Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hibernation ends tomorrow!

Get your last bit of rest while you can folks, because hibernation ENDS in just over 24 hours. The long grind (condensed this year because of the Olympics) kicks off with a home, yes...a HOME opener for a change, against the Washington Ovechkin's. So, what does the year ahead hold for us? Truth is, nobody knows. Not the so-called "experts" that have penciled in the Bruins anywhere from Stanley Cup Champs, to a first round loser. And surely not the legion of Cup starved fans that see this as the latest in a string of "THE YEAR". Certainly, this is the most legitimate shot the Bruins have had at a Stanley Cup since they ran into the buzzsaw that was the Edmonton Oilers back in 1990.

What's my take? As always, I'd say the truth may lie somewhere in between the two extremes mentioned above. Although, I'd have to lean heavily towards the Stanley Cup champ side of the picks. Why? Glad you asked:
Why I am very optimistic about the B's this season (this could get long, bear with me).
1)Claude Julien- The reigning Jack Adams winner has gained my complete and total trust. I trust his systems. I trust his ability to motivate. And most importantly, I trust his ability to keep his players focused on the the task at hand, and not at "the big picture". As he said during media day, if you think about the big picture of winning a Cup, "it's too hard". Rather, as he said, he's planning on keeping his team "in their bubble". Let the rest of the media, fans and pathetic bloggers proclaim them the next big thing. CJ and his staff will insulate the team from that and make sure they focus on the day to day business of winning hockey games. Again, as he stated, making the playoffs is the first priority. Matching or exceeding last year's point total isn't the objective. Make the tourny, and anything can happen. I'd rather see them playing well going in as a 4th seed than playing poorly as the 1 seed.

2)A (finally) healthy Bergeron-Patrice Bergeron has looked amazing in pre-season. Not only does he have his weight back to normal, but he looks quicker this year than I remember him ever being. Mind and body both seem to be operating at a much quicker pace. Add that speed boost to his intelligent, physical game and you have all the makings of the best third line center in the NHL. Most teams, he'd be at least a #2 center. That shows the depth this team has....speaking of which,

3)Depth- While I'm not sold on the B's depth along the blue line, there is no mistaking their strength up front. Despite losing their leading goal scorer in Phil Kessel (you may have heard something about him being traded to Toronto?), the B's still return six twenty goal scorers from last year. Chara had 19, while Lucic chipped in with 17 of his own. It's certainly logical to expect Lucic to add to his goal total, to a minimum of 20, with 25+ not out of the question playing as Savard's left wing. If Marco Sturm manages to stay healthy (no small task for the hard luck winger), he could potentially replace a very large percentage of Kessel's goal producstion, riding in Kess's old spot as RW on the top line. Remember, it was this time last year when Cam Neely was asked who he thought could/should be the B's next 50 goal scorer. While he stopped short of saying Marco could pot 50, he did say he expected him to be around the 40G plateau. Now, the knee injury may have robbed him of a step or two, and affect his production. But if he's anywhere near healthy, he should easily be a 30G man with Savard feeding him the puck. Somebody say Savard?

4)Mark Savard- It's been well documented lately that Savvy will be highly motivated by his Team Canada snub. I agree completely. Here is a guy who has been among the leading scorers the last few years, but has also worked incredibly hard to become a dependable two-way player. Not even getting an invite to a camp where close to FIFTY players were offered the chance to play for their country has got to sting. As an additional source of motivation, he becomes an unrestricted free agent July 1st. While he consistently stated he loves playing here, the fact is, he's playing for a contract. Be it in Boston, or elsewhere. Having a top flight player on a contract year is almost never a bad thing. Plus, I believe it when he talks about being hungry to win a Cup, and he knows this could be his last, best chance to win.

5)Goaltending- Tim Thomas is fresh off a Vezina winning season. As his reward, he was signed to a lucrative, multi-year deal. Now, his detractors (and amzingly, they are legion), will say there is no way he can duplicate his performace of a year ago. In fact, many will say that he wasn't even that good last year (all evidence to the contrary be damned). Those same nay-sayers, along with more than a few of his supporters, wonder how he'll respond to the first bit of job/financial security he's ever known. Me? I think he uses those slights and doubters to his advantage, just as he's always done. The book of his career has been a long one, and I'm sure he doesn't want it to end with one fairytale "fluke" season. I look for Tim-may to have another strong year between the pipes. Maybe not another Vezina level year, but one most goalies would kill for nonetheless.
last season, Thomas also won the Jennings Trophy along with Manny Fernandez for compiling the best team GAA in the NHL. With Manny now gone (and still looking for employment), the Tukka Rask era officially begins. While he'll be Thomas's backup, he should earn plenty of ice time as the season goes on. somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 starts isn't out of the question, especially considering how compacted the schedule is this year. Having a top notch backup goalie could be more important this year than it ever has. Hopefully Tukka is able to respond well to sporadic duty instead of being "the guy" like he's accustomed to.

6)The Kids Are Alright?- At some point in '09-'10, the B's will need to get help from some of their youth, as every successful team does. With the likes of Bitz, Sobotka, Hamill, Marchand, Boychuk and even Lefevbre (for those "rough & tumble games) or Lehtonen, they seem well positioned to survive short term injuries. I stand by my earlier statements that Bitz may just be a 20 goal scorer, despite his lackluster pre-season. Sobotka, while also having a slow start to camp, may yet emerge as the SOB we all knew and loved from two years ago. He'll be battling all year just to get in the lineup, but I expect him to make some sort of impact once he does.

7)Chara- That's Norris winning Chara, folks. While his ability as a leader has been questioned by some fans and media, it never seems to come from players. Everyone in "the room" and on the ice knows who the Captain is, and when he speaks, they listen. More importantly, when he DOES, they follow. Big Z has the skill, size and nastiness to change the flow of a game in an instant. Whether it's the booming slapper from the point, the sneaky back door tap in on the PP (how a 6'9 monster can "sneak" around out there still amazes me), a bone crunching hit or even the odd fight, Z always seems to find a way to impact the outcome for the B's. There may be no more feared player in the league than our lovable giant. And in the NHL, intimidation still works.

1)Career years?- With so many players having spectacular season's last year, I can't help but that as good as they get? Can we realistically expect Thomas to be that good again? (as mentioned above, I think he SHOULD at least be close, but who knows?). Is Chara capable of playing at a Norris winning level again? Does Mark Recchi really have a shot at potting 20 again, after turning 42 this february? Can Kobasew stay healthy enough to again top the 20 goal mark?
What about the kids? Even though it's hard to imagine youngsters having "career years" only one or two years into their careers, it isn't unprecedented (see: Hodge Jr, Ken). Is krejci really as good as he looked last year (ok, I believe yes). Can Blake Wheeler repeat his 20G plus season, and stay fresh for the whole year? Is it fair to just assume, as I have, that Lucic will score upwards of 20-25 goals, playing the style he does (and with his considerable lack of "hands"?).
The bottom line is, last season was an incredible ride, where everything just seemed to work. Is it faor to assume there will be such a smooth sailing ship this time around? in '08-'09 every time there was an injury, somebody filled in perfectly and they never missed a beat. That is an amazing accomplishment, and one that is very difficult to repeat. It will be interesting to see how these things pan out.

2)The Defense- The B's back line is anchored by one of the game's best in Zdeno Chara. After that frankly, it gets a little iffy for me. Chara's new partner, at least to start the season, will be newcomer Derek Morris. While I've made it clear that I was never a huge fan of his, I'm willing to take a wait and see approach. He's saying all the right things so far and seems to be reborn now that he has a solid coach, team and system in place. Now it's all up to him. He's 31 years old.....if he doesn't excel this season, can we safely stop using the word "potential" in every reference to him? Maybe he is just what he is, or has been his whole career. A nice above average defenseman, but no star. Playing with the Captain should maximize his "potential". Take the ball and run with it Derek.
Mark Stuart has quitly become a very very good player. His steady, hard rock style has endeared him to many hard core B's fans, but the casual observer tends to forget about him. With the losses of Ward and Hnidy, Stuart's thumping style will be ever more important.
The rest of the D, frankly, scares me to death. Hunwick has tons of potential, but mainly as an offensive specialist. He's adequate in his own end, but has a long way to go before being considered a solid two-way defenseman.
Wideman? The proverbial Box Of just never know what you're gonna get with him. When he decides to take aquick half-slap or wrist shot from the point he is very good. But more often than not, he opts for the huge windup slapper....which is either blocked, or misses the net by 15 feet. In his own end, he looks like he's having a seizure half the time. Hopefully he's mauring into a more calm, steady defender. He has all the physical tools, he just has to get his mind in synch with his body.
Ference? Oh boy.....I'll start with the on-ice stuff. I really liked Ference when he was in Calgary. And now, I'm starting to think I'd really like him there again. If you read my comments about Wideman, well....Ference is pretty much a poor man's Wideman. Decent offensive player, woefully inept in his own end. He makes Wides look like Ray Bourque back there. While I do appreciate the fact that he plays a fairly physical game, he just doesnt have the body to withstand that style. (and he has a fair amount of bad luck, witness thebroken ankle last year).
So, I said I'd start with the on-ice stuff....which must mean there are some off-ice issues. I'm sure by now we've all heard about Ference's involvement in the firing of former NHLPA president Paul Kelly. I'll withold comment on that for now, but I will comment on how it affects the team. When veteran Mark Recchi comes out publicly and says Ference's actions, and subsequent comments about them, have caused tension in the B's locker room, you know there is a problem. The greatest asset the B's enjoyed in their run to the top of the Eastern Conference was chemistry. I firmly believe that hockey is the one sport where chemistry plays a huge role. If every man on that bench doesn't feel like the guy next to him is willing to "be there" for him, and support him in EVERYTHING, I think it does water down the on ice performance, if only a little. While I have faith in Julien's ability to keep his team focused, there are limits to what he can do, especially when it comes to a labor disagreement among his players. This has the potential to get nasty, and the B's can't afford any distraction. Chiarelli has to hope that some of the young defensemen develop quickly, so he can start working the phones on a deal for Andrew.

3)Kessel-Or, more precisely, what happens with the draft picks acqired in the Kessel deal? While conventional logic dictates that a draft pick doesn't help you "now", in this case the just might. Come trade deadline time, or before, Chilly could use those picks as a bargaining chip to pick up whatever missing piece they may identify. Assuming it's a deadline deal, the cap implications shouldn't be too bad, since they're only paying a prorated portion of that players salary.
On the flip side, and I don't think this would happen gieven Chiarelli's penchant for standing pat on deadline day, I don't want to see him make a move with those picks simply for the sake of doing "something". Over reacting and over paying for a rental, just because you have "extra" draft picks is an unwise move.

4)Injuries- it's the elephant in the room, and something nobody likes to consider.....namely because there isn't a damn thing you can do about it. But if major injuries strike the B's, how will they cope? Depending on who they lose, when and for how long, the answer varies. I think overall they have enough depth to survive short term injuries to all players, and short term for most. But if any of the "big names" (which I refuse to name here, as I knock on wood with crossed fingers) go down for any length of time, they're in trouble. Again, that is the case with every team, but is why it's very difficult to handicap favorites for the Cup. fate has a way of intervening at all the wrong times.

Fine, here are my off the cuff predictions for this year's Boston Bruins.
Tim Thomas has another stellar year, but does not win the Vezina, but does win his second consecutive Jennings (this time sharing with Rask, who plays a much larger role in winning it than Fernandez did)

Chara-Does not repeat as the Norris winner, losing to sentimental favorite Nick Lidstrom, after Lidstrom announces retirement. Z still has a monster year, thus getting screwed out of his award.

Phil who?-Boston doesn't finish in the top two in goals scored again (washington and Pittsburgh fill the net at a dizzying pace), but has even more 20 goal scorers than last year. All the returning players with 20 equal their production from last year, with the possible expception of Kobasew. Injuries slow his production. But Bergeron,Sturm, Lucic and Bitz all join the 20 goal club.

The B's finish first in the Northeast with 102 points.
They end up as the number 3 seed in the East (Pittsburgh and Philly are 1-2).

They play and defeat Pittsburgh in the Conference Finals.

In the Stanley Cup Finals, they square off against the darlings of the Western Conference, Chicago Blackhawks. In a thrilling Original Six Finals (which the NHL fails to capitalize on from a marketing perspective, yet again), Boston defeats the Wings in six games, on home ice. Your faithful blogger disappears to parts unknown for months long celebration, follow the trail of smashed Guinness glasses and shouts of "holy &*#%, I can't BELIEVE they actually WON A CUP" to find me. All while wishing Al Pedersen could have been a part of it all.

And all of that, in some form or another, starts in just over 24hrs. Rest up my friends, this is sure to be one hell of a ride.

Go B's-Kynch

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The NHL 2009/2010 Edition: "Can You Dig IT...?"

Well can you?!

With just one (long) short week to go until official drop of the puck on what for me will be Year #2 A.T.A. (After the Av's) I figured I get back into the swing of the KBBK thing again. With this in mind and sending prop's out to Cyrus from NYC" the upcoming start of 2009/2010 edition of the NHL Regular Season is looking more and more like one we CAN ALL DIG given the amount of "events" we have already slotted for this upcoming season.

So with that I give the newly anointed (by me by the way..) first ever, "KingKrej's Top 10!"
With this one belonging to the topic of:
"The Top 10 Things to Look Forward to this NHL Season"
1) October 1st, 2009 - This is it with four games dropping the puck including your Boston Bruins vs. the Washington Ovies at the Garden as well as the Colorado Av's playing host the San Jose (Nurse) Sharks with the main highlight being the raising of King Joe Sakic's #19 to the Pepsi Center rafters!
2) October 2nd, 2009 - See's the NHL's Great European Vacation 09' kicking off with games between Detroit Red Wings vs the St. Louis Blues in Stockholm & the Chicago Blackhawks vs the Florida Panthers in Helsinki. Yikes and these babies count...

3) November 9th, 2009- The Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto welcomes four new members as Steve Yzerman, The Golden Brett (Hull), U.S. born and breed D-Man, Brian Leetch and Lou Lamoriello all enter the Mall er' Hall!
4) January 1st, 2010 - It's the Winter Classic, Boston style as the Broounze play host to the Philly Flyers in what I'm sure will be a warm and cozy Fenway Park (I already have the Sambuca flasked and waiting for this one)

5) February 15th to February 28th, 2010 - The NHL shuts down for two weeks as the World's best converge on Vancouver B.C. for the title of Olympic Champions!

6) March 1st, 2010 - NHL league play resumes but the real news should be:

7) March 3rd, 2010- Two days after the restart of things from the Olympic break comes everyone's favorite Holiday aka NHL Trade Deadline Day! With that much down time (two plus weeks) and the fact that all rosters will be frozen over that time, there's sure to be a FLURRY (no not Theo...) of activity and action... Love it!
8) April 11th, 2010 - The NHL's Regular Season wraps and then

9) April 13th, 2010 - The best tourney in ALL OF SPORTS, The NHL Playoffs begin as teams start their long climb and battle for 16 Wins and The Cup!

10) All Season long - Records could be (will be) a falling as some of the record's up for grabs include;
Devil's goalie Marty Brodeur needs on 3 shutouts to pass Terry Sawchuk's current record of 103.
When Wing's goalie Chris Osgood (seriously...) records 11th win of the year he'll become the 10th netminder in NHL HISTORY to reach 400 wins.
Similarly the Oilers (another team already Nik?) Nikolai Khabibulin only needs 1 more win for 300 in his career.
Another Nicki (Lidstrom) also of the Wings needs only 3 points to become the 7th Defensemen in NHL history to reach 1000 total.
If the seemingly "Ageless Duck" Teemu Selanne can pot 21 goals this season, he'll become the 18th NHLer and just the 3rd Euro born player (after Jari Kurri and Jaromir Jagr) to score 600 goals in a career.
Others that are close to marks include: Brendan Shanahan (12 more goals to tie Lucky Luc Robitaille for 10th All Time) By the way is it me or will it be somewhat crazy to think that when the Devils break out their original Red & Green colored throwback jersey's sometime this season that they really will be "throwbacks" for Shanahan as these will be the same looking uni's he started his career back in the 80's?!

I really could go on and on and on these nuggets but I'll spare you (for now) and wrap up my 1st ever KingKrej Top 10 list! See you all that the rinks & Let's Go Broounze! - KingKrej46

Friday, September 18, 2009

Breaking news-Kessell Traded


Bruins receive two first round picks, one second round selection from Toronto

Friday, 09.18.2009 / 10:06 PM / News
Boston Bruins
BOSTON, MA – Boston Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced today that the club has acquired first round picks in 2010 and 2011 and a second round pick in 2010 from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for forward Phil Kessel. All three picks will be Toronto’s natural selections in the respective round and draft year. Chiarelli will host a press conference on Saturday, September 19 at 11:00 a.m. in the Will McDonough Press Room at the TD Garden to discuss the transaction. Members of the media can enter the TD Garden as they would on a normal gameday through the Media/Back Security Entrance. Take the elevator to the third floor and proceed straight down the corridor until you reach the end. The Will McDonough Press Room will be on your left at the end of the corridor. Kessel has appeared in 222 regular season games in the NHL, all with the Bruins, and posted 66-60=126 totals. The 21-year-old was originally selected by the Bruins in the first round (5th overall) in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
So, the thrill is gone.... My take on this deal? Chiarelli had no choice. Kessel and his agent have already stated that they were done negotiating with Boston. They have also made it clear that Toronto was the desired destination. This pretty much forced Chilly's hand, and frankly, I'm surprised he got as good a deal for him as he did. While I am a big fan of Kessell's game, I just couldn't justify the reported demands for $5.5M per year, for a minimum of five years. Bluntly out, he just hadn't earned that yet. He's a young kid who has scored a grand total of 66 NHL goals. That isn't to say he isn't a terrific player, or to suggest that he won't continue to progress. But it's just frankly too much money, considering the Cap situation. And to complicate matters more, the Bruins have several important players reaching RFA status next season (including cult hero Milan Lucic). Committing that kind of dough to Kess now could seriously hamper Chilly's ability to ice a competitive team in years to come. Personally, I wish Phil no ill will. As much as he took criticism for being "soft", I've always said he showed toughness in other ways. Hell, he rebounded damn quick from cancer. he played through injuries in this years playoffs. I appreciate all the thrills he gave us in his regrettably short time in a B's uniform. But in the cold hard business that is pro sports, this is a good deal. With the likes of Wheeler progressing, Sturm back from injury, Bergeron finally 100% healthy and my projected emergence of a Byron Bitz, I think the B's will have more than enough players available to pick up the slack. Sure, you always miss a potential 40 goal scorer. They don't grow on trees. But this team has also showed that their depth is their greatest asset. Kessel, for all of his flash and dash was basically a one trick pony. He could score, but only in a very limited way. He wasn't going to crash the net like Sturm or Lucic. He wasn't going to camp out front for tips like Recchi. He was, and is, very very good at snapping off a hard wrister off the wing. But unless he gets the puck in open space, in stride...he is very limited. It will be interesting to see how he does in Toronto. Without a guy like Savard setting him up with "sweet Feeds" (thanks, Jack Edwards), I expect him to make less of a splash than some may think. Add the pressure of playing in Toronto, where he will be looked at as the savior of their offensive woes, and it could be a tough go for the kid. And lets be honest, he isn't exactly going to be playing with a lot of skilled guys. I mean...Jason Allison has a shot at making that team! Kess is too good to not score, but most will come in garbage time after his Leafs are long out of it I suspect. Draft picks in any sport are a roll of the dice, none more so than in hockey. But these picks, if nothing else, give Chiarelli and his staff a lot of flexibility. He can either keep them, and pray Toronto has a miserable season (a decent possibility), or he can use one or more of them as chips in a bigger trade down the road. Not sure who the leading draft prospects are now, but trust me, I'll be dialing into that as the season progresses. So bottom line is, hate to see you go Phil. You've been a great, entertaining player to watch (defensive lapses not withstanding). I wish you well, while at the same time hoping your new team goes 0-82 this year. The first overall pick next spring would be fantastic. Go B's-Kynch

State Of The Bruins event a success

Another year, another resounding success at the annual "State Of The Bruins" season ticket holder event. This year must have been easier for the Jacobs clan than years past. Nothing like a little success and a promising future to call off the dogs a little. As much as he isn't a great public speaker, he acquitted himself nicely last night. He was deferential when it came to player personnel questions, and gave polite "non-answers" to questions he couldn't get too deeply involved in.
Charlie Jacobs (as usual, noticeably annoyed and envious of the overwhelming fan reaction to Cam Neely) had very little to offer. He touched on the Winter Classic, and mentioned that there are several plans in the works for events to be staged around the main event. Possibly some youth hockey games, and with luck, an alumni event of some sort. These events would be in late December, leading up to and beyond Christmas sometime. As far as the alumni event, a different source told me that she personally heard from Dennis Leary that he *may* be reviving his celebrity all-star team to participate. Makes sense, as I'm sure he'd love to play at Fenway as much as anyone, and it would be a huge fund raising opportunity for his charity as well as the Bruins Foundation.
Chiarelli was his usual long-winded self (after the first question, I was worried there would be no time for any others). Although he flat out said, on a couple occasions, "I'm just not going to tell you that", you never got the impression he was evading. Certainly there are many things he can't, or won't discuss openly. Mainly, contract or trade negotiations. He was very professional in how he dealt with the lone Kessell question, calling him a great player and a great person. One can only wonder how Harry Sinden would have reacted to this setting. Perhaps he'd tell Kessell to learn to like Poutine?

Coach Julien (who got several resounding rounds of applause, which was great to see) spoke of the challenges that lay ahead. Mainly that they can talk playoffs all they want, but they have to get there first. Focusing on the job at hand, while living up to heightened expectations, will be the most difficult hurdle for him and his team. With that said, he expects the team to equal if not exceed last year's results. As he said, there is only one ultimate goal and they'll do everything they can to get there. He also spoke absolutely glowingly of Byron Bitz. He stressed that most people don't seem to realize how much skill this kid has. yes, he's a big body, but Julien stressed he is a very very skilled hockey player as well. Loved hearing that, as I've often said I see Bitz being a 20+ goal scorer in this league.

Neely, not surprisingly was the star attraction (although Looch was a very close second). He addressed the style of player the Bruins are looking for, and the things he thinks that makes Boston a desirable destination for Free Agents. He stressed that the kind of player Boston wants, is the kind of guy that WANTS to be a BRUIN. Someone that appreciates pulling that sweater every night and playing the way Boston fans "expect to see, want to see and deserve to see". He also detailed the design elements of the Winter Classic jersey, which he apparently had a very large hand in designing. More on that later.

As far as the players present, Bergeron, Lucic and Morris were all on the panel. First thing that jumps out at you is, Bergy's English has gotten REALLY good since he came here! But seriously, both he and Lucic seemed a bit uncomfortable at first, but warmed to the task quickly. Especially when the many children in attendance had a chance to ask their questions. You know, the hard hitting one like "what do you eat for breakfast on game days?" Let's just say, I wouldn't be surprised if Looch is soon to get an endorsement deal for"Honey Nut Cheerios".
Derek Morris made a very good first impression. He seemed very relaxed and poised. He seemed to get a good laugh out of the massive "Looooch" cheers that went up whenever Lucic was mentioned, or said a word. His line of the night came when a youngster asked which team, other than the Bruins, would the players like to play for. Lucic (wisely, if not predictably) said "no other team". Bergeron echoed the statement. So when they looked at Morris for his comment, he laughed and said flatly "well, I've already played for every other team". Well played. If he plays in his own zone as slickly as he played that, we'll be in great shape.

The finale to the evening was the unveiling of the Winter Classic jersey, as modeled by David Krecji in the photo above. The reveal started with a video presentation, using the B's Christmas themed video (if you've been to games in December, you'll recognize the black & white screen, with snow flakes falling around the Bear logo with the Trans Siberian Orchestra playing). The video was updated with snippets from the Press Conference from Fenway when they announced the game. All the while, artificial snow fell from the rafters. A smoke machine kicked on, and the strobe lights flashed. As the smoke slowly (and I mean SLOWLY) cleared, there was Krecji in full Winter Classic uniform. I'm telling you, the kid works a runway almost as well as he works a two on one. I wasn't sold on the designs I had seen leaked, but after getting a chance to see the full uni, up close, I really like it. Neely went through the details, pointing out why each element was included. It does a great job of incorporating design pieces from many years of Bruins history. The thought that went into it was quite impressive.
Oh, and apparently the Bruins new advertising tag line this season is "Big and bad are back". It beats "it's called Bruins" anyway...although, if they don't do well.....well, insert joke here.

Anyway, that's it for today. Regular season kicks off in 13 days. WOW, summer flew by! Hopefully, next summer will be even shorter. Playing into late June would sure help that.
Go B's-Kynch

Thursday, September 17, 2009

B's NewsBlast! New Winter Classic Uni's LEAKED!

Good scoop Boys! KBBK sends "Mad Props" to Jeff V. (who worked up the above rending) over at the Boston Sports Network blog( & the the team over at ICETHETICS ( for "breaking the ice" on this one, just prior to the B's official unveiling these new Winter Classic jersey's over at the Garden tonight. I'm loving them by the way & can't wait to see my #46 Krejci one worked up...! Thanks again men & Go Broounze! - Kingkrej46

Monday, September 14, 2009

B's NewsBlast! - Season opener doubtful for (King) Krejci

The latest from Fluto Shinzawa from the Boston Globe Staff as posted on;

Season opener doubtful for Krejci

David Krejci, who participated in part of the first session this morning, is progressing with his rehab, but believes that realistically, he won't be ready for the season opener on Oct. 1.

"Seventeen days? Two-and-a-half weeks? I don't know," said Krejci. "I'll say there might be a little chance. Not a big one, but a little one. Maybe 10 percent. I can't say there's zero percent, because I feel pretty good on the ice. I don't know how it's going to feel one week from now. I think I probably won't be ready, but there's a chance."

Krejci said he feels pain in his hip when he performs crossovers to the right. Krejci has been informed that such pain is normal.

B's NewsBlast! - Kess (finally) on the move?

*The latest according to Kevin Paul Dupont from the Globe &;

*Photo credit to the Golbe & Getty Images

Kiss Kessel goodbye?

Just hours before the Bruins skated yesterday at the Garden for their first bona fide training camp workout, the ever-active rumor mill in Toronto had the Maple Leafs tabling the best offer yet for Boston free agent Phil Kessel. To wit: for a pair of first-round picks and one second-round pick, Boston general manager Peter Chiarelli could be free at last from his summer ’09 migraine, and the 21-year-old Kessel could call southern Ontario home.

“Partially true,’’ said one source familiar with the talks between the teams, which have been going on for more than two weeks. “Toronto also wants a third-rounder along with Kessel.’’
Meanwhile, Kessel’s agent, Wade Arnott, attended the Leafs’ workout in Toronto. No, he did not have Kessel at his elbow, wearing a raincoat, skimmer, and sunglasses. But Arnott was spotted talking to GM Brian Burke’s top lieutenant, Dave Nonis, who now has the charge of handling the trade talks with Chiarelli.

For the moment, and possibly well on into November, Kessel holds the cards as a restricted free agent. If Chiarelli were to make a deal with, say, the Predators, Nashville GM David Poile would only give up assets if he is assured Kessel will sign in Tune Town. Likewise, the Leafs won’t flip picks and/or players Boston’s way unless Chiarelli already has inked Kessel to a sign-and-trade.
All signs point to Kessel preferring the Leafs over the Predators, which, if nothing else, proves he did learn something during his year at the University of Minnesota. Decent team, the Preds, but there is only one Toronto (unless Jim Balsillie succeeds in divvying up the hockey mecca).
The dynamic of the Kessel proceedings will shift as late November approaches because Kessel, per the collective bargaining agreement, cannot play in the NHL this season unless he has signed a deal by Dec. 1. But with Toronto so aggressively in the hunt, it’s doubtful it will play out that long. Clearly, Burke is trying to consummate a deal rather than extend Kessel an offer sheet, which had to be the context of the discussions between Chiarelli and Burke when they were spotted across from the Garden at The Four’s two weeks ago, according to a source inside the Canal St. eatery.

Asked yesterday if he cared to comment on the Kessel situation, Chiarelli said via email, “No, but thanks for asking.’’ Burke, reached via phone in Toronto last night, said, “The Maple Leafs cordially decline your request.’’ Everyone is just too polite for words, which makes your faithful scribe think the whole thing could get Bob Probert nasty in short order.
Chiarelli has what Burke wants, and Kessel’s agent already has informed the Bruins that he is done negotiating with the Spoked-B franchise. Both Kessel and Arnott have shot down that impasse, which was reported here first last week, but that’s only because they don’t want Kessel’s reputation in Boston to morph into what Dany Heatley’s became in Ottawa when he requested out over the summer (a wish that was granted Saturday when Heatley was dished to the Sharks).

When the summer began, Chiarelli said he would match any offer Kessel received. As the weeks went by, he amended that, saying he would match an offer “within reason.’’ Now, if he doesn’t cut a deal with Burke, who happens to be the GM in the city where Kessel wants to play, he is left vulnerable to the Leafs piling the cash high for the former first-round pick (No. 5, 2006), and the Bruins getting only a first-, second-, and third-rounder in return.

Long ago, the New York Rangers used an ugly offer sheet to try to hijack Joe Sakic away from Colorado. The overall deal was three years/$21 million, with $15 million up front as a signing bonus, followed by three years of salary at $2 million per. Toronto is the richest franchise in the Original 30, and easily could emulate the Sakic deal. For instance, if the Leafs were to pay Kessel $25 million over five years, they easily could afford to pay him $15 million up front and spread the salary out over five years. In less than 12 months, Kessel would pocket $17 million. That likely would not fit Chiarelli’s “within reason’’ standard. For now, unless there is some huge shift on both sides, Kessel is as good as gone. All that remains to be seen is what the Bruins get in return.

In the Boston front office, they’ve spent months warming to the idea that they can win without Kessel, and they are probably right, given that they have the Norris Trophy winner in Zdeno Chara and the Vezina Trophy winner in Tim Thomas. In the Boston cookbook, most of its tasty concoctions based on defensive ingredients, Kessel is viewed as that little sprig of parsley that makes the plate look better but really doesn’t factor into whether the meal is a true success.
Meanwhile, the Leafs are in rebuilding mode, with Burke eager, perhaps desperate, to infuse some legit scoring pop.

The Leafs’ offense is so thin they brought ex-Bruin Jason Allison to camp on an invite. Now 34, Allison hasn’t suited up for an NHL game since the spring of 2006. Get the idea why the Leafs are willing to pay a price for Kessel that Chiarelli & Co. deem absurd? A goal scorer by trade, with 66 on his career résumé, Kessel is poised for a pot of gold.

Friday, September 11, 2009

B's News Blast! What's up with Kess?

From Kevin Paul Dupont & the Boston Globe;

Sources: "Kessel doesn't plan to negotiate with Bruins"

Phil Kessel has made it clear that he doesn't intend to negotiate any longer with the Bruins, his Toronto-based agent in recent days informing the Boston front office that the right winger's priority instead is to sign a free-agent offer sheet with one of the league's 29 other teams.

All of which doesn't necessarily mean that Kessel's days in the Hub are numbered.

The Bruins, per CBA rules and guidelines, still reserve the right to match any offer sheet Kessel signs, and if they choose to match they are only prohibited from trading Kessel for the first year of his new deal.

''No comment,'' Boston general manager Peter Chiarelli responded via e-mail early this afternoon when asked about Kessel's latest stance on negotiations.

Kessel's agent, Wade Arnott, when contacted by the Globe earlier this week about his side's current negotiating stance, claimed the change in tactics wasn't true. But two sources familiar with the talks, which on Monday were proclaimed by Chiarelli to be at a ''philosophical impasse," confirmed the new passive-aggressive approach by the 21-year-old right winger.

This full article can be found thru at-

Friday, September 4, 2009

Hibernation Is Over, We're Back!

Labor Day weekend in the States, there is a hint of Fall in the air, Captain's practices are underway....must be time to dust off the old blogger cap and get back into the swing of things. Yes folks, hockey season is pretty much upon us. Today I'm just going to do one of those annoying "random thoughts & observations"deals since I have so much to cover, and so little, um....ambition.

My season tickets are scheduled to arrive in about ten days. Honestly, is that not one of the great days on your sporting calendar? Nothing like opening that envelope, wondering what this years tickets will look like and finally getting your hands on those cherished possessions. I feel like a kid at Christmas. Except I paid for my own gift.....paid a LOT for my gift.

Speaking of paying a LOT.....what's with the Bruins blatantly gouging their fans this year? I understand, and greatly appreciate them holding the line on ticket prices for us Season Ticket Holders that renewed early. Trust me, paying last year's prices was a huge financial help for me. But why charge NEW STH's nearly 50% more than what existing STH's are paying? Example, a STH that renewed their $60 seat from last year, pays that same $60 this year. However, if you are a NEW STH, you'll be paying $87.50 for that same seat. $27.50 more than the guy next to you? Again, THANK YOU for rewarding your long time loyal fans. BUT I think a ten or fifteen dollar premium on top of our price would have been sufficient. They've gone fromw rewarding old STH's, to punishing new ones. I assume this is the culmination of the "Perfect Storm"; a good and hopefully improving team with expectations of making a strong Cup run. The Winter Classic coming to town (with guaranteed seats only for STH's, this is the main thrust behind the gouging, and the only reason IMO they're getting away with it)

Hopefully, there will be a downward correction next year.....then again, if they win the Cup, they can charge whatever they want and people will pay it. So I guess I hope to be paying more next year. Ugh.

Thrilled to see they extended Julien's contract today. He's only entering his third season in Boston, but already that feels like "stability" for a franchise that has had a revolving door on the coaches office in recent years. Claude has done a masterful job in his time here. Great to see the ownership step up and get him locked up prior to the start of the season.

On the other hand, not having the "Kessel situation" resolved yet is disconcerting. And I mean, extremely disconcerting. No matter which side of the "trade him/don't trade him" debate you're on, you have to be concerned that nothing has happened yet. Training camp opens this week, and I'd like to think they have some handle on their roster and salary cap situation as they enter camp. Personally, I'm of the mind set that they NEED Phil Kessel. Say what you will about him being "soft". But pure goal scorers like him don't grow on trees. And, since his playoff benching in '08, he has shown a penchant for scoring big goals in big games. The playoff atmosphere doesn't intimidate him. Would I like to see a touch more grit to his game? Sure. Maybe if he was as physical as a David Krejci, people would be satisfied. He doesn't need to run people over. The Bruins have plenty of those guys. What they don't have, beyond Kess, is a legit 40-50 goal threat with blazing, game-changing speed.

I've been swayed to an interesting and possibly controversial idea. If you really think about it, it would make a lot more sense for Boston to trade Marc Savard than Kessel. Savard is a brilliant play making center. And by no means do I "want" to lose him. His vision on the ice is second to none. I understand his value. But at the same time,he's considerably older than Kessel. He plays a position, where there is an obvious heir to his slot as #1 center (Krejci) and considerable depth (Bergeron as your #2 center isn't a bad thing). Plus, playmakers are generally easier to find than natural "finishers". Again, I love everything Savard brings to the table, I really do. And if I could think of another way to keep most of the team intact, AND sign Kessel long-term, I wouldn't even consider letting Savard go. But with the Cap situation being what it is, a deal for Savvy may be the best option (and, his value on the open market would be pretty high as well). Oh boy, I can see the flaming comments coming now.....

Is it just me, or is anyone else a little worried about the Bruins sudden lack of toughness on the blue line? Losing Hnidy, one of my favorites for his knack of picking the right time to hammer someone, hurts their toughness and depth. Losing Ward hurts considerably more. I understand he may be getting a little long in the tooth, but he is still a highly effective player. And brings a ton of physicality to a team. And a willingness and ability to block shots. Don't under estimate his role in the team's great goals against last year. Sure, Stuart and Chara are still around to provide most of the "thump" back there. And Ference (when healthy), will give as good as he gets most nights. But in general, a line up of Wideman, Ference, Morris, Hunwick/Boychuk isn't going to intimidate too many opposing forwards. I get the need for skilled guys back there to create offense, but I also know there is a need, especially in the playoffs, to be able to physically wear down the opposition. I just don't see that with the group they have. Hopefully I'm wrong, but I'm skeptical. Never been a huge Morris fan, but we'll see how it goes under the guidance and strict system of Julien. But honestly, Morris is 31 years old....and I keep hearing the word "potential" attached to his name. Did it ever occur to anyone that maybe this is as good as he's going to be? Never understood the infatuation with this guy.

I was however, pretty happy to see Mark Recchi coming back. A full year of his work ethic on display for all the B's youngsters could be invaluable. Not to mention, he showed last year that he still has plenty left in the tank and those great hands haven't left him yet.

So....all this brings me to my last, and possibly most controversial thought for the day. I don't know if it's just a case of trying to protect myself from yet another broken heart or what. But honestly, I don't think I'd pick the Bruins to make the Cup Finals this year, much less win it. I know, I know....they were the top team in the East last year. Which, truth be told, all seemed like a mirage to me all year. I knew they were good, but I always had a hard time believing they were THAT good. They got career years from a LOT of guys. Besides, they went from 8th to first in one year, right? Why is it crazy to think that some other team can't move up even a couple spots? Defending Cup Champs Pittsburgh could very well be improved this year. I fully expect Washington to be better (Knuble will be a big addition). Carolina showed what they are capable of. Philly should be decent.....the list goes on and on. Getting out of the Eastern Conference is going to be a death struggle. Now, I'm not saying the Bruins CAN'T win it all. But at the same time, I find all of this "we're winning the Cup this year" talk a bit premature. Last year they excelled as underdogs, flying under the radar. Let's see how they perform as the favorites. Trust me, nobody WANTS this team to win it all more than I do. But at the same time, I despise blind pom-pom waving optimism. See the team for what it is. And in my eyes, they're contenders for sure. A virtual lock to make the Finals? Um, no. I see the East as fairly wide open this year, with Boston, Pitt and Washington as the leading contenders (in no particular order). Lots can happen between now and the spring. Hopefully, it's all the good stuff that happens here in the Hub of Hockey.

So that's it for today folks. I've probably pissed a few people off for suggesting a Savard trade, and not predicting the Bruins will go 82-0 and waltz to a Cup win. Please don't take any of that for a lack of faith, hope and optimism. A little does of reality never hurt anyone. Go B's-Kynch