Boston Bruins 2017-18 preview

Screen Shot 2017-08-08 at 11.43.28 PM

It’s already August, and we are finally starting to approach the one month mark until NHL preseason action begins.

The Bruins have their first preseason game on September 18th, with a good ol’ fashioned original six matchup, against the Habs at Videotron Centre in Quebec City.

So, get ready to take those nights off work and clear those schedules!

This past offseason, GM Don Sweeney raised some eyebrows (mine included) regarding how he used our cap space and did nothing to benefit our team for the upcoming season.

If you start to look at the offseason transactions, they aren’t that bad.

Yes, we didn’t gain much of anything, but it still isn’t too bad.

First, the biggest loss (in my opinion) was probably Dominic Moore, who signed a one year, one million dollar contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Moore was probably one of my favorite pick ups of the last off season and proved to be very valuable to the Bruins’ fourth line this season. I haven’t seen the fourth line this decent and consistent since the “Merlot Line” of Paille, Campbell, and Thornton. Moore played in all 82 games this season, finishing with 11 goals and 14 points.

Here is what I like:

While Sweeney didn’t acquire much of anything this season, the team showed flashes of a playoff contending team last season. The lines that were once inconsistent are now starting to gel, and David Backes and Riley Nash (2 of last off-season’s pickups) are starting to be very valuable. The Bruins also have a good amount of prospects in Providence (like Gabrielle and Kuraly) who can benefit by doing some time in the NHL this upcoming season.

I also kind of like the contract for Ryan Spooner, the one-year, 2.85 million one. Spooner wasn’t super impactful this past season, but he is someone I still enjoy having on this team. The one year contact is a “show off” contract, and hopefully, that can be what he needs to motivate himself to score more and work harder hopefully. He finished with 11 goals and 39 points this season in 78 games.

The NCAA talent we have coming this coming season is super exciting. We were able to see Charlie McAvoy do his thing in the playoffs, and see JFK in a game last season also. We are also super lucky that Anders Bjork concludes his college career and sign with the Bruins. The Bruins are starting to go younger like the league is, and it is something we have been waiting for.

Here is what I (DON)’t like:

you like the pun, don’t you?

Also, we still have Anton Khudobin on the roster for one more year. While I enjoy the fact that we are going to have depth in the goal but is it really necessary?

In the system, we have Tuukka (who obviously is the starting goaltender), Dobby, Malcolm Subban (who kind of needs to develop a lil more), and Zane McIntyre. We also have a young prospect in Daniel Valdar. Both Subban and McIntyre signed contracts this offseason, both 2-year, 1.3 million.

Subban has been in the system for a while now, when is it his chance to shine?

Goalies take a while to develop to be NHL caliber, but leaving one in the AHL long enough can stunt development and growth (see: Jack Campbell). Subban did play a game in the NHL this season, but McIntyre could prove to be the next future backup after playing in 8 games with a better GAA and SV% than Subban. But, I would love to see Subban maybe play a game or two of NHL action this season to see what he has been working on and for him to know what needs to be worked on. Also, it would allow other teams to look at him in the NHL scene if he was ever to be used for trade bait.

Not gonna lie, next year’s free agent list looks pretty awesome.

With all the Bruins chatter rounded up, let’s discuss the line predictions for the upcoming season!

FORWARDS:

Screen Shot 2017-08-08 at 11.26.58 PM

 

As for the first line, Bergy and Marchy gotta stay together. The Bruins need that chemistry to have a successful first line. Bjork would be great on the right wing and can compliment Bergeron’s defensive play. We could also see Pasta and Bjork switch places throughout the season, as the lines with them switched could work perfectly as well. Bjork might need to be eased into the NHL with a top line with Bergeron and Marchand.

For the second line, Krejci needs consistency. However. I believe that Beleskey gonna have a bounce back year after showing inconsistency last year. Many people forgot that both Krejci and Beleskey were either hurt or recovering from injury last season.  Having Pasta and Krejci together is great too, and they also showed great chemistry. As I said, Krejci needs consistency to stay consistent himself. Pastrnak has played with Krejci multiple times, and they have shown great chemistry.

The third line is always a mixed bag. Spooner and Vatrano are still trying to prove themselves into the lineup, and Backes is trying to show that he is worth his massive contract. I like Backes with Spooner because he provides that defensive support that Spooner may need, and can take defensive zone face-offs if needed.

The fourth line is meant for grit and physicality, not showing prospects and giving them a chance to grow. But, last season proved that the fourth line could have a good amount of chemistry and offensive play. This line played together last season, and it was shown to work. Nash is a very reliable, and not flashy, but he plays the offensive game well. Acciari is somewhat new to the NHL game and was injured for a good chunk of the season. Schaller is a great center that can bring it together like he did last season. I hope to keep this line consistent for not just the season, but next season also.

DEFENSE:

Screen Shot 2017-08-08 at 11.27.31 PM

The first pairing of Chara and McAvoy is very similar to the Chara-Carlo pairing last season. Chara is the best veteran defenseman, and as a veteran, he needs that young gun to mentor. Charlie McAvoy is that young gun. McAvoy proved to be good in the games he played in the NHL last season and has shown that he is ready for the NHL.

Torey Krug has to have a bigger, physical defenseman on his pairing due to his sparks of offense and size. This pairing of Krug and Carlo can prove to work for the team. Carlo is a defenseman that, along with McAvoy, is showing the fans a glimpse of what the future can look like for the Bruins.

Kind of like the fourth line, we have that 3rd pairing which is useful, but also made with more grit and physicality than the other two. Kevan Miller and Adam McQuaid fit the bill and prove to be deadly together.

The goalies are rather easy and common sense.

Tuukka is going to be number one, with Anton Khudobin as the backup.

We could see the Backup goalies rotating, like this past season. As I mentioned before, it would be good to see more of McIntyre and Subban, just to see a sneak peek of what the future can look like. Khudobin’s contract expires after this year, and I honestly don’t see him being re-signed in Boston.

That is the preview for the 2017-18 preview!

Making lines is kinda like Tetris, you want to have the players in places that make sense, while also utilizing their skills properly.

I’m pretty stoked for this season; the past season looked promising, and the offseason kind of went by fast, which is good.

See you next month!

^AHC

NHL and the 2018 Olympics, will it happen?

Online ClassRegistration-3

 

When you think of the Winter Olympics every four years, one of the first sports you may think of maybe Olympic Ice Hockey. Ice hockey is a big sport in many countries, like Canada and Russia.

It’s a wonderful sport, isn’t it? It is.

Recently, news broke out that the current NHL commissioner, Gary Bettman said that the NHL wouldn’t be sending their players to the 2018 Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Today, I want to discuss why players need to go to the Olympics,

for the better of the sport of hockey.

 

Players want to go and represent their countries.

rostersfeatured

Here is a handy graph showing NHL nationalities, as of 2014. (Source)

Since the recent announcement from Bettman, big name players like Alex Ovechkin, have gone against Bettman’s decision, and have publicly stated that “So, I don’t know, somebody (is) going to tell me ‘don’t go,’ I don’t care, I just go.”, as reported by ESPN reporter Pierre LeBrun.

Other players, like Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Henrik Lundqvist, have stated through social media, mostly Twitter, that they do not agree with the decision either and that a “huge opportunity to market the game on the biggest stage (in the world) is wasted.”

Even the NHLPA (National Hockey League Player’s Association) has gone out and have stated that “The players are extraordinarily disappointed and adamantly disagree with the NHL’s shortsighted decision to not continue our participation in the Olympics”.

The Olympics are the one way that a player can have the opportunity to represent their country in a huge event like this, and a lot of players have a great deal of pride for the countries that they represent.

The four-year gap between each Olympics can also make this the last chance that some players can represent their countries.

The decision could cause a drift between the League and the NHLPA, and the decision could prove even to cause players (mostly from Russia, and others) to move to another league temporarily (like the KHL) just to have the opportunity to represent their country on the Olympic stage.

 

Not being there could cause issues regarding Marketing.

The idea of watching a given country is better from a fan’s standpoint, as fans may be more interested in looking at a 2 to 3-week Olympic tourney than looking at a long, 82 game, 31 weeks long NHL regular season.

As stated before, the Olympics are considered the biggest stage in the world for sports and gives the NHL the best opportunity to advertise to new fans. The NHL is not as globally recognized of a league compared to the NBA, at least in revenue, according to Cork Gaines of Business Insider. The NBA makes $152 million, compared to the NHL’s $88 million.

Screen Shot 2017-04-11 at 6.43.02 PM

Here’s how the NHL compares to other leagues. (Source)

The Olympics brings out the best in hockey, and often shows people what hockey is all about, all skill and fast paced, an image that the NHL is trying to lean towards.

The NHL is a league that is focused on growing the game, and not taking the opportunity to grow hockey in a country with little hockey could prove to be a problem. According to the NHL website and their social media outlets, The NHL has taken strides to gain exposure in China (example: Boston Bruins sending two players to the country for marketing purposes), including an upcoming preseason game featuring the Canucks and Kings in Beijing, to prepare for the 2022 Olympics.

 

The Olympics in a new area isn’t new.

Since 1998, the Olympics have had professional hockey players in the hockey tournament of the Olympics. Before then, it was played by amateur athletes, often from college or minor leagues.

To show how different hockey was before 1998, Canada won the gold medal at the 1952 Winter Olympics and didn’t win again for 50 years, in 2002. Amateur players played most of those tournaments. In 1998, Olympic Hockey was also played in a small market, taking place in Nagano, Japan, and Gary Bettman was very instrumental in bringing pro hockey to said Olympics.

Like mentioned before, the NHL is wanting to grow the sport internationally, and they are already taking strides in China, the host of the 2022 Winter Olympics. The fact they aren’t taking the opportunity to show not only South Korea, but the World, about the sport of hockey, is crazy.

Why can’t he do it again?

 

Last, but not least, this could cause a lockout that no one wants.

Because the NHL, NHLPA, and the IIHF cannot agree on one thing, this could potentially be the perfect mix to cause a lockout before the Olympics begin. The union even believes that they will even take the owner’s of the team’s rights away that allow them to send their players to the Olympics themselves. Some owners (like the Capitals’ Ted Leonsis) have discussed sending their players to the Olympics regardless of the decision made by Gary Bettman, according to ESPN.

While the Olympics are an exciting event in general, Men’s Ice Hockey is a vital part of the games. Having no big names in hockey could cause issues regarding fanbases and viewership, and also create drifts between players.

I watch the Olympics every time they happen, and imagining an Olympics without NHL players is something I can’t imagine. It hasn’t even happened in my lifetime.

Yes, I am that young.

fear the bear

^AHC

Bruins Trade Rumor Ramble

screen-shot-2017-02-17-at-12-05-28-am

 

 

Let’s just say that the Claude Julien firing started everything, okay?

Anyways, the Trade Deadline is approaching pretty fast, and I haven’t even discussed trade rumors yet!

For those living under a rock (and by rock, I mean Las Vegas), the Trade Deadline is literally the most stressful day of the year for us hockey fans.

This is also probably the day when sleep goes down and coffee consumption skyrockets.

I’m not kidding.

o

The Bruins have probably had so many rumors about them this year, so if you’re a Bruins fan, you might want to put on your seat belts. You are about to go on Don Sweeney’s WILD RIDE.

One of the biggest names this season is probably (in my own opinion) is Brandon Carlo. Carlo has been mentioned a bunch with the Colorado Avalanche, involving a trade for Gabriel Landeskog, who we really don’t need.

Seriously, though, HOW MANY YEARS HAVE WE STRUGGLED ON DEFENSE.

Last year was seriously a shit show.

It is rumored that the Avs could go for a 1 for 1 deal involving both of these players.

Here is why it shouldn’t happen (because it shouldn’t):

While Landeskog wouldn’t work for the Bruins, he could work for another team. He is a valuable asset to the Avs, and because of this, he has a high trade value. He may be a powerful left wing that we might want, the Avs are also very weak in that area, and losing Landeskog may prove to be deadly for their already terrible system.

That being said, he could work for another team’s system, but Colorado needs to wait to deal him as it could make everything horrible.

Carlo is just now getting the hang of things. He’s playing top line minutes with veteran Zdeno Chara. He’s 20 years old and playing a role that no one expected him to do this season. I actually didn’t even have him on my depth charts for this season AT ALL. With the responsibility that he has every game, it’s easy to forget that he’s only 20. He is still learning, and the support that he has in the Boston system is miles better than what he would have in Colorado.

Being in Colorado could hinder his development, and Colorado wouldn’t get the player they were expecting.

But, I’m still scared because there was a picture that surfaced of Don Sweeney and Joe Sakic having an “intense” talk after the Boston/Montreal game.

Lord help us.

Another name being mentioned a bunch is David Krejci, who is CONSTANTLY being mentioned with the Saint Louis Blues and Kevin Shattenkirk.

These rumors are absolutely ridiculous, as David Krejci has a freaking NMC and a massively long contract.

But here we are.

The talk on this trade has slowed down quite a bit, but I still wanted to talk about it.

The Blues really need a top six center and the Bruins need a defenseman. It’s that simple.

Not gonna lie, though, I do like this trade, but it is unrealistic as there is an NMC on Krejci’s contract and there is no guarantee that Shattenkirk will resign at the end of the season. Shattenkirk is going to be a UFA at the end of this season and is due for a massive payday.

The trade would work a lot better if a Shattenkirk contract is signed before the trade. Plus, the blues would not only ask for Krejci but for a top prospect as well. This trade could potentially make us lose Charlie McAvoy (who is having a great year this year) or Brandon Carlo (see above).

As for who I want:

Cam Fowler (Anaheim Ducks): It might be easier to move Fowler during the offseason, but I just wanted to throw his name in here. Fowler probably won’t be a cheap name to acquire, but a deal like this could get rid of smaller names, like Ryan Spooner or Frank Vatrano. He is still young (25 y/o), having a great season, and his current contract isn’t that bad for what we could be getting.

Darcy Kuemper (Minnesota Wild): I thought I should discuss one position that a bunch of people seems to forget about: backup goalie. The Bruins have been inconsistent in the backup position for a while now, ever since Chad Johnson left two off-seasons ago. We started with Niklas Svedberg, then got Jonas Gustavsson, and we are now stuck with Anton Khodobin and Zane McIntyre. Also, the backup goalies this season have two wins all together this whole season so far. Kuemper has more experience at the backup position and has decent stats, which could possibly help reduce heart attacks from our fanbase. He currently has a 6-3-3 record on the season with a .904 SV%.

Patrick Eaves (Dallas Stars): Eaves has a small place in my heart, I’m not gonna lie. A lot of Dallas players do, except for Tyler Seguin that is. Eaves is on the last year of his contract and is currently looking at a career high season at 32 years old. We may not need much at the right wing position, but he could look great paired with Pasta and Backes and could resign at a one year deal next season if he ends up working out.

Jarome Iginla (Colorado Avalanche): While I get yelled at by the fanbase for this one, hear me out, okay? Anyways, with the new coaching change turning out better than expected, I see us making a run to the cup. Cassidy is making this team significantly better, and it shows. Iginla is on a team that has no chance at making the playoffs, and he’s not getting any younger. The Bruins could be one team that can give him a legit chance at winning the cup.

I wanted to add a minor leaguer here so, Matej Stransky (Dallas Stars): Currently on a career year and the all-star game, Stransky is starting to become the player that the Stars expected. I watched him play in Texas the past two seasons, and he is looking to become a skilled left winger. He reminds me a little bit of David Pastrnak. He’s great offensively, just needs to work a little bit on his defensive attributes and hockey sense.

fear the bear

^AHC

 

 

How the AHL Changed My Life: My Story

 

 

screen-shot-2017-02-16-at-10-45-52-pm

While I may have an “about me” page on this blog, I really want to tell every one of my beginning into the field of sports.

I give all my thanks to the American Hockey League, and more particularly, the Texas Stars.

I took the phrase “do what you love” and did it.

sit down, it’s storytime.

Coming out of high school, I attended a program through UMass Amherst (now one of my rival schools) all about sports management. Even though I came out of that program with the knowledge of the field, I also came out scared and slightly worried that finding a job in the field that I love (and now breathe) would be very difficult.

That’s where the AHL came in for me.

Living in the middle of Texas doesn’t allow for much opportunities in the field of hockey, but I remember attending a minor league for my birthday a year prior.

I decided to venture on to their website at the time, and see what openings they had for positions, as I wanted to see if I was heading in the right direction with my degree plan.

Behold, there was a position open that didn’t require a college degree,

and I hit that “apply” button.

I literally went on to that site to plan my future, and I decided to begin it right then and there.

For those who don’t know anything regarding what I have done for the past year and a half, I worked with the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League, as a member of the co-ed spirit squad, the Ice Patrol.

img_1244
One of my favorite nights, TEDDY BEAR TOSS!!

While to everyone in sports, this may seem like a bottom-of-the-barrel job, but for me, this meant so much more.

I started that job with no knowledge of the sports industry, and I didn’t know where to even begin. I ended it with great friendships and valuable knowledge that got me to where I am today.

While you may see applying tattoos on kids’ soft faces as a chore, I saw it as an opportunity.

While you may see me watching enthusiastic fans on the ice dressed as BBQ sauce bottles fall, I saw it as a dream.

I probably couldn’t continue my journey in working in sport without the opportunities that the Texas Stars gave me.

While our first season tracksuits looked like prison uniforms, they were the meaning of a beginning for me.

Plus, they were super comfy. I actually still have mine.

My first season, I was the youngest one on the Ice Patrol, and the only that wasn’t of drinking age.

I ended my last season as one of the veterans, but still not of drinking age.

sigh

I did two jobs at the same time, while being a full time college student. I worked at a grocery store, and started that before the AHL.

Let’s just say the AHL one was better…

I also started and ended it as it being one of the greatest experiences in my entire life.

 

 

So, where do I stand now?

I left the Ice Patrol mid-season this year to study Marketing at the University of Maine, in hopes of doing what my boss at Stars did, become a Director of Marketing for a successful sports team. The Stars helped me decide what in sports I want to pursue. Maybe I’ll return to the Stars, but who knows at this point.

I still work sports but in a different way. I work both Marketing and Statistics for the University of Maine athletics. I’ve also considered venturing out into other sports too, like baseball and football (shocker, I know). The Ice Patrol is probably a big reason I got a job in the middle of the year at Maine.

My sports part of my resume has grown. Similar people I have met don’t have the same experience on their resume as I do, and that gives me the reassurance that I am heading in the right direction. Sports takes up OVER HALF of my current resume.

All because of the Texas Stars and the AHL.

Before I end this post, I just want to thank the AHL and the Texas Stars for being a stepping stone for me. The AHL isn’t just a development league for players, but for staff as well. I have my Stars logo proudly displayed on my laptop every single day. It’s actually displayed right next to my Boston Bruins sticker.

I’ve never actually considered me a Stars fan, but after working for an amazing organization like them, I think I might just have to.

Well, maybe just the Texas Stars.

But, I guess you can say I have a second NHL team.

 

If you are a sports fan wanting to work in the field someday, it’s never too early (or too late) to start looking! Here are some great links for the curious fan:

UMass Summer Pre College (great for HS students, I loved it, its well worth it!!)

Job Search for AHL (not saying you have to look at AHL, but great for looking for jobs, and what degree you should follow for a certain job)!

Take Your Eye Off the Puck (random, but it allowed me to get more into the statistics world of things, and got me to pursue the statistics field in sport).

Interested in studying sport? (this link provides a list of ALL sport management schools in the country. Even though I don’t attend one, this list was very helpful!!)

For any questions regarding the industry, don’t hesitate to contact me at the email in the Contact section of the right side of this blog.

always follow your dreams

and as always, fear the bear

^AHC

 

The growth of NCAA hockey prospects

online-classregistration-2
my school is in the header, cause why not? (photo credit)

 

Wanna hear some fun facts?

There is at least one player on each NHL team that played in the NCAA before their “big boy” career began.

Only 5.5% of NCAA players who have played in the NCAA have been drafted in the first round since 1960.

Since 2000, about 10% of the first rounders have been from the NCAA. And about 16% are drafted in the 5th or 8th rounds.

For the longest time (and currently), the CHL has been the source of many of the top NHL draft picks year after year. 9 out of the last 10 first overall draft picks have been from one of the major Canadian junior leagues (that one exception is 2016’s Auston Matthews, who played in the NLA).

Out of those 9 in Canadian Juniors, one each came from QMJHL and WHL, while the other 7 came from the OHL.

For those who need a quick refresher, or don’t know how the CHL works-

Basically, these players are the ones who put hockey over everything. And by everything, I mean EVERYTHING. They get rid of the opportunity to play college hockey (NCAA or CIS) to increase their draft value and get looked more by the fancy-schmancy pro scouts.

HOWEVER

I have noticed an increase in the amount of draft picks from the NCAA. Last draft (2016), out of the first round of 30, 11 of those players play in the NCAA, ranging from schools like powerhouse Boston University to smaller known schools like St Cloud State. This draft set a new record for a number of players taken in the first round of the NCAA. It’s also kinda fun to show that two of these players, Tage Thompson (STL) and Charlie MacAvoy (BOS) are having spectacular years, and could prove to be valuable in the future of their respective NHL clubs.

I saw McAvoy play against my school’s team last weekend, and BU looked super good, and McAvoy was no exception.

Get hype, Bruins fans. (I know I am)

2015 was no different. 7 of the 30 draft picks were from the NCAA. 5 of those players are currently playing in pro leagues like the NHL or the AHL. Jack Eichel (BU/Buffalo) and Zach Werenski (Michigan/Columbus) have already proven themselves to their clubs.

2014 was hard. 3 out of those first 30 played in the NCAA. Among those, Dylan Larkin has proven to be a great addition to the Red Wings.

screen-shot-2017-02-03-at-11-53-56-am
list of the NCAA first rounders for the past 5 years

There were no NCAA first rounders the year before, and five the year before that.

The NCAA is a league that can give development, but players from those leagues (as evident in 2013 and 2014) were chosen in the later rounds.

A huge reason this player could be drafted late could be due to many reasons, like:

Age. An average college degree not only comes with crippling debt (ugh) but also requires you to take (about) 4 years of your life to get into books. Some players (Jimmy Vesey being a prime example) not only want to play hockey for a great organization, but they also want that degree to come along with it. With that 4 year wait from being drafted, they risk the fact that they could lose that player’s rights, which gives fans much to be angry about apparently.

and

Adjustment. College is never an easy adjustment for anyone. Heck, for me it wasn’t the best. The addition of all that school work and the pressure of going in the first round of the upcoming draft isn’t easy. Their draft value could fall.

I can’t even imagine that.

The NCAA welcomes a bunch of opportunities as well.

They get to play with older players. The average college student finishes their degree at the ages of 22-23. The CHL has a cutoff of 20. Those extra 2-3 years allows a player to adjust to the professional league play. This was also one of the reasons Auston Matthews probably decided to go to the Swiss league. Not everyone in the NHL is 18-20, so playing with older players can be a huge advantage in the long run.

They don’t have to “live and breathe” hockey. The CHL could be a league that shoves the idea of hockey being life, and hockey being love. For some, it could be that. For NCAA players, they have the opportunity to gain a social aspect, which gives them more personality and makes them more comfortable with the adjustment to the NHL, if that time ever arises. Once they have the idea of how to balance the college life (social, sport, academics, and sleep) they can be a success with managing the NHL or another pro league.

Also, they get to learn to live on their own. This is simple. The CHL offers to house with a host family. NCAA has dorms. Every college I’ve heard of makes freshman required to live on campus in (my opinion) the crappiest dorms on the campus. The NCAA lets the players experience the life of loud neighbors and stupid events that the RA requires you to go to. The NHL isn’t always going to have parents handhold at every moment.

Lastly, the schedule organization. The NCAA games are played primarily on weekends, so they don’t affect the student’s courses, and its better from a marketing standpoint. This allows time for conditioning, rehab, better academics, and makes them more well-rounded health wise. The better conditioning aspect makes a prospect better prepared for the major (or minor) leagues health wise, and are least likely to have knee or other problems before their career even starts.

The NCAA could maybe (i hope!) take over the CHL in the NHL draft someday. It would be amazing to increase the amount of talent in the NCAA.

fear the bear

^AHC

Is this it for Claude Julien?

2016-nhl-draft-preview_-2

This season, Claude has been getting hate as the sole reason for underperformance.

Not gonna lie, I kinda agree. The organization isn’t wanting to give the Bruins “time” to “figure things out”.

The clock is (pretty much) up.

To repeat the fans at the TD Garden, “WE WANT PLAYOFFS!

clap clap clapclapclap

The Bruins acquired some new talent in the free agency and offseason, and we still sit on the bubble of a playoff spot. Toronto (never thought I would say that) and Ottawa sit pretty close to the Bruins and are also fighting for a coveted spot in the playoffs.

Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak are having great seasons, and Tuukka is also having a great season. The Bruins have league leading Corsi percentage. The team itself hasn’t given up, but the points and standings say otherwise.

For the past two seasons, the Bruins have had to wait until the last day of the season to determine if playoffs are happening. Both seasons, we lost on the last day (very bad, I might add) and we painfully watch as a team that came from behind enjoys the added publicity and extra hockey.

I’m not kidding, I yell at the TV the past two years on the last day of the season.

curse you Peter Chiarelli and your horrible contracts and drafting skills

Players (other than Brandon Carlo ugh) have not been in trade rumors often this year. The Bruins themselves are playing quite well, and show that they have the energy to make it into the playoffs if it ever does happen.

So, the only thing that we as fans can point to as factor of the losses is coaching and staff.

And one name that has been discussed has been our coach, and pride & joy, Claude Julien.

Not trying to drag CJ under the bus, he’s actually not the only coach that is on the hot seat. Lindy Ruff from Dallas has also been rumored that he’s gone if his team doesn’t make the playoffs.

So, here is what we are looking at here:

The 2014-15 season had a 41-27-14 record (96 points) and missed the playoffs sitting in 5th place in the Atlantic. They lost the wild-card spots to Ottawa (99 pts)  and Pittsburgh (98 pts). Because of no playoffs, Peter Chiarelli was fired (and then hired by Edmonton) and we lost free agents Jarome Iginla (a good winger for Looch and Krejci), Shawn Thornton (the definition of Bruin), and Chad Johnson (who hid his awesome goalie skills from us). We traded Milan Lucic, Dougie Hamilton, and Carl Soderberg for draft picks. To somehow replace them, we signed Jimmy Hayes (aka a massive headache) and Matt Beleskey.

The 2015-16 season had a similar record. The Bruins posted a 42-31-9 record, and totaled 93 points, good enough for 4th in the Atlantic. However, the one spot increase in the standings didn’t help, as the Metro division became a powerhouse. We lost the wildcard spots to New York Islanders (100) and Philadelphia (96). We also completely got rid of the final 2 members of the famous “Merlot Line” (Soupy and Paille). Lastly, Sweeney made the awful decision of signing Kevan Miller for more than he probably needs and deserves. Sweeney actually made progress during the free agency period, signing David Backes, Dominic Moore, Riley Nash, and Tim Schaller.

Even with all of this happening, the fans were always told that “Julien is safe, for now.”.

When does “for now” become “never”?

That time could be soon.

The Bruins have been a successful season for the past decade. Before missing the playoffs in 2014-15, the Bruins never missed the playoffs under Julien, and haven’t missed it since the 2006-07 season.

For a reminder, that was when Marc Savard was still playing (and leading the team in goals) and the goaltending tandem was Tim Thomas and Hannu Toivonen.

And who was that coach?

It was Dave Lewis, a coach who was newly hired for that season.

And, what happened to him?

Well, he was fired by Peter Chiarelli and hasn’t had an NHL head coaching job since.

And the coach for that no-playoff season before that? Mike Sullivan, the Stanley Cup winning coach for the Penguins last season. He was fired after that losing season.

What is all this trying to prove?

If we have no playoffs this year, the fan base should be prepared for a new coach next season. He’s already on thin ice, and another disappointing season will not help.

I’m just hoping Mike Milbury doesn’t find a way to coach the Bruins next year.

I would probably scream.

fear the bear

^AHC

Bruins Game Preview: 1/31 vs Tampa Bay

bruins-game-preview

 

This is literally the first game I will watch in months because school and work have consumed my life and I have had no time to actually post anything.

Moving cross country is hard, guys.

BUT I FINALLY HAVE NESN! Benefits of living in New England now. 🙂

This game today will be pitting two Atlantic Division rivals, the Bruins, and the Lightning, as they are both fighting for a playoff spot. Boston is currently in 3rd place in the Atlantic, with 56 points, which is one point ahead of Toronto (I never thought I would say that?). Tampa has hit the injury bug this season and sits in 6th place in the division with 50 points.

This game also marks the first Lightning game since the trade with Nikita Nestorov. He was traded to the Canadiens before the all-star break, for Jonathan Racine and a 6th round draft pick.

Last time the Bruins played the Lightning, David Pastrnak scored the final goal and Tuukka Rask had a .968 save percentage and 29 saves to secure a 4-1 win. That game was played on November 27th.

Here are your projected lineups!

Boston Bruins:

Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Pastrnak

Frank Vatrano-David Krejci-David Backes

Matt Beleskey-Riley Nash-Tim Schaller

Ryan Spooner-Dominic Moore-Jimmy Hayes

Zdeno Chara-Kevan Miller

Torey Krug-Adam McQuaid

John Michael Liles-Colin Miller

Tuukka Rask

Zane McIntyre

Scratched: Joe Morrow, Austin Czarnik

Injuries: Brandon Carlo (possible ankle sprain)

Interesting Notes: This is the Bruins’ first game back since the ASG break. Rask and Marchand participated in their first career ASG.

Brandon Carlo fell awkwardly in the Pittsburgh game and had trouble skating off. He did not return to that game.

The Bruins are league leading in Corsi%, but are still underachieving.

David Pastrnak has 5 points (1G, 4A) in his last 3 games. Brad Marchand has 4 goals in his last 2 games.

Tampa Bay Lightning:
Ondrej Palat-Vladimir Namestnikov-Nikita Kucherov

Alex Killorn-Tyler Johnson-JT Brown

Bryan Boyle-Valtteri Filppula-Jonathan Drouin

Erik Condra-Cedric Paquette-Gabriel Dumont

Victor Hedman-Jake Dotchin

Braydon Coburn-Anton Stralman

Jason Garrison-Andrej Sustr

Ben Bishop

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Injuries: Steven Stamkos (overall broken), Ryan Callahan (LB), Brayden Point (UB)
Scratches: Luke Witkowski, Michael Bournival

Interesting Notes: Nikita Kucherov is also in his first game back from his first career ASG.
No active interesting point streaks. Actually, Dobber Hockey has a majority of TB labeled as Cold. Even more interesting is that Stamkos is “hot” even though he hasn’t played lately.

So, they’re just not too good right now.

fear the bear
^AHC