Friday, January 15, 2010

West Coast Trip - Win One Lose One

Two games out of three are out of the way on the Bruins west coast swing. All things considered, I'll take the results and I'm betting Claude Julien would agree.

On Wednesday the Bruins fell 4-3 to the surging Anaheim Mighty Ducks (I still call them that, fuck Disney). Then, in what has to be one of the worst scheduling breaks of the season for any team, the banged up Bruins had to hop up to San Jose last night for a tilt against the NHL's best team (they finished the night tied with Chicago for the points lead). Oh yea, for those east coasters out there, SJ isn't a 45 minute flight from LA, its a real plane ride.

The Bruins somehow managed to withstand a 42 shot barrage from the Sharks and thanks to Timmy and a flurry of good forechecking by, well...I don't know what the hell line they are anymore but - by the Whitfield-Paille-Thornton line, the Bruins snuck into a shootout where Chara bombed a slapshot 5 hole on Nabokov for the 2-1 win.

Chara logged something like 27 minutes of icetime last night and frankly, i don't know how he's going to be upright after the Olympics at this rate. I can't believe i'm saying this, but we need Mark Stuart like Haiti needs purified water right now. Fortunately, both appear to be on their way to their respective destinations.

If the Bruins pull a Kurt Russel and snake their way out of LA on Saturday, they'll have managed 4 out of 6 points against 3 very solid teams in 4 days, all with a blatantly depleted roster.

Paging Mr. Chiarelli - trade deadline is less than 6 weeks away. More thoughts on that later, especially since NESN seems to think the B's brass has interest in an aging PP specialist with no PP goals this year (no, i'm not talking about Sergei Gonchar, we did that once). James Murphy...why the blank would we want an overpaid Sheldon Souray (3-9-12 in 30 games and no PPG)?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Bruins Flat - Handled by Rangers

As I watched the Ranger fans rise in excitement towards the end of the first period yesterday, it was instantly clear to me the Bruins were already on the ropes. Marco Sturm's missed penalty shot was the chance the young Bruins team had to grab momentum in this game - a chance that went right by the wayside. Despite only being down 1-0 at that point and outshooting the Rangers through the end of one period, the Bruins were a team on the ropes from the first faceoff yesterday and this will remain the case against most teams for the next few weeks.

Offense is key, and no doubt the absence of Marc Savard and Patrice Bergeron is going to be front and center with every broadcast of a B's game over the next 2-4 weeks. The bigger problem this team faces though, is the lack of depth on the blueline. Last year, when Andrew Ference, Aaron Ward and Dennis Wideman missed extended periods of time, the Bruins were able to tap into a plethera of defensive reserves chomping at the bit down route 95 in Providence. Guys like Matt Hunwick stepped up and showed how deep the organization was in young, talented defenseman. This year? Not the case.

As I witnessed firsthand yesterday, there is no Matt Hunwick or Matt Lashoff waiting in the wings this season to step up. All three goals in the Bruins 3-1 loss to the boys from NYC were a result of defensive lapses that can be specifically pinpointed to a young, inexperienced defensive corps. I'm betting if I told you at the start of the season that the Bruins' momentum in mid-season would be most jeopardized by the loss of Mark Stuart and Andrew Ference, you'd have laughed it off. But let's take a look at the replacements for these guys...

Johnny Boychuk - 24 career games played and personally responsible for the second goal last night. He made a number of mental mistakes giving up the puck in his own end or at the opposing blueline. Worst of all was his overreaction to a bump from Brandon Dubinsky in the second that led to Dubinsky scoring the second NY goal.

Adam McQuaid - 5 career games played. McQuaid looked amazingly slow to the puck last night (worse than Mark Stuart, believe it or not) and is a -4 in these first 5 games.

Now granted, Boychuk is promising offensively and set a franchise record with 66 points from the blueline for the P Bruins last year, but he's basically a bigger, slower Dennis Wideman with a harder shot. Good for offense, not so good for a team that is built on keeping the puck out of the net.

Finally, when a pretty good team loses top players like Savard and Bergy, the other top players have to be playing at their peak, and guys like Chara simply were not yesterday. Z made a really poor decision pinching up on the first Ranger goal yesterday which left a 3 on 1 behind him down in the slot. This kind of breakdown kills a team that's already on the ropes.

The Bruins need to weather the storm out west for a week or so now. How much water they take on is going to depend on these young d-men.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

GNH: Bruins Impeach Senators

B's score early, often
Wheeler stops being a bitch
Sens still can't beat Tim

Monday, January 4, 2010

Winter Classic Photo's

I want to tell you all about the Winter Classic (what i remember of it) but for now, i only have time to show you some pictures.

I was in section 37, row 7, seat 17. Here's what it looked like just before the puck dropped. Now go ahead and imagine watching the game from there.

Here's me and the fiance after the first period (we weren't losing yet)

More to come later!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Atlanta Brings the JV Goalie, Loses 4-0

B's fire up scoring
Chase Pavelec once again
Tuuk leads the boys home