Friday, February 27, 2009


I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Anaheim Ducks. With their significant help the Boston Bruins have seemingly found their identity again. Boston was badly out shot in the first period, but left with a one goal lead. At the time, it was a hotly contested game. Then the Ducks decided they needed to ratchet up the physical play, figuring they could bully the B's into submission. Apparently the Western Conference under-achievers haven't been paying attention to what has been going on back east.

In a game eerily similar to the Stars game back on November first, Boston responded. Up and down their line-up, guys stood up for each other. Everyone took the body. They all drove hard to the net. They put tons of pressure on the Ducks, making them earn every inch of ice. The result was a four goal explosion in the second period that dealt a blow to Anaheim's playoff chase. But a game that I think the B's will look back on fondly as another "turning point". Just as the Dallas game provided the impetus to shake them out of some sluggish play and ignite their incredible run through November and December, last night's intense game could serve this team well down the stretch.

Thornton responding to what he thought may have been a dirty hit on Savard (which wasn't, but it's how it goes now....when a top player gets hit, someone has to "answer"). Thornton did his job well by engaging the much bigger Parros in a long bout. They both landed some decent shots, with Thornton scoring the take-down. For the record, Parros' mustache looked impeccable after the bout. It's the Kerry Fraser hairdo of facial hair; it can't be stopped.

Later in the second, Milan Lucic lost his God Damned mind. After taking a high cross check from Sheldon Brookbank, Mike Brown jumped in and landed a hard shot to Looch's jaw.....which turned out to be a big mistake. Looch must have felt like Brown suckered him, since he was trying to get at Brookbank. Because I don't recall seeing Looch that enraged, certainly not this year. In what is widely being called a violation of "the code", Lucic POUNDED on Brown after he hit the ice.(I'm sure Mr. Code, Georges Laraque will have some indignant, self-righteous response prepared for the first TV crew he can find). First of all, if the instigator (Brown) DID sucker punch Looch, then the "code" goes out the window. Second, when exactly did this "code" start to include not hitting anyone once they hit the ice? Seriously, go back and watch video of any of your favorite brawlers from the 70's or '80's. Every last one of them pounded away until the refs pried them off. Why is that you ask? Because the vast majority of those fights were REAL. Not the staged dog & pony shows we get so often now. Last night, Lucic engaged in a classic "real" fight, prompted by genuine anger at his opponent. Don't like it? Tough.

The Lucic fight, whether you liked it or not, did provide the B's with their best team bonding experience since, yes, the Dallas mini-brawl. And once again it was mark Savard leading the way, diving in to help Looch once Brookbank dove in to bail out Brown. Brookbank got the rarely seen third man in penalty, but Savvy landed the only shots and earned the most respect.

Shortly after that incident, in a confrontation I blame Kerry Fraser for 100%, Savvy decided he had had enough of the cheap shots, cross checks from Scott Niedermeyer, and dropped the gloves. Although, it amounted to nothing more than matching roughing calls as no punches were thrown as both players tumbled to the ice. This whole thing could have and should have been avoided. Kerry Fraser, a veteran ref who should be expected to realize when a game is getting out of control, stood and watched while Niedermeyer hacked and whacked at Savard behind the play. After about the fourth cross check, Savard rightfully deduced Fraser wasn't going to call anything. So he took it upon himself to respond. Disgraceful lack of awareness by Fraser, but I suppose we shouldn't be surprised. We've all seen that act before with him.

The down side to all this fistic fun is that Lucic and Savard both missed the entire third period with "upper body injuries". It can be safely assumed that Lucic sat out with at least, a very very sore hand. But more than likely a broken hand, after beating up Brown's helmet. Savard, may have been injured initially by the Parros hit. But I believe he aggravated it in his AVOIDABLE dust up with Niedermeyer. He fell with the defenseman's full weight on top of him.

Beyond all of the extra curricular stuff, the Bruins played a very very solid game. They blocked shots, hit,went to the net and used their speed. Basically, they played Bruins hockey, something that had been in short supply of late.

Ryder looks like he hasn't missed a beat. Three goals and a pair of helpers in his two games since returning from facial surgery. An absolutely huge boost to the B's offense.

Kobasew also had a pair of goals last night (admittedly his first was a very soft goal given up by Giguere). He seems to be more and more involved every night. If he keeps this up, it's a very good sign for Boston's playoff hopes. Small as he is, he plays a very good playoff style. Simple, straight line game. Hit and get to the front of the net. Perfect.

Bergeron had what I would call another solid night. Nothing spectacular, but he's making all the right plays (except for a terrible D to D pass while manning the point on a PP which led to a Duck shorthanded chance).

Chara was his physical, stifling self. Holding Getzlaf and Perry off the board. He is absolutely the most dominant defender in the game. He may not win the Norris, because as we all know, Norris voters seem to only appreciate offensive numbers. But there is no way you can convince me that any other defenseman controls the game the way he does. He matches up against the best in the league every night, and nearly always shuts them out. Incredible.

Thomas not only earned a shutout, he also added an assist. And don't be fooled by the final score. Timmy held the boys in it, especially in the first period. If not for some very big, very timely saves, it may have been a much different game.

Overall, it was exactly what the team and fans needed. Now we just have to hold our breath and hope that Savvy & Looch aren't hurt too badly and don't miss much time. Neither practiced today, so they're probably "doubtful" for tomorrows HUGE game against Washington.

So again Anaheim, thank you very much.
And, Duck ME? no no....DUCK YOU!

Go B's-Kynch

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Game Day vs The Mustache (and Ducks)

They may not be quite the same team that won the Cup just two seasons ago, but tonight's opponent is another one of those "measuring stick" games. But maybe not for the same reason as say the Detroit game earlier this year. In that game, everyone wanted to see if the B's could stack up against the best in the league. They've proven time and again, that yes they can. If of course, they play their game for sixty minutes. Tonight's tilt is a measuring stick for another reason; can they maintain the solid play from one game to the next against a hungry opponent? As Andrew Ference so wisely noted in today's Boston Globe,
"Other teams are upping their games because they're starting to look at the standings," said Ference. "It's a dogfight. It's easy to forget how desperate teams play when you're not feeling desperate [yourself]. There's probably danger in that."
Spot on Andrew. And it's something I hope everyone up and down the roster understands. The B's may have a comfortable lead, at least for the division title, but there are teams out there that are scrounging for every point they can muster. Anaheim is one of them, currently sitting in tenth place out West, but only a single point away from sixth in the uber-competitive Western Conference.

The game plan for tonight is pretty obvious; continue the physical, grinding style they played Tuesday against Florida.....only more. More physical, more tenacious on the forecheck, more aggressive jumping into the play....just "more".

The Ducks offensive leaders are Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan (Ryan only having played 44 games), all with twenty plus goals. Teemu Selanne is right there as well, with 19 goals in only 45 games. The Ducks are another pretty big team, with most of their skill guys having decent size. And they know how to use it, posing a challenge for the B's defensemen in front of their net.

On the back end, the Ducks are tough to match. Pronger and Niedermeyer being two of the better D in the league, and they play on separate pairs. And with the minutes they play, it seems as though one of them is on the ice at all times. They're two very different players, but each very effective. Niedermeyer is the classic smooth skating, puck moving defenseman everyone is looking for. He's also the proud owner of four Stanley Cup rings. This guy knows what it takes to win, and brings his A game every night (although surprisingly, he's a minus eight on the year). may have heard the name a bit recently in trade a beast. Big guy with a serious mean streak. Above average offensively, his hallmark style is that of a punishing bruiser. Another guy that has Championship pedigree, his teams always seem to go very deep in the playoffs. Boston forwards are well advised to keep their heads up with Pronger on the ice.

The Ducks goalie play hasn't been all that spectacular. Although, JS Giguere has played well in the Ducks last two games, both road wins. His numbers for the year however are just average, 3.09GAA & .903 save %.
Jonas Hiller, the co-number one goalie has a 2.26GAA & .922 save %. Giguere is expected to get the start tonight.

Rough stuff.
NOW we're talking...this is right in Anaheim's wheel house. Once again, they lead the NHL in fighting majors, with 64. By contrast, Boston is 18th in the league with just 33. Not surprisingly, "the mustache", also known as George Parros is leading the way with 16 bouts under his belt. What is surprising to me, is that Steve Montador is second with 11 fights. Even after trading away Brad May, the Ducks have plenty of willing combatants. In fact, they have more than 15 players with at least one fighting major this year. If you're looking for trouble, it's never hard to find it against the Ducks (do you think it's because they're over compensating for such a terrible name?).
I can't imagine not seeing at least one good bout tonight. If this is a world where George Parros doesn't scrap with Shawn Thornton, then it's a world I don't want to live in. Parros is their designated hitter when it comes to fighting the heavyweights. Being 6'5", 220lbs, that makes sense.
Montador on the other hand is a decent sized kid, but at 6'0" 200lbs, he isn't going to take on the true heavies (although to his credit he has gone with some tough guys, Crombeen, Voros, Jansen among others). That said, I could see a Lucic bout FINALLY happening tonight, and Montador would be a likely candidate.
I wouldn't be stunned to see Bitz have to get involved either, possibly against a Sheldon Brookbank or a Travis Moen type. Either one would be a tough challenge for the kid, as they're pretty experienced fighters.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say the B's really step up their game. I'm looking for a 5-2 type win. Your scorers for the good guys are Kessel, Lucic (one of these days it has to be right), Ryder,Chara and Thornton (this is SO his style game).
Thornton vs. Parros is practically money in the bank, probably in the first period, if not the first shift.
Since that one will be out of the way early, I see Looch taking on Montador (or more likely, Montador taking on Looch if you want to be technical).
And just for kicks (and wishful thinking), I'll say that Bitz gets in a scrap as well. And If I have to pick a guy, I'll go with Moen. I was going to pick Kent Huskins as a wildcard for Bitz, but just learned he is on IR now.

No matter how you slice it, this game has potential to be very entertaining. One team trying to prove it deserves it's lofty status, one trying to show that the Cup winning team isn't that far removed from this bunch.

Buckle up and enjoy the ride (and no, I don't mean mustache rides, ya perverts).

Go B's- Kynch

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Game Day, Vs. Florida 2/24/09

Tonight the Bruins kick off their six game home stand with a chance for redemption. After being embarrassed by the Panthers Saturday night in Sunrise, the boys have an opportunity tonight. An opportunity to not only even the score, but an opportunity to show the Garden faithful that they're back...or at least on their way back, to being the team we've all come to know and love. But, a mere "moral victory" isn't good enough tonight. They need two points, preferably in regulation.

The game plan for the Bruins should be simple enough to figure out. Get pucks AND BODIES to the net. Saturday, they got plenty of pucks to the net. But they were mainly from the outside, with no traffic in front of Vokoun. If they get anywhere close to the 40+ shouts they've gotten the last two games AND establish a net-front presence, they'll be fine. They get Michael Ryder, full shield and all, back in the lineup tonight. That should help, but I wouldn't expect him to be quite as physical as he usually is in his first game back after facial surgery.

So, there really isn't much to break down in this one. The mission is simple, the opponent familiar. Now it's just up to the boys to get it done.

I look for the Black & Gold to come out flying tonight, spurred on by a raucous Garden crowd. Two weeks without a game at home should make us regulars a bit boisterous. Look for a 4-2 win, with Kessel, Wheeler, Wideman and Lucic scoring (I'm thinking Looch finally decides to assert himself tonight). Go B's-Kynch

Side note- Does anyone else think the B's recent struggles can't be making the marketing/ticket office folks very happy? They sent out season ticket renewal and playoff ticket info right smack in the middle of their worst stretch of play all year. Oh well, I re-upped and ordered my playoff tickets today. Money well spent I think!

Monday, February 23, 2009


Well, at least the fish were biting. That's about the only positive the Bruins can take from this lost weekend in Florida. How they can lose back to back games against the Panthers and the Lightning is beyond me. Although, if you look at the records over the last two months, Florida actually has a better record than Boston. Is that cause for concern? I sure think so. Is it cause to panic? No, it isn't. But, what is pushing me to the brink of panic is the way the B's are playing. Yes, last night the "energy" was there. Sure, they had a couple fights (not that Thornton's was much of a bout because he slipped and fell). And finally, Kessel scored. But to say Kess is out of his slump is premature. He had LOADS of scoring chances (admittedly a very good sign) that he failed to bury. Shades of last year's Kess, no?

The one player I'm most disappointed in is Lucic. This is a kid that always seemed to know when his team needed a spark. So he'd provide it with either a few huge hots or a well timed fight. Lately, he's done none of that. He has been largely invisible out there. And apparently, Julien's message of demoting him to the fourth line against Florida was on deaf ears. Because he was just as ineffective last night. So, the question is....why? How does he suddenly go from a wrecking ball type player, to a guy you never notice? I figure he either has to be hurt or he's just decided suddenly he's a skill player. I think it has to be that he's still nursing the injury he had around the All-Star break. Supposedly it was either a shoulder or a sternum. If it is a sternum injury, his lack of physical play is understandable. Now, if it's because he's starting to think he's a skill guy, I have some bad news for him. He may develop a bit more of a scoring touch as his career goes on. But he will never be a "smooth" player out there. For the time being, he needs to focus on banging bodies and creating space for himself, and more importantly, his line-mates. He has the slowest hands...and thought process of anyone I've seen in a long time. So Looch, I love ya, but lose the whole finesse idea and get back to being a wrecking ball. You're a border line NHL player as far as pure skill goes. If you play a hard, crash-bang physical style, you are an extremely important part of this very good team's success. The choice is yours.

The stunning part to this whole slump, and losing six of seven qualifies as major slump, is that, for all their talk of their great "chemistry"....they sure aren't playing like a team trying to convince their GM they have what it takes. With the trade deadline rapidly approaching, they sure aren't making Chiarelli's life any easier. Last year, Chilly stood pat at the deadline. Once the deadline passed, he addressed the team telling them "I believe in this room. I trust that this group can get it done". Does anyone believe that Chilly has that same trust today? Do you? I'm always the first to say "don't upset the chemistry". Because I do believe chemistry has more of an effect in hockey than any other sport. But I don't see a team that is playing for each other anymore. What was once the hallmark of this group, a mere couple months ago, is long gone. If they truly want to keep their team intact, they sure have a funny way of showing it. So, where does all this leave us/them? Washington is hot on their heals for first place in the Conference. They're relatively healthy, with all but Ryder back in action. So this is pretty much it. Can anyone now look at this team and believe that they can go deep in the playoffs without some sort of a shakeup? The Caps and Devils both would probably handle the B's easily in a playoff series (if Boston continues playing this poorly). But even some potential first round match-ups are concerning. Florida just proved they aren't intimidated. The Flyers also could prove to be a daunting task (despite their goaltending situation).

So, Chilly's hand is being forced. He now HAS to do *something*. Which of course, every other GM is aware of.....making it that much more difficult/expensive to accomplish. Thanks guys, way to screw yourselves in more than one way.
OK, so Chilly has to do something....but what? Huge splash, landing a Pronger, Lecavelier type name? Tinker with Tkachuck type rental? Make a couple of small moves, maybe a forward and a defenseman? Let's discuss, shall we?

The big splash approach: I'm still not sure this is the way to go. The price you'd have to pay for a Bouwmeester or Pronger type could get a bit crazy. I'm not sure that the benefit of them would off-set the loss of whatever you had to give up to get them. For now at least, I'd stay away from that kind of deal.

What of the "tinkering" then? I still think this is the way to go. A guy like Tkachuck, on paper would be a great call. He's go size, is great on the power play (and actually uses his size on the PP by camping in front) and I'm sure would love a chance to play in Boston. He could be had fairly cheap too, costing nothing more than draft picks I would assume. Certainly not a roster player. He's a guy I'd certainly keep an eye on. He could be here sooner rather than later.

Another guy I think that fits that mold, although a slightly different player, is Bill Guerin. Now, Guerin isn't the same player he was when he last wore the Spoked B. But he is still a pretty hard nosed guy with some skill. His work ethic hasn't wavered, despite playing on a terrible Islander team. I would also think he'd be invigorated by playing again for his home town team. With new management in place, he probably doesn't harbor any (ok, not much) ill will towards the front office.

On defense, since I don't like the Jay-Bo or Pronger approach (although I could easily be talked into Pronger, as long as the bidding war doesn't get TOO out of hand), I wouldn't mind seeing a guy like Filipe Kuba of the Senators. He's far from an elite defender....and isn't even really "elite" offensively. But he's a decent puck mover and if nothing else, is a good depth guy who could man a point on one of the PP units. I suspect his numbers would be much better if he played on a decent team.

I know Tomas Kaberle's name has been thrown around quite a bit too. But Leafs GM Brian Burke is on record as saying Kaberle isn't going anywhere unless he is "blown away" by an offer. And frankly, I don't think Kaberle is worth blowing anyone away for (same with his teammate Antropov....a big guy that plays very small)

Personally, I wouldn't mind seeing the B's try to address their PP issues with some in house help. First step for me would be to call Johnny Boychuk back up. Boychuk, a defenseman leads all P-Bruins in scoring. Surely his 14G & 33A could be used on the B's pop-gun power play,right? I thought he looked decent in his brief time in Boston earlier this year too. Seems to me he's worth a shot, at least on a trial basis until the deadline. I'd hate to think they had a player in their organization already that can do the job of some guy they're trying to make a deal for.

The bottom line though, comes down to this; the players that have built this lead are all still on the roster. It is in their hands, and ability, to get the ship pointed in the right direction again. As they were piling up points at a ridiculous pace, I was screaming from the mountain tops that they would run into some rough patches along the way. And that's why building a big lead was so important. Well, that huge lead is down to seven points now. Time to get back to Bruin hockey. If these guys really do believe in themselves, and truly think of themselves as Cup contenders, they need to start showing it. HIT somebody. That would be a nice start. They're a much more effective team when they're dishing out punishment. They B's come home Tuesday to start a six game home stand. The time is now. Put up or shut up. If they don't, they'll be saying goodbye to a few of their friends by March 4th......and to the season by the end of April. Go B's-Kynch

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Hockey Day in Canada, Game day @ Florida

Before I delve into the Bruins-Panthers match up tonight, just want to wish all our friends to the north a happy Hockey Day In Canada. This country wide event is a thirteen hour plus celebration of all things hockey. From youth games to minors, from sledge hockey to a triple header of NHL games featuring the six Canadian teams playing each other. I may not be Canadian, but every year this is like Christmas day for me. As usual, Ron MacLean does a great job hosting the event, this year from Cambellton, NB. If you have the NHL Center Ice package, or the NHL Network, you can the whole event live in the States. Check out the CBC web site for more info on this great day for hockey.

Now, for something completely different. The Bruins couldn't be any farther away form that enchanting hockey atmosphere being portrayed on the CBC today. No, the B's are in sunny Florida, ready to end their mini-vacation of deep sea fishing, golfing and lounging at team owner Jeremy Jacobs' 45,000SQF mansion. But it wasn't all sun and fun for the boys. Coach Julien reports that the team had a couple of very good, high intensity practices. Julien also provided some subtle and not so subtle inspiration to the players. Or should I say, to Phil Kessel?
Julien has removed Kess from the power play units. Yes, I said unitS, plural. The Bruins leading goal scorer will not be on either PP unit. Kess is mired in a thirteen game goal slump, and Julien has seen enough. I think these comments (copied form Fluto Shinzowa' blog on, italics are mine) speak volumes. "Right now, our power play needs to score," Julien said. "If he's struggling to score, it's not about giving somebody candy for no reason. It's about working at it and getting himself back to scoring goals. Right now, our power play was 2 for 3 last game. It did a great job. Phil wasn't on it, but we know that Phil will be on it again at some point. He's got to understand that he's got to work his way out of this. We're pushing him to try and do some extra things just to try and build his confidence and try to shake things off. But if you're going to sit and wait for things to turn and feel sorry for yourself, it's going to take a lot longer." One thing you have to admit about Claude, he sure doesn't leave much to the imagination. He rarely calls players out, but he seems to know when the time is right to send some kind of message. Hopefully Kess responds as well to the comments as he did to the benching in the playoffs. (For the record, I think Kess has been playing fairly well. He's getting chances, just can't bury anything right now. I think the "message" is more about the rest of his game. Defensively, he's been a little soft of late).

The game itself is a big one for both clubs. Boston needs to start getting on a little bit of a roll again. That win in Carolina should help a lot. But if they stumble tonight, all the good vibes of the past week will be gone and they'll be starting from scratch again.

For Florida, they're in a battle for their playoff lives and every point is crucial. They're currently sitting in 7th, one point behind the imploding Canadiens. But they're also only point away from 9th place. The bottom of the East is going to be a battle right to the end. Which puts the Florida management team in a bind. Do they deal Bouwmeester so they can get something for him before he walks as a UFA? Or, do they ride him for as long as they can, and hope he puts them over the top? Tough spot. They desperately need a good playoff run to regain the fan interest. But losing a commodity like Bouwmeester for nothing will set them back for years.

Florida's offense pretty much comes from David Booth, the lone Panther with 20 goals. Nathan Horton is next with 17G, and Stephen Weiss leads the team in points, with 10-31-41 numbers. This isn't exactly Detroit or Washington when it comes to scaring you offensively.

The D is a lot like their offense in my eyes. Seems to be loaded with decent, serviceable pieces once you get beyond Jay-Bo. Boynton, Skrastins, Cullimore, McCabe, Welch.....all nice players in their own right. But I don't see one I'd prefer over anyone on the Boston roster.

In net, they're getting some very good play of late from Tomas Vokoun. Vokoun holds a 2.47 GAA and a .925 save % on the year. He's only two games over .500, but that's clearly not of his doing. TV is scheduled to get the start tonight.

For Boston, the key to the game is to match the work ethic and desperation Florida is sure to bring to the game tonight. This is another one of those games where the B's clearly have more high end talent and much more quality depth. Basically, if it was all based on skill, this would be a breeze. But as we know, without a 60 minute effort, all the talent in the world doesn't matter. The good news is, I suspect that the guys are feeling good about themselves again. And when they start to feel good, they generally play with a lot of energy. I fully expect a great effort, so that's bad news for the plucky, but over-matched Panthers.

Rough stuff

Florida isn't much of a brawling team, but there always seems to be some animosity when these teams meet up for some reason. Earlier this year Lucic bloodied and battered Nick Boynton after Boynton challenged him for a big hit Looch had made on his teammate. Good on ya Nick, but I'm sure he has no desire to see Lucic again.
Florida will be getting Nick Tarnasky back in the line-up tonight, and he's a willing combatant. But again, he may not want to revisit the beating he took from Looch last year.
Anthony Stewart is a candidate, and probably a good fit for Thornton.
Beyond any potential fights, I'd look for both teams to throw the body around quite a bit. Florida knows they aren't as skilled as Boston, so hitting is a good way to limit the skill guys. And for the B's, they know they're a better team when they get physical. After a few days off, nobody is sore, tired or generally beat up. Fresh legs lead to more hits.

Predictions As stated, Boston is the better team (not that over the years that's mattered with these guys). So I see a relatively "easy" win for the good guys tonight. Something along the lines of 5-2. Your goal scorers are Kessel (he loves a challenge, he may have 2), Bergeron (he's going on a roll, I can feel it), Sobotka (come on..he is so due, he's getting calls from obstetricians to schedule an inducement), Savard and Wideman. Thornton (speaking of guys that are due!) will have a go with Stewart.....even if it's one of those occasions where he probably "should" turn him down. Thornton almost HAS to drop the gloves soon. The B's are in danger of losing their identity of a tough team. It's more than him, and more than fighting I know. But still....come on. One fight so far this month as a team? So again, Happy Hockey Day In Canada everyone. Go B's-Kynch

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Game Day @ Carolina 2/17/09

The Bruins have to get the band back on key tonight after the sour notes they hit in Nashville. This is going to be a very short, and probably not so sweet game preview. So let's cut to the chase, shall we?

I'm starting to get tired of hearing about the B's scoring "slump". Yes, they're having a tough time scoring goals lately. But for the most part, the reason (and fix) is very simple. They aren't working hard enough. If they'd just shoot pucks on net, and crash and bang for rebounds, they could break out of this funk in a hurry. I find it hard to believe that the entire roster suddenly just hit a cold streak all at once. That does happen to players at times, but when it's team wide funk, there are other reasons than bad luck.

The B's are too talented, even with Ryder out, to not be scoring goals consistently. The pretty plays not working like they were earlier? No kidding, you're the top team in the NHL (for now). EVERYONE is gunning for you and playing "playoff style hockey". AKA; they're playing tighter
defense! Get used to it. The simple cure is there and within their control. Now it's up to them all to look in the mirror and decide to DO something about it.

So, what do I expect tonight? Honestly, I have no idea. They've surprised (and disappointed) me quite a bit lately. But, if they don't come out absolutely FLYING and hitting everything that moves (or doesn't for that matter), I will be pissed off beyond words. Notice I didn't say I'd be surprised. Just pissed off. Nothing they do or don't do at this point will surprise me. They could just as easily come out and blow out the 'Canes or lose by four. I honestly have no clue.

Rough Stuff?
Meh, Carolina isn't exactly loaded with big fighters. Tim Gleason and Scott Walker will both go. But they both probably realize a good bout is exactly what this Bruins team needs. Best thing that could happen for Boston tonight, is for someone like a Walker to take a run at a Bruin (providing he doesn't hurt anyone). The chemistry and passion shown by the B's all season has been non-existent during this rough patch. NO fights since the first of the month against Montreal? Unacceptable. The boy really need another "bonding moment" like they had in the Stars game.

Which leads me to think that maybe, just maybe, we'll see a bout tonight. And I mean early, and possibly not as a response to something a Hurricane does. But rather a good old fashioned wake up call from SOMEONE. Oh, where have you gone Milan Lucic? And please, Shawn Thornton...your damn head is healed enough to throw a couple punches. But, since they haven't been able to count on the two most obvious candidates to provide a spark, maybe it's time for a lesser know combatant to take the bull by the horns?

AB-SO-FREAKING-LUTELY! OK, he may not be dropping the gloves and having a real fight, but I wouldn't be shocked at all to see Savard at his chippy, yappy best. Just to force a reaction from SOMEONE. Mark Stuart and/or Hnidy will also probably try to stir it up a bit. But mark my words, if Chara, Looch and Thornton aren't nasty, surly and beligerent all night, you're in for a BIG TIME rant've been warned.

Score? Not a damn clue. Who wins? May as well flip a coin as far as I'm concerned. Any fights? As much as they're needed, it's doubtful Carolina will oblige. Rough and tumble style at least? Well, if it isn't physical, I'll be replastering my wall after digging my remote out of it.

Time for the boys to shut up and put up. Hit somebody. Get to the net. Try being that "hard to play against" team you've been bragging about (for very good reason) all year. No excuses, no "moral victories". This is the ninth place team they're playing. Time to start looking worthy of their number one spot, and burying the weak sisters - Go B's! Kynch

"Remain calm. All is well!" Let's not get too Crazy here!

Without delving too much into the Kevin Bacon/Chip Diller from Animal House end of the PANIC pool with this, instead I think we need to go with this type of angle- Here's the scenario: It's 1:45 am, last call's about to be announced & the lights will come on soon so you better latch onto something quick or you're going home alone and to the Spice Channel right? Well not so fast...

When you flip this same idea into the NHL's upcoming March 3rd trade deadline, the main question for the B's has to be: Are you better off riding with what you've got or by grabbing that last possibility regardless of the potential cost? This really is the challenge that their facing right now. While I fully realize & 100% agree that the B's haven't been lighting it up nearly as much of late and their not playing at the level as a TEAM that they had earlier in the season with the main reasons being varied and sometimes difficult to pin point because of things injuries finally taking their toll on their line up consistency each night, overall player fatigue and for whatever reason some not being as nearly as sharp as they were earlier in the season (i.e. guys like Krejci & Kessel) Then add in the fact that their schedule of late has contained a much higher caliber of opponents, you're looking this bit of a letdown & scuffle. These are all excuses on some levels but they are also things that need to be looked in order to make any trade.

Regardless of the B's recent sag, I think we all need to keep in mind that they still currently lead the entire Eastern Conference by a total of 9 points (over both the Devils & Capitals with each club having 57 games played heading into this evening's games) and primarily because of this fact I'd think it would be extremely foolish to simply make a snapshot judgement based these last 2 - 3 weeks and overreact and make a trade to simply make a trade or to keep with what other clubs have and may do. Sure we all know and agree that the B's could use another solid front line winger with some of that goal mouth area "grit" they seem to lack as well as adding another Defensemen with NHL Playoff experience (that never hurts to have right?) but at what price are you and the B's willing to pay for that rumored acquisition du Jour that seems only to be getting louder and louder as the deadline draws near? So getting down to brass tacks what would you be willing to give up and in turn what would you gain in the both short & long terms by acquiring someone like Oilers Left Winger Erik Cole, Av's Defensemen Jordon Leopold, Blues Center & former Mass native Keith Tkachuk or even some of the Av's other "up for sale" Defensemen like Brett Clark, John-Michael Liles and/or Ruslan Salei? From what I've seen online (for what that's worth...) or by simply looking at their current NHL & AHL rosters you'd think the obvious swap suspects would be players like Defensemen Matt Lashoff & Matt Hunwick. Front liners like Vladimir Sobotka, Byron Bitz, Martin Karsums, Martin St. Pierre or a highly regarded prospect we haven't seen skate yet at the NHL level like a Zach Hamill... Again you're not going to get an asset with giving one or even two up so what's it worth to you?

I have my opinions for sure but do I have any sure shot answers? No, not really and unless any of you or the B's Brass do and think that they're a legitimate piece or two away from a run at Lord Stanley than the answers simple: Make a Deal! But really is there anyone on the above "rumored" list that can really put the B's within reach of the Cup? That's $1,000,000.00 question and the thing that will make this March 3rd trade deadline so much different for this team than any of the least 4-5 years and places them in a very precarious spot for their immediate and long term future... I guess we'll see though right? Regardless Go Broouze! - KingKrej46

Sunday, February 15, 2009

B's sing a sad song in Music City

Four in a row. An official losing streak? Or, is it tempered by the fact that they've at least gotten one point in two of those games? I'm leaning more towards calling it a true losing streak, and something perhaps, to be concerned about. As February moves ever closer to March, we have to start thinking "Playoff hockey". And there are no moral victories in the playoffs. No shootouts. No "well, at least we got a point" silver linings. The harsh reality is, you lose four in a row in April or May, you go home for the summer.

Ok ok, obviously they've lost these four games to four different teams. Whereas in the post-season they'd face the same opponent every night. And, they lost two in a shootout. Who knows what would have happened had they just kept playing in overtime (which, by the way, is five on five in the playoffs, not four on four). So I understand that you can't compare this losing streak to a playoff round. But what I can, and will, do is express some of my concerns.

Mainly, where has the scoring gone? I know we were all surprised by the incredible offensive production earlier in the season. But, did anyone expect the well to dry up so suddenly? Yes, having Ryder on the shelf is an issue. But that doesn't explain why Kessel, Krecji and Wheeler (despite his tally last night) have all but disappeared from the score sheet. Getting Kobasew back could help, a little. But unless and until guys like Kessel and Krecji start showing up in the box score on a regular basis, the B's will continue to struggle. Too much pressure for the young guys? No, I don't think so. They're good enough, and experienced enough, to rise to the challenge. Which I'm sure they will. The only question is, how soon?

The Bruins struggles didn't just start either. Since the All-Star break, and really, for a couple of weeks before that, they weren't quite "right". Sure, they were winning games, but they just didn't look as clearly dominant as they had all season. At the time it was easy to dismiss the flaws as normal bumps in the road. After all, they were still winning damn near every night. Well, now some of those little things are becoming more obvious. Like what little things you say? Glad you asked.

For quite some time the B's fourth line has been their best. And as much as I like the Yell/Thornton/Bitz combo, if they're your best line on any given night, you're in trouble. The "little thing" that line brings to the table consistently is effort. What they lack in pure hockey skill, they more than make up for in effort, desire and "compete level". They crash, they bang, they create havoc in the offensive zone. Effort is the one thing within everyone's control. That group gives everything they have, every shift. (with a small caveat, which I'll address shortly).

The Krecji line, which lately has been Krecji/Wheeler and a wing du jour (most recently Sobotka), just isn't giving enough. They're obviously different players than the fourth line. So I don't expect the physical presence that line brings. But, what I do expect, is to see the same effort. And frankly, I haven't lately. Too many times both Krecji and Wheeler are trying the "pretty" play, instead of firing pucks in deep and going to get them. They've passed up far too many open shots from the slot, looking instead to make that one extra pass. All that is fine and dandy when everything is going in the net for you. But with the team wide scoring drought, simple is better. Shoot pucks, go to the net and you get rewarded. Just look at the Predators first goal last night. Tootoo fires a hard turn-around shot from along the boards. That's a shot that has no business going in, but because Nashville got to the net for him, Legwand gets a tip-in goal out of it. If Tootoo tried passing that to Legwand, it would have been snuffed out as easily everything most of the B's are attempting lately. I really like Sobotka on that line. He's bringing a bit of grit to compliment their talent. Wheeler's goal was a direct result of SOB taking the body in the corner then making the smart simple play.

Savard/Kessel/Lucic? Still not sure what's going on there. Savard and Kessel just seem to be snake-bitten lately. That happens, and there isn't much you can do but keep shooting. Lucic on the other hand....I really don't know what to make of his play lately. He'll have one great shift, then one horrible one. Sometimes he looks like a thirty goal guy, the next shift, he looks like a middling fourth liner. Trust me, anyone that knows me knows how high I've been on Looch for YEARS. I was singing his praises for at least three years before the B's drafted him. I feel somewhat personally invested in his progress. And to see him seemingly take shifts off is troubling to say the least.

Well, it can't all be the forwards, right? No, it isn't. Although honestly, they're by far the biggest culprits. The defensive pairs, by and large have been pretty good.

Chara has been his rock solid self, and scoring timely goals (none more so than the point-saving one he scored last night with Fernandez pulled).

Ward also has been the steady, physical presence we've come to expect.

Wideman? Well, he's Wideman. His play this year has really been elevated and he's turned in a terrific season (so much so, that I've actually started hearing his name and "Norris candidate" in the same sentence). But he is still prone to a big blunder on occasion. Again, that happens and you have to live with it. His upside FAR outweighs his negatives at this point.

Stuart and Hnidy have been good, not great, but good as well.

Goaltending? Come on, this has been our strength all year, right? Right. And it continues to be very good....despite the absolutely TERRIBLE goal Thomas allowed against New Jersey. Tough pill to swallow when you lose 1-0 on a goal like that.

Fernandez has been "OK" since coming back from his back injury. He was better last night, looking much more comfortable handling the puck. Still not his usual compact, steady self yet, but he seems to be coming around. Although honestly, is there a goalie that looks worse in the shoot-out than Manny? For a "Butterfly style" goalie, he sure does like to fall flat on his face (literally) on every deke. I don't get how he can rely so heavily on technique all game, then do a face plant on every shooter in the skills contest (Thank God there is no SO in the playoffs).

Now, about that little "caveat" I mentioned about the fourth line. Let me preface the following comments by saying this right up front; I am a huge fan of Shawn Thornton. He is far more than some hired gun, goon who's only purpose is to drop the gloves for no reason (ala Colton Orr for instance). The key phrase there is "for no reason". However, in several of these games lately there has been ample reason to grab someone by the scruff of the neck and dole out some punishment. Between his team being flat and some opponents running around taking cheap shots at his teammates (yes, Scott Hartnell, I mean you among others), there were plenty of times where some good old school roughhousing was called for.

But, Thornton isn't, nor should he be, a one man vigilante outfit. As much as we can all agree we want and need Lucic on the ice, he HAS to assert himself. He has been invisible as far as the "extra-curricular" stuff goes. Yes, he's occasionally thrown some decent hits (see my every other shift comments above), but he has not acted as an intimidating force at all. I fear he is starting to get a reputation around the league as a paper tiger. A guy that is very tough, but not really willing to "go" as often as he used to. I don't want Looch fighting every night. But I want him to stick up for his mates enough that the whole league knows they're in for a rough time if they start any nonsense, especially IN Boston. I just haven't seen enough "snarl" in Lucic's game of late.

What about Bitz? Big kid, playing the fourth line.....time to have another go kid. He rightly got a lot of credit for dropping the gloves with Brashear. But that can't be his only contribution in the rough stuff department. I understand that he isn't really much of a fighter, having played college hockey. But I'm sorry, if you're 6'5" and a fourth liner, you have to be expected to stick up for your smaller teammates and goalies. And the goalies have been getting roughed up WAY too much lately.

Finally,'s getting to be time for another statement from the big man. He's a hugely valuable commodity on the ice, I get that. But for him to take the abuse he has lately (Langenbrunner and Parise both whaling away at him as he lay on a puck in his crease jumps to mind) is unacceptable. But I'd rather see him square off in defense of someone else. For some reason, a lot of that great "chemistry" we've seen all year seems to have gone out the window of late. That has to change and quick.

So, among all this doom and gloom, do I see any bright spots? Fortunately, yes I do.

The play of Patrice Bergeron in the last two games has been very encouraging. He's physically involved (dropping Dumont was vintage Bergie), he's making smart plays with the puck and he's getting plenty of shots on net. He's very close to being "back". Hopefully a few of his near misses start finding the back of the net. And if Ryder comes back strong, they could be a strong duo going forward.

The other bright spot lately has been Vladimir Sobotka. I think other than Bergeron, SOB has been the B's best forward the last two games. Finally getting a chance to play on an offensive line, he's showing the kind of player he can be. He's a very good skater, has sneaky moves and is surprisingly strong on his skates for such a small guy. He brings just enough physicality to the Krecji/Wheeler combo to open things up for all of them. Julien even rewarding him with OT time in last night.

All in all, I suppose we shouldn't be too surprised the Bruins play has slipped. For starters, the pace they were on was almost impossible to maintain, even if healthy. But they've been far from healthy all year. The injuries and brutal schedule have started to catch up to them. Add the fact that they've had a double digit lead for the number one spot for a couple months, and I guess some let-down was inevitable.

So, even with as poorly as they're playing now, they still hold an eleven point lead over New Jersey for the top seed in the East. And a still staggering twenty point lead over Montreal for the top spot in the division. That may be the blessing and the curse. A big lead affords you the opportunity to go through struggles like this. Then again, a big lead may
cause periods of struggle like this. Chicken or the egg? I don't know. What I do know is, they have to right the ship, starting in Carolina Tuesday night.

If they don't, the sad song they sang in Nashville will look like zippity-doo-dah.
Go B's-Kynch

Friday, February 13, 2009

Game Day @ Devils 2/13/09

Friday the 13th....who better to play than the "Devils"? Well, for the suddenly "struggling" Bruins, maybe New Jersey isn't the best match up. If Boston hopes to avoid having "The Rock" in Newark become their own Camp Crystal Lake, they have to show up willing to play a full 60 minute game tonight. The bruins largely out played the Sharks Tuesday night....for two periods. Then for some reason, they decided they could sit on a one goal lead. We all saw how well that worked out. Not to over react, but the B's really have been struggling in the third periods lately. Not as noticeably as Tuesday, where they gave up 4 unanswered goals, but they've been far from sharp.

So, three days after facing off against the best team in the West, the Bruins get to try and bounce back against the number two team in the East. A team that, frankly, Boston doesn't match up all that well against. Usually when I think of teams not matching up well, it's because one is much bigger, faster or more skilled than the other. In this case, the match up is tough for Boston because the Devils are a near mirror image of themselves. Defensively sound, ready to pounce on mistakes and solid (at times spectacular) goaltending. The biggest difference is experience. The Devils are loaded with guys that have been around a long time and have played many many playoff (and playoff type) games. Having said that, one statistic jumps off the charts to me. NJ is a better ROAD team than they are at home. It isn't a huge difference, eleven games over .500 on the road compared to seven games over at home, but it's interesting. It isn't surprising that a defensive minded team is a good road team. That style generally is effective as the visitor. New jersey has been known to suck the life out of road buildings with their dull play. But the Devils, experienced as they are, you would expect to carry that style into Newark as well (Have I mentioned what a fiasco it is having this team based in NEWARK?). Maybe they try to entertain the home crowd a little more than they should? Then again, maybe it's nothing and I'm reading too much into it. I was just surprised they had a better road record.

As far as the game itself goes, Boston's first priority has to be to shut down Zach Parise. I know, I never thought I'd be typing those words either. But Parise is turning in a career year for the Dev's. THIRTY FOUR goals and thirty three assists warrant a bit of extra attention, no? Patrick Elias is also having a nice year, with twenty-two goals and forty assists. Jamie Langenbrunner rounds out the top three, with seventeen goals and thirty assists. Langenbrunner may not have a ton of goals, but as usual, he has a knack for scoring the timely ones (including the OT winner last time these two teams met). Expect Parise to see an awful lot of Zdeno Chara tonight. A physical mismatch if ever there was one.

On the Bruins side, they have a roster full of guys that need to elevate their games. Krejci, Wheeler and Kessel are the three names that come to mind. Wheeler seems to have hit the "Rookie wall" head first. Julien sent him a message in the Flyers game, by benching him for most of the third period. He was somewhat better against San Jose, but not nearly the threat he can be. I'm not surprised or upset that he's slowed down. He's played more games already than he did in college. I get that. But I also understand that he needs to find a way through it, and soon. The good news is, I fully expect him to. With the injuries to Ryder, Kobasew and Nokie, Coach Julien has been forced to juggle his lines. One of his first moves was to switch Wheeler back to his natural right wing spot. Don't be surprised if Wheeler gets a little boost by the swap. Any time a young player is struggling, it never hurts to move them into a more comfortable position, so they can just play, and not have to think as much.

Krejci, being a pass first play-making Center, may be struggling lately in part because of Wheeler's "slump" and Ryder's injury. Be that as it may, during the last couple weeks I've also noticed a dip in his, as Julien would say, "compete level". His wingers may be slumping or out of the lineup, and he can't control that. But what he can control is how hard he works. I'd like to see a little more jump and effort in his game tonight. When you see him lazily reaching with his stick for loose pucks, you know his line is in trouble. Again, he's a young guy and lulls are expected. Just like Wheeler, I think Krecji is talented and mature enough to get through this minor rough patch quickly.

Kessel, I'm not sure I'm too concerned about. He seems like he's SO close to going on a hot streak. He's starting to get some real good chances, only to either be robbed by a great save, or hitting a post. I'm really not worried about Kess at all. If Lucic continues to play the way he did against the Sharks, that should open things up for Kess and Savard.

As I mentioned, injuries have forced some line changes, as well as a couple call-ups. Vladimir Sobotka and Martin Karsums will see plenty of ice tonight (well, that's the plan anyway....we all know they'll have to earn every shift). According to Fluto Shinzowa of the Boston Globe, Sobotka was skating the LW with Krecji and Wheeler. This could be a very important game for Vlady. He was a huge surprise bright spot for the B's last year, especially in the playoffs. He's been tearing it up in Providence. But he's yet to make an impact in his previous call-ups to Boston this year. Playing on a line with two highly skilled players could be his last best chance to show he deserves a longer look with the big club.

As for Karsums, who knows? Apparently he'll be on Bergeron's right, with Axe manning the Left Wing. I know his previous stint in Boston, three games, is a very small sample size. But I wasn't overly impressed with his game. Not that he was "bad". He was just...I don't know, "there". He didn't look like the high skill level guy I keep hearing he is. Granted, when a kid like him comes up, especially to a team like the Bruins who are defensive minded and playing great hockey, their first and foremost thought is "don't screw anything up". So being "down" on Karsums wouldn't be fair. But, with the B's recent trouble scoring, the Karsums and Sobotka's of the world have to be ready to bring their offensive games with them. I expect Sobotka to, I'm hoping Karsums does. We'll see.

I know I know....I've been expecting some rough stuff out of the B's for awhile now. Frankly, I'm stunned we haven't seen any fireworks in recent B's games. In fact, Boston has no fighting majors since February first, when Shawn Thornton beat down Alex Henry in Montreal. That's only four games, I know. But, that's two games against Philly (the NHL leader in fighting majors at the time, and a team that runs around throwing cheap shots at will), Ottawa (with Chris Neil, and a team with a long history of fight filled games vs Boston) and San Jose (a game in which emotions could have and maybe should have boiled over). So, should we expect anything different tonight? Very tough call. Thornton did go with Salvador the last time they played NJ. But I wouldn't expect Salvador to be looking for a rematch. And Thornton is still (presumably) wearing the visor to protect the gash on his forehead (compliments of a puck he took while sitting on the bench). Clarkson and Rupp are the most likely combatants for NJ, each with thirteen bouts under their belt so far. I think this game is important enough for the B's that somebody sends a message fairly early. Either with a big hit, prompting a response which leads to the gloves dropping. Or maybe just an outright challenge to a Rupp or Clarkson. In either scenario, my money is on Looch to be involved. He seems to be "feeling it" a little bit lately. He's also a smart kid, and probably sees that the B's aren't playing with as much energy as they usually do. His bouts always seem to give his team a shot in the arm. Look for him to renew acquaintances with David Clarkson tonight in a decent tilt.

Boston needs this one badly. No, it isn't a "must-win"...those don't come until mid-April. But the boys need to get their game back on track. So, I expect maximum effort. And when the B's are playing hard, they're tough to beat. I'm calling a 4-1 win for the good guys tonight. Kessel, SOBOTKA, Wideman and Wheeler are your scorers. As I mentioned, look for Lucic and Clarkson to have a go. That will probably be all in the fight department, but I fully expect a "chippy" game. Lots of hacking and whacking after whistles and big hits all night. It should be a fun game.
Go B's-Kynch

Monday, February 9, 2009

Upon further review....

......I may have been a little harsh immediately following the B's OT loss to Philly. My first reaction was to blast the boys for an obvious lack of "emotion". Not only in that game, but for the last week or so. While I'm still mildly concerned that they seem to be, shall we say, less than fully "engaged" lately, I guess I can understand it. In the immediate aftermath of the home & home (sort of) series with the hated Flyers, I was fuming. How is it possible, for these two teams....long time blood rivals, with what happened last year (Bergeron, Alberts..), to play SIX periods without a single fighting major? Philly, at the time at least, was leading the NHL with a staggering 54 fighting majors. I'm less concerned about the actual fights not happening than I am that there was never any real animosity between these two. They looked like two boxers just feeling each other out.....but for two games? I don't get it. It was almost as if each team assumed the other would get an emotional lift from a fight, so neither stirred the pot too much. I get that. I do. But what I don't get, is how can a little jerk like Scott Hartnell run around and take cheap shots all day and not have anyone really respond in any meaningful way? Yeah yeah, I know. Chara had "words" with him. Thornton gave him a shove. Lucic gave him a dirty look. But there he was, running around, taking shots on defenseless Bruins all over the ice, all afternoon. Look, I'm not saying I'm a fan of "goon hockey" (although, it can be fun at times). But the Hartnell act was a perfect excuse for someone, ANYONE, to step up and ignite a spark in the B's and the building. There are very few times when I want to see Chara off the ice for five minutes or more. But Hartnell running Krecji from behind (I know, that's redundant...that's the ONLY way Hartnell hits), should have been a green light for Chara to drag him to the side and pound him. He did it against Volabik when he hacked Kessel. It was the right thing to do then, and it would have been the right thing to do Saturday as well. Now, I said after taking some time to think about it, I can understand why the B's haven't been as sharp or as "emotionally involved" lately (admittedly a very hard thing to quantify). The Flyers game was the last of 7 games in 12 days, all (except for Ottawa) against the iron of the Eastern Conference...or at least what was supposed to be the iron. They're 6-1-3 in their last 10 games, with the only regulation loss coming to the Caps, 2-1. So it isn't like they're playing terribly. Wins and points are all that matters, and I get that. Maybe it's just a sign of how far they've come, that I'm now reduced to dissecting how they win, not if they win. But that's how far they've raised the bar I guess. My concern is, are they just plain old tired? If so, that's perfectly understandable, given their recent schedule. Or is it something more corrosive? Could it be, that they're starting to read their own press clippings a little? Is it possible, that when they open the paper in the morning and see themselves sitting in first place in the Conference by a comfortable 7 points....and the Northeast division by a STAGGERING 21 (TWENTY ONE!) points over Montreal, that they've allowed themselves to relax? I hope not. No team, talented or not, can simply flip a switch and elevate their game. At first, that was the scenario I thought was more likely. But the more I look at it, I'm leaning towards fatigue and injuries as the main issue. A lot of the younger guys, Wheeler in particular, have already played more games than they usually do in a full season. With the injuries, some guys have had to play more minutes than normal and in different situations. Besides, this is Claude Julien's team we're talking about. If he thought for a minute that it was simply complacency causing the "problem", he'd address it in a big way immediately. That being said, Wheeler and Krecji seemed to have found their way into the doghouse Saturday. While it was a one goal or tie game, Wheeler found himself stapled to the bench. Clearly, coach saw some things he didn't approve of. I think we all have. Again, it's understandable. Rookie's hit the wall around this time of year all the time. Let's hope that the message was received and Blake comes out much more determined to compete against San Jose. They'll need him, especially with Ryder on the shelf after facial surgery. Which leads me to..... "THE" GAME: It's a classic battle in the making. Best of the West Vs. Beast of the East. Hard working Bruins take on the surfer dudes from Cali. The Sharks have played the fewest games in the NHL, 50, yet still have the second most points (79) behind the Bruins (85), who have played 54 games. Not surprisingly, Joe may have heard of him, leads San Jose in points and assists. Also not surprisingly, his two line mates, Marleau and Setoguchi (this years Cheechoo apparently) lead in goals. That's a lot of concentrated firepower on one line. That may just help Boston. The Bruins, when they're on their game, are a very balanced team. Obviously not having Ryder will be a big blow. But all in all, the B's should still be able to roll 4 lines, while getting the defensive match ups they want. Joe better get used to the sight of Zdeno Chara. He'll be seeing him every time he's on the ice for sure. On San Jose's back end, they have some real talent. Rob Blake (not the same as he was, but still very very effective and physical) and Dan Boyle being the top two. Boyle is that ever elusive "puck moving defenseman" everyone wants. Pretty good all around player as well. In net, Boston has a clear advantage in my opinion. Nabokov is good, not great. His .910 save % is respectable, but nothing to get too excited about. He's also always struck me as a bit of a head case. Score on him early, get in in his face, and the flood gates can open. ROUGH STUFF: As far as tough guys go, the Sharks have one true heavyweight in the person of Jody Shelly (I guess with a name like that, you better be able to fight). He's a legit guy, not sure if he'll be in the lineup or not. Shelly leads the team with 10 fighting majors, twice as many as the next in line, Ryan Clowe. And nobody is overly concerned about Ryan Clowe. Now, if you want to include pests in the "tough guy" conversation, well, they have the master of all pests. Yep, 43 year old Claude The Fraud Lemiuex is back in the NHL. He's played 6 games since his call up from Worcester and posted an invisible line of 0G, 0a, 0P, 0PIMS, 5 Shots. Why on earth San Jose is wasting a roster spot on a 43 year old is beyond me. I understand "veteran leadership" and all that. But come on, at some point you have to at least appear on the box score, SOMEWHERE! Predictions: This is a very tough one, for a lot of reasons. The return of Joe. Two #1 teams going at it for league wide bragging rights. Boston hasn't played a full game in over a week......all these things conspire to make this a tough one. But, I'll take a stab at it anyway and say Boston wins....5-3. I look for a LOT of emotion in the building and on both benches right from the start. Look for Lucic, Savard, Wheeler, Chara and Kessel to be the B's scorers. As far as the rough stuff goes, this has all the makings of one of those games where the unexpected fight happens. So while we everyone looks for Thornton and Shelly to square off (they very well may by the way), don't be surprised if a couple other guys drop the gloves in a spontaneous bout. A somewhat obvious possibility would be Lucic-Clowe. They're both about the same size and both are looked at as top line players (Clowe has 20 goals). This is one fight for Looch that would be a "fair" trade. But I still say a random Chuck Kobasew could get involved. If he does, it more than likely will be because he's crashing into Nabokov. Which probably means it will be against a I'm saying Christian Erhoff. Why not? OK, I know what you're thinking...."But Kynch, remember...Joe only played 2 shifts last time he came to Boston before getting ejected (rough call BTW), don't you think HE could be the "wild card" bout?" Well, sure. He could be. I don't "expect it", but I wouldn't be stunned if he did go either. But I have NO idea who that would possibly be against. No way he fights Chara (he almost assuredly will hack Z a few times, his temper hasn't gotten much better over the years). And he isn't going to go seeking out a Lucic or Thornton type either. Beyond them, he's pretty much bigger and stronger than anyone else on the B's. Which means he'll have to find a marginally insane guy to go with. For my money, that would be Andrew Ference. So what the hell, my second, EXTREME WILD CARD BOUT OF THE NIGHT will be Joe Thornton vs. Andrew Ference! (hey, no way it happens, but tell me you won't be impressed if it does!). Go B's- Kynch (btw KingKrej-thanks for filling in. The general soreness is feeling much better. Hopefully I didn't bobble this blog as bad as Fernandez bobbled pucks all day Saturday)

Happy 75th Birthday to a TRUE Hockey original and former Bruins Legend, Don "Grapes" Cherry

Since Kynch still seems to be out with what I can only assume is a case of "General Soreness", I figured I'd better pick up the mantle a bit on this thing before we lose all of our regular KBBK readers and at least WRITING SOMETHING to change the look of this blog! And so with me now moving up to the "1st line" Centerman spot, what do I come up with? Some set of insightful weekend game recaps...Nope!... Some kind of new uniform unveiling or like rant...Nope! Something stinging around The Krej's (& Wheeler's) trip to Coach Claude's Doghouse this past Saturday...Nope! Maybe even some Alex "Kova-Lost" comparison to "A-Roid"... Again...Nope!

Instead I've decide to use my 1st line shift to send all our thanks and a heartfelt "Happy Birthday" wish out to former Bruins Coach & Hockey Ambassador extraordinaire, Don "Grapes" Cherry who turned 75 years young this past Thursday the 5th.

For those that haven't looked a bit closer at this true champion of hockey, Coach "Grapes" bio as listed on Wikipedia (
which by the way kind of reads like an Obituary(?) goes something like this;

"Donald Stewart "Grapes" Cherry, born February 5, 1934 is a Canadian born hockey commentator for CBC Television. Cherry co-hosts the "Coach's Corner" intermission segment (with Ron MacLean) on the long running Canadian sports program Hockey Night in Canada. He is known for his outspoken manner, flamboyant dress, and staunch patriotism. Prior to his broadcast career, Cherry was a National Hockey League player and coach. He played one game with the Boston Bruins and later coached them during the days of Bobby Orr. He is also well-known as an author, syndicated radio commentator for The Fan Radio Network, creator of the "Rock'em Sock'em Hockey" video series, and celebrity endorser. Cherry was voted as the seventh greatest Canadian on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's television special, The Greatest Canadian"

Well that's nice and all and despite the general "hot or cold" feeling's he seems to stir in people, you'd have to agree that he does consistently tell it like his sometimes outdated & xenophobic mind sees it and that despite all of that, Pro & Con he's still been one of if not the most important figure in the growth of Hockey in the world over the last 40 years+

For me though when I think of Coach Grapes it's in these Top 10 ways and in no special order-

1) His very vocal & very true love of the GAME of hockey

2) His constant support of Canada's troops & of Canada's police and fire personal
3) His seemingly endless string of bad suit coats. Where do you get such things?
4) His vocal disdain for 98% of the league's Euro's and the way "they" play "his" game
5) His 35+ year "Bro"mance with one Robert G. Orr (which if you think about it could have been the 1st ever recorded case of Man-Love)
6) "Too Many Men on the Ice" in 1979. Ugh...
7) His beloved set of Bull Terrier's all named "Blue" the first of which was a gift from his "Lunch Pail Gang" B's players back in the 70's and one of which is picture with him in the attached photo
8) His one time reference to Finnish born and then Winnipeg Jets Assistant Coach Alpo Suhonen as "some kind of dog food" on CBC's Coaches Corner which triggered a threat of a law suit from Jets owner Barry Shenkarow and national outrage in January 2004. Nice!
9) Also in 2004 when he was asked his opinion of visors being used in the league, Cherry said: "Most of the guys that wear them are Europeans and French guys, ya know, the real ladies" Classic Grapes! & then finally-
10) The fact that to this day Cherry always wears a rose on his lapel as a symbol of his wife who died of liver cancer in 1997 and whose name was naturally "Rose"

Again a Happy 75th Grapes & thanks for memories (so far...) Thanks for reading & Go Broounze! - KingKrej46

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Game Day @ Philly 2/4/09

Finally, we get round one of Bruins-Flyers of the '08-'09 season. No need to delve too deeply into the history between these two franchises. We all know that it was Flyers defenseman Randy Jones that ended Patrice Bergeron's season (and nearly much more than that) last season with a blatant cheap shot. We also remember that it was Philly winger Scott Hartnell that all but ended Andrew Alberts's season with a crushing cheap shot to his head as he was defenseless on his knees. The obvious thought is, so tonight is a good chance for payback,right? Yes and no. Philly is absolutely an extremely physical team. Boston won't be able to intimidate them. But they don't have to, nor should they try to. As rough and tough as Philly plays, the B's will surely need to at least match that level of intensity and physicality. But the goal can't be to intimidate or "get even" with them for any of the garbage from last year. I'm sure there will be enough "new" stuff thrown at them to get fired up about. Philly has an astounding 54 fighting majors already this season, tops in the NHL. By comparison, Boston is middle of the pack at #16 overall with 30 fights. Throw in the ages old bad blood between these two, and I think we're in for a brawl or three tonight. Shawn Thornton vs. Riley Cote is almost pre-ordained. And what an entertaining fight that should be. Cote & Thornton have a history, and both love to throw. No hugging matches when these two lock up. Defense? Who needs defense? Just throw until you can't lift your arms. Cote takes on every heavyweight willingly. He's gone with Brashear, Goddard, Orr, Macintyre shelly....a lot of big boys. Not bad, since Cote is only 6'1 210lbs. Number two on the fight leader chart for them is, surprisingly, Aaron Asham. Good old flat-face-Asham has 13 bouts under hisbelt this year. He typically fights the second tier guys, which only makes sense, seeing as he's only 5'10" 196lbs. He has gone with Clarkson, Mayers and Cam Jansen. But those are about the biggest "name" guys he's tangled with. Josh Gratton has 9 battles to his credit to round out their top three. Gratton has gone with some big boys himself (he's 6'2, 214lbs) including Laraque and Peeters. Granted, he took a beating from both of them, but he's willing anyway. If he drops down a weightclass, he's a legit fighter. For the record, old friends Andrew Alberts (2) and GlennMetropolit (1) also contributed to the Flyers 54. As far as the game itself, obviously Jeff Carter is the guy to key on. His 32 goals are about all you need to know. Gagne, Richards, Hartnell and Knuble (still miss him) round out their offensive punch. The Flyers biggest weakness is their D, including goaltending. For my money, Braydon Coburn is their best all around defender. Or maybe I just like his commmercial on the NHL Network. Marty Biron should be in net tonight, and he's just never impressed me as "the man" to lead a team deep into the playoffs. I look for the speedy Boston forwards (and isn't it nice to be able to say that, and not have it mean ONE guy>) to buzz the Philly end and pepper Biron. Predictions: I see Boston winning 5-2. Been awhile since they've "blown out" anyone, and they're due. Lucic, Ryder, Wheeler, Chara and BITZ are your scorers. Now for the fun predictions, the rough stuff. No way we see fewer than two fights tonight. As I said, Thornton-Cote are all but a lock. Beyond that, I'm feeling a Lucic-Gratton throw-down. This could also be a pretty good one, with Lucic winning on points (then again, if Looch connects, I can see Gratton dropping too). I'm even going to go way out on a limb and say Asham gets his flat face flattened out some more, as he tries to impress the home crowd by taking on a much bigger opponent. A much bigger guy not known for his fighting prowess. Yes, Asham-Bitz is my wild card fight of the night. Hey, it's a stretch, but I'm sure Asham will want to get in on the fun somehow. Go B's-Kynch

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Let's Go Shopping? As deadline approaches what's the B's plan?

Well it's getting to be that time of year again; Valentine's Day aka Women's Day but then again what day shouldn't be right? Tax Filing Day (which we all know sucks & is complete BS!) & the NHL Trade Deadline aka "So you in or you out this year? Which for this season at least we find the Bruin's VERY MUCH IN for. Despite this great news and season so far, this years deadline is looking very tricky for the Hub's Boys of Winter as the last thing the B's GM Peter Chiarelli wants to do at this point is screw with the chemistry of his team and having or wanting to move any of the Bruins young talent to do so... Again tricky stuff considering the stakes.

So assuming this to be the case you'd then have to think that any B’s trade target would likely be a strong veteran player in the final year of his contract, someone who still has something to offer as a player and leader - and would not COST much this year and/or would have an impact on what will be a very tight salary cap next season. With restricted free agents David Krejci, Phil Kessel and Matt Hunwick, and unrestricted free agent goalie Tim Thomas (among a few others btw) to sign, Chiarelli already will have to be quite creative to fit his 2009-10 roster under a cap expected to remain at about this season’s $56.7 million.
Among the names that I've seen surface & could fit the B's bill (all are wingers and are set to become unrestricted free agents July 1 btw) are Edmonton’s Erik Cole, who has just 12 goals and 10 assists in 49 games while earning a tidy $4 million, Toronto’s Nik Antropov (15-22-37, $2.05 million) and St. Louis’ Keith Tkachuk aka Mr. Fitz' Nephew (15-17-32, $4 million)
I've heard Chiarelli state in the numerous interviews and articles that I've seen of late that a deal would not need to be for a high-end player, citing moves like the late season pickup's of guys like the Duck's Brad May from the Colorado Av's in 2006-07 as the kind of deal that can "help lift a team over the top without changing it's core" so with this seeming to be Chi's stated goal in mind, perhaps the B's GM should first look to his former club, the Ottawa Senators, where tough guy say Chris Neil ($1.2 million) is set to become a UFA. I know... I can almost hear Kynch's loud groaning and visualize his front shirt pull from here on this one too but even he would have to admit that this would be the type of pick up that would:
A) Come cheap (maybe a mid -late round draft pick at best and
B) would take the "Rough Stuff" burden off guys like Shawn "The Sock-it Rocket" Thornton (like that one btw? if so make sure KingKrej get's the props for it!) & Looch allowing them to actually concentrate on their full games without again changing much of the chemistry that has made this B's team special so far.
I've also read in several different places that within the Bruins dressing room, there is hope and almost a full blown expectation that the B's will not be interested in dealing players off the current roster but in only enhancing what they already have in place, which must be keeping their dressing room loose and focused on the game of hockey without having to deal with the usual "who's coming & who's going" banter that you know happens in every sport around deadline day and which has to be a MAJOR distraction regardless of what anyone says. So with all this in mind I give you the "2009 Unofficial Unrestricted Free Agent List" below to pick apart and discuss amoungst yourselves but as for me, I'd be happy if the B's were able to either: A) Simply do nothing and ride with the strong group they have in place B) Do something minor like acquire Chris Neil/Scott Parker type of player without giving up a Top 20 roster player or C) If the deal is right and plugs a hole, trade away a young someone like a Matt Lashoff, Pettri Nokelainen and/or a Baby B or two in tandem to gain a impact, Top 4 Defensemen... Again here's the list of pending UFA's, have at them and post your comments and ideas - Go Broounze!KingKrej46
Unofficial 2009 NHL UFA List as of 2/1/09
*Anaheim- Beauchemin Francois, Hedican Bret, Huskins Kent, Larsen Brad, Marchant Todd, Moen Travis, Montador Steve, Morrison Brendan, Niedermayer Rob, Niedermayer Scott, Pahlsson Samuel, Parros George
*Atlanta- Havelid, Niclas Hoffman, Mike Perrin, Eric Reasoner, Marty Schneider, Mathieu Williams, Jason
*Boston- Axelsson P.J, Fernandez Manny, Hnidy Shane, Thomas Tim, Yelle Stephane
*Buffalo- Afinogenov Maxim, Connolly Tim, Ellis Matt, Kotalik Ales, Numminen Teppo, Peters Andrew, Spacek Jaroslav
*Carolina- Bayda Ryan, Brookbank Wade, LaCouture Dan, LaRose Chad, Melichar Josef, Ryan Michael, Seidenberg Dennis, Tanabe David
*Calgary- Aucoin Adrian, Bertuzzi Todd, Cammalleri Mike, Lundmark Jamie, Moss David, Roy Andre, Warrener Rhett
*Chicago- Adams Craig, Havlat Martin, Johnson Aaron, Khabibulin Nikolai, Walker Matt
*Columbus- Backman Christian, MacDonald Craig, Malhotra Manny, Norrena Fredrik, Peca Michael, York Mike
*Colorado- Arnason Tyler, Durno Chris, Guite Ben, Laperriere Ian, Leopold Jordan, MacKenzie Aaron, Parker Scott, Raycroft Andrew, Sakic Joe (The King!) Tjarnqvist Daniel, Willsie Brian
*Dallas - Janik Doug, Lehtinen Jere, Lundqvist Joel, Parrish Mark, Sutherby BrianSydor Darryl, Wilson Landon, Zubov Sergei
*Detroit- Chelios Chris, Conklin Ty, Franzen Johan, Hossa Marian, Kopecky Tomas, McCarty Darren, Samuelsson Mikael, Zetterberg, Henrik
*Edmonton- Cole Erik, Garon Mathieu, Roloson Dwayne, Strudwick Jason
*Florida- Anderson Craig, Bouwmeester Jay, Boynton Nick, Cullimore Jassen, Dvorak Radek Murphy Cory, Peltonen Ville, Skrastins Karlis, Sprukts Janis, Zednik Richard
*L.A. Kings- Armstrong Derek, Calder Kyle, Ersberg Erik, Gauthier Denis, O'Donnell Sean
*Minnesota- Backstrom Niklas, Bergeron Marc-Andre, Foster Kurtis, Gaborik Marian, Kolanos Krys, Mojzis Tomas, Schaefer Nolan, Skoula Martin, Veilleux Stephane
*Montreal- Begin Steve, Bouillon Francis, Brisebois Patrice, Dandenault Mathieu, Denis Marc, Koivu Saku, Komisarek Big Pussy Mike, Kostopoulos Tom, Kovalev Bag Job Alexei, Lang Robert Tanguay Alex
*Nashville- Bonk Radek, De Vries Greg, Fiddler Vernon, Koistinen Ville, Nichol Scott, Ortmeyer Jed, Sullivan Steve, Ward Joel, Zanon Greg
*New Jersey- Clemmensen Scott, Gionta Brian, Holik Bobby, Madden John, Oduya Johnny, Rupp Michael, Weekes Kevin
*NY Islanders- Comrie Mike, Danis Yann, Fritz Mitch, Guerin Bill, Hilbert Andy, Jackman Tim, Lee Chris, MacDonald Joey, Pock Thomas, Sillinger Mike, Weight Doug
*NY Rangers- Betts Blair, Kalinin Dmitri, Mara Paul, Orr Colton, Rissmiller Patrick, Valiquette Stephen
*Ottawa- Gerber Martin, Kuba Filip, McAmmond Dean, Neil Chris, Richardson Luke
*Flyers- Alberts Andrew, Biron Martin, Hatcher Derian, Kane Boyd, Knuble Mike, Kukkonen Lasse, Munroe Scott, Niittymaki Antero, Vaananen Ossi
*Coyotes- Klee Ken, McGrattan Brian, Morris Derek, Reinprecht Steve, Tellqvist Mikael
*Penguins- Boucher Philippe, Fedotenko Ruslan, Gill Hal, Minard Chris, Pesonen Janne, Sabourin Dany, Satan Miroslav, Scuderi Rob, Sykora Petr, Taffe Jeff, Zigomanis Mike
*San Jose- Blake Rob, Boucher Brian, Cavanagh Tom, Grier Mike, Roenick Jeremy, Semenov Alexei
*St Louis- Hinote Dan, Legace Manny, McDonald Andy, Tkachuk Keith, Weaver Mike, Winchester Brad
*Tampa Bay- Gratton Chris, Heward Jamie, Koci David, Kolzig Olaf, Malik Marek, Niskala Janne, Pettinger Matt, Recchi Mark, Roberts Gary, Ward Jason
*Maple Leafs- Antropov Nik, Joseph Curtis, May Brad, Moore Dominic, Newbury Kris
*Vancouver- Burrows Alexandre, Davison Rob, Jaffray Jason, Labarbera Jason, Nycholat Lawrence, Ouellet Michel, Pyatt Taylor, Sanford Curtis, Sedin Daniel, Sedin Henrik, Sundin Mats
*Washington- Brashear Donald, Fedorov Sergei, Giroux Alexandre, Helmer Bryan, Johnson Brent, Kozlov Viktor, Mink Graham, Sloan Tyler

Monday, February 2, 2009

Habs Fans, Your Ride is Here!

As if beating Montreal, in Montreal isn't fun enough.....I've been checking out some online hockey forums, and good Lord are Habs fans a riot! They just can't seem to grasp that the Habs just aren't as good as the Bruins this year. I know it's a weird situation for them, but man oh man, some of the inane excuse making and such is getting pathetic! The comments run the gambit. Here's a sample of actual comments I've seen: "Sad to see Boston has become the dirtiest team in the NHL"-Despite the fact that the only dirty hit of the game came from that tough guy of theirs, Ryan O'Byrne. A high hit from behind with 3 seconds left in the game is cheap. I don't care how they try to position it. It was a cheap shot and done strictly out of frustration. That stuff will not win him any respect around the league. O'Byrne should stick to stealing purses. It's about all he's good at apparently (then again, he DID get I guess he isn't good at that either.). Habs fans are claiming Gui Latendress (AKA-"take-off-your-dress") was injured by a "cheap shot" by Kobasew.-Despite the fact that it was just two guys fighting for position to get the puck. Something that happens dozens of times per game. It's not Kobasews fault he had better position/leverage and Take-off-your-dress fell down. I suppose I can forgive Habs fans for being confused though. I mean, it isn't very often they see their players fighting for loose pucks, so it's kind of new to them. I also get a kick out of this gem "Of course Boston won, they just sat in a trap"- Keep in mind, Julien rightfully pointed out that Montreal, in the FIRST period, was basically sitting in a 1-4 defensive posture. Pot, meet kettle. Then of course, we have this beauty, which I hear over and over (just like the "trap" nonsense): "Boston scored ugly goals, as usual"- For starters, the people that say this obviously don't watch the B's very often. First of all, it's hard to lead the league in goals scored if all you do is play a trap, and score ugly goals. Second, their leading goal scorers are Kessel, Savard and Krejci. Do these guys strike you as the type of players that just score "ugly" goals? Lastly, and most importantly....who cares what they look like? Habs fans have this hand up on how things look. The "artistry" of the game. They'd rather lose, as long as they looked good doing it. This is the ultimate in snobbery, arrogance and idiocy. It's just the easiest excuse they can come up with. "Well sure, they won, but it's because they play like a bunch of brutish thugs. That isn't how hockey is meant to be played" Blah Blah F'n Blah! The hypocrisy of it is, they all yell and scream their fool heads off whenever a Canadien player makes even the slightest hit, or throws a punch in a fight, even if it misses badly like most of Henry's yesterday. I learned long ago, when I was at a game up there when Patrick Roy got hurt. The crowd was screaming for that epitome of grace on ice himself, Todd Ewen to go out and kill Stephane Quintal....even though Quintal was thrown into Roy by a Canadien. NO Hab on the ice even said a word to Quintal, because they all knew it wasn't his fault. But that didn't stop these hockey elitists in Montreal to call for blood. Nothing I hate more than a hypocrite, and Montreal seems to be loaded with them. (To be fair, the older gentlemen sitting next to me that night were embarrassed by the display by so many of the "fans". Seems that was the start of this era of new fans up there. Sad. Their fan base, much like the team itself is incredibly divided. Some lay all the blame at Kovalev's feet. He's lazy as ever, yet they all loved him when he was lazy and they were winning. Some claim their coach, the Rodent, is to blame. This is understandable, since he clearly isn't doing ANYTHING to help matters. His idea of great "coaching" seems to be throwing 12 names in a hat and making line combo's out of the order he pulls them out. He makes no in-game adjustments...other than sitting their most dangerous offensive player in a one goal game (I swear, he must be related to Steve Kasper somehow). Worse yet, he seems to enjoy publicly bashing his players....well, as long as they aren't French-Canadian. Now, contrast that with Claude Julien. 'nuf said. Some blame Gainey for putting this bunch together. But oddly, it's pretty close to the team they had last year. Biggest losses were Streit and Ryder. Funny thing is, those two are only rarely mentioned when talk of "what's wrong" pops up. Anyway, as far as the game yesterday, I'm happy with the effort. back to back matinees (which the B's never seem to play well in), including travel AND it was IN Montreal. Yep, I'll take a 3-1 win any time...."ugly" or not. I guess "ugly" is subjective though. Let;s recap, shall we? Wideman's goal, was it ugly? Well, from a Bruins perspective, not at all. He picked off a pass, knew the clock was ticking down, and snapped off a great wrister that beat Price from 40 feet. From the Montreal side? Yeah, it was ugly. It was ugly that their hero and "All-Star" Mike Komisarek wasn't bright enough to just eat the puck in the final seconds when Boston was buzzing. Not only did he not eat it, he inexplicably just threw it up the middle of the ice. Why not, at worst, throw it off the boards, or drop it behind your net? major major bone head play by that dope. Couldn't have happened to a better guy. Thornton's goal? Well, as far as I'm concerned, as a Bruins fans, that wasn't "ugly" at all. It was a FOURTH line doing what you'd want any bottom six line doing. They applied tons of pressure, never stopped moving their feet and kept getting pucks towards the net. Now, if I'm a Montreal fan, I can see ugly all over the place on that one. Start with Take-off-your-dress not clearing the puck because of pressure by Bitz, putting it right on Yelle's stick. Watch the Habs run all over the ice not knowing who to cover. Ugly. Watch Henry not pay any attention to Thornton, allowing him to get in position to snap one by Price. While we're talking ugly, what about Henry's bout with Thornton? Say what you will, he was called up to do exactly what he did (well, he was supposed to actually win, but why nit pick?). Yes, I know Montreal was down a defenseman. But are you seriously telling me Alex Henry is the next best D-man they have in their system? (if that's true, then they're in bigger trouble than I thought). What was ugly, was guys like Kostopoulos crashing into Thomas WELL after the whistle. Nice job, hero. Takes a real tough guy to go flying into a pile of players after the whistle blows. I'm impressed. Perhaps the ugliest moment of the game came with 3 seconds left when O'Byrne hit Kobasew high, and from behind. I've actually heard Hab fans try to justify that hit by saying it was "retribution for Kobasew's hit" on "the Dress". IF that is true, it not only shows that O'byrne isn't a very good hockey player, he also isn't very bright. Of course, no conversation about "ugly" in this game could be complete without mentioning those uniforms. I swear it took almost a full period for my eyes to adjust. I can't imagine how awful they looked in person. I'd have paid money to hear the players comments when they learned they'd have to wear those things. Bottom line is, the Bruins are the better team this year. Does that guarantee them anything in the playoffs? Of course not. But after listening to all the BS last year, it's kind of fun watching Habs fans squirm. Their house is in disarray and they don't know how to react, other than to OVER react. As I look at the standings today, I can't help but think of that old Alice Cooper song, 18 And I Like It! Go B's-Kynch