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

Friday, November 21, 2008

Puttin' on the foil

OK OK, even though the Bruins marketing team has come up with a "ode to Slapshot" theme for tonight's tilt against the Florida Panthers, I don't expect a return to the brawl filled days the film depicts. But I can dream, can't I? On paper this looks like a game the B's should breeze through. Which is the only thing that worries me. Normally I wouldn't be too concerned about it, but with a game in Montreal tomorrow, you never know. The Bruins *could* get caught looking past Florida. I don't really expect it, but it is something to keep an eye on. Best thing for the B's could be for Florida to get caught up in the "Old time hockey" vibe and play a rough & tumble game. That will get the Bruins attention in a hurry. I assume we'll be seeing the Panthers backup goalie, Craig Anderson tonight. Their starter, Tomas Vokoun played last night. But don't get too excited. Anderson actually has much better numbers than Vokoun, albeit in about half the games played. For a last place team, they have two pretty good goalies (both have sub 3GAA and well over .900save%). Florida has a few decent "name" players, but no stars, especially up front. Their D is "decent", but their forwards won't scare too many. Their pop-cap offense is a big reason why they're the bottom feeders of the Eastern Conference. They've only managed 42 goals this season, a full 20 behind Boston's output. Old friend Nick Boynton is now a Panther (hey, he may play for crap teams, but at least he's been playing in nice weather since he left Boston). They also have the ever waiting to blossom Jay Bouwmeester on the back end. In my opinion, the jury is still out on Bouwmeester. Hard to say how good he is, or can be, since he's always played on bad teams. And honestly....who watches many Panthers games? The rumor mill still suggests Boston may be a player for Bouwmeester if Florida continues to stink it up and Boston stays in contention. He may be that "puck moving defenseman" they keep talking about bringing in. He's a very good player, so he's worth keeping an eye on tonight. Nathan Horton is Florida's leading scorer, with 6G & 5A. He's also a minus 6 though. ROUGH STUFF PREVIEW: If the game starts to resemble Eddie Shore hockey with Steve Hanson in town, the Panthers have a few willing guys. We all know Boynton will stand up for his teammates and drop the gloves if needed. He also still plays that very physical style. So Boston's forwards better keep their heads up crossing the Florida blue line. Former Leaf Wade Belak is also wasting away in Miami (talk about culture shock...Toronto to Miami?). Belak had one memorable bout in October with heavyweight Derek Boogard.....and clearly got the better of him. Keith Ballard is also willing and able. So hey, you never know. Maybe nobody gets jumped before the anthem, but we could see some fire works after all. Predictions: I think Boston is just so clearly better than Florida in every facet of the game, that they shouldn't be in trouble. I say Boston wins it 4-1. Your goal scorers tonight? I'll go with Lucic, Kessel. Wheeler and.......Wideman? Thornton and Belak give us a Hanson-Oglethorpe worthy bout. Go B's-Kynch (By the way, I some may have predicted Boston would have given up the fewest goals in the East to this point, but who would have predicted they'd be tied for the conference lead in goals scored? LOVE IT)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Your Goalie, can have him

What was THAT? Didn't Ryan Miller used to be a good goalie? I mean, like a week ago? After giving up 7 last night, in just over two periods, he's now given up 11...yes, ELEVEN, goals in 3 periods plus a minute fifteen. Good thing he made the All Star ballot and Thomas didn't, eh (the only thing those two had in common last night was they both ended up watching from the bench)? Not for nothing, but I haven't seen a horror show like that in the Buffalo net since Clint Malarchuk bled all over the Aud. In Miller's defense....he didn't have a defense in front of him. The Sabres spent the night standing around watching Boston go wherever they wanted and occupy whatever space they wanted. Then again, Miller didn't exactly help them by making any big stops. In fact, he looked down right sieve like on at least two. As bad as Buffalo played, Boston seemed determined in the first to play just as poorly. Defense was a dirty word there for awhile. And despite all the mock cheers Fernandez got, I really can't blame him for any of the goals (MAYBE he was a bit too deep in his crease on Vanek's goal that made it 3-1, but that nit picking I think). He was under siege all period (again, a big save to bail out his mates would have been nice, but...). The GREAT news out of this is the fact that the B's now actually have the firepower to win a game like this, and the mental toughness to hang in there. This was another game that not long ago, they would have been run out of the building. Now, they just go to the break, regroup and come out playing the way they can. As soon as Boston tied it up at 4, you just had the feeling that everything would be ok. At 5-4, you KNEW it was game over. At that point it just became a matter of how many they'd get, and how long Lindy Ruff would leave Miller in there to take the beating. I (happily) blame Lindy Ruff for the loss as much as anyone. Keeping Miller in there for six goals through two periods...then sending him out to start the third....only to pull him 1:16 in after giving up the 7th, is a joke. Then again, when you have Patrick Lalime as your backup maybe it isn't such a bad idea. Seriously though....why make Miller make the "Skate of shame" to the bench after being pulled, instead of letting him start the period on the bench? The most nerve wracking moment had to be when Wideman got his clocked cleaned and was (as Jack Edwards would say, if it was an opponent) "on Queer St" for a bit. Got decked, tried to get up, but spun around and fell down. Scary moment for sure. I was STUNNED to see him back on the bench and skating a regular shift. Speaking of which, I have one very minor issue with Julien last night. It was great to see Wideman back on the ice. They clearly needed him. BUT, once the B's had the 3 goal lead late, and Buffalo was getting a bit chippy, I really wanted Julien to shut him down for the night. Why take a chance? But hey, I guess if he was cleared, he was cleared for the full game. I guess. At any rate, what started out as an ugly night of hockey,which looked an awful lot like the "old" Bruins of recent years turned into a celebration of the "new" Bruins. I guess nobody told these guys they aren't supposed to be very good. I guess they didn't read all those hockey previews that had them, inexplicably, missing the playoffs this year. Apparently, they missed the memo that says they're a boring, dull, trapping team that must win 2-1 to have a chance. No, this isn't a game Julien will use in any teaching videos. But it may be a game they all look back on as a reminder that they're never out of a game. No matter how poorly they start. They're not a dull team anymore. They aren't goal challenged anymore. They're nobody's pushover anymore. They're tough. They're talented. They're the Bruins. And they're back. Go B's-Kynch PS- Where was this big, tough lineup Ruff claimed he was going to ice last night? The only change I noticed from last time they met was Craig Rivet was back in the line up. Typical Ruff, all talk, no action.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Is it just me, or have we played the same three teams for the past 2 weeks? Oh well, I guess division games are a good thing. Especially when you're playing well.Better to get these games in now when instead of during a down period. Buffalo comes into town vulnerable.....but pissed. They coughed up FOUR third period goals against the Pens Saturday night to blow a 2-1 lead and lose 5-2. Ouch. I wouldn't expect to get that lucky tonight. Big effort needed for the full sixty minutes for the good guys. I'm sure Lindy Ruff (God I hate that guy) will have his troops ready to roll tonight. Best way to beat these guys, is to BEAT these guys. Looch needs to set the tome from the opening drop. Hit 'em early and often, letting them know this is going to be a long night. Without getting into the whole "Andrew Peters is useless" thing again, he's the only guy over there to consider a "threat" as far as one on one, legit fighting goes. Adam Mair likes to play the part of a tough guy, as does Patrick Kaleta. But they're both just pretenders. It will be interesting to see how Kaleta acts tonight. He was running his yap all night last time he was here, and trying to get Chara stirred up (bad idea BTW). That is, until Chara gave him a gloved fist in the chops. Kid got dropped like a bad habit and got up with that stunned "what the F just hit me?" look on his face. He'll probably find another target tonight....if he's smart. (No chance he doesn't act like a jerk, he is who he is). I'm calling a 4-2 B's win and going way out a limb by saying that goal Ryder scored the other night is the one to get him going. He scores again tonight. I'm also feeling Looch, Krecji and Kobasew as the other scorers. Probably won't be too much in the way of fireworks, unless A)Buffalo comes out hard and out works Boston. At which point someone on the B's side may feel a need to fire up the boys. Or B)Boston gets out to a big lead and is playing very physically. Buffalo's frustration could lead to some cheapness which will have to be answered. can't wait. Go B's-Kynch

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Mixed Emotions....

.....I guess that's the best way to sum up my thoughts on last nights game in Toronto. First and foremost, I'm thrilled at another win. But on the flip side, the boys had another one of those games where they couldn't seem to get the puck out of their own end. Thomas was under siege much of the night. The Leafs hit three posts. The result could have been much different, if not for more horrid goal tending from Vesa Toskala (thank you VS for interviewing Ron Wilson right after the Kessel goal. Hysterical stuff, he was PISSED). But, as many have told me today "good teams find ways to win games like that". Which is true. If this was the Dave Lewis Bruins, they would have gotten blown out. So I am happy with that. But if this lazy, poor decision making continues in their own zone, their lofty status at the top of the division will be short lived. The absence of Ference is already proving to be a major disruption. Who would have thought we'd miss Ference's calming effect back there? (oh yeah, that's right...ME. See? I've been telling you dopes he was a good player! :) ). Don't get me wrong, I am NOT about to push the panic button. I don't want Chiarelli to rush out and make a deal for the sake of making a deal. I still say giving up a top offensive player for a top blue liner isn't what this team needs. They can survive, and in fact thrive, with the D they have now. As Julien has been saying, they all just have to make sure they're playing well. This is when you'd like to see Chara really make a stand. He HAS to play better. His decision making has been sketchy at best. Way too many soft dumps up the boards that don't get out. I don't want him, or any of the D, to gamble on high risk plays all night. But they have to get back to looking to make plays coming out of their end. Right now, Wideman seems to be the only one looking for anything in the center of the ice. Now, not to sound all doom & gloom, there were some very positive things as well. Getting Ryder on the board, beer league toe-drag or not, was huge. Great move, but I'm still amazed when that stuff works on NHL defensemen. The goal by Hunwick was fantastic. Great puck movement a great job by the kid to floow his shot and finish. He just may become that ever elusive "puck moving d-man" they've been looking for (although he has a lot of work to do in his own end still). And hopefully that wrister through Toskala will get Kess back in a scoring groove. Great play by Savard on that one. He sees and thinks the game as good as anyone in the league. And I'm actually starting to like Looch on that line. They definitely need a physical presence with them, and who better than Looch? Thomas looked good again, although it was one of more "scrambly" performances of the year. Looked a lot like the "old Thomas", diving and flopping quite a bit. More a reflection of the team D in front of him, but still noticable. I assume we'll see Manny Wednesday night, but who knows? Supposedly Manny has great numbers against Buffalo.....but does that matter? I don't think so. I'd play Thomas Wednesday, then Manny Friday vs. Florida. That saves Thomas for Montreal Saturday night (again, thank you so much schedule makers. IN Montreal the night after a home game. Oh, and it's Patrick Roy night. Great.) That's it for now. Go B's-Kynch

Monday, November 17, 2008

Game Day @ Toronto 11/17/08

Short & sweet preview today, if only because it seems like we play these dopes every other day now. Word of the night for Boston has to be EFFORT. They barely showed up in Manhattan, they better make a big statement in TO. One game like the one at MSG Saturday is understandable, it happens. But if they follow it up with another lackluster effort.....well, you'll be sure to read about it here. Bottom line is, the B's are a WAY better team than the laughs, erm, Leafs. Their goaltending is a disgrace, and Boston needs to throw as much rubber at the net as possible. I don't care who they go with, Toskala or Cujo. Neither one could stop a beach ball lately. Could be a good night for Boston to ratchet it up a bit and have another five or six goal night. In fact, I'm calling 5-1 now. Screw it. Rough Stuff preview: Rough stuff? Toronto? Only "rough stuff" you're likely to see is a blatant cheap shop from Ryan Hollweg. Other than that, and Luke Schenn playing a fairly physical game, don't expect much in the way of "brawling". The Leafs are a very, very soft team. BUt hey, maybe if the B's start to light it up, someone gets frustrated enough to try & spark them (probably Hollweg). Predictions: Boston wins 5-1 on PP goals from Ryder & Sturm. Bergeron gets the monkey off his back and pots one too. Chara and Kobasew knock in the others. No fights, but Hollweg takes the patented punch in the mouth from Chara for being a punk. Go B's-Kynch

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sloppy, second

Well, I did say that beating the Rangers would have just been icing on the cake.....assuming the B's played well. And despite what I'm reading from the team and the media, I don't think they played well at all at MSG last night. Too often, those old bad habits of being too casual with clear attempts came back to bite them. Far too many times, guys like Chara made soft, lazy passes in their own end. If you fail to clear your own zone, eventually it will come back to haunt you. Personally, I thought it was a sloppy game all around and they were fortunate to take a point home . The lone highlight was the continues great play of their PK. Some random observations from last night around the league: *Andrew Ference will be missed. * Where else but the NHL can you LOSE a game, and GAIN ground in the standings? Montreal and Buffalo both lost in regulation, so the B's put another point between them and their division rivals. * Has anyone ever seen TWO instant replays in a shootout before? *Ranger fans sure love to boo. Just ask Michael Rosival. Turned the puck over twice, and was booed every time he touched the puck after that. If Boston fans did that, Chara would never be able to tell if he playing at home or away. *Speaking of Ranger fans.....I thought the building was empty until they tied it up. Must have all had their mouths full or something for the first couple periods. Hard to cheer gnawing on pretzels I guess. *Who told Paul Mara he was a tough guy? He has three fighting majors already this season, matching his career high (OK, I do have a hard time calling last night's "thing" with Kobasew a fight, but still.) *Montreal fans waiting for Georges Laraque to "step up" and "answer" for what Looch did to Komisarek will be thrilled. BGL beat the tar of......Josh Gratton??? O.....K......just a few days late there Georgey, but good effort (fraud Habs fans will now re-anoint BGL as the biggest and best thing to ever wear skates, even though he was a no-show against their biggest rival) *Andrew Ference will be missed. *Barry Melrose got canned before his mullet even had a chance to be highlighted by the Florida sun. Welcome to the age of spoiled millionaire players running the team. Reportedly players went to ownership to complain about not liking Melrose's style....IE; the big meanie is yelling at us for sucking. Best thing that ever happened to ya Barry. When ownership forces you to play a rookie even though he isn't ready, better to get out while the getting is good. *18 year old rookie Luke Schenn did the right thing and stepped up for a teammate last night for Toronto. Let's just put that bout in the "well, at least he showed up category". *Will Jack Edwards EVER stop saying "takes the body" instead of "takes a hit"? Jack, if you MAKE the hit, THEN you are "Taking the body". NOT when you GET hit. Drives me insane. *Andrew Ference will be missed. Get well soon Andy. Go B's-Kynch

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Game Day @ Rangers 11/15/08

Game day today as far I'm concerned may as well be "Gravy Day". After beating Chicago and Montreal on back to back nights this week, winning in New York tonight would just be gravy. The B's have already had a huge week. Now, trust me, I'd love nothing more than to see them head down there and lay a beating on the Strangers. But if they don't, as long as they play well, I won't be all that upset. Then again, at this point I expect a win from the boys every time out.....kind of a nice change from recent years, huh? The B's can't change their position in the Conference either way tonight. Win or lose, they'll still be second in the East. But a win would get them within one point of the top spot, and hopefully (with a Montreal and Buffalo loss) give them some room between them and their division foes. Now, I know it's still very early and where you are now means nothing in the long run. But like I've said all along....they WILL run into injuries (Ference is out for at least today, my hunch is it may be longer, hopefully not very long.) and they will run into slumps. So, opening up as big a lead as possible in November and December is just as important as winning games in February and March. The biggest challenge for Boston today will be getting pucks by Henrik Lundquist, who could be the class of the league in net. Although, to be fair to my boy Timmy Thomas, Thomas' numbers are considerably better so far. Lundquist has a 1.99 GAA & .929 save%, compared to Tim-may's 1.76 GAA with a .946 save%. Obviously some of that difference has to do with who plays in front of them. In that area, Boston by far has the more responsible defensive players. NYR have TEN players with a minus rating, compared to Boston's three. And of those three, only Chara (-1) is a regular. The other two are Sobotka and Nokelainen. It's funny, when you think of the Rangers, you probably think of a more high scoring team (ok, well I do anyway). They've only scored 52 goals to Boston's 50, and they've played three more games than the B's (they've given up 6 more). Geeze.....I think I'm talking myself into a sweep for the week. ROUGH STUFF PREVIEW One name that should be familiar to all of, is the one guy to really keep your eye on. Colton Orr. The kid is as tough as they come, and would probably enjoy a chance to go with Thornton. I wouldn't mind seeing it, so like Elton John said "Saturday's nights alright for fighting" And I can get away with an Elton John reference only because he has the number 60 hanging from the rafters of Madison Square Garden, for the number of shows he's done there. (side note, Billy Joel has #12 in the rafters for the longest consecutive show streak at MSG). PREDICTIONS What the hell, I'm feeling good......I say B's win 3-2. Thornton and Orr put on a great heavyweight show. Great week. Oh, and a special shout-out to all of you taking part in the latest Bruins "R.O.A.R." (Rally On A Roadtrip) event. I'm jealous, so have a few Guinness for me and don't take any grief from those NYR fans.....but do Boston proud and represent us with some class (unlike some certain fans that TRY to take over Boston when they visit for a game) Go B's-Kynch

Friday, November 14, 2008

Beantown Beatdown

HAHAHAHA!!!!! Where to begin? A complete and total BEAT DOWN of epic proportions last night. Score one for the good guys. Since I can't decide where to start, I'll start with that over rated, under performing head case of a soft, feeble minded goalie of theirs, Carey Priceless. This kid is a classic front-runner. Give him a lead and play great hockey in front of him, and he plays great. Score on him early and create traffic in front of him, and he folds up like a cheap pup tent. I've said it all along...I will never understand why Canadien fans are so in love with this kid (other than the fact they ordain EVERY young player as the second coming of ). Carey (isn't that a girls name? I'm just asking....), looked AWFUL on a few of the goals he allowed, starting with Thornton's. Granted, it was a pretty good play by Shawn, but come on....if you're supposed to be a sure fire Hall Of Famer, and shoe in Vezina winner, you just can't get deked that badly by a 4th line winger. On Sturm's PP goal at the end of the first, Price looked absolutely baffled as to what to do. He didn't know if he should sh*t or go blind. I've never seen a goalie do the little "happy feet dance" he did while Savard held the puck. He had NO CLUE how to react to that (psst, Mr. lead pipe lock HOF the shooter, don't bounce back and forth between shot and pass. Moron).
But enough Price bashing....we could spend all day on that dope. I think what we're all thinking today is "ABOUT TIME!". About time Lucic got his chance to beat down that pansy Komisarik. That guy is so frustrating to watch it isn't even funny. He should be absolutely embarrassed and ashamed of himself. How can anyone constantly chirp, hack, slash, cross check and shove after the whistle......and have absolutely no intention of dropping the gloves? I'm sorry, but if you're going to play that way, you have to "man up" and answer the bell. For Montreal bench boss, and resident rat bastard, Guy "I'm going to wave my arms around like a lunatic every 5 minutes to try to get calls" Carbonneau to send out Georges laraque to try and handle Komipansy's issue's was beyond lame. Wasn't there a time when Canadien fans decried "goon hockey"? Well, I'm pretty sure sending out a 4th line stiff to fight the other teams top line winger counts as "goonism". Good on Looch for not falling for it. Wasting Gooch for five minutes for "BGL" doesn't make any sense for anyone. Lucic and "k(h)omo" would be a relatively "fair trade". Top D-man for a top winger. Never thought I'd see those two drop the gloves, but once the B's scored their fifth, I had some hope. And Milan never gave Komi a chance to back down. He cut him off on his way to the bench, and it was pretty clear that if he didn't drop the gloves, Looch was going to pound him anyway. Koisarek, as he usually does, tried to put on a show.....not really fight. He threw a couple early on, but as soon as Looch connected with the uppercut, it was game-set-match. He turtled like the little girl he is. Lucic's reaction after that bout was almost scary....the sheer primal scream was an obvious release of all the emotion and frustration he's had building up over that pansy for the last year. Good to see it finally happen. I'll be curious to see what, if any, reaction the Habs have next time they play. No doubt BGL tries to go after Lucic. Also no doubt that Komisarek doesn't try to avenge the beat down.

Speaking of BGL......I ranted yesterday about what a waste of a roster spot he is. And boy, did he not disappoint last night. The guys is useless, as is the entire 4th line for the Habs. Putting the Thornton-Yelle-Kobasew line out there against Dandenault-Lappierre-Laraque was an unfair mismatch on a huge scale. Not even a contest on who you'd rather have. Shoot, Boston's 4th line outscored all of Montreal lines combined. There will be a lot of soul searching in hab-land today. Or, more likely, finger pointing. The Rat has already thrown his players under the bus, saying "We had a game plan and no one followed it. And as a result, we lost, 6-1.". Way to go Guy. What a stand up dude you are.
Bottom line is, Montreal got absolutely STUNNED last night. They expected to cruise to an easy win, with Boston having played the night before. I think the eloquent, if math challenged, Alex Kovalev said it best: "One word we can say," said star Canadiens winger Alexei Kovalev. "We were not prepared for this."
Go B's- Kynch

Thursday, November 13, 2008

International Diving Competition come to Boston...

.....disguised as the Montreal Canadiens. All I have to say about those pansies from Quebec (is that redundant?) is if they DON'T win tonight, they suck! The NHL seems to have gone out of their way to ensure those Mary's cruise through the season, in honor of their 100 years in the NHL. Three times Boston plays Montreal as the second game of back to back games. Including tonight, while Montreal chilled out in Boston, the Bruins were in a death struggle in Chicago. Not only was the game delayed a half hour for a number retirement (for the "great" Keith Magnusun, he of the perpetual bloody face. And to think, some people questioned the Bruins for retiring #24? Yikes), but of course, almost inevitably, the game goes not only to OT, but a shoot out. Game didn't end until nearly midnight, Boston time. Long after the Mary-Kate and Ashley Kostitsyn put on their footy jammys and spooned in their double bed for the night. So what time do you suppose the Black & Gold stumbled into town today? 5AM? 6? Unreal. Two tough games, within 17 hours of each other, with travel form a different time zone in between. So Montreal, it's all laid out there for you. Thing is, I think the boys in black will rise to the challenge. I think they'll use the schedule makers disregard for their competitive balance as motivation. ANY win against Montreal is always good for Boston's morale. How big of a lift do you suppose beating them under these circumstances would be? HUGE is the correct answer, good job. As far as what to expect tonight, I'm absolutely stumped. This could either be a complete back and forth barn burner, or a game played in mud. The "muddy" style would favor Boston, especially after playing last night. Montreal is a weak, and I mean WEAK team. Hit them, bang them, make them wish they were anywhere but on the ice against the Bruins, and you win. Problem is, you have to balance that against the fact that they will flop, dive and generally act like they got shot out there to draw penalties. Penalties which the refs are all too willing to grant them. While their PP hasn't been as dominant as it has been the last couple years, they're still a team that lives and dies on their PP. So staying out of the box...and that even applies to matching penalties. Four on four for Montreal is as good as a PP. Yes, I think Boston has plenty of players that can skate with them and compete on a skill basis (which hasn't been the case for years). But the B's biggest advantage lies in five on five, physical play. Play them even and fore check the hell out of them, and you have a great chance of beating them (and BEATING on them). My gut tells me Ryder is due. He's played them once, up there, so the jitters should be gone. He's been SO close a few times lately. I say Ryder pops one in tonight, probably the game winner if I may be so bold. I also look for Kessel to reenact his playoff glory and have a big night. If Sturm can play with the same edge he did last night, that would be huge as well. Geeze....the more I think about this, the more I'm expecting big things from guys like Bergeron and Wheeler too. Throw in the fact that I think Thornton is due for one as well, and I'm starting to think Boston wins this one 5-2. I'm going with it. Boston 5, floppers 2. (this all really hinges on who is in net of course....Thomas doesn't have great numbers against Montreal, but Manny's one good start hasn't lessened my nervousness about him). Rough Stuff Preview: Well, not really a lot "new" to report here. We all know who Montreal's tough guys are. Oh, wait.....that's right, they don't have any. They do have a couple guys that do a very poor job of impersonating one, but they keep forgetting to actually drop the gloves....or to hit you when your back isn't turned. So, as much as a good bout or four would be nice, it takes two to tango. And divers don't dance. I guess the best we can ask for is to see punks like Komisarek get run all night. yeah yeah, I know....I can hear you Hab fans now "no tough guys? We have "big Georges laraque". Whatever. BGL has turned into a punk himself. I USED to be a big fan of his. back when the game had room for 4 minute players who took 5 minutes in penalties per game. I lost any and all respect for "BGL" after Reading his comments this summer about "just trying to not lose" when you fight big strong guys. Gee, pretty intimidating stuff there Georges. Think Chara's eyes lit up when he saw BGL say that he, Chara, "could be the toughest guy in the league if he fought more"? Translation: I want NO part of Big Z, thank you very much. He showed that in his two purse swingers he got in with Chara last year, while playing for the Pens. So, the little Nancy-girl Canadiens, who think BGL is there to protect them? They can't be thrilled knowing he'll back them long as the other guys isn't big. Laraque has been fully "Canadienized", ie; Pussified! 7 hours 'til puck drop, and I'm already foaming at the mouth for this one. First soccer song singing Frenchy I see is getting bundled. Go B's-Kynch

Monday, November 10, 2008

Original Six Week

Big week for the black & Gold this week. The fun kicks off Wednesday night in Chicago for a tilt against the resurgent Blackhawks. Years of awful play has earned them draft picks galore, which they've been using to stock pile some of the best young talent in the league. Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp are the most prominent youngsters up front. They also have the prolific Martin Havlat and former B's prospect Kris Versteeg chipping in quite a bit as well. In net, it's the two headed monster of Nikolai Khabiboulin and Cristobal Huet. On D, they've got UFA signee Brian Campbell as their go to guy on the PP. Another guy Bruins fans may want to keep an eye on is young Cam Barker. There are starting to be rumors whispered about a possible deal between Boston and Chicago involving Barker. He's only 22 years old, but has already played 86 NHL games (over three seasons). The 6'3" 200LB Barker would be an absolute coup for Chiarelli if he was able to swing a deal for him. If of course, he's able to pull it off for a package of picks and/or a mid level prospect or two.
The 'hawks are a good test for the B's, as they're a team with some similarities to themselves. Lots of youthful talent up front, good goal tending and a developing "one for all" mentality. not the most physically scary team out there by any stretch, but they do a good job of sticking up for each other when it's called for. Take a run at Kane, be ready to fight whoever is on the ice. The rough stuff is led by the likes of Colin Fraser, Matt Walker and Ben Eager. Of that trio, Walker is the closest thing to a "legit tough guy"....but he's not exactly Bob Probert reincarnated in Chi-Town.
As much as I'd hate to see it, I wouldn't be surprised to see the B's lose this one. On the road against a good team is one thing. But knowing you have to come home the next night to face your most hated rival has to be distracting. I see Boston looking ahead to Montreal and not doing all the little things they need to for a win. And honestly, if they HAVE to lose one of these two, I think we can all agree it's betteragainst Chicago (a Western Conference team) than Montreal, a bitter division opponent.
So, a big one in Chicago Wednesday, a battle in Boston vs. Montreal Thursday and the a quick trip to Manhattan to take on the first place Rangers. Tough tough week ahead, and I'd be thrilled with 4 of 6 points over that stretch. Especially if it means wins vs. the two Eastern Conference teams.

More thoughts on these later.
Go B's-Kynch

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Your First Place Boston Bruins

Yeah yeah yeah.....I know. It's only early November, and a LOT can (and surely will) happen between now and April. But still, doesn't that have a nice ring to it? "The first place Boston Bruins". I like it. They're also second in the Conference to the Rangers (who have played three more games than Boston, and with only a 4 point lead, if Boston wins those games in hand....#1 in the East!). Not bad at all for a team, amazingly, some picked to finish out of the playoffs this year. Congrats guys, now lets keep the momentum going. That and if he keeps playing physically, he'll make space for himself and his line mates. If he ever needed proof of that theory, all he had to do was see Buffalo physicality to their advantage. Savvy has never been known as a dump and chase guy. But as he said, with the way Last nights game at the Garden was a great one. Full house, Military Appreciation night....and an early end to the annoying "Lets go buff-a-lo" chants. Manny Fernandez put in a good nights work. Looked a little shaky on the Sabres goal. He was a bit deep in his net on that one, but he played very well after that. And to be fair, he didn't get much help on that goal. It was pretty much an uncontested shot from close range, so I won't beat him up on that one. If he plays like that consistently, I have no problem (other than his huge price tag) with him spelling Thomas occasionally. But the real story of this game, the absolute force on the ice. The guy that you just couldn't help but notice shift after shift was Lucic. No points, but may have been his best "Milan Lucic" effort of the year. He was a wrecking ball all night. Cam Neely is on record as trying to explain to Looch Defenseman Henrik Tallinder bail out of an easy icing touch up. Tallinder had Lucic beat by a MILE to touch up an icing. But instead of going to the end boards to make the touch, he inexplicably went to the front of the net. Conceding the puck to Lucic. Obviously, Tallinder knew he was going to get punished for making the touch, and wanted no part of it. THAT is what being a constant physical presence can do for you. Marc Savard was quoted in the paper today as saying he's learning to change his style of play, to use Lucic's crashes into corners and wins one on one battles, he knows now all he has to do is get it close to him, and he's probably going to get it back. And if Looch's reputation continues to make guys take the easy way out like Tallinder did, all the better. He'll have uncontested plays out of the corners all night. Tallinder should be embarrassed for being so soft, but I guess that's easy for me to say from the comfort of my seat in the stands. I've been eagerly awaiting seeing a Lucic fight this year, but all the "blame" for his lack of fights thus far can't be put on a lack of willingness. Yet again last night, he offered an opponent to "go" and the invite was cordially declined. This time it was Adam Mair, who had obviously seen enough out of Milan to know that he wanted no part of him. If you look closely enough, you can see this kid's legend grow before your eyes. Even beyond Milan, the game had a certain amount of "spice" to it. It got chippy early, with Sturm and Afinaginov (or however you spell it) exchanging hacks, slashes and shoves at the face off dot. Chucky Kobasew looked ready to play from the outset, offering to drop the gloves with Derek Roy. Patrick Kaleta tried stirring the pot a bit on a couple occasions for the Sabres, but was HAMMERED with a punch to the nose by Chara. That effectively ended that agitator's efforts at provoking the big man, and the rest of the B's (too bad the NESN camera's didn't catch that exchange, because Z really did throw a dandy of a shot at him). I give the refs credit for letting the boys play. There were a ton of "scuffles" behind the play, especially around the benches during changes, and they never blew the whistle. They let the linesmen break it up, but let play continue. Granted, I'd have rather seen the linesmen stay out of it too to see if anything developed, but hey. At least they let the game continue to "flow". Bottom line is, that was another "big win" for the Black & Gold. They enter a very busy stretch of games starting next week in Chicago (followed the next night at home against a certain hated French Canadian team....thanks schedule makers). Every point is valuable. It would be nice to go into the final weeks of the season and worrying about playoff "positioning", not whether they'll make the playoffs at all. That's why this good start is so important. They're finally building in a little buffer for when they do hit the rough spots and injuries that are inevitable. So enjoy this win guys, but be ready for a talented Chicago team on Wednesday. As much as we're all looking forward to Thursday night vs the Habs, the players must stay focused on one game at a time. Handle your business in Chicago, and we'll be here waiting to help you through the battles Thursday night. Go B's- Kynch

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Game Day, Sabres @ B's 11/08/08

Bring on the BuffaSlug! It's a battle for first place in the division, which nobody probably predicted. Sure, Montreal could slip into first with a win and a Buffalo loss, but what the hell. B's are in position to put themselves at the top, and I'm looking forward to it. I'll say it again. After Montreal, Buffalo is easily my most despised team. From the history of dirt bags they've employed (I'm looking at you Rob Ray, Larry Playfair, Lindy Ruff and Mike Foligono!),to their recent history of diving flopping and otherwise womanly play, to their over confident fans, who act like they invented the game, I just can't stand watching them play. Nothing more enjoyable than watching them get off to a good start, only to implode, thus crushing the souls of all their worshippers in Loserville. I can't imagine a more depressing life. As if living in Buffalo isn't bad enough, they don't even have a Championship team to lift their spirits. Just an endless string of "almost but not quite" soul crushing defeats. I love it. Ok OK....enough with the Buffalo bashing. I'm sure they must have some nice folks there. I've just never met them. Anyway, back to the game. Buffalo is coming off a 5-4 OT loss to Atlanta last night, while Boston had the night off. Expect Ryan Miller to be back between the pipes for the Sabres and Thomas (hopefully) again for Boston. Boston needs to contain Thomas Vanek, he of the 12 goals, if they're going to shut down Buffalo. Beyond that, again I feel like Boston matches up very well from a talent perspective. This is another game that will come down to being disciplined and executing their systems. The B's should be able to handle everything Buffalo can throw at them, but they'll all have to be on their game to walk out with a win.
Rough Stuff Preview
As far as the rough stuff goes, I'd look for Andrew Peters to be in the lineup tonight. He didn't dress last night, but I'd suspect a division game against a team like Boston would be a good spot for him. You know, for him to enjoy his whopping five minutes of ice time. Is Peters a big, strong tough kid? Absolutely. Would I be thrilled with him in a Bruins uniform? Not at all. He's a good fighter. Period, end of story. I suppose his closest comparable on Boston would be Shawn Thornton. But to compare the two, in my opinion, is an insult to Thornton. Thorny can play the game. Peters, can't. Let's compare stats of these two 4th liners, shall we? Peters averages 5 minutes TOI per game. Thornton is over 8:30 TOI. Peters is a -2. Thornton is even. Peters has 33 PIMS in 10 games (he has been a scratch for three of Buff's games). Thornton has 23PIMS, having dressed for all 13 of Boston's games. And to me, the most shocking number is this. Shots on goal. Thornton has 20. Peters? He has a total of 3! Yes, he's managed to squeeze off THREE shots in ten games. Are you kidding me? OK fine, so you say the value of a fourth liner comes in how physical they can be, and hits should be considered. Fine. Thornton has been credited with 13 hits. Peters has been credited with a paltry, embarrassing FIVE. What exactly does this hammer head DO with his ice time? He sure doesn't seem to be helping his team at all. He doesn't hit, he doesn't land any shots on net and he spends over three minutes per game in the box. Complete waste of a roster spot. So yeah, I really do hope they dress him tonight. Nothing better than playing a short handed team. All that in mind, as much as a Thornton-Peters bout would be entertaining, I *almost* hope it doesn't happen. At this point, it's getting harder and harder to find a "fair" trade for Thornton. The Sabres do have a couple other guys that fancy themselves "tough guys". Adam Mair and Patrick Kaleta (and to some extent, Craig Rivet). All three of these guys are more cheap shot artists than they are legit tough guys. All three will leave their feet to make hits, board you and hack at you with sticks and elbows up. They're also just as likely to turtle and not drop the gloves as they are to dive in on an unsuspecting opponent. So, it's best to know where these guys are at all times. If it does come to blows, Boston doesn't have anyone that should be worried (of the likely fighters on the team).

Predictions- I say Boston keeps the good Mojo going with a 3-2 win. Kaleta is my choice for a bout, and I say.....Ference goes with him. Hey, it's a reach, but I like it. Go B's-Kynch

Kynch's Boston Bruins Korner!: The Ghost of Muzz

Kynch's Boston Bruins Korner!: The Ghost of Muzz

You guys beat me to it. After posting about Muzz last night, I did some more digging. And yes, between the LTIR and insurance (it's unknown if the B's insured the last two years of Murray's four year deal), this may....and I repeat MAY not be that harmful to the B's. Problem is, although they'll get cap relief with the Long Term IR solution, Jacobs would be on the hook for more money then ($2.8M to be precise). Considering the "dead money" he already has on the books, Schaefer making $2.2M,and also still paying the salaries of Dave Lewis & Marc Habscheid (not to mention Fernandez & $4M+). It gets hard to believe that ownership would use that additional cap space. I guess that all depends on if the contract was insured. If it was, no additional money would be coming out of Jacob's pocket. In that scenario, this may actually help the Bruins make a move or two.

Regardless great comments guys, keep 'em coming. - Kynch

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Ghost of Muzz

First off, let me just state again, that I was always a huge supporter of Glen Murray. Even as his goal scoring touch evaporated over the last couple years, I steadfastly defended him and all of his "intangibles". I knew he would be bought out this summer, and I agreed it made sense. However, I took no joy in seeing his tenure in Boston, and most likely his career, end that way. He was a valuable player for Boston on and off the ice. When his legs went, he compensated by giving more effort. I will never bad mouth Glen Murray, the hockey player and teammate. He was a fine representative of the Boston Bruins for many years. That being said.....I can't begin to express my dismay upon hearing the news that he has filed a grievance against the Bruins through the NHLPA. Muzz contends that Chiarelli bought him out "illegally", as he had an ankle injury which precluded him from playing. Under terms of the CBA, you can not buy out injured players. Now, Boston could potentially have to add Muzz's salary back onto the books. This is a potentially crushing blow to a team that is already near the cap ceiling. Instead of Chilly having room under the cap for in season acquisitions, as has been his stated goal all along, he may have to make cuts/demotions to get his club just under the limit. Nobody denies that Muzz WAS hurt much of last season, as he had off season ankle surgery. However, the one thing that may come back to haunt him is, he was looking for employment after he got bought out. And as part of his lobbying for a contract, he was telling teams he was healthy and ready to play. As it became clear he wouldn't get an offer, he "shut down his skating" regimen and opted for a second surgery. So, who are we to believe? The Glen Murray that today claims he was too hurt to play, which means he was too hurt to buy out? Or the Glen Murray that went around the league telling anyone who would listen that he was in tip top shape and ready for another NHL grind? We may never know who's idea this grievance was, his or his agents (one last payday from the old workhorse?). But it smacks, to me, of smallness and a bitterness that he didn't evidence in the days immediately following the buy out. Presumably, he figured he'd recoup that money and sign with another NHL club, so the buy out was just going to be a change of address, not a change of life. I understand hockey is a business. I also understand that Murray was bought out in accordance with the CBA that Murray and his Players Association ratified. To go back now, and claim injury after the fact is an embarrassment. It tarnishes his reputation, even to a guy like me that has spent years defending him. I always looked at Muzz as a "class act". Boy, do I have to re-think that opinion now. Now he looks like just another bitter old athlete that can't accept that his career is over, and thinks that somebody "owes him" something. Murray has made more money over his career than most of us could ever dream of making in a life time. He's had glory, fame and all the trappings of a pro athlete's life. And now he is whining about not getting the full $4.15M he would have earned this year (and "earned" is stretching it). I don't know, but if someone gave me the option of making $2.8M over two years for doing NOTHING but enjoying all the millions I've already made, or $4.15M for taking sticks to the face and pucks off my feet for another year, I don't think the first option would look so bad. How he, in good conscience, can make this claim, knowing full well that it will probably mean at least one younger player will lose his job because of it, not to mention the team's chances for success this season will take a hit, is beyond selfish. It's spiteful, rude and pathetic. Like I said, I'll never bad mouth Glen Murray the player. But Glen Murray the former player is starting to look a lot like a punk.


A new number on his back, and some new numbers on his stat sheet. Blake Wheeler, now number 26 after ditching PJ Stock's old number 42, potted his first career Hat Trick last night against the hapless Leafs. It was his first multiple goal game, the game after netting his first multiple point game. I guess he's feeling a little more comfortable lately, huh? His all around game seems to be really rounding into form, and looks less and less like Bambi on ice. Good for him, bad for Kobasew? Going to be awfully tough to find room for Chucky with the way the boys are playing right now. Once again, great "problem" to have.

As far as the game itself goes.....if Wheeler was the epitome of "comfortable" out there, Vesa Toskela was just the opposite. He fought the puck badly all night long. Even the stops he did make, most looked awkward with no thought to rebound control. This one easily could have been a blow-out with a couple better bounces. And just for the record....I called a B's 4-2 win last night, only to be undone by an empty netter. Oh well. Good to see the B's play a controlled physical game. It wasn't a game you walked away from saying how rough and tumble it was, by any stretch. But Boston did a very good job of taking advantage of every big hit opportunity that presented itself. Mark Stuart drilling Jason Blake over the boards and into the B's bench (and how hysterical was the look on Kessel's face when that happened?) was the highlight reel winner. But, the hardest hit of the night was clearly Chara on Mayers. Solid, stand up hit. Mayers was absolutely stunned by the hit, and was "in obvious discomfort" on the bench (which NESN cameras didn't pick up). Tremendous shot by Big Z. Of course, Toronto did get in one good lick of their own, when Jeff Finger blasted Shawn Thornton in open ice. Good solid, clean hit. But I still bet Thornton remember it next time they play.

All in all, a good team win again. Slowly but surely, Boston is climbing the ranks in the Eastern Conference. Big tilt on tap for Saturday night when hated (by me at least) division foe Buffalo comes to town. More on that tomorrow.
Go B's- Kynch

Thursday, November 6, 2008

game day, Leafs @ B's 11/06/08

OK, not like Boston has won a Cup recently, but least we aren't Leaf fans. Tonight could be an interesting game. Boston played it worst game of the year against Toronto a couple weeks ago, and lost 4-2. Toronto has, in Julien's words, been able to "catch teams off guard" so far this year. They aren't the most talented team around, but they work hard every shift. Same formula Boston followed to the playoffs last year (although I think the B's had better talent at the top end and throughout the line up). I don't expect Boston to be surprised by Toronto's effort tonight. That may not assure a win, but I sure don't expect the lethargic game they had the last time around. As far as the lineup goes, it looks like Shane Hnidy will sit, with a "lower body injury". He's day to day. Matt Hunwick will play in his place. Not sure on Kobasew as yet, Julien is calling him day to day as well. Some reports show him in the line-up, but nothing official from the B's as yet. If Chucky does play, who sits? In practice he was rotating with Ryder. Can't see Ryder not playing, so who does? Wheeler? He's just starting to come around a bit I think, so he could be tough to bench. Yelle? Possibly, but I doubt that as well. The 4th line has been to good to break up (see: Sobotka going to Providence). Tough call, but a good problem to have; too many worthy players.
Toskela should be in net for the Buds, Thomas for the B's.

Rough stuff
The Leafs aren't the toughest team in the world, but they they do have Jamal mayers. He pretty much represents their entire fighting potential. Ryan Hollweg isn't scheduled to play.....which is a good thing. After a night of Ott and Avery, we dont' need to see another cheap shot artist (Hollweg is becoming legendary for a slew of hits from behind). One guy that may or may not want to drop the gloves, but is someone to keep an eye on is rookie Luke Schenn. Kid plays a pretty gritty, honest style. He does seem to enjoy the post whistle scrum/face wash though. My bet is, sooner or later a Bruin will get sick of the rook asserting himself that way and extend an invite. Schenn does have one fight to his credit, a lop-sided loss to Chris Neil.

I can see Boston turning the tables and winning by the same 4-2 score they lost by last time. Probably no fights.
Go B's- Kynch

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

News Flash-Sobotka sent down

The Bruins announced that they have assigned Vladimir Sobotka to Providence. Sobotka has played in 5 games since his call up, but has been a healthy scratch for the last five. With Kobasew on track for a Thursday return against Toronto, the move isn't a surprise. Now the question will be, who do you sit to make room for Chucky? The fourth line is playing way too well to break up, so I assume Nokelainen stays in the line-up. I wonder if maybe a kid like Wheeler will take a seat for a game or two? He seems to be finding his game lately though, so not sure you want to cool him off right now either. Good problem to have, too many guys playing well. But I wouldn't want to be Julien having to decide who plays and who doesn't. Kynch

No Respect

Is Tim Thomas officially the Rodney Dangerfield of the NHL? The NHL released it's official All-Star ballots today, And lo and behold, which Eastern Conference goalie do you think is NOT on it. Surely, the guy who was named the #2 Star of the week in the league must be on it, right? Oh, that's true....I guess one week doesn't an All-Star make. OK, but for sure, the Guy with the best save percentage in the entire league must be on it, right? No? Wow. OK, but if a goalie has the second best goals against average in the NHL, he HAS to be included as a candidate at least, right? What?! What if all those numbers and accolades are the same guy. SURELY that qualifies him as an All-Star candidate? Sorry, that would make entirely too much sense. Tim Thomas, he of the best save %, 2nd best GAA and tied for the league lead in Shut outs, isn't even on the ballot for the NHL All-Star game. That my friends, is an embarrassment to the league and an insult to Thomas. WHAT MORE DOES HE HAVE TO DO? He has single handedly won Boston several games already this year. And, if like most people, you think of the All-Star selections as a cumulative vote from the previous season, nothing Timmy did last spring should hurt his chances this year. He was a force up to and including the playoffs last year, and has picked up right where he left off. here is the list of Eastern Conference goalies that DID make the ballot:

Martin Biron, Philadelphia Flyers, Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, Rick DiPietro, New York Islanders, Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins, Kari Lehtonen, Atlanta Thrashers, Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers, Ryan Miller, Buffalo Sabres, Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens, Vesa Toskala, Toronto Maple Leafs, Tomas Vokoun, Florida Panthers

Are you serious! Couple great goalies there, to be sure. But really.....Rick Dipietro (he of a whopping 3 games played)? Marty Biron(3.79GAA, .874 save%)? Kari freaking Lehtonen? Vesa-I have an .895 save % -Toskela? UNREAL that Thomas isn't deemed worthy to be among that group. But hey, thank you NHL. Not that he needs any more motivation, but the "doubting Thomas'" out there may have just lit another spark under him.
I guess a .944 save% and 1.83GAA isn't enough for people to look past his "style" or whatever prejudice they have against him. Apparently if you LOOK the part and were a high draft pick, that's all you need to be considered to represent the league in it's "premiere event". Or maybe they just don't' want Thomas showing up in Montreal and out playing the over hyped, over rated headcase Carey Price. That's fine. I'd rather see him out play him in April or May anyway.