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

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