Tuesday, October 02, 2007

American Hockey Fan Season Preview: Boston Bruins

In case you guys didn't catch Kevin Paul Dupont's recent Sunday Boston Globe column, he really went on a tear. I'll tell you, nobody can hate on the Bruins like Dupont. I quote:

"The Bruins today are New Orleans-after-Katrina low, and in theory it should be easier to reassemble one ramshackle franchise than an entire city gone asunder."


The Boston Bruins are in worse shape than post-Katrina New Orleans?

OK, they were bad, but were they really Two-part Spike Lee documentary on HBO bad?

Yeah, they had a hard season, and I appreciate the lyrical turn, but I gotta tell ya KPD, that's a fucked up statement.

The Boston Bruins:
In WAY better shape than these dudes.

As bad as they were, they still finished better than both the Flyers and Capitals, or as Dupont might refer to them, Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Let's not forget, this was a team that remained in the chase for a playoff spot through February, and then crapped the bed on two crucial home and home series against the Rangers and Canadiens, who were both at the time, vulnerable.

Those four games, from March 18th through the 24th, were must win games, and when they blew them, all of them, the Bruins were done, and they knew it. They would win only one more game that season, and it would be tough to argue that anybody who wasn't just up from Providence was trying too hard. I'm not saying that if they had busted their balls to win those games, anything would have come of it, but if they hadn't been gutted by those back to back home and homes(thanks unbalanced schedule), maybe they wouldn't have quit. If they played up to their ability, and added, say- 13 points in nine games to their final standings it makes them look a hell of a lot more like the playoff team that they had the potential to be.

Don't get me wrong, the Bruins were a painfully inconsistent team all of last season, but that's a flaw that I lay at the feet of the coaching staff, which has been replaced. I'm not saying that I have complete confidence in Claude Julien, but at least his technique of motivating the team won't be pitching a fucking bear head around the locker room. Adding Manny Fernandez in goal is a huge improvement over Hannu Toivenen, who they shipped to St. Louis for a used puck bag Swedish prospect Carl Soderburg.

Also, it bears mentioning that the evening of that first crucial game they played against the Rangers was one of the first games (if not the first) that Aaron Ward played as a Boston Bruin. Ward was traded from the Rangers because of a dispute with Jaromir Jagr, something that should endear him to Bruins fans of all stripes.

Ward is a solid defenseman who despite his big mouth in the locker room, has quietly and efficiently won a number of Stanley Cups over a long and successful career. Plus, whatever he hits, he destroys. He came into a situation that was already deteriorating, and I feel like a competitor like that has gotta have a really big chip on his shoulder for a fresh start. As a lifelong Bruins fan, I have my eye on Aaron Ward for a big season, and when I say a big season, I mean it not in the sense of putting up stats. I'm looking for a guy who can get things done, not be too flashy, not go over the top, just get in there, and show the young guys how to fucking win in this league.

While the team certainly has a lot of gelling to do, they certainly have the tools to roll a couple of lines.

Marc Savard is as good a setup man as anybody in the game today, and is just three fights and one soul patch away from being a beloved Boston sports hero. Here's a tip Marc: if you want to stand out as Marc Savard the hockey player, maybe you oughta try to distinguish yourself from Marc Savard the Hypnotist.

I mean, for Christ's sake, dude.

You're a great fucking hockey player- there's no need to have the facial hair that Kevin Costner sported on a photo shoot for the AARP.

Sturm, Savard and Murray can Score. Patrice Bergeron has it in him to be an elite player in this league, and PJ Axelsson is one of the finest shorthanded players in the NHL. Not to put too fine a point on it, but if the Bruin management's pledge to make the Bruins a "harder team to play against" comes true, having some crafty shorthanded guys will really help us out. Chuck Kobasew is no slouch in that department either, not that he really had that much of a chance to prove himself last year.

So look- am I saying that the Boston Bruins are going to win the Stanley Cup this season?


That is exactly what I'm saying.

I mean, fuck it, who picked the Canes in '06?


VinNay said...

You are insane, though I admire your wishful thinking.

Here is an alliterative truth for you.

Boston. Bruins. Basement.

Unfortunately, Manny Fernandez, while an improvement in goal for sure, cannot handle the load and will be limited to maybe 45 starts.

Chara is the only decent D Boston has (maybe Ward can be better if they give him a specific role like he had in Carolina) and this is evidenced by the miserable +/- of all the forwards. Hell, even chara was -21. This is no Ottawa D.

Hopefully Julian can bring some solid defensive play to the Bruins like he did for NJ, but I would be fairly surprised if the Bruins didn't finish last in the division and 14-16 in the east.

Anonymous said...

Today's Washington Post predicts who will finish in the top 8 in each conference - East Highlights: 1. Rangers, 2. Sens, 3. Canes, 4. Penguins, 5. TB, 6. Sabres, 7. Devils, & 8. Caps (a little biased).

In the section titled "Not Ready for Prime Time" - Atlanta, Boston, & the all the rest of the Eastern Conference teams.