Thursday, January 29, 2009
Kessel makes quick recovery, back tonight
WILMINGTON - Phil Kessel has had enough of tracking his teammates on television.
"I hate watching," said Kessel. "It's tough when you want to be out there helping your team. But the boys did a great job."
On Tuesday, prior to the Bruins' 3-2 overtime win over Washington, Kessel got some good news when he was cleared to play by team doctors. Yesterday at Ristuccia Arena, he went through his first full practice with his teammates since his last game, Jan. 10 against Carolina. Barring a last-minute change of plans, Kessel will be back in the lineup tonight against New Jersey after missing only six games because of mononucleosis.
"I'm fine. I'm back," Kessel said. "I got the test done [Tuesday]. I'm cleared. So I'm pretty happy about it."
Kessel, the team's leading goal scorer (24-17 -41 in 42 games), was originally expected to miss a month. However, he thought he was suffering from mononucleosis for several weeks before he was diagnosed.
"I didn't feel very good for a while," Kessel said. "Just wasn't feeling like myself."
In the last nine games before he was sidelined, Kessel totaled only three goals and one assist. Prior to the nine-game stretch, he had scored at least 1 point in 18 straight games.
"I thought I had it for a while," said Kessel, who had been skating on his own prior to yesterday's practice. "I went in there probably about a month before. They said no, but I knew I had it. Whatever, though. It's finished now."
Yesterday Kessel practiced on a line with Milan Lucic and Patrice Bergeron. If he plays tonight, he is expected to be reunited with regular center Marc Savard, who was given yesterday off along with the team's three other All-Star participants (Zdeno Chara, Tim Thomas, and Blake Wheeler). Kessel should be back in uniform one game after the Bruins welcomed Lucic, Bergeron, and Andrew Ference back.
Kessel wore a protective wrap around his midsection for precautionary purposes - contact to the spleen is dangerous for patients with mononucleosis - but was involved physically in two-on-two and three-on-three drills down low. He stayed on the ice after practice for some skills work with assistant coach Doug Houda.
"He hasn't done much over the last couple of weeks, so it's more about timing," said coach Claude Julien of Kessel. "That's what we tried to do with him at the end of practice, having him work on his skills and handling the puck to see if we can help him get his timing back."
On the bubble Byron Bitz, who threw down with heavyweight Donald Brashear for his first NHL fight Tuesday, could be facing an assignment to Providence as the Bruins return to full health.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Boston Bruins Recall Goaltender Tuukka Rask from Providence On An Emergency Basis
BOSTON - Boston Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced today that the club has recalled goaltender Tuukka Rask from the Providence Bruins on an emergency basis. Rask will join the team for practice Monday at 2:00 p.m. at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington, MA.
Rask has started 34 games this season for Providence and has posted a 19-15-0 record with a 2.46 Goals Against Average and .918 save percentage. His 19 victories are the third most in the AHL. This is his third recall to Boston this season, and he has served as the team’s backup goaltender in two games (1/10 vs. CAR and 1/13 vs. MTL). Rask played in four games last year for Boston and registered a 2-1-1 record, with his first NHL game and first NHL victory coming on November 20, 2007 in a 4-2 win at Toronto. He was recalled on four occasions last season and dressed as a backup for 16 games while playing in four. In his first professional season last year with Providence, he compiled a 27-13-2 record and a 2.33 Goals Against Average and helped lead the P-Bruins to the best regular season record in the AHL. Originally drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round (21st overall) of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, the 21-year-old Rask was acquired by the Bruins on June 24, 2006 in exchange for goaltender Andrew Raycroft. The Bruins will begin a three game homestand Tuesday night, January 27, against the Washington Capitals at 7:00 p.m ET
Monday, January 26, 2009
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
I have a dream, that in rinks across America,well paid, highly skilled hockey players will not stare at an open net and be seduced by the prospect of an "easy goal".
I have a dream, that when the other team pulls their goalie, while on a power play, that the defenseman many are calling Norris caliber will not try to skate the puck out his own zone, but rather just clear it the length of the ice.
I have a dream, that two of the top skill guys on the Bruins will either be able to hit a wide open empty net, or know enough to just eat the puck to allow time to expire.
I have a dream, that after rallying from a 2-1 deficit by scoring 3 goals in a minute and a half, that the top team in the East won't allow 2 goals in the final minute and a half of the game.
I have a dream that Claude Julien never put PJ Axelsson in the shootout again.
I have a dream, that barring Julien not giving him another chance, that Axe actually comes up with another move on the shootout.
I have a dream, lastly, that, the Bruins start to get healthy again so they can actually dress an NHL line-up for the rest of the season.
Of all the dreams I have, the B's returning to health is the most likely, and probably the most important. Perhaps, just perhaps, if the B's weren't so ravaged by injuries most of the above situations wouldn't have come into play. I'm not one for excuse making, because as Mike Milbury said, the B's had enough talent on the ice yesterday to beat the St. Louis Blues. But a funny thing happened. The Blues beat the Bruins at their own game. They worked hard. They forechecked (A constant source of trouble for the B's, hard forechecking teams have given them fits all season). They never gave up hope, even when it looked like they blew their last best chance for the win. The Blues, despite this huge win, aren't going anywhere this year. But this should go a long way towards boosting their team confidence, and serve as a great teaching tool for the coaching staff. The question now becomes, what lessons id the Bruins learn? For a moment, it looked like the Black & Gold was going to pull off their customary rally and win another game they probably didn't deserve to. But once they got the 2 goal lead, they sat back. And the Blues, to their credit, came at them with everything they had. The most distressing part of the "collapse" was who made the big mistakes. Chara had a chance to clear the puck before the Blues third goal. But he muffed it, and only got it to the blue line, not out. Then Wideman, the one many are saying is Boston's best D-man, decides to skate the puck out of harms way instead of firing it the length of the ice. Moments later, it's 4-3 and St. Louis smells blood in the water. But surely the Bruins, the top team in the Eastern Conference will be able to protect the one goal lead for a minute twenty, right? Well, no. They hung on for a minute nineteen and change. But it wasn't for a lack of opportunity to ice the game. The B's had PLENTY of chances to bleed the clock dry. First Wheeler couldn't handle a puck along the left wall, allowing St. Louis to remain in the zone.Seconds later, Wheeler got beat to a loose puck along the boards by Jackman (much tougher play, but Wheels could/should have eliminated Jackman at least causing a scrum). Just a few seconds after THAT, Ryder was able to clear the puck, sending Wheeler on a break down the right wing. Wheels made a good decision in making sure he crossed the red line before shooting at the empty net. But then, "IT" happened again. As any of you have read this space previously know, I've often blasted Wheeler for not "bearing down" and "burying" chances. Well, his shot at the empty net was as lazy as they get (well, maybe not, ut we'll get to that later). He casually flicked the puck towards goal, assuming he had the easy lay up. As we know, the shot just missed off the left post. No problem, the rebound went directly to Krejci positioned at the top of the left face off circle. With only 19 seconds left on the clock, all he has to do is A)rip it into the empty net or B)carry into the corner and eat it. If he had a clean shot at the net, shooting from there is an easy call. But he didn't. Two Blues stood between him and the net. He got it past the first one (who was standing on the face off dot attempting the block), but he wasn't able to get it past the terrific game saving block by Barret Jackman. I give tons of credit to Jackman for that play. He did a great job of giving his team that one last chance. But that still doesn't excuse Wheeler and Krejci. Wheeler should have hit the net. Krejci probably shouldn't have even shot it. With so little time on the clock, the wise play is to milk it and escape with the two points. Forget padding your stats with an empty netter. But, that didn't happen and St. Louis came down the ice and got the benefit, I think, of a fairly generous allowed goal call. It appeared to me that the puck was batted in with a high stick. But it was close enough that whatever was called on the ice, would probably stand up under review. Again, I think it was a high stick. But it shouldn't have ever gotten to that point. The over time was sort of a whole lot of nothing. Bruins had 2 shots during the extra session, the Blues had none. So, it would come down to the shootout. Here we go again. Wheeler was first up and made a great move. He cleanly beat Mason and had a huge opening on the right side to bury the puck. But alas, this is Blake Wheeler we're talking about. The move was great, but again, he failed to bear down and bury the shot. He just casually slid the puck at the net, and caught the right post. No goal. Next up for the good guys? Krejci? Ryder? Savard? Friggin' Sobotka, Wideman, St. Pierre......??? Nope, well known defensive specialist Pj Axelsson. He of the one shoot out move. Predictably, he did it again. Swing wide right, come across the crease and jam on the brakes, trying to backhand it short side high. Yes, it worked to great effect once for a SO win earlier this year. But every time he's tried it since, he hasn't been able to roof the puck. And that move depends on roofing it, not just getting it barely off the ice. It's not, by any means, an easy move to pull off. But that's the point. Why put a player out there, not known for his great offensive skills, to try such a difficult shot? Julien has to know PJ is going to go back to that one....it apparently is the only thing he knows how to do in the SO. So why not put a more versatile offensive player out there? I know they're very short handed right now, and guys like Kessel, Bergeron and Sturm would be your first choice. But you can't tell me there were no better options than Axe in that situation.
All in all, the B's lost a game at the very end that they never deserved to win anyway. Yet another sluggish performance in a matinee. They better figure out what needs to be changed in their pre-game routine quick, because they play a ton of Saturday afternoon affairs from here on out. The good news is, they should be getting a lot of their walking wounded back after the All-Star break. Judging the play of the team recently is tough, with so many spare parts playing big roles. But it's the regulars in the lineup that really let them down yesterday. And it won't be any easier in Toronto tomorrow. You can be sure the Leafs saw how hard work by the Blues resulted in a W. Bet the ranch that the already hard working Leafs bring their "A" effort Wednesday night. But also bet everything that the Bruins bring twice the effort. All in all, it could be a very entertaining game up in TO. At least that is my dream. Go B's-Kynch
Saturday, January 17, 2009
This should be a VERY entertaining game. Any game that involves the most exciting player in the world should be, but this one even more so. Washington desperately wants to catch Boston for first place in the Eastern Conference. And Boston, aside from wanting to maintain their 11 point lead, are looking to "avenge" their loss last time in DC (their only road loss since Thanksgiving). I expect the Krejci/Wheeler/Ryder line to get back in the swing of things after a rare dud against the Islanders. All that being said, I'm looking for a B's win.....man, I can't commit to a score.....ok ok...how about 4-3? Scorers, I'll go with Ryder, Chara, Krejci and Kobasew.
Donald Brashear and John Erskine are the top two heavy weights for the Caps. Erskine is the more valuable to his team (playing on the top D pairing). While Brashear is the more "feared" fighter. Big Brash, even after all these years, still stirs the pot with clean AND questionable hits. Look for him to try getting under the skin of every Bruin, especially Chara. He may not do anything directly to Z, but he'll almost assuredly try goading the Captain into a reaction. Any time they a guy like Brashear can take a guy like Chara off the ice, it's a huge win for him. Thornton, who already has a s many fighting majors this year as he did all of last year (12), may end up with lucky #13 tonight. Although, I'd prefer it be against Erskine. A more entertaining fight, and a bigger loss for the Caps than Brashear would be. For some reason, a "surprise" fight or two wouldn't stun me. Not that Matt Bradley would be a huge stunner.....but I can see him going with Mark Stuart. Stu seems like he's getting more interested in standing up and dropping the gloves lately. A very good sign by the way. So I say Stuart-Bradley happens as does Thornton-Erskine. Brashear tries to stir it up, but ends up taking a dumb penalty instead. As long as that goon Semin doesn't drop the gloves again, like he did against Mark Stall of the Rangers......I honestly don't think I'd be able to stop laughing long enough to watch the rest of the game. Go B's-Kynch
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Tim Jackman is the fighting major leader for the Islanders (he went with Hnidy in the last game). But Mitch Fritz is by far their biggest heavyweight. He's a 6'8" 253lb Left winger, who has fought nothing but the heavy's of the NHL. He's taken on Laraque, Peeters, Goddard, Cote and Orr this season. Pretty impressive fight card there. He beat Larque, and he caught Peeters with a NASTY right uppercut, dropping the big goon with one shot. If push comes to shove...and it very well could, Thornton will have his hands full with Fritz. Jackman could stir it up with a Stuart, or Thornton as well. No big deal there, he's fairly tough, but not unbeatable by any means. Fritz is the guy to keep your eye on tonight.
B's NewsBlast! - Round and Round We Go! Valdy & Lash come up (again) as Tukka & Karsums head down (again)
*Lashoff Recalled, Rask Assigned
Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced Tuesday that the club has recalled defenseman Matt Lashoff from the Providence Bruins on an emergency basis and assigned goaltender Tuukka Rask to the Providence Bruins.
*Lashoff will join the Boston Bruins for practice on Wednesday and accompany the team on their two-game road trip to Long Island and Washington.Lashoff has seen action in 13 games for Boston this season, registering one assist, and has played in 18 games for Providence with 4-12-16 totals. He split last season between Boston and Providence and skated in 18 NHL games, registering 1-4-5 totals and appeared in 60 games for the P-Bruins, tallying 9-27-36 totals.
*Rask was recalled on an emergency basis on two occasions (Saturday, January 10 and Monday, January 12) and served as the team's backup goalie in their 5-1 win over the Hurricanes on Saturday, January 10 and their 3-1 win over the Canadiens on Tuesday, January 13. Rask has started 30 games this season for Providence and has posted a 17-13-0 record with a 2.42 Goals Against Average and .919 save percentage. His 17 victories are the second most in the AHL.
*B's Recall Sobotka, Assign Karsums
Boston Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced today that the club has recalled forward Vladimir Sobotka from the Providence Bruins and assigned forward Martins Karsums to the Providence Bruins.
*Sobotka will accompany the team on their two-game road trip to Long Island and Washington. Sobotka has played in 15 games for Boston during the 2008-2009 season and recorded 1-1-2 totals. In 19 games with the P-Bruins this year.
*Karsums is currently the leading scorer for Providence with 16 goals and 23 assists in 38 games. Recently named an AHL All-Star, he will play for the Planet USA team in the AHL All-Star Classic on January 26. He skated in three games for Boston and earned his first career NHL point with an assist on Saturday, January 10 against Carolina.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
In my game preview yesterday I said that a win or a loss really wouldn't prove anything for either team. And I'm not going to change my opinion on that, now that the Bruins won. However, the game did confirm a few things, which I'll break down quickly.
1)We received confirmation that Zdeno Chara is playing like a Norris Trophy candidate. Shut down defense, huge physical presence and oh yeah, he also scored two goals for his under manned team. That spells Norris, but it also spells CAPTAIN. A role he has grown into nicely.
2)We were also shown proof that Tim Thomas is at the very least, ONE OF, the elite goalies in the world today. Without some incredible stops last night, it could have been a much different game. He's been doing it all year, but coming up big in a rivalry game (a team he hasn't always had his best nights against) is yet another huge confidence boost for himself and his teammates.)
3)Julien's faith in PJ Axelsson is not misplaced. Everyone, myself included, tends to bemoan the fact that PJ sees so much time on the top PP unit. But that is just another example of the trust Julien has in him. And last night, PJ had one of his best games of the year. Good decisions with and without the puck, as usual. Seemed to have some jump in his step and was generally involved in a good way all night.
4)Shane Hnidy may be the most under rated player on the team (and around the NHL). Once again, the veteran had a nice steady, no panic game. Seemed like every time the Habs started flying around and applying pressure, the puck would end up on Hnidy's stick and he'd calmly clear the zone. Nothing fancy, just effective. Although he looked awkward wearing a visor, he showed no hesitation in playing his usual rugged style, willing to mix it up a bit and block shots as usual.
5)This bruins team is the most "unified" team they've had in many years. When Ashley (or was it Mary-Kate?) Kostitsyn boarded Ward, the first person to respond was Timmy Thomas. He was quickly joined by everyone else n the ice, as we've come to expect.
So those are five things that we already knew about the Bruins. But what, if anything, did we get confirmation on from the Canadien side? Glad you asked.
1) We, as expected, were proven to be right that Mike Komisarek is a complete and total pansy and cheap shot artist. His next hit on an opponent that sees him coming will be his first. How many times can you "low-bridge" opponents before you seriously injure someone? This hit has apparently become his bread and butter, at least against the B's. And just to remain consistent, he was his classic pushing, shoving and chirping after the whistle (while safely separated by the refs) self. The fact that Lucic wasn't in the line-up, and Komi was taking advantage of it was glaring.
2)A. Kostitsyn, is in fact, a woman. This is a player with a history of dirty hits, who has yet to stand up for his actions. While his hit on Ward wasn't the worst I've ever seen, it was clearly avoidable. Ward had his back to him for a long time, but this little weasel targeted him anyway. Absolutely no reason to hit a player in that position. Of course, as soon as the Bruins responded, he hiked up his skirt and practically ran to the safety of the penalty box. I'm not saying every player in the league has to fight. But I AM saying, if you're going to CONSISTENTLY make dangerous hits, you should be willing to stand up for your actions. You're risking people's careers, you should at least be willing to put your nose on the line and take the beating you have coming to you.
3)Canadien fans are still delusional. FIRST comment I saw today from a Habs fan (this means you, Rocket) was that the game was won by the officials. Really? So, the hit on Ward was legal? And the follow up cross check by Hamerlick should have just been ignored? You know, for a city that constantly anoints itself as the center of the hockey universe, some "all knowing bastion of hockey purity", the amount of nonsense and homerism that comes from that Province is dumbfounding. It cracks me up to no end to read such ignorant comments. Oh, and it's not just the constant whining about the refs that is so amusing. SO many of the comments I've seen today are about how "Thomas is lucky" and "we make him look like an All-Star" or "Thomas can't keep being so lucky, and he won't play well in the playoffs". HYSTERICAL. Just what, exactly, do Habs fans need for "proof" that Tim Thomas, IS in fact, an All-Star caliber goalie? Forget the fact that most Habs fans are discounting the loss because of all their injuries, I expected that. Of course, they also don't want to acknowledge that the Bruins were missing as many, if not more, key pieces. But hey, if Habs fans want to make excuses and still claim to be the superior team, despite all the evidence to the contrary, I won't be the one to rain on their parade (Just their Stanley Cup parade, which I'm sure they have all planned already).
Bottom line from last night is this: It was a pretty entertaining game, but not nearly what some Bruins-Canadien games have been. With the number of AHL players involved, I'm not surprised. But nice to see that "our kids" are better than "their kids", at least for one night.
Go B's, and F*ck the Habs-Kynch
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Boston, MA - Boston Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced today that the club has assigned defenseman Matt Lashoff and goaltender Kevin Regan to the Providence Bruins and recalled goaltender Tuukka Rask and forward Martin St. Pierre from the Providence Bruins on an emergency basis. Additionally, the club has placed forward Phil Kessel on injured reserve (mononucleosis). Rask and St. Pierre are expected to participate in the team's morning skate today and be available for the game against the Montreal Canadiens at the TD Banknorth Garden this evening.
Monday, January 12, 2009
Sunday, January 11, 2009
I send props & sincere congrats also out to both Looch & Wheels for their being added to the YoungStars squad for All Star Weekend as well as both deserve to recognized as part the seemingly endless group of young and extremely talented players in today's NHL... BUT putting all that aside for a minute. I find it a crime to not recognize David Krejci in the same way given the way he's played so far this year as well as him being a key part of the NHL's most successful team thus far... What gives? I mean to not even be named to the YoungStars squad? WTF is that NONSENSE!? Also for the sake for full disclosure and so we're 100% straight, I'll acknowledge but will put aside my fully public "Man Love" for "The Krej" for at least a few here minutes... I totally understand and accept that certain things about these kinds of "All Star Events" have never & will never be fair. Things like roster spots going to the unworthy due to ASININE Fan Ballot stuffing (See: Habs Fans, Montreal) Already having other that are equally or even more so named to the squad which in this case would be Chara, Thomas & Savard (where's Kess btw!) & the fact most young players outside of the true superstars have to wait their turn which I agree & understand for the most part... So now that I've accepted all that and because I believe in my heart of hearts that Phil Kessel should be next in line from the B's to be named to the big squad anyways that The Krej won't be one this years Eastern squad... OK. But now they really kick him, the Bruins organization & his other fans right in the stones by not AT LEAST naming Krejci to the NHL "YoungStars" game roster! God...Someone please help me this one add up and explain to me how that can be justified!?! This non-selection is just plain STUPID & makes NO SENSE at all! WTF?! Why am I making such a big thing out of this for only a "YoungStars Game" you ask?! Because even if you haven't had the pleasure of watching The Krej play game in/game out this season, you need only to look at just the most basic of stats that he's posted so far and you'll see that as of this morning (1/11/09) that he friggin' DESERVES IT that's why! To this point. Through 42 games so far in the 08/09 Season, Krejci's stats sit at:
*16 Goals/30 Assists for 46 pts (2nd of the team & tied for 8th in the LEAGUE!)
*He's at a plus/minus of +25 (3rd on the team / 3rd in the whole NHL)
*His shooting percentage stands at 21.6% (1st on the team / 7th in the NHL)
Add in the fact that he's played a solid if not spectacular at times "whole" game this year (I.e.- at even strength, on both the PP & PK teams, in his own zone, the face off circle etc...) and that he's been the center (no pun intended) of one of the NHL's most productive lines this year, along side Michael Ryder & Blake Wheeler. All of whom by the way play on one of the leagues most successful teams this season, that's why! HELLOOOOOO...
Look it, I'm sure there's many other teams and many other different fans that can and would make just as strong an argument or "their guy" needing to be there and them being boned out of an invite too and to them I say - GET YOUR OWN BLOG! :-) Seriously though does anyone feel the need to argue these facts after looking at even his stats and tell me he doesn't AT LEAST deserve a "YoungStars" slot... Thought not!
So after all that I guess I now just need to get over it and console myself by remembering that HOCKEY is a truly a TEAM game (ain't that right Montreal? -yeah right!) and so with this I now officially move past this BLATANT SNUB & will get back to the BRUINS TEAM and it's success... However not unlike the "Governator of California" I reserve the future right to say "I'll be BACK!" if this BS happens to him again so be warned all!
Until then though thanks for reading, Let's Go Broounze! & Long Live the New King (Krej!!) -KingKrej46
B's NewsBlast! - Looch & Wheels are NHL All Game Weekend Bound as they're named to "YoungStars" Game!
NEW YORK (Jan. 9, 2009) -- The high-scoring NHL sophomore class, led by Nicklas Backstrom of the Washington Capitals, Bryan Little of the Atlanta Thrashers and Devin Setoguchi of the San Jose Sharks, will face rookie goaltending phenom Steve Mason of the Columbus Blue Jackets and other top first-year players in a non-stop, wide-open game of three-on-three in the NHL YoungStars
Game presented by Upper Deck, Saturday, Jan. 24 at Montreal’s Bell Centre.
Showcasing the best of the League's young talent, the 10-player sophomore and rookie teams will face off as part of the 2009 Honda/NHL SuperSkills (7 p.m., ET, CBC, RDS, VERSUS). This marks the sixth consecutive YoungStars Game at All-Star Weekend and the first under the sophomores vs. rookies format.
The rookies will have to contend with a sophomore offense that features 2007-08 Calder Trophy runner-up Backstrom, who ranks second on the Capitals and 11th in NHL scoring with 45 points (12 goals, 33 assists); Little, who leads the Thrashers with 19 goals; and Setoguchi, who ranks second among Sharks in goals (18). Completing the talented sophomore lineup is 2008 YoungStars Game MVP Brandon Dubinsky of the New York Rangers, Milan Lucic of the Boston Bruins, Andrew Cogliano of the Edmonton Oilers and Mason Raymond of the Vancouver Canucks.
The sophomore defensemen are Kris Letang of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Marc Staal of the New York Rangers, each of whom competed as rookies in last year's YoungStars Game in Atlanta. The goaltender is Erik Ersberg of the Los Angeles Kings, the 26-year-old Sala, Sweden native who was not selected in his draft-eligibility years, signed as a free agent with the Kings in May, 2007 and has gone on to win a full-time place with the club.
The rookies will be backstopped by Mason, who has captured NHL Rookie of the Month honors for each of the past two months. He capped his December performance by posting a franchise-record three consecutive shutouts, becoming the first rookie netminder to do so since Detroit's Glenn Hall in 1955-56. Mason enters tonight's game at Washington with a 13-9-1 record, leads the League in goal-against average (1.82) and save percentage (.934), and is tied for the lead in shutouts (five)
Mason's defense pair are both top-five 2008 Entry Draft selections, 19-year-olds Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings and Luke Schenn of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Doughty, picked second overall, and Schenn, who went fifth, rank 1-2 among rookies in average ice time per game at 23:54 and 21:05, respectively.
The rookie offense will be led by three co-leaders in the rookie goal-scoring race with 13, Blake Wheeler of the Boston Bruins, Kris Versteeg of the Chicago Blackhawks and James Neal of the Dallas Stars. Rounding out the lineup is 2008 Entry Draft first overall selection Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Michael Frolik of the Florida Panthers, Mikkel Boedker of the Phoenix Coyotes and Patrik Berglund of the St. Louis Blues.
YoungStars players were selected by the NHL’s Hockey Operations Department and the NHL Players' Association. in consultation with League General Managers."
The full press release can also be found here: http://bruins.nhl.com/team/app/?service=page&page=NewsPage&articleid=403157
*Photo credit for the above goes out to the folks at bostonbruins.com as well!
NEW YORK - Head coaches Claude Julien of the Boston Bruins and Todd McLellan of the San Jose Sharks will lead the Eastern and Western Conference All-Star Teams, respectively, at the 57th NHL All-Star Game, Sunday, Jan. 25 at Bell Centre in Montreal (6 p.m. ET, CBC, RDS, VERSUS, NHL Radio)
Under the selection process for All-Star coaches, the head coach and assistant coach for the Eastern Conference All-Stars are the head coaches of the two teams with the top points percentages in the Eastern Conference through games of tonight, the halfway point of the 2008-09 regular season. The head coach and assistant coach of the Western Conference All-Stars are the head coaches of the two teams with the best points percentages in the Western Conference.
Julien has guided Boston to its best start since 1929-30 with a points percentage of .780, posting 64 points in 41 games (30-7-4); the Bruins are assured of having the Conference's top points percentage through Saturday. Julien will make his first career NHL All-Star coaching appearance in the city where he coached the Canadiens for 159 games over three seasons from 2002-03 to 2005-06.
The full press release can also be found here: http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=403358
Friday, January 9, 2009
Chara, Savard and Thomas are All-Stars & will play in the 57th All-Star Game in Montreal, Jan. 25
Marc Savard, Zdeno Chara and Tim Thomas will represent the Boston Bruins at the All-Star game again in 2009.Boston, MA - The NHL announced today that Boston Bruins Zdeno Chara, Marc Savard and Tim Thomas have been named to the Eastern Conference All-Star roster for the 2009 NHL All-Star game, which will be held on Sunday, January 25 at 6:00 p.m. ET at the Bell Centre in Montreal (National TV: VERSUS).
This marks the fourth all-star appearance for Chara, the second for Savard and the second for Thomas. All three players represented the Bruins at last year's all-star game.
The Bruins captain has posted 7-15-22 totals, a +17 rating and 48 penalty minutes on the year. Chara is also the two-time defending Hardest Shot contest winner at the NHL All-Star game, having recorded blasts of 100.4 MPH in 2007 and 103.1 MPH in 2008. The 2009 Cisco Hardest Shot contest will be held as part of the Honda/NHL All-Star SuperSkills Competition on Saturday, January 24 at 7:00 p.m. ET (National TV: VERSUS)
Savard has tallied the fourth most points in the NHL with 49, trailing only Evgeni Malkin (63), Alex Ovechkin (53) and Sidney Crosby (51). His 36 assists rank third behind Malkin (48) and Joe Thornton (36) and he owns the best plus/minus rating in the NHL, along with teammate Dennis Wideman (+25). Savard scored the game-winning goal in last year’s All-Star game during an 8-7 win for the East.
Thomas, who has compiled a 16-4-3 record on the season, is among the league leaders in all major goaltending categories. He ranks fourth in Goals Against Average (2.13), tied for fourth in Save Percentage (.932), and tied for fifth in shutouts (3). Thomas played a key role in last year's All-Star game, as he played the entire third period and earned the victory for the East. For more information on the All-Star game, and the weekend festivities, visit www.nhl.com.
Eastern Conference All-Star Roster:
STARTERS:Goaltender: C. Price (MTL) Defensemen: A.Markov (MTL), M. Komisarek (MTL) Forwards: S. Crosby (PIT), E. Malkin (PIT), A.Kovalev (MTL)
RESERVES:Goaltenders: H. Lundqvist (NYR), T. Thomas (BOS) Defensemen: J. Bouwmeester (FLA), Z. Chara (BOS), M. Streit (NYI), T. Kaberle (TOR) Forwards: I. Kovalchuk (ATL), M. Savard (BOS), T. Vanek (BUF), E. Staal (CAR), Z Parise (NJD), D. Heatley (OTT), J. Carter (PHI), V. Lecavalier (TBL), A. Ovechkin (WSH)
Western Conference All-Star Roster:
STARTERS:Goaltender: J.S. Giguere (ANA) Defensemen: B. Campbell (CHI), S. Niedermayer (ANA) Forwards: P. Kane (CHI), J. Toews (CHI), R. Getzlaf (ANA)
RESERVES:Goaltenders: N. Backstrom (MIN), R. Luongo (VAN) Defenseman: N. Lidstrom (DET), S. Souray (EDM), S. Weber (NSH), D. Boyle (SJS) Forwards: J. Iginla (CGY), M. Hejduk (COL), R. Nash (CBJ), M. Modano (DAL), P. Datsyuk (DET), D. Brown (LAK), S. Doan (PHX), K. Tkachuk (STL), J. Thornton (SJS)
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Send in the clowns! The cure for what ails ya, aka the Ottawa Senators roll into town tonight for their last game of an 8 game road trip. Lets just say it hasn't exactly been a smash hit. In fact, the Sens are 2-7-1 over their last 10 games. In looking at their stats, it's easy to see why they currently reside in the 12th spot in the East. They've scored an embarrassing 89 goals, while allowing 111 (compared to 143 GF and 89 GA for the B's). Yikes. Not surprisingly, their individual +/- numbers awful. They have a total of THREE players with a + for the season. The Muppet, Alfredson is the only forward on the + side (+3) of the ledger. Chris Phillips is a mind numbing -20! That kind of number gets you shipped out of Boston, but he's played every game for the Sens. That pretty much sums up their defensive depth. Now we all know the old saying that anyone CAN beat anyone on any given night. I agree. But honestly....does anyone expect the B's to not HAMMER the Sens tonight? They Bruins have lost 2 straight at home, and that can't be sitting well with them. I expect maximum effort tonight and a much more wide open attack than we've seen lately. Kessel could have a field day playing against these pylons they call defensemen. Krejci and Savard may get sued for causing whiplash. Ok ok....I'll calm down. But seriously....OTTAWA? Awful. According to the B's site, Hnidy (eye) and Lucic (undisclosed) are out for tonight. Ward should be back in the lineup. The Lucic 'injury' is interesting. I'm not convinced he's actually hurt at all. I wouldn't be surprised at all if Julien is just telling him to take a day off and watch from upstairs. Looch's game has slipped quite a bit lately, and I bet that Julien is just sending him a little wake up call. Obviously, I hope that's the case. They don't need Lucic to be dealing with any injuries. For the Sens, they'll be without uber-pest Jarko Ruutu for two games while he serves his suspension for going all Tree Rollins on Andrew Peeters. That leaves Chris Neil as the clear cut choice for most hated Sen tonight. I can't stand this guy. I give him credit for tangling with the heavy's of the league, but he's a punk. Predictions: Boston wails away on the hapless Sens and wins it 6-1. Ryder, Kessel (2), Wheeler, Chara and Savard score for Boston. Thornton gets sick of Neil's BS and pounds him (I'm guessing first period sometime). Go B's-Kynch
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
OK everyone, settle down. Step away from the panic button. Yes, your beloved B's have lost consecutive games in regulation for the first time this season. But is that an indication that their play is slipping? Or is it just one of those things that happens to everyone. Right now, I'm more inclined to think it's just one of those normal things every team goes through. Although they didn't look great against Buffalo, and Julien made his displeasure clear, they didn't play that poorly. And last night, while I was surprised and a bit disappointed in the "energy" they displayed, they played OK again. Now, "OK" isn't good enough if they plan to stay on top in the East. Fortunately the issue's they're having now are easily correctable. It all comes down to effort, and that's the easiest thing of all to fix. The forecheck game has been off lately. That has been such a strength of theirs, that I can't see why they can't get back to it pretty quickly. Maybe these losses will remind them that, despite their obvious skill, at heart they're a team built on hard work. It seems to me that lately they've started to rely too heavily on their talent, and less on their system and effort. And we see the results. Guys like Blake Wheeler are immensely talented. But unless and until he decides to simplify his game a bit, he'll struggle to score goals. The worst thing that happened to him was getting away with some crazy stick handling moves earlier in the season. Now he acts like he has to beat everyone on the ice, the bench and a couple of ushers before shooting the puck. Hate to say it, but it's shades of Sergei Samsonov. Great moves that don't result in a shot on goal. Somewhat entertaining, but worthless. Let me be clear; this is in no way an indictment of Wheeler, his skill set or his potential. He's been a terrific player so far for the B's. But he needs to shoot the puck more. He prides himself on not "wasting" shots, which is fine...to an extent. When you're playing teams like the Wild or Devils, you have to take any and all shots that are available. You don't get many clean looks with the way they play defense. So you have to chip everything you can on net and hope you get a good bounce. And lets face it, that's playoff style hockey as well. The young guys, especially ones that have no NHL playoff experience like Wheeler, need to learn that fancy doesn't win in the post-season. Simple, smart hockey does. Ugly is beautiful in may and June. You can make your living (and the highlight reels) by being fancy in December against Atlanta. Play that style against a playoff team, and it's a short series. Again, I'm not saying skill guys shouldn't be allowed to "create" out there, but there is a time and place for it. The middle of a 1-0 game against a trapping team isn't the time or place. Before this sounds too much like a Wheeler bashing, I should point out that his line, with Krejci and Ryder has been their best line by far lately. The Savard line, with Kessel and inexplicably, Axelsson, has been all but invisible. Again, I don't think this is anything to get all worked up about. They're too good to think that this funk they're in will be long lasting. But it seems every little "chip" pass Savard tries lately goes directly to a defender. When they work, he looks like a hero. When they don't, he looks like he has no clue what he's doing. Every player goes through those stretches where things don't work the way you expect them to. I fully expect Savvy to turn it around quickly. Lucic is also in a bit of a rut. But at least he seems to be trying to hit his way out of it. But dear Lord, as much as I love the kid, he has some awful hands. Is it just me, or does he have to stop his feet every time he handles the puck? If the puck bounces AT ALL, he's screwed. That being said, and even though he probably doesn't "deserve" it, it may be time to throw him back up on the Savard line. Savvy and Kess seem to play "looser" when the big man is riding shotgun. And honestly, Axe is a fine player and a hell of a guy....but he isn't a first line wing. The good news is, the B's have the Senators coming to town Thursday, and they could be just what the doctor ordered. I mean, that team is "simply dreadful" (to quote the great Fred Cusick). With the B's in need of a win in a big way, the Sens are a perfect fit. I can see a big win, something along the lines of 6-1 for the good guys. A convincing win, playing their style of hockey, could go a long way towards starting a new winning streak. Which is important, because after Saturday's tilt with Carolina (AGAIN!), Montreal comes to town Tuesday. No need to give the Habs any idea's about catching them for the division lead. I know, they B's still have a 12 point lead on the Habs, so it isn't like they can catch them next week. But, as we get close to the All-Star break, the more distance they can put between them and Montreal, the better. Bottom line is, this 2 game losing "streak" is probably nothing more than a blip on the radar. A normal occurrence that we all knew was coming. The key is to not let it turn into a legit "slump". And I believe they have the talent, especially in goal, to prevent any long losing streaks. Getting their game "right" is their first priority and Ottawa *should* prove to be a good team to sharpen up against. Go B's-Kynch
Monday, January 5, 2009
As the saying goes,all good things must come to an end. And the B's winning streak did just that on Saturday. Personally, I'm not that upset about it. It's not like they were going to go undefeated the rest of the way or something. So it HAD to happen eventually. And let's be honest...as much as I dislike Buffalo, at least it wasn't Montreal that beat them. And actually, after watching the game again, I'm even less concerned with the loss. Yes, they played very sloppy in their own end. But they did have a ton of good scoring chances that they either just missed, or Miller robbed them. That happens, and I can live with that. I'd rather see that than them not even getting any chances. The fourth line had one of their best games in a long time too, just not enough to carry the team. Great shot by Thornton on his goal too, love seeing guys like him score from time to time. The only negative, in the offensive end, I saw was the B's unwillingness to just throw pucks at the net. When things aren't clicking, just chip anything and everything you can at the net. They have a ton of skill, so sometimes they seem to rely on it too much. Obviously, for the most part it works for them. But they have to be able to get those "ugly" goals in games like Saturday's too. Again, I'm far from worried though. I didn't see a lack of effort really, just one of those games. The good news is, the B's will have a chance to get back on track against a struggling Minnesota club on Tuesday. The Wild, while still among the elite in goals against, have a real hard time scoring their own, having potted just 96 on the season (compared to Boston's 143). Not having Marion Gaborik in their lineup for at least ten more weeks won't help matters. As a result, I expect them to play their usual defensive style and try to get some of those "ugly" goals. Look for them to follow the buffalo blue-print and forecheck hard and get lots of traffic around the Boston net. The Wild offense (what there is of it) is led by Mikko Koivu (cool, we can practice booing a Koivu in advance of next Tuesday's match with the Habs), with a whopping 11 goals. Andrew Brunette is the only other Wild player with double digit goals (the B's have six, including Kessel with 24). One thing the Wild can, and most assuredly will bring to the table is toughness. Derek Boogaard leads the way in that department. The 6'8", 270LB Boogaard is known as one the very toughest "enforcers" in the game. He leads the team with 7 fighting majors, all against "legit tough guys". He only has 7 bouts because most guys want no part of tangling with him. As is often the case, I wouldn't be surprised to see him try to lure Lucic into a confrontation. It's a good trade off for the Wild, and I'm sure "The Boogie Man" has heard all about the tough kid in Boston. Wouldn't surprise me if he wanted to see what the kid has. Terrible match-up for the B's though. So, if he tries to start anything, I expect Thornton to fall on his sword and challenge Boogaard. Not saying Thornton can't take him, just saying it will be a REAL tough bout for him....as it is for anyone in the game. Much to my surprise, I noticed that Owen Nolan is playing for the Wild. If I'm not mistaken, Nolan is 87 years old and has been in the NHL since Ireland was one nation. Seriously.....doesn't it seem like he's been around FOREVER? Even more amazingly, he's got 4 goals in his last 3 games. Bizarre. Predictions: At this point, and I hate doing predictions a day in advance...so this may change, I'm saying Bruins win 3-2. Ryder, Lucic and Savard are your scorers. Boogaard goes with Thornton in a decent bout. And, Lucic drops the gloves with big defenseman Craig Weller (6'4", 220lbs). With the B's coming off a loss and Minny needing to be physical to compete, I can see this one getting fairly chippy. Off topic- I'm not sure if NESN hit an all-time high or an all-time low by using Kool Moe Dee's "wild wild west" as the music for their highlight package of the last meeting between the Wild and Bruins. I mean really....old school rap over a hockey montage? I was oddly amused by it. I think I need a shower. Go B's-Kynch