Monday, May 25, 2009

You want questions! I've got questions!

As we enjoy this very important day of reflection and chance give thanks to all of our veterans. And while we gather with with our friends and family to mark the traditional beginning of Summer by firing up the BBQ. I think It's most important that we each try to take a few minutes to remember and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for this country which is really what this day is all about. So with this in mind a sincere and heartfelt THANK YOU to all that have served and fought for what we all have as a nation...

Back on the subject of hockey, which really is a less serious note. I feel like I'm 99% of the way back from the abrupt end to the B's season a couple of Thursday nights ago but still have 1% which is nagging me a bit by the feeling of unfinished business by the Boys in Black & Gold.

Oh well. Despite this lingering 1% I'm now very much at ease with the bittersweet feelings that the team left us with and really have moved on from the B's 08'/09' campaign with a lot great memories and a lot of fun times that we had with friends both old & new either at Regina Pizza, The Fours or Durty Nellies for the pregame stops, within the (new) Barn itself during games with the wacko's of section 301 and at Sullivan's Tap for post game. But rather than reflect anymore it's time to really look towards the upcoming 09'/10' season which will all start in training camp in a short 17 weeks!

As for me, I begin this off season struck with questions, questions and even more questions as we embark on what's shaping up to be a very CRITICAL off season for the club. All of which starts I think with these initial questions which the club will to answer ASAP and include things like:

1) Given the major injuries to David Krejci & Phil Kessel, How does this change their RFA status league wide and the B's approach to resigning each to a new deal?

2) How the B's will review and possibly lock up their two other top priority restricted free agents this off season (Matt Hunwick & Byron Bitz) all while keeping a eye on their 10'/11' class of free agents which will include the likes of Blake Wheeler, Milan Lucic, Mark Stuart, and Marc Savard. Because as we all know what you give out this year to some will impact and in many ways will leveraged the year after. And what about Mark Recchi...? PJ Axe...? Stephane Yelle...? Chilly's got A LOT of WORK to do.

3) Understanding their current salary cap requirements and the fact that its still unknown(?) what the actual final hard cap is next season, I'm still hard pressed wondering what the B's back liner corp will look like this coming season?

I mean lets assume a strong return to full health and form of Norris hopeful Zdeno Chara and returning efforts from Aaron Ward (who will be in the final year of his current deal) Hunwick, Stuart, the steady but too often injured Andrew Ference & Dennis (please hit the net...) Wideman. The B's will still be left needing with a game day roster hole or two to fill back there as well as big need to add depth.

Steve Montador's (thankfully) has seen his last shift as a Bruin, as it seems like the gritty but still vey serviceable Shane Hnidy has as well. Which could mean that will we see a possible infusion of a Baby B's or two from the likes of Jeff Penner and/or Johnny Boychuk? This as well as a possible addition of a 1a level FA signing like former Bruin Nick Boynton (who made $2.9m last season) former Blue Jacket Christian Backman ($3.4M last season) or a couple of inexpensive "piece" guys like former NJ Devil Johnny Oduya, Islander Thomas Pock or even someone like the the Canes' soon to be 28 year old Dennis Seidenberg. I know, I know they really could use a "puck mover" type but Seidenberg stands at a decent size of 6' 1" & 210 lbs, played in 70 games for the Canes this past year and posted a solid statistical year of 5 goals, 25 assists for 30 pts. This and the fact that he only accounting for $1.2M in cap space the past two seasons.

4) Will this be a big "jump up"year for some of their more skilled Providence
based players onto their NHL level roster? This by adding in as mentioned a Jeff Penner or a Johnny Boychuk to their blue line corp as well as finally seeing Tuuka Rask as the B's full time back up Goalie? Will they and can they count on contributions from guys like Vladimir Sobotka? Brad Marchand? or Mikko Lehtonen? At this point who knows but there still seems to be a lot of young, raw talent down in Rhode Island...

5) Will we actually SEE ON SKATES in or at least near Boston the much discussed but seriously at this point "Howard Hughesesque' pair of Swede winger Carl Soderberg ( and/or Russian defensemen, Yuri Alexandrov (

I mean I guess its a good sign that we at LEAST have a picture of Soderberg right? but on the flip side does not having a photo of Alexandov mean that he's more Sid Finch than Sergei Gonchar with whom he's most been most compared to? Seriously though I hope these two either decide to step up and finally play in the States this season or that the B's just wheel them as the dance of death with these two is a bit old at this point and not helping the club in any way...

6) Given the B's cap challenges and probable infusion of young talent will they seriously consider trading a Marc Savard? a Patrice Bergeron? or a Michael Ryder to free up cap space and some roster room? And if they choose to wheel one of these veterans where would it be to? and for whom or what? Then how would all that trickle up or down within their roster...?

See, for every one question addressed there seems to be two or three more Black & Gold colored ones that spring up from that one, all of which should make this one of the most important off seasons for the team in it's storied history and will be one that will have long reaching impact on the club for years to come... In closing I'd like to send my personal thanks again to all the Men & Woman who have and continue to protect this great nation of ours. Have a safe Memorial Day & be careful around the front of the grill! - Go Broounze! -KingKrej46

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