Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Our summer of discontent

What a long strange trip it's been. After "it" happened back on May 14th, I guess we should have expected a summer of weirdness (That, by the way will officially be the LAST time I mention that date). Before the ice had even melted at the Garden, the speculation, rumors and general grumbling began. So where to start? No better place than the draft.
All the "Tyler or Taylor" talk was, frankly, annoying. The B's were basically in a can't lose situation. Both are more than likely going to be excellent pros. And you have to believe Chiarelli was happy to be in that #2 slot, so Edmonton could pretty much make his decision for him. Sure, one will likely emerge as the "better" NHL player. But when drafting 18 year olds, it's impossible to predict when the talent level is so close. Personally, I'm more than happy with Seguin, despite early on being completely on the Hall bandwagon. As the draft approached, Seguin, to me, emerged as the hungrier, more humble prospect. Being passed over as the #1 will only motivate him. But PLEASE people, can we relax on some of the wild expectations? Sure, he very well may just pile up a ridiculous amount of points as a rookie. But it's just as likely he'll struggle to find his game, especially if put on a more defensive minded line. He has all the skill in the world, but he's still just a kid. A 40 point season, to me, is perfectly acceptable as a rookie. Would I be shocked by many more? No, but I won't crucify him if not either. As long as we see progress, I'm fine with him.

After the draft, the biggest stories obviously revolved around some baffling trade rumors. The rumor mill had Marc Savard going to half the teams in the league at one point or another. The never ending "Savvy for Kaberle" rumors were especially prevalent. From day one, I've been firm in my belief that trading Savard would be a monumental mistake. I mean hey, what do you do when your team is the worst in the league in scoring? Why obviously you trade your most productive forward! Makes perfect sense. Hopefully Savard's Post Concussion symptoms clear up soon. He's a huge piece to getting this team back to it's prolific scoring ways of two seasons ago.

The other trade rumor that left me scratching my head was all the Tim Thomas talk. Sure, I "get it" on some level. Assuming Tuukka is able to put up the kind of numbers he did last year over the course of a full season, he would definitely be a clear number one. Right??? Well, Thomas, when healthy, could easily put up the same stats. I know people either love or hate Timmy. But I don't understand it. So he "flops". He's "unorthodox". But he keeps the puck out of his net. And for a bonus, he's got a short fuse, which I always enjoy! There will be a time this season, even IF Rask establishes himself as the number one guy (not a lock by the way), that the B's will need Thomas. Injuries and slumps aren't uncommon. Personally, I'd much rather have a former Vezina winner coming off the bench than anyone the Bruins currently have in their system. An insulted, motivated Tim Thomas can be nothing but a good thing. Every time he's been doubted, he's proven them wrong. I expect nothing less this year. And let's remember, Tuukka only played in slightly more than half the regular season games last year. And he looked to get more and more fatigued as the playoffs went on. Is he physically capable of being "the man"? We'll see.

As usual, the trade that actually did happen was the one you didn't see coming. Wideman, everyone's favorite whipping boy, was dealt to the lowly Panthers. Good luck. In return, the B's picked up Nathan Horton and Greg Campbell. I'm still stunned Chiarelli was able to make this deal. from where I sit, he won this one big time. Horton, while always considered an under-achiever, has still managed 20+ goal season every year. Wish Boston had more "under-achievers" like that. Playing in a traditional hockey market, for a stable franchise stocked with better players make Horton the player everyone thinks he should be. 30 goals could be just a starting point for him.
As far as Campbell goes, he could be the Mile Lowell of this deal. A "throw in" in many people's eyes, he's a solid 4th liner who adds some "grit" to the Bruins lineup. He's also a lot more skilled than most people give him credit for. I'm real interested to see what kind of season he has. I think he may surprise a lot of us.

So now that summer is over, hopefully we can put an end to the ridiculous trade rumors (at least until Sturm is back I suppose) and focus on the on-ice product. Over the next couple days, I'll be chiming in with who I want to see make the final cut, and who I EXPECT to make it. Two different lists, for sure.

That's it for now.....lame I know, but whatever. Not like I'm charging you freeloaders or anything.
Chip it out, dump it in,

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