldn't score to save his life? I think he's over that now. Classic example of a guy benefiting from being sent back to the minors to work on his game. We all know how good he looked in the playoffs, but he's taken it to another level now. All three of his goals last night were things of beauty, for different reasons. Obviously his second goal will (rightfully) be the one on the highlight reels. Incredible skill and patience on that one. Even he was at a loss to explain what he did. But the one that really sticks out to me, was the one that started the hat tossing fiesta. Savard made an incredible pass across the crease to an awaiting Krejci. Looked like an easy little slam dunk, right? Well, as Andy Brickley mentioned, that's a harder goal to score than some may think. Savvy FIRED a hard pass, so no simple tap in was going to work. As Brick pointed out, watch how Krejci bends over the stick to get max leverage on it. If he was softer on his stick, there is a good chance the puck would have deflected away. This is exhibit A of what I mean when I rant about players (Wheeler!) not "bearing down". If krejci had just assumed he had the goal based on his position, he would have ended the night with a nice 2 goal effort. But because he knows how to BURY shots, he skated off with a couple hundred hats (no bras) to add to his collection. It's these seemingly "little" things he does so well. His ability to slow things down when the situation calls for it is incredible. For a young guy, he has an incredible amount of poise. He can't compete with Kessel in terms of speed and shooting ability. But he's every bit Kess's equal in the thinking part of the game. He also has the same "natural scorer" gene. And frankly, throwing a guy like Krejci over the boards has to cause defenders migraines. One shift they're trying to speed everything up to keep up with Kessel and Savard. Next, they have to slow everything down to try and contain Krejci. Good luck with that. And finally, a plea. Can everyone PLEASE stop all the inane trade rumor/speculation? Dear Lord, I'll never understand why so many people feel the need to drum up some far fetched, short sighted trade scenario. Invariably, these Internet rumors end up being laughable when you look at the specifics. Everyone seems to think that team A will give team B anything team B needs for a bag of pucks. And the salary cap apparently doesn't exist in this fantasy world of non-stop "roster upgrades". For those of you not paying attention, the Bruins are in first place in the Eastern Conference. They've scored more goals than anyone in the league. They've allowed fewer goals than anyone else. What, exactly, is a glaring "need" for them right now? I've seen so many people talking about trading Manny Fernandez "while his value is high". Huh? First, everyone wanted him out of here because he was a "bust" or whatever. Now he's proving to be the goalie we all wanted him to be when he got here, and suddenly THAT is why he should be dealt? Last I checked, all the experts and everyone else will tell you that "Goaltending wins playoff series". Well, call me crazy, but doesn't having TWO top shelf goalies increase your chances of finding that "hot hand" during the playoffs? When was the last time the B's could realistically dream of making a long playoff run? Why would they make a move that could potentially take a position of strength and make it a weakness? What happens say, if they did trade Manny for a defenseman....and Thomas gets hurt in April? You're now entrusting this team, the team that had everything in place to be a threat, to Tukka Rask? Nothing against Rask, but that's an unfair spot to put him in. Obviously, as it gets closer to the trade deadline, Chilly will be listening to all offers. Any good GM would. That's called due diligence. But it would have to be a mind blowing deal, in my opinion, for Chilly to make any "significant" move. Chemistry, as I've said 100 times here, is a huge part of an NHL roster. And these guys have it in spades. All the pieces fit and work perfectly together. I see no reason...especially now, in December, to even engage in the "what if we trade X..." discussion. It's pointless. It's mind numbingly tedious. And all it does is serve to distract us from the good times we should be having watching these guys play. It's been a long bumpy road around here the last few years. Time to start enjoying the ride and embracing the possibilities. Does that set me up for failure? Possibly, but I'll deal with that disappointment if and when it comes. I refuse to let the fear of "what if" derail my enjoyment of watching the most fun team in the NHL. With a recession, layoffs and every other piece of bad news that gets thrown at us every day, I'm going to let hockey ENTERTAIN me, just like it's supposed to. I have enough stress without creating my own dooms day scenarios over my hockey team.
Go B's- Kynch

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Dawning of a Super Star

Phil Kessel, as noted below, has been named NHL player of the week. An award, frankly, he could have won a few times already this year. My oh my, what a difference a year makes. For the first couple years of Kess's career, he was dogged by complaints and worries that he "can't finish" and "isn't tough enough". And yes, I was among the most out-spoken on both counts (especially the physicality part). And I was far from alone. Seemed like every person I talked to had the same opinion of his game. Too much sizzle, not enough steak. We all knew he had great speed and skill. We all just wondered if we'd ever get to see it used to it's full potential. Well, we're surely seeing it in all it's glory now. Much of the credit for for Kessel's success this season has, rightfully, been given to Claude Julien. It was Julien's brave, but risky, decision to bench Kess in the playoffs last year that seems to have sparked Phil to reach his potential. But let's not lose sight of the fact that it was Kess himself who took that message to heart and did something about it. Many young players would have been upset and pouted about. Phil was clearly upset about it, but he had the fortitude to go out and prove to Julien, and everyone else, that he DESERVED to be on the ice. Instead of sulking, he sucked it up, and nearly single handedly carried the Bruins to a first round upset. Of course the nay sayers will argue that if he had played that way from game one, the B's would have won it. But there is nothing we, or he, can do about that now. He played like a man on a mission after being reinserted into the line-up. Key word in that sentence perhaps? "MAN". Kessel, even at just 21 years old, has officially become a "man" on the ice. No longer is he that skilled, but soft kid he was when he got here. We should have known, after being diagnosed with Testicular Cancer his rookie year, and only missing 11 games that he was "tough". But the fear was, after he returned that he would have a ""just happy to be here" attitude. And he did appear to, which is completely understandable. Anyone, especially a 19 year old kid, that goes through that must think of hockey as a "bonus" at that point. You know, perspective and all that. But since Julien got his attention, all that seems to be far in the rear view mirror. My biggest concern coming into the season was, "will Kessel remember the benching and play the same as he did after it?". Boy, does that seem like misplaced worry now. To nobody;s credit but his own, Phil has come out flying this year. Everything about him seems.....different somehow. He's using his speed with a purpose now. No longer is he just flying up the wing blindly with no plan. Now he's using his speed to beat defenders one on one, or to back them off and open seems for his line mates. He's shown no hesitation at all in going to the "dirty area's". He attacks the net as well as anyone in the game right now. His wrist shot is nasty. Easily one of the quickest releases in the NHL. But it's his willingness to take and give hits that has impressed me the most. Nobody has ever wanted or expected him to be the next Cam Neely (or Milan Lucic for that matter), throwing his body around and burying people. But he's finally developed just enough of an "edge" to compete for pucks. No more do you see him just cruise by a scrum along the boards and fishing his stick in there. Now he gets fully engaged in the physical battle for the puck. He's also learned that sometimes you have to be willing to hold onto the puck for that extra split second to make a play. In doing so, you're going to get hit. I don't see any fear in him in those cases anymore. In fact, I don't see any fear in any part of his game now. His exchange with Boris Valabik the other night is just another example of him standing up for himself and not backing down. We've seen it all year. Be it with Koivu or a monster like Valabik, Kess will not be intimidated. As the Bruins top scorer, he sometimes has a target on his back and takes a few questionable hits as a result. Not once have I seen him flop, dive or exaggerate the hit to draw a call. He just gets up and gets back in the play (usually while having a few choice words for the offender and/or the ref). His whole demeanor this year is that of an older, veteran player. Hell, he even looks like he may be able to grow a real beard if he wanted to this year! Of all the feel-good stories coming out of this Bruins season, you'd be hard pressed to find a better one than Phil Kessel. Nobody has overcome more questions and doubts than he has. His very manhood and courage were questioned by many. No more. Best of all, he's done it all with more a major dose of humility. No "I told you so" moments. No "I always knew I was this good" type comments. He constantly credits his teammates for his success. But make no mistake, Julien and his teammates may have prodded him, but he's done all this on his own. Phil Kessel, once the bright eyed, smiling, shy kid is now Phil Kessel the bright eyed,smiling shy MAN for the Bruins. Go B's, go Kess-Kynch

B's NewsBlast - Kess Named NHL's First Star !

From & the NHL;
Boston, MA -- The NHL announced today that Boston Bruins forward Phil Kessel was named NHL’s First Star of the Week for the week ending December 14.Kessel tallied eight points with three goals and five assists in four games last week and extended his point streak to 15 games. Kessel helped lead the Black and Gold to a 3-1-0 record, which improved their Eastern Conference-leading mark to 21-5-4. Kessel notched one goal and one assist in a 5-3 victory over Tampa Bay December 8, registered an assist in a 3-1 loss at Washington Dec. 10, tallied a goal and two assists in a 7-3 win at Atlanta Dec. 12 and closed the week with a goal and an assist in a 4-2 win over the Thrashers Dec. 13.Kessel's point streak is a career high, the longest in the NHL this season and longest by a Bruins player since Adam Oates recorded points in 20 consecutive games from Jan. 7 to Feb. 20, 1997. The 21-year-old Madison, Wisconsin native is second in Bruins scoring with 31 points (19 goals, 12 assists) in 30 games, ranks third in the NHL in goals and already has matched his career high of 19 goals set last season.The NHL will conduct a media conference call with Kessel today at 3:00 p.m. ET.Pittsburgh’s Petr Sykora received the Second Star honors as he recorded three goals and five assists in four games last week, while Buffalo’s Thomas Vanek claimed the Third Star after registering a week-high five goals, including two gamewinners.The Bruins return to action on Thursday, December 18 when they host the Toronto Maple Leafs at 7:00 p.m. ET.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

And The Good Times Keep Rolling

Bruins fans were treated another home win last night. That's eleven in a row at the Garden. Best home stretch since '82-'83. You know, back when Barry Pederson and Rick Middleton were piling up points and Pete Peeters was throwing shutouts around like Frisbees. Now, 25 years later a new cast worthy of the name BRUINS has stepped up to carry the mantle. Savard and Kessel are doing their best Pederson and Middleton impersonations. While Michael Ryder is starting to heat the modern day Mike Krushelnyski perhaps? Back in '82-'83, Peeters was "The Man" between the pipes. The '08-'09 Bruins have the advantage of having two goalies playing every bit as well (dare I say better?) than Peeters could have imagined. Both Thomas and Fernande, while maybe not having as many shutouts as Peeters had (8), are atop the league in goals against. While we'll never see another Ray Bourque, the B's do boast an impressive blue line that stacks up pretty well against that '83 team. Instead of Park, O'Connell and Milbury as the supporting cast on D, we now have Wideman, Ward and Hunwick. Yes. I said Hunwick. This kid impresses me more every time I see him. Just when I think he's about to make a bad play, he pulls it off somehow. But that list of defenders doesn't even count guys like Aaron Ward and Andrew Ference (Ference is hopefully only briefly playing the role of Gord Kluzak on the DL). I also didn't include the Captain, Zdeno Chara. Obviously, he can't compare to the legend that is Ray Bourque. But Chara, for all the grief he gets sometimes (some of which is richly deserved by the way), once again last night proved himself worthy of the C on his B's sweater. With Phil Kessel engaged in a hacking, slashing scrum with the 6'7", 240LB Boris Valabik, the Captain came to his rescue. Funny how the big rookie looked very interested in fighting Thornton the other night and in going after Kessel.....but looked like he wanted to be anywhere BUT on the receiving end of Chara's bombs. Best 17 penalty minutes I've seen in a long time. My only gripe with Chara was that he clearly let up on the kid when he could have hammered him. At the end of the fight, Valabik was there for the taking, but Z decided that he had already made his point. No need to hurt anyone I guess. But a touch more nasty wouldn't have bothered me. But that's nit-picking. All in all a fantastic job by Chara to get in there as quickly as he did. Now....I could go on a rant about how much I hate the instigator penalty. But I'll try not to. All I'll say is, if that penalty didn't exist, guys like Varabik wouldn't feel as free to start that garbage with the opposing teams top players. The NHL logic is that by having the instigator penalty, you eliminate/reduce "goonism" and fighting. As usual, the NHL couldn't be more wrong. All it does is allow cheap shots and constant abuse to continue without fear of reprisal. Worst case for a scrub hacking a star player is just like last night. Valabik was getting called for a rough before Chara stepped in......but since Z needed to make sure it didn't escalte with Kess, he had to step in, nullifying the power play. And taking our topdefenseman off the ice for 17 minutes. So the "goonism" tactic works more than ever. It just penalizes the player doing "the right thing". far as the rest of the game went, it was....weird. Very up and down effort. Very uneven flow. At times it was very entertaining. But for most of the second period especially, it was dull. But hey, better a dull win than a thrilling loss. That's the beauty of this Bruins team. They can win ugly. They can win the "pretty" games. They can win close battles, or they can win the wide open affairs. So after 4 games in 6 days they boys get a few well deserved days off before facing the Maple Laughs Thursday. Lets hope the time off allows some time to heal all the various bumps and bruises they've been picking up lately. Go B's-Kynch

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Game Day VS Thrashers 12/13/08

DING DING DING! Seven goals and four fights (of varying entertainment value) is going to be a tough act to follow. Now the question is, will the bad blood from last night carry over? Or, will Atlanta try playing it straight? My guess, a little bit of both.....unless Boston starts to pull away again of course. There may be some unfinished business in the fight department though. Eric Boulton, a respectable fighter, backed down from Mark Stuart for some reason. Then instigated a bout with Lucic. I guess he didn't think Stuart was a valuable enough target to take off the ice. My guess is, that tactic didn't sit well with the B's, and someone will ask for a chance to "discuss" it with him tonight. Thorburn? Really? He "challenged" Chara, but wanted nothing to do with it. Z has been testy for awhile now, so I half expect him to go after someone tonight. Possibly the big Rookie that threw down with Thornton. 6'7 vs 6'9....this could be interesting. But, those are all just side shows. The main event will be to see how the B's play without Ward and Nokelainen. Lashoff and Sobotka will get the call. Sobotka, I'm not worried about. Lashoff? No comment. I see no reason why Boston won't win this one by another large margin. I say B's win 5-1. Go B's-Kynch (Sorry for the short post. Ice storms and real life got in the way this weekend)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Win streak kicks the bucket in DC

Well, I suppose it was bound to happen. The B's started slow last night against the Caps, and this time, they couldn't turn it around quickly enough to salvage a win or a point. The B's seems surprised early on by the pace the Caps were setting. Washington has loads of skill, and it was on display right from the start. By the time the B's got their legs under them and started to carry the play, they were already down 2-0. With Brent Johnson doing his best Gump Worsley impression, they were never able to catch up. But it wasn't just Johnson that kept the B's off the scoreboard for most of the night. Boston had too many quality chances that they just didn't finish. Wheeler, in particular jumps to mind. He (and Sturm when he's playing) are maddening to watch sometimes. I've never seen a kid "assume" he scored before the puck crosses the line. Last night he did it again. He deked Johnson badly and had an open net. But instead of bearing down and BURYING it, he lazy-assed it, and just tried sweeping it in. Of course, Johnson got his arm on it to keep it out. Brickley went on about how the puck was too far in front so he couldn't get leverage blah blah blah. BS. I'd bet you anything if you got Brickley off-record he'd agree that Wheels HAS to bury that shot. He's far from alone, but it was the most glaring missed chance. On the plus side, Wheeler seemed ticked off about it afterwards, and was much more physical for the next few shifts. The kid needs to play that way every shift, and stop passing up shots the way he does. As far as the rest of the game goes, I thought Lucic had a really strong game. He seems to step up to the challenge of playing against high-tempo teams like the Caps. His skill level seemed higher last night than normal, while still using his body well. Fernandez turned in another strong performance as well. Can't blame him for any of the goals. Now, this may be nit-picking, but Lashoff, again, got absolutely abused. On the empty netter, he got caught at the offensive blue line...AGAIN, trying to make a play. I understand it's desperation time then, but his first job has to be to not let AO get a breakaway on an empty net! Just another terrible decision in a long line of terrible decisions by the rook. Don't mean to bash, because hey, I want everyone in a B's jersey to succeed. But he's already a -3 in only 4 games. Normally I'm not a huge +/- guy, but in some cases it's a telling stat. One thing that has kind of caught my eye the last few games, is how chippy Savard is has been. I love it. Our top scorer playing with a little edge is a great thing. Last night he had a couple little exchanges with Poti and another with some other Cap at the B's bench. Now, as one of my buddies mentioned this morning, if anyone decides to call his bluff, he's screwed. But hey, run with it while you can I guess. On a similar note, Krecji started to get "mouthy" and was taking a couple shots at Brashear after the whistle last night. My first reaction was: "STOP IT!". It's one thing to push and shove with other "regular" players. But, and this is no defense of Donald Brashear, doing that stuff to a heavyweight is just....I don't know, wrong. Poking the tiger through the cage like that is uncalled for I think, and doesn't do anything to improve your reputation. All it did was put Brashear in a tough spot.What was he going to do? Drop the gloves and pound Krecji? Of course not, he'd be painted as nothing more than a bully and a goon. So guys like him have to take an endless amount of grief from guys that everyone KNOWS would never back it up. I've never been a big Brashear fan, but he's one of the "honest tough guys" in the league. And among those guys, there is a code. And part of that code is, you don't fight kids you will obviously hammer. You can be sure if Thornton or someone capable of defending himself had started on Brashear like that, he would have retaliated. Sorry for the off topic rant, but I just hate seeing Bruins do that crap. For reference, imagine if Koivu was doing that with Thornton. Would anyone say "wow, good for Saku"? No, we'd all be crucifying him because we know he has no intention of dropping the gloves. Leave that BS for all the little girls on the Canadiens. The Bruins are better than that. Anyway, looking forward to the home and home with Atlanta this weekend. Time for the B's to start another winning streak, and to get back to playing their game. It's been a couple games now that they've been just a little "off". Time to nip that in the bud before bad habits creep in. It's a fine line. Play their system, they're near impossible to beat. Stray away from the system, and they're vulnerable to anyone willing to skate and work hard against them. I have every confidence that Coach Julien has gotten that message across. Go B's-Kynch

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Game Day @ Washington, 12/10/08

After a seemingly endless stream of ho-hum opponents (yes Tampa and Florida, I mean you), the B's get to face some elite talent tonight. Now, we should be aware that the Caps are going through a major rash of injuries to some key players. Seven players are currently out with injury, most from the Defense. BUT, any team that boasts Alex Ovechkin as its center piece is dangerous enough, no matter who he plays with. AO is one of the few guys in any sport that is worth the price of admission on his own. When he's on the ice, ANYTHING can happen. And it usually does. Quickly. The guy plays the game at a break-neck pace. Not only is a natural goal scorer, he plays a pretty physical game as well. At last look, he was third in the NHL in hits. Granted, that stat is shaky at best most nights, but a Russian super-star goal scorer probably isn't who you'd expect to see on that list. I've said it before and I'll say it again; if AO was a better looking North American, HE would be the face of the NHL instead of Sidney Crosby. Both great players, but AO definitely brings more "flash" to the game. Anyway, before this page turns into an AO love-fest, let's move to the game. With their brush with disaster the other night against Tampa, I'm sure the B's will come out very focused tonight. And stay that way for the full 60 minutes. Any let down like Monday's, and the Caps (led by you know who) will blow past them. While Crosby had Malkin, AO has Alexander Semin (who may return to the lineup tonight) and Nicklas Backstrom to share the scoring load. All three have the talent to dominate a game by themselves. Just to make things more interesting, they also still have old friend Michael Nylander working his magic as well. Boston will need to get back to their strict adherence to coach Julien's system if they have any hopes of keeping those four off the score board. Not an impossible task at all for the B's, but it will require a full team effort. Emergency call-up Vladimir Sobotka may or may not play tonight. Reorts are that Stephane Yelle is on the ice this morning and looking good. Personally, as good as Yelle has been playing, I'd prefer to see him sit out tonight. Sobotka is ready to go, and it seems like every game latelym Yelle is getting dinged up. He could probably use a few days away from the banging he takes. I'd rather keep him healthy for the long run than throw him right back in if he isn't 100%. Now, as we know, the Bruins aren't exactly slouches in the scoring department. Savard, Kessel, Krecji and even Lucic and Ryder are right up there with the Caps top scorers. So, when I look at these two rosters, the consider each team's injury issue's....I give Boston a huge edge. Boston can score with these guys, with or without injuries. But considering the B's have a vastly superior defense and much, much better goal tending.....I can't see how the B's could lose tonight. Yeah yeah yeah....I know. Never say never. Anything can happen. I get it. But after having a scare thrown into them by Tampa, no way they come out with anything less than max effort.Besides, these guys rise to the challenge as well as any team I've seen in years. Now, I don't know if they'll shut them out. In fact, I can't imagine that happening. But 2, maybe 3 goals against is all I see. ROUGH STUFF PREVIEW: Donald Brashear. That's all you need to know. Brashear is still on the beat in Washington and hasn't changed his ways much over the years. If Boston comes out the way I expect them to, physical and fast, then I expect Brashear to step in and try to stem the tide. Obviously, this calls for Shawn Thornton to be the guy to answer the bell. Brash is a big strong man. But he isn't a guy that should dominate Thornton. Brashear gets into "hug mode" fairly often. So I think Thornton should be able to get a few in before that happens. Could be an entertaining bout (as always, I just hope Brashear doesn't tackle anyone, and hurt a Bruins shoulder or something). John Erskine, a rough & tumble defender, is out with an injury. So he's one less to "worry" about. He had a good bout with Lucic last year, and was one of the few bouts that Looch didn't get the decision in. PREDICTIONS: I've been going back & forth on a score all day. I started thing 4-3 Boston, but I'm settling on Bruins winning, 5-2. Brashear will go with Thornton in a good bout. Go B's-Kynch

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

2 Points for the win, no style points

A win is a win is a win. Despite all the hand wringing and moaning I've seen and heard after last night's game, the B's still got two points. That is really all that matters. As I was reminded this morning, "Good teams win, and the B's are a GREAT team." So instead of bemoaning the fact that they came out flat and sloppy for the final 40 minutes, how about looking at it from the other side? They played their worst two periods in memory and still got the win. It wasn't very long ago where anything less than a perfect 60 minute effort spelled certain defeat. I'd be a lot more concerned about the second and third periods last night if it looked like a trend. That was no trend, it was a fluke. And Claude Julien, you can be sure, will be using it as a "coaching opportunity" today. The fast start last night against the last place team lulled the B's into thinking it would be an easy night. But Tampa reminded them that in the NHL, there are no easy nights. That's a good thing. Much better to have that kind of wake up call against the Lightning than tomorrow in Washington. The most encouraging thing about the game was the players and coaches reaction after the game. To a man, they weren't happy. With a WIN. It's gotten to the point around here, that even the team itself is critical of HOW they win, not just IF they win. That is nothing but great news for loyal Bruins fans. For too many years, especially under Dave Lewis, were happy just to be "competitive". How many times did the B's lose under Lewis, only to have him come out afterwards and say "I was really proud of the guys. Hey, they're trying". Take another look at the picture you think that will be his message today? Didn't think so. So, as I said to the "fan" I met at Sully's Tap after the game who was ready to jump off the Zakim bridge, "RELAX and enjoy this team". They won a game in which they didn't play well. They're in first place in the conference. They've now won ten in a row at home. They're 19-4-0-4. Read that again. The Bruins, are 19-4. And people are complaining about how the played during two periods of a WIN. My oh my, how times have changed. Go B's-Kynch

Side note- A quick tip of the cap to Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe. I bumped into him before the game and said hi. To his credit, instead of blowing me off, or offering a half hearted wave, he turned and came back to say hi. Stuck out his hand and asked my name etc. Just a classy move in my opinion. More proof that "hockey guys", be they players or media, are generally the biggest gentlemen in sports.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Game Day VS Tampa, 12/8/08

Fresh off a successful two game swing through the Sunshine State, the Bruins are back on home ice tonight. The Lightening come to town firmly entrenched as the Eastern Conference's cellar dweller. Talk about a tale of two cities. Boston, an Original Six, cold weather city sit atop the standings with 40 points. Tampa, an abomination of a hockey city to may purists, sits at the bottom, with 20 points. Tampa has spent boat loads of cash on their star players. But they've done so at the expense of building quality depth. They've also spent it all up front, with Lecavilier and St. Louis earning the lion's share of their cap space. On the flip side, look at how the B's have built their team. They shelled out big money for Chara and (at the time) Savard. Then they paid Fernandez well. Then Ryder. But none of those, with the *possible* exception of Chara (and Fernandez if you count him as a back-up) could be considered crazy deals. Savard, at this point, is an absolute bargain. Ryder, while making $4M, is starting to heat up.....and hey, Murray was making that kind of money the last few years too. So at worst, that's a wash (but I like Ryder's upside a whole lot better). By not being locked into huge deals the B's were able to develop young players. They've also done a great job of finding "bruins" in their drafting. Identifying a style of player has been a huge boost for this team. Tampa seems to be a team without an identity. They tried building around "The Big Three" of Vinny, St. Louis and the now gone Brad Richards. Guess they forgot that they were a Stanley Cup team because of their goal tending. They are getting some decent goal tending lately from Mike Smith. But he's no Nikolai Khabibulin. Having said all that, let's not assume anything. Smith has been playing well, so he could come in and steal one. St. Louis and Vinny are still dangerous offensive players. So they could score just enough to earn just their 7th win of the year (Boston comes in with 18 wins). But with this Bruins team, I've given up worrying about them over looking any opponent. I fully expect them to come out hard and to try and run it up. One thing you can say about this B's squad: they have a great killer instinct. As Shawn Thornton said, once they get a decent lead, everyone wants "their cookie". I like it. In recent years, once they got up a couple goals, they sat on the lead. Julien has gotten everyone fired up about keeping the momentum rolling. If you can score 7 or 8, why not? Looking at this month's schedule, you get the feeling their will be lots of cookies for everyone. ROUGH STUFF PREVIEW Tampa's biggest tough guy, David Koci, is out of the lineup with an injury. Koci, then a Blackhawk is best remembered around here for bloodying up the Garden ice at the hands of Zdeno Chara last year, pictured above. (It was a great beat down by Z, but I always feel the need to mention that Koci had just had his nose broken 2 days before. So kudos to him for trading punches with the big man in that situation). Tampa's not exactly loaded with feared fighters, but they do have 14 bouts this year. It's spread fairly evenly between famed brawlers like Ryan Malone and Ryan Craig. Yawn. But they do have one of the most uncommon fights on their record this year. GOALIE, Mike Smith dropped the gloves (but not his mask) with Rangers forward Aaron Voros. Smith was the instigator for sure. He put a nasty slash on Voros, the cross checked him at least twice, then punched him with a gloved hand. Not very often you see a goalie fight anyone other than another goalie. Not to be outdone by his 'tender, super star forward Vinny Lecavilier dropped the gloves the other night with Jochen Hecht of the Sabres. Vinny was doing pretty well (I mean, it was Hecht for crying out loud) at the outset. But absolutely stopped throwing them when Hecht caught him with one good right. Guess he suddenly remembered he's supposed to be a scorer not a fighter. The one guy the B's need to be wary of is Steve Downie. Not because he's a great fighter, but because he has a reputation of being a cheap shot artist and head hunter. He's never one to pass up a chance at a dirty hit. His whole career, even back in juniors is marked by nasty cheap shots, suspensions and general ill will. (he's the guy that got 20 games for his head hunting hit on Ottawa's Dean Mccammond in a pre-season game last year. Downie was the poster boy for the Flyers dirty ways last year. That should about sum him up. Predictions: Bruins run away with this one, 6-1. Downie takes a run at a top line player and gets his lunch fed to him by whoever is on the ice at the time. If it's Kessel, Looch handles it. Downie is not a great fighter, and is only 5'11" and 200lbs. He better hope he doesn't run anyone while Lucic is around. Or Thornton. Or Chara. Or Hnidy. get the idea. Go B's-Kynch

Friday, December 5, 2008

A recap, preview & tip of the cap

First order of business is a quick recap of last night's win in Tampa. That my friends, is what TEAM is all about. The B's were playing with not one, not two, but THREE rookie defense men. And allowed ONE goal. Aided by yet another strong performance by Tim Thomas, who held the boys in until they got their act together. But once the B's found their legs and settled in, things went back to business as usual. Incredible that they can lose as many key players as they have and continue to be able to just plug new parts in and keep rolling. Johnny Boychuk didn't look out of place at all. He looked steady, confident and deserving of his call up. He played a nice simple and physical game. Matt Lashoff, despite the fact that I'm still not his biggest fan, had a solid night as well. If he sticks to a simpler game plan, he can be very effective. His offensive upside is obvious, he just needs to remain vigilant in his own end (and that includes knowing when to jump up etc). The rest of the "kids" had great nights too. Phil Kessell continues to impress. His 15 goals are no fluke. The kid can just flat out finish, which was a big question mark for most of last year. What can you say about David Krejci at this point? Another slick move for a goal. His patience with and without the puck is incredible, especially for a young guy. Then add in Blake Wheeler's awareness to set up Krejci's shorty, impressive. As Wheels said in his postgame comments; he probably should have had his own break away off the shot block but he "tripped over the blue line". But instead of panicking and just throwing the puck down the ice like most players would have done in that situation, he simply spotted Krejci and made a nice pass to send him away for the game winning goal. You also have to give props to Marc Savard for giving Kessell the puck at the end so he could score into the empty net. Good set-up man there....feed your scorer as often as possible. Now, on to the Panthers. Last year the home team won every match up between these two teams. Time for Boston to break that trend. These are the games they're "supposed to win". Nothing messes up a hot streak more than losing to teams you're clearly better than. And with the goal tending Florida has been getting, I don't expect any cake walk. With all the injuries on the Boston blue line, this is another chance for the Jay Bouwmeester to the Bruins rumor mill to get cranked up. But I'll say it again: NO THANKS! He's a terrific young player but what you'd have to give up to get him just isn't worth it. As I said before, I'd be more interested to see Nick Boynton come back to Boston but he carries a high cap number, so that's not going to happen either. And now a tip of the cap to... Manny Fernandez Yes you read that right. It's time for a public apology for my bashing in the past of this guy (and I shouldn't be alone with this, you know who you are!) In hindsight, I think we were all a little too harsh on him. It isn't HIS fault he was dealt here while injured. It isn't HIS fault he makes nearly four times what Thomas does. Through it all, he has been nothing but professional. He easily could have become a distraction, but instead he just worked quietly in the background as he recovered from his injury and rediscovered his game. Now that he's playing very very well, he could start making noise about being a number one etc. But instead, all he does is continue to work hard, and praise Thomas. Both goalies are handling this situation great. What could have turned into a "goalie controversy" has instead become a strength of the team. All the players now know that no matter which guy gets the nod, they'll do the job. Now, I could have lived without Manny's earlier comment that "the guys know they have to play their best when I'm in net". But hey, I guess you can't hate a guy for an honest assessment of his own game. I found this comment by Manny from John Bishop's blog on to be refreshing and very encouraging: "Fernandez, however, intimated that it has been gratifying for him to see Tim Thomas continue to succeed and play well. "I'm getting the little details figured out -- just getting my game back," said Fernandez after practice on Thursday morning. "It's been an ongoing process. "But Timmy's been really strong, somebody you can rely on, and it's much easier (to work toward 100%) when the other guy is playing so well. You get more time to get everything in order. "And he's been a great guy to watch, so it's definitely helped my game," he said." These two seem to genuinely get along and are supportive of each other. When I watch the post game congratulations, I always watch to see the reaction of whoever the backup goalie was that night. And EVERY game, they always seem to have a long friendly chat and are all smiles. Nothing phony looking there at all. They've earned each others respect, and both seem to be aware that they each may hold the key for them ultimately winning the big prize. As Bish said, this has shades of Andy Moog-Reggie Lemelin. You have to have a hot goalie to go deep in the playoffs. Boston seems to have twice as good a chance of that as most other teams. Go B's! -Kynch

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

NHL News: NHL Suspends Avery for talking about "Sloppy Seconds" who had December 2nd in the "When will Sean Avery get suspended pool? In what should come as no surprise to anyone who has seen and heard Avery's tired act where as he simply opens his big yap and out flows the stupidity. This edition begins while he was out with the his team the Dallas Stars in Calgary to play the Flames, Avery made the following comment to reporters before the drop of the puck: "I'm really happy to be back in Calgary. I love Canada," Avery said in front of cameras. "I just want to comment on how it's become like a common thing in the NHL for guys to fall in love with my sloppy seconds...I don't know what that's about, but enjoy the game tonight." Dion Phanuef is dating Avery's ex-girlfriend, Elisha Cuthbert (see photo to the left) but are you kidding- me? This guy sees fit to publicly call her his "sloppy seconds"? Now, I fully expected him to talk all kinds of trash during the game, but to bring it up in a pre-game press conference, just shows how little class this little jerk has. The league handed down an "indefinite" suspension. Apparently, Dallas would have done the same had the league not. Tom Hicks, the Stars owner doesn't sound too thrilled, nor does Dave Tippett, his coach. Avery will not be traveling with the team as they head to Edmonton. My question is, why would Hicks or anyone else be surprised by this? The "kid" is a punk. Always has been, always will be. End of story. Putting him on a team that already has Steve Ott, is just asking for trouble. Those two idiots have been caught up all season trying to out "prick" each other. Brutal. The Stars are playing poorly, have suffered some bad injuries....and now have to deal with this garbage. Some things are self inflicted, and any team that signs Avery is asking for something like this to happen. Here's hoping the little weasel gets out of hockey and pursues that "fashion" career he's so in to. - Kynch

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Cold November Reign!

As much as I enjoy the month of December and all that it brings (other than ice, snow and slush), I'll miss November this year. How can we not as Bruins fans? The B's will have a hard time matching the pace the set this month. 11-1-1! WOW! A "November Reign" to be sure. Boston currently sits atop the Eastern Conference and are second overall in the league and that my friends is no fluke. They're second in the NHL in both goals scored and goals allowed. Pretty good recipe for success there, eh? As far as last night's "measuring stick" game against Detroit, I'd say the boys passed with flying colors. They seemed guilty of being a little tight, in awe and watching the Wings to start the game. But man oh man, once they got that first goal (on their first shot, as I told the obnoxious Wings fans behind me they would) things were different. They instantly all seemed to decide "hey, these guys are no different than us, we can skate with the and we can be more physical than them" "And hey, we even have better goal tending than them." From that point on the B's were a different team, which is to say they were the same team they've been all month- Fast, skilled, smart and dominant in all three zones. Obviously Detroit, being the immensely skilled team they are, had stretches where they carried the play. But it was never the same as the first 10-13 minutes of the game, where it looked like they could blow out the B's. At no point did I ever start to worry that the Wings were going to come back to win it. Even when the B's got hemmed in (Thank you Fred Cusick!) they rarely gave up great scoring chances and even when they did it never resulted in any real second chances. Manny Fernandez stopped everything thrown at him with the one goal he surrendered being off the power play that deflected off Marc Savard's skate. Speaking of Manny. I think it's time I issue a public apology, and I'm not alone. For all of us that "hated" Manny (which translates to: "I hate paying an injured backup goalie over $4M while our all-star starter makes $1M"), we have to admit he's been a huge success for us this year. His confidence is back and so is his technique. Granted, he does seem to give up the odd softie, especially early in games at times, but his "mental toughness" is much better than I expected. He seems to be able to shake off bad starts pretty easily and settles in quickly to give his teammates a chance to win every night. Despite what one HUGELY annoying Wings fan (from Vermont no less?!) had to say about it, I was thrilled to hear a "Manny, Manny, Manny..." chant go up last night. The guys has earned our respect. Obviously the fans are starting to see him for the player he IS, not the player he WAS. As for the rest of the B's, once again youth was served. Blake Wheeler, Phil Kessel, David Krecji, Milan Lucic, Matt Hunwick and the rest of the "kids" all contributed in a big way again and "old man" Chuck Kobasew at 26 years of age, scored again for good measure. Detroit didn't dress anyone under the age of 24. Boston dressed 7 players under that age, and they were all key factors in the win. But, for my money, the guy that had the best game once again flew under the radar. That guy would be the veteran, Shane Hnidy. He (Hnidy) played a very steady, smart game all night. Which given the fact that Aaron Ward was knocked out with an injury early in the first (which the B's can not afford!), Hnidy and the rest of the D- had to play more minutes. But to me even without the injury, I thought Hnidy earned extra time anyway. He was calm with the puck and just made smart safe play after smart safe play. He rarely gets the credit he deserves, but last night he was lights out and worthy of a "Star" (I would have given it to Hnidy before Chara, who I think had a rough game. Couple bad give aways and general indecision with the puck) So as November turns to December, Boston is in the drivers seat in the division and conference standings. A look ahead at the schedule doesn't exactly send chills of fear down your spine. without taking anyone for granted, you have to feel pretty good when you see Tampa (twice) Florida, Carolina (twice) Toronto, Atlanta (THREE times) and Blues on tap this month. The "toughest" games (on paper) would be the Caps, Penguins and Devils. Those games are all on the road as well. But if Boston keeps playing the way they are, they may not match the record of November. But December could be another very festive month for Bruins fans. Merry Christmas indeed. Go B's!! Kynch

Friday, November 28, 2008

B's Stuff A Turkey, Prepare For Filet Mignon

Thanksgiving may have been yesterday, but the Islanders were very much in a "giving" mood today at the Garden, to which I say, "Thanks!" Boston shook off the disappointing loss at Buffalo Wednesday, and made the Islanders pay for it. The Islanders started off strong, forechecking Boston hard and keeping the B's from getting any attack going thru one period. In period two though the B's started carrying the play a bit more and created chances taking a 2-1 lead at the end of two... However it was the third period where the B's really got things going to the point that got out of hand for New Yorkers as Boston scored so often in the period (five times), that I had to double check to see if Carey Price had been dealt to the Island. Isles stating goalie Joey Macdonald gave up the first 4 of the game (2 in the 3rd alone) before being pulled in favor of newcomer Peter "Mumbles" Mannino. Mumbles Mannio entered the game with no stat line and saw his first NHL action in net and by the looks of things I'm guessing he wishes he could have left the same way as he surrendered 4 goals in the 12:45 or so he played. Welcome to the NHL! Following the game in fact he was immediately re-assigned to the AHL. Yikes! So much for that huh... Truth is though you'd be hard pressed to blame either Islander goalie for any of the Boston goals as each was sharp with no softies in the bunch. They were just that good. Everything was roofed and was inished with "purpose". Seemed like every time Boston got a chance in the third, they buried it. From an aesthetic view point, this was a great game to watch. Savard, Kessel, Ryder and Wheeler in particular put on an absolute skating and stick handling clinic. Savvy seemed to play at a faster pace than I've seen from him all year. And Wheeler..Wow! He was (to quote the great Fred Cusick) a "going concern" all day. And if you enjoy the physical part of the game, you weren't left out of the fun either. Two pretty decent fights were just the icing on the cake as Lucic and Hnidy both dropped the gloves. A 7-2 win with two fights. What can be better? I'll tell you what can be better. Carrying this same type of effort into tomorrow night's game against the Red Wings. If the B's skate the way they did today, they can play with and beat anyone in the NHL. But it's going to take a full 60 minutes of that if they expect to knock off the Wings. Detroit is going to come in a little agitated as they just lost to Montreal, in a game they looked disinterested in. I don't expect that kind of effort tomorrow. They were able to blow out one of the turkey's of the league with a slowish start today. But if they're going to beat the Wings, they can't afford to get down early again. I fully expect a great effort and a fun game to watch. But honestly, I have NO clue how it will turn out. So I'm just going to enjoy the win today and worry about Detroit tomorrow. Go B's- Kynch (BTW- the new third jersey's look they're undefeated in them :) )

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Game Day @ Buffalo 11/26/08

OK, raise your hand if you're sick of seeing the Sabres. Good Lord, are Buffalo Montreal and Toronto the only other teams in the league now or does it just feel like it? This the fourth of six meetings between these two. Really? We need Buffalo four times before Thanksgiving? Ugh. Schedule makers should be fired. Anyway, I suppose it's a good thing to be playing so many division games while the B's are playing well. Especially since Buffalo has gone into a deep tailspin lately. They've lost five in a row and ten of thirteen. Meanwhile,. Boston is looking for it's second five game winning streak of the month. WOW. Thing that concerns me about that is, Buffalo isn't THAT bad of a team. Ryan Miller, I don't think, just suddenly forgot how to play goal. So the B's could have their hands full tonight. But, if they show up ready to play, they should be just fine. I'm curious to see how Lindy Ruff responds tonight. The B's thumped the Sabres last time out. And I'm wondering if he paid any attention to Montreal's decision to have Laraque follow Looch around. Obviously there is no history between Lucic and Buffalo to explain having a waste of a sweater like Peters shadow him, but I wouldn't put something like that past Ruff. I guess we'll see if he thought Looch was taken off his game by it or not. Peters is an even worse player than BGL, so I doubt Ruff would have him on a top line. I just wonder if he sees more ice time than normal while Milan is on the ice. Boy, do I hope so. The more ice time they give that hammer head the better. Either way, I fully expect Buffalo to come out hard and desperate. If Boston can score the first goal or two, it could be lights out fairly early. This is a case of one team feeling great about itself and knowing they're never out of a game, vs one that is full of doubt and waiting for a reason to fold. No need to give them any false hope. Boston needs to come out fast and strong. Survive Buffalo's early rush and keep the pedal down. Rough Stuff: Andrew Peters is the resident tough guy. ONLY person I can see going with him is Thornton, and I expect to see it tonight. Predictions: Boston "cruises" to a 4-2 win. Miller plays better, but his D does him no favors. Kessel, Kobasew, Bergeron and.....Stuart are your goal scorers. Go B's-Kynch

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Sometimes I just love being wrong! I had the right score, and the right way it would end (SO) but the wrong team. Forgive me for thinking Boston would let the Habs beat them tonight. Every time it looks like the deck is stacked against the B's they rise to the challenge and pull off the win. Sure, a regulation win would have been great. But they went on the road and got two points. Been cracking up reading all the BS on some Canadiens fan sites. Those people are seriously delusional. I swear I've never seen any group of fans that saw everything through such rose colored glasses. But the funniest (saddest really) is reading their rants on Milan Lucic. They've taken to calling him "Lucy". How cute. They say he's nothing but a bully that will only fight guys he knows he can take (never mind that their hero Komisarsuck has been asking for a beating for a year), but "runs away" from tougher guys, like Laraque. Oh, the irony. What do you think their reaction would be if Boston threw some complete goon over the boards every time one of their top wingers was on the ice and ordered him to try to goad him into a fight all night? They'd be ranting and raving at how embarrassing that display of "goon hockey" was and be on their high horse about how they play the game the "right way". Screw you, you bunch of hypocrites. You would all give your first born to have Looch on your pathetic team. Once again, Laraque ended up looking like a fool, thug, goon and yes, a bully. How else do you describe a guy who had NO intention of playing hockey, just wanted to fight for the sake of fighting. Try as you might Hab apologists, there was absolutely NO reason for a Lucic-Laraque fight. What, exactly, was he supposed to be "avenging"? He was supposed to somehow be defending Komipansy's honor by fighting the guy that beat him up? A week later? Twisted logic my friends, twisted logic. Oh wait, you say it was because he DARED lay a clean hard hit on Kovalev (I think that's Russian for "I play when I feel like it")? By Habs fans definition of a bully, shouldn't one of those brave and honorable Canadiens on the ice at the time done something? You know, instead of run home to get their big brother to come fight that mean old bully for them? Once again, you're hypocrites. Watching BGL skate around doing nothing but try to start a fight was an embarrassment to him, his team and the NHL. I'm sure he'll come out and say something like he embarrassed Lucic by making him decline to fight. And I'm sure you Canadien fans will agree. I'm also sure that is a bunch of crap, and deep down I bet you all know it. IF Looch had taken the bait and dropped the gloves with that waste of a roster spot you call BGL, what good would it have served the Bruins? Anything short of a total beat down by Lucic would have only fueled the Canadiens. And I think we all agree that win or lose, Lucic wouldn't dominate BGL, nobody does. Hey, I enjoy a good fight as much as the next guy. Probably more. But I like there to be SOME reason for them. The "reasons" attributed to tonight's desired bout are completely fan and media created. It would have served no real purpose within the game. So, bottom line is this. Not only did the B's go to Montreal and walk away with two points, they also showed they're a smarter team. Smarter than last year when they ran around looking for big hits and fights. Smarter than the Canadiens, who seem to have forgotten their identity. But hey, any time you guys want to try and play old time, goon hockey with Boston, we'll take it. Maybe next game Montreal can call up every goon they can find. Yeah, that'll teach those bullies in Boston, huh? I mean, it will also cost the Habs two more points, but hey. Hockey in Montreal now a days isn't about speed, grace and winning. It's about avenging perceived injustices. Perfect. Way to take your game to the gutter. So for all of you dopes up there that were heckling Lucic while he was scoring an important goal against you, HAHA. I've actually seen comments already from you dummies that you can at least take some solace in "proving" that "Lucy" is nothing more than a bully afraid of tough guys. Trust me, Bruins fans are liking him even more right now. Great to see a young kid who combines strength and skill adding smarts to his list of attributes. This kid, unlike those of you calling for "vengeance", "gets it". So, I can unashamedly say, nay, shout it from the rooftops: I LOVE LUCY!!!! Go B's, Suck it Habs-Kynch

Game Day @ Habs 11/22/08

Before we get to the mayhem that is sure to be the Montreal game, a couple quick notes on last night's game vs Florida. Great to see Boston come out with a business like attitude and take care of the Panthers. Kessel and Savard hooking up on a couple fast break chances early resulted in Kessel's goal. LOVE seeing Kess use his wheels like he has been, and Savard just continues to amaze with his vision and skill. The anti-Kessel, but still incredibly skilled and talented, is David Krecji. Kid did such a nice job of slowing things down on the breakout that led to his goal. Two different styles, same results. Good stuff. Highlight of the night for most of us had to be another beat down by Lucic. This time he bloodied Nick Boynton in a completely one sided affair, initiated by Boynton. But I will say this, despite Fluto Shinzowa of the Boston Globe giving Boynton his "sin bin" nod, I give Boynton a ton of credit for stepping up and challenging Looch. Boynton knew who he was dropping 'em with. He was standing up for a teammate (as he always has). Speaking of Fluto, I also disagree with his seeming fascination with Lucic throwing down with Laraque tonight. That is not a fight Milan needs. It's trading your top LW for a guy that plays 5 minutes a night. No thanks. Besides the 5 minutes of ice time he'd lose, what happens if BGL tackles Lucic and he ends up hurting a shoulder or something? That pansy Komisarek is out a month after hurting his shoulder in the Lucic beat down. Not to mention that fighting BGL, IN Montreal, anything short of Looch absolutely hammering him will be a huge emotional lift for the Habs fans and players. And I think we can all agree that even if Looch won the fight, the chances of him dominating it are slim to none. So why bother? The down sides so clearly out weigh any of the positives it's a no decision. So on that note, I guess it's time to look forward to the Habs tonight. The Bruins have the "honor" of being the opponent for "Patrick Roy" night (speaking of which, he obviously deserves it, but I still find it funny that a guy that basically told them to F off and said "I will never wear this uniform again" is getting a night in his honor and his number retired. Awkward). Once again Montreal was sitting around resting last night while Boston was playing in a different city. That didn't help the Habs last time. But honestly, I really don't expect the B's to win tonight. On the deck-stacked-against-you scale, this is about as high as you can get. It's the second game of back to backs, on the road, against a hated rival you just laid a beating on last time out. The B's will have to sit through all the pomp and circumstance of Patrick Roy's ceremony. God knows how long the game will be delayed by that. Combine that event with the previous beat down, and the crowd will be in full throat from the get-go. Beyond that, Montreal hasn't been playing very good hockey lately, so they're a reasonably desperate team. Oh, and Laraque took all kinds of grief for not jumping Lucic after beating down Komipansy. Why? I have no idea. Fair fight that your guys has had coming for over a year.Your guy lost. It happens. Doesn't mean you have "avenge" him by throwing a useless thug over the boards. Pathetic. And to think, at one time I had a ton of respect for all those "Knowledgeable hockey fans" up in Montreal. I'm sure there are plenty that "get it", but they're being drowned out by the revenge at all costs crowd. Anyway, I'm sure Big Georges will be looking to make a statement tonight. So as much as I'd hate to see Looch waste his time with him, he may get forced into it. I'd much rather see Thornton step in, although losing Thornton for BGL isn't a fair trade either. Funny thing is, IF Thornton did stand in for Looch, Habs fans will be all up in arms claiming Looch is ducking BGL etc. Ironic, since those are the same people screaming for Laraque to "get Lucic" to protect/avenge Mouthysarek. Not sure who gets the start in net, but I'm assuming it will be Fernandez. I'm VERY curious to see how Carey Price plays tonight. Will he step up on Roy night? Or will he cave under the spotlight against a team that doesn't fear him at all. Say what you want Habs fans. Keep putting on that brave face. We all know that deep down, you all are concerned that he may not be as unflappable as you thought. At least not against Boston. This is a kid that has already had a bunch of horrible periods against the B's. I see real doubt in his eyes, and in your hearts. Predictions: As I said, I'd either have to be a complete homer, blind or a total idiot to expect a Bruins win. And I'm only a little but of each. With all the stars aligned like they are, I fully expect Boston to be on the PK all night. KingKrej and I discussed it last night, and we set the over-under on Montreal PP's at 6. And I'm betting the over. I fully expect the Habs to be in full dive mode tonight, and for the refs to happily play along. That being said, Boston, I think, keeps it close. I say, Montreal wins it a SO, because that seems to be the only way Montreal can win. My theory is, that's because nobody can hit you during the SO. BGL and Thornton will have a go tonight (with Chara as my wild card dance partner for Georgy). *the two things that could turn the game in Boston's favor are this. 1)Carey Price has a melt down and lets in a couple softies. 2)BGL and the boys try to stir the pot a little too much. That could backfire and spark the B's. This is a team that responds very well when teams try to physically intimidate them. So I hope Guy "The Rat" Carbonneau dresses every hammer head he can muster. That plays right into Boston's hands. Go B's-Kynch