What do the current injuries really mean?: A Bruins Injury Report

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Credit: Jeffery T. Barnes, AP Photo

Not gonna lie, going on twitter and seeing all these injuries on the Bruins roster right now makes me sad.

The good news is that the Bruins record currently is better than the record at this time last year!

However, no playoff spot is safe until clinched, so we Bruins fans still have a good bit of time to find out if we will be yelling at our TV screens come mid-April.

At the beginning of the season, the Bruins weren’t in the talks for a Stanley Cup. Out of the first 17 games of the season, only 6 games were won. SIX GAMES. And now, the Bruins have exceeded expectations (like the Celtics have also).

The Bruins are flourishing, even with suspensions and injuries.

But bad news keeps on coming for the Bruins organization during our decent season.
This still has me wondering, how would the lineup be with Charlie McAvoy and Patrice Bergeron back in?

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Credit: John Wilcox, Boston Herald

Charlie McAvoy has been out since the injury he sustained during the March 3rd game versus the Montreal Canadiens. According to the team, he is out for around 4 weeks because of a sprained MCL in his knee. The injury was courtesy of Brandon Gallagher causing McAvoy to trip on his stick awkwardly. He only played 37 seconds of the game.

Just when you thought things couldn’t get any better, Patrice Bergeron broke his foot at the end of February. He will (luckily) be re-evaluated next week. At the time of Bergy’s injury, he was the team’s leading goal scorer with 27 goals, and an average TOI of 19:24.

If I wrote this any earlier, I would have to add Bruins Goaltender Tuukka Rask, but he is currently playing in the Boston/Philadelphia game (that I am now watching). Having one less injury on the roster makes me very delighted.

Now, time to figure out what these injuries really mean:

With McAvoy out, Brandon Carlo was slotted in a pair with Zdeno Chara. This pair worked well last year (as Chara tends to work well with a young, new player on his pair). However, the pair struggled vs. Detroit. Chara led the team in ice time that night but did not register a hit or a blocked shot. Carlo was on the ice for all three Detroit goals that night.

If McAvoy were back in, McAvoy would be paired again with Chara, and Carlo would be (in my honest opinion) on the second pairing with Torey Krug. This season, McAvoy has put up a veteran amount of minutes in his rookie season, with 22:07 TOI/game, 7 goals, 25 assists, and a +26 average. McAvoy averages 0.54 points per game. McAvoy’s has a Corsi percentage of 55.6, and his relative Corsi is a 4.3 (for these stats I use Hockey Reference to find the necessary info, and then “plug n’ chug” in the magically Corsi equation).

BUT if all goes well, McAvoy hopes to be back in game action for the playoffs next month.

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Credit: Michael Dwyer, AP Photo

As for Bergeron, he is expected to be out for at least two weeks. His center spot on the first line with Pastrnak and Marchand is being filled by Riley Nash, who is having a good season. While Bergeron has played on the PP and PK units, those spots on those units are not expected to be filled by Nash. But, it hurts to say that no one player in the lineup can replace Bergeron’s all-star production. However, David Backes took Bergeron’s spot at the Bruin 8-4 win vs. Pittsburgh. Backes is currently serving a three-game suspension for a hit on Frans Nielsen of Detroit.

I think we all know where Bergeron would be in the lineup if he weren’t injured, on a line with Marchand and Pastrnak. Like mentioned before, Bergeron was the team’s leading goal scorer at the time of his injury (Brad Marchand has now taken that spot), was second in forwards for TOI/game with 19:24 and lead the forwards with the amount of shift per game with 24.6 shifts (on average).

 

As much as a fan hates seeing their favorite player injured, it hurts to say that it is part of the playoff push. But having a deep lineup, an excellent coaching staff, and the best fanbase in all of hockey allows for teams (like the Bruins) to make that final push towards the cup.

As always, fear the bear (and happy playoff push!)

^AHC

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Why the Nash/Spooner Trade makes Sense

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Photo Credit: Jeffery Barnes, AP Photo

Just the other day, I was wondering when this season would start picking up.

Trade Deadline is BY FAR my favorite day of the season. It’s the one day a year when I can watch other teams make bad mistakes, because the Bruins are, for the most part, underwhelming.

Except for today.

Today, the Bruins traded a 2018 first round draft pick, a 7th round pick in 2019, Matt Beleskey (finally), Ryan Lindgren, and Ryan Spooner for New York Rangers Forward Rick Nash.

My favorite part of learning about this trade was reading the Instagram and Facebook comments of fans saying that this was a “stupid trade” and “Fire Sweeney.”

I am here to tell you that this trade was a decent trade and made the Bruins a better team for the upcoming Playoff run.

Let’s go over what we had to get rid of:

Ryan Spooner. I liked Spooner just as much as the next fan, but in my opinion, Spooner didn’t really have much of a spot in the lineup. The third line of Heinen-Nash-Backes is working too well to separate, and his play doesn’t fit well with the fourth line. It was so hard to find a spot for him.

Comparing Spooner and Nash, a good thing to think about is RFA vs. UFA. Nash is a UFA at the end of this season, and Spooner is an RFA. Spooner probably wasn’t looking at signing in Boston during the offseason, so it is good to trade him now so we could get something in return.

Looking at regarding fancy analytics, Spooner’s point production that he has (9 goals, 16 points in 39 games) is mainly because of his pure good luck. Spooner is riding a vast PDO (or SPSV%, if you’re the NHL) is 1.046, and Spooner also starts in the offensive zone about 62% of the time. While Spooner was hyped to be the next big thing for Bruins as a prospect, his time in Boston isn’t really all that he used to be.

Matt Beleskey. I feel like this is a long time coming for Bruins fans. Waived earlier in the season, Beleskey has been sitting in the AHL since then, producing 6 points in 21 games in Providence.

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Beleskey v Andreoff. (Source: Maddie Meyer, Getty Images)

More good news that comes out of the trade: While the Bruins take 50% of Beleskey’s contract, that space will provide some flexibility in the offseason, as some of the RFA’s that need to be signed (in 2019) include Charlie McAvoy and Danton Heinen, who will probably get a good amount of moo-la.

Prospect Ryan Lindgren. Prospects are kinda interesting because their full potential hasn’t been shown yet. Lindgren was the Bruins 2nd rounder in 2016 and currently plays at the University of Minnesota, where he has scored 14 points as a Defenseman. Lindgren is a left-hand shot, which is where this trade proves to be good. The B’s are loaded (and by loaded, I mean LOADED) which left-handed defenseman, like Chara, McAvoy, and Matt Grzelcyk, and incoming prospects like the names of Jakub Zboril. Lindgren was just one name on the list of so many.

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Draft Photos are always the Cringiest. (Source: Jeffery Barnes, Getty Photo)

And for all of that, we got…

Rick Nash. 

The Bruins were rumored to be at the top of Nash’s “ok” list of teams to be traded to.

In 1,049 games, Nash has produced 434 goals and 365 assists, with a -7 rating in his career.

One thing I like about Nash is that he is an upgrade to the right wing position, in comparison to Spooner. While the scoring rates of Spooner and Nash are fairly similar, the good luck that Spooner had, Nash doesn’t have. Compared to Spooner, Nash has a PDO of .977, which basically means that his luck wasn’t as present as it was for Ryan Spooner.

Nash is also more flexible than Spooner has well, regarding lines. Nash can fit on either the first or second line. He probably fits better on Krejci’s line though, if I had to be honest.

While some fans might have been happier with Ryan McDonagh than Rick Nash, the trade sounds better than you might think. It is important to know that it is the playoffs, and some teams are going all-in, to make a run for the Stanley Cup that the Bruins won almost 7 years ago.

The upgrade is worth the assets Sweeney traded if you put things into consideration. Nash may be a rental for us, but Spooner may also be a rental for New York.

The Trade Deadline ends tomorrow February 25th, at 3pm eastern. If the Bruins decide to make more trades, a Deadline round-up will be posted tomorrow night.

Fear the Bear, and Happy Trade Deadline!

^AHC

The Halfway Point: Where do the B’s Stand?

The Midway Point_

The Bruins are officially 42 games into the 2017-18 season.
And what a whirlwind it has been.
I can easily remember the early bit of the season. The Bruins were struggling a little, facebook fans were all like “fire Sweeney” or “trade Rask,” and putting Malcolm Subban on waivers was starting to look like a bad idea.
Now, Rask has found his stride, lines are starting to gel together, and the Boston Subreddit is having a good old time making shot glass bets.
It goes without saying that this season has been kind to the Boston Bruins.
Even though the B’s lost 6-2 to the Arizona Coyotes in one of the first few games of the season, the Bruins now sit comfortably in second place in the Atlantic with a 24-10-8 record.
Now, what are some surprises for this season?
The Atlantic Division: May not be Bruins related, but the strength of the Atlantic Division is helping the Bruins regarding standings. While Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning are having the season to remember, teams like Montreal and Ottawa are both on the outside looking in, with losing records. Montreal currently has an 18-20-6 record with a goal differential of -23. Is the Carey Price era over for Montreal?
Rookie Studs: When I watched Charlie McAvoy last year when he played for BU, I knew he was going to be good, but I never expected him to be so good, so fast. With a 0.57 PPG and top pairing minutes, the future is looking bright for the Boston Bruins. Danton Heinen, a fourth-round pick from 2014, is also turning some heads in his rookie year.Heinen is currently fourth iScreen Shot 2018-01-16 at 7.00.27 PMn team scoring with ten goals and 21 assists. Not bad for a rookie in the bottom six. The three first rounders from 2015 are starting to make their way into the NHL, with Jake DeBrusk enjoying his first NHL season with a decent 23 points (10 goals, 13 assists).

Boston has a good deal of rookies this season including McAvoy, Heinen, DeBrusk, Matt Grzelcyk, and Sean Kuraly. The Bruins are young again, folks.

Fun Fact: The Boston Bruins are currently on the younger side of the spectrum in the NHL, with an average age of 26.9.
Consistency at Goal: While the Bruins have Tuukka Rask, it is important to know that the B’s can’t play him every night. The Bruins have been inconsistent at the Backup Goal Screen Shot 2018-01-16 at 7.03.17 PMposition, going through Chad Johnson, Niklas Svedberg, Jonas Gustavsson, and now Anton Khudobin. During Rask’s 3-5-2 stretch in the earlier parts of the season, Khudobin helped the B’s in the standings, including four straight wins for Anton in mid-November. The games for the Goaltenders are shared more evenly, with Rask having 27 starts this season and Khudobin having 15 starts this season.

 

The NHL has been full of surprises this season, from Edmonton’s downfall to the rise of the Vegas Golden Knights, is has been a rollercoaster for practically everyone who is a hockey fan. CBS Sports may have put the B’s out of a playoff spot in the preseason, we (the fans) can’t help but laugh at the article while the Bruins are standing at sixth in the league.

fear the bear.

^AHC

Bruins Trade Rumor Ramble

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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

 

 

Is this it for Claude Julien?

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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 World Cup Preview: Who’s Who

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It’s finally September!

One more month till NHL and AHL action, and we are also a few weeks from the World Cup of Hockey.

and also one more month till I can post relevant content for once

It’s been 12 years since the last WCOH, and I don’t remember the last one, since I was 7, and I didn’t really know hockey.

So, today, I decided to discuss the Bruins playing in the World Cup. Basically discuss potential linemates, previous stats, and fun facts!

LETS GET STARTED.

  • TEAM MAPLE SYRUP (aka Canada)

On this team, the marvelous duo of Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand will use their wicked awesome skills to defeat the evil that is Alex Ovechkin (and Russia).

I *probably* over exaggerated, but that’s beside the point.

Last season, Bergeron and Marchand combined for 69 goals and 59 assists, for a total of 128 points. They were both first and fourth on the team for overall points, respectively. Bergy played 80 games last season, while Marchand played 77.

They had more points than Zac Rinaldo had penalty minutes, so that must mean something! woah

I’m not gonna lie, Canada has some pretty dope looking uniforms, the logo looks kinda better than the USA one, but I probably shouldn’t say that cause I don’t wanna get shamed for not being patriotic enough.

My dream line for Bergeron and Marchand (cause they kinda should play together) is:

Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Tyler “party boi” Seguin

You gotta reunite the great line of 2011, am I right?

But… according to practice lines, I think it’s probably gonna kinda look like this:

Brad Marchand-Sidney Crosby-Patrice Bergeron

Why? Because twitter said so and I kinda believe what twitter writes?

lol

Seriously, though, this line will dominate the world cup. We have Crosby, who kinda needs an underdog in the tournament to actually succeed (see: Kunitz and Crosby). You have the amazing two-way play in Bergeron, and you have the playmaking pest in Marchand.

BOOM.

  • TEAM FREEDOM (aka USA)

This year, we actually have someone on Team USA. YAY!

Representing the country of Fried Mac and Cheese and “proper” football is newcomer David Backes.

Who I really haven’t looked at yet, tbh

What I do know (other than the roar bacon pig thing) is pretty cool:

Last season for Saint Louis, Backes played 79 games, scoring 21 goals and 24 assists while doing so. Plus, he is a great two-way player, who has a physical image and can play multiple positions. So, like a way better Chris Kelly.

But, on Team USA, he will probably fit on the fourth line.

I’m thinking:

Brandon Dubinsky-David Backes-Blake Wheeler

they all have B’s in their name, but they could be solid A’s!

  • TEAM CHEX MIX (aka Czech Republic)

The Bruins were gonna have the two Davids play for CZE, but one is still broken, so I guess one David will have to do.

For Team CZE, the Bruins have David Pastrnak representing.

For this WCOH, I kinda consider the Czechs to have a mixed bag when it comes to the roster, as I have no idea how they are going to win with that defense, tbh.

But, in all honesty, I will watch this team because not only do I love me some Pasta (both the person and the food),

I also love Radek Faksa. (Dallas does have a pretty awesome prospect pool)

In Pastrnak’s second season with the Bruins, he played 51 games, with 15 goals and 11 assists. He also played 3 games for Providence of the AHL and registered 1 goal and 3 assists during that time frame. I’m kinda surprised (and happy) he has developed as an NHL player this early, and players like Nick Ritchie (ANA 10th) and Michael Dal Colle (NYI 5th)  from the same draft have only done little to no NHL action so far. I really enjoy watching Pasta and his fast feet and gifted hands.

He’s the Angel Child of the Boston Bruins.

Team CZE needs Jesus if they want to win, and Pasta is pretty much Jesus

As for a potential line for Pasta, I’m looking at this:

Ondrej Palat (who?) -Tomas Plekanec (the turtleneck dude) -David Pastrnak (Jesus)

As much as I hate pairing a Bruin with Hab, this line would look super cool in the top 6. There has already been some confirmation on twitter with pairing Plekanec and Pasta, but I added Palat because I think that Palat’s Clutch ability would pair well.

  • TEAM MILK CRATE (aka Finland)

For the Finns, the Bruins have everyone’s favorite milk crate throwing goalie,

Tuukka Rask.

Now, I can’t give a line idea for Tuukka, as he is a goaltender and he doesn’t have a specific line. He is, however, competing for the number one goalie spot with Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne.

I believe Tuukka will win the number one spot over Rinne, as Rask is the more consistent and reliable goaltender. The other goaltender for Finland is Mikko Koskinen, a former Islanders draft pick who currently plays for SKA St. Petersburg.

The Finn’s goaltending tandem is gonna be something along these lines:

1: Tuukka Rask

2: Pekka Rinne

3: Mikko Koskinen

Tuukka’s stats last season in 64 games included:

Record of 31-22-8, with 2.56 goals against average and .915 save percentage. Out of 31 wins, 4 of those wins were in a shutout.

Pekka Rinne had a record of 41-17-6, with 2.48 goals against average and .908 save percentage. 4 of the 41 wins were in a shutout.

According to the stats found, Rinne gets less SOG (shocking cause Nashville defense is popping), but Tuukka will show to be the better decision in the  shoot first games, has he has the high SV%, with more shots than Pekka.

  • TEAM MIXED BAG (aka Europe)

The Bruins technically have one player playing on team Europe, but there is still two Bruins on our payroll for the next season.

The two oldest players on last year’s roster will be representing their homeland in the WCOH.

Defensemen Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg.

I love Chara like the next Bruins fan, but he isn’t making our defense look any younger. Sweeney ain’t helping either.

The former all-star played 79 games last season, scoring 9 goals and registering 28 assists. Chara has slowed down due to recent knee problems, which didn’t require surgery in the 2014-15 season. His contract expires in 2018.

I see Chara pairing well with the young and upcoming Roman Josi (Switzerland, NSH).

Dennis Seidenberg played 61 games, scoring 1 lone goals and registering 11 assists. He has slowed down ever since the 2013-14 season, due to an ACL and MCL injury that required surgery. He was bought out by the Bruins this past season and remains on the books until the end of the 2019-20 season.

So, he is technically still a Bruin.

I see Seids on the bottom pairing, with Andrej Sekera (Slovakia, EDM) or Mark Streit (Switzerland, PHI). He could also end up on the second pairing, due to the lack of depth that Europe has on the right.

every day we go through is one day closer to hockey!

It’s even closer this season thanks to the WCOH.

see ya in october

^AHC

Is David Backes really the answer?

 

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David Backes and a pig. (photo credit)

 

The Boston Bruins were pretty active this free agency period.

Don Sweeney didn’t get any defense (which we really needed) but was able to get some forwards to add on to our already exciting lineup for the next season.

One of our main additions to the B’s was former Blues captain David Backes, a right winger and 2012 Selke trophy finalist.

That’s right, he was nominated for the same trophy that Bergy, his new teammate, WON.

With that addition, we lost Loui Eriksson and Chris Kelly (who I kinda forgot about), so we also have that little hole to fill when it comes to the forward core.

Is David Backes gonna really fill that hole?

Last season for Saint Louis, Backes played 79 games, scoring 21 goals and 24 assists while doing so. Loui Eriksson played 82 games (the only Bruin to do so) and had 30 goals and 33 assists.

So, no, Backes doesn’t fully fill that hole point wise. But, he seems to fill up the hole in everything else. Here’s why:

The two-way style of play.

Not only does David Backes have that Selke nomination, but he shows two-way play, which is something the Bruins should welcome. The defense core isn’t gonna get better (I think), so having this should help. I love Eriksson (even though he is now a Canuck, ew) but he wasn’t really that defensive offenseman that we kinda needed. Marchand is starting to prove his worth as a high-scoring forward. With Backes, we have a forward with a career plus-minus of +65. That, I really like seeing.

The physical image.

Back in the day, the “Big Bad Bruins” were not a team to be messed with. That image has kinda gone away with time, but it is slowly making a comeback. Eriksson was a player that didn’t play physically. He hasn’t been in any major fights or penalties and was even nominated for the Lady Byng trophy, which is the trophy for the player with essentially the least penalties in a given season. Eriksson is always at the low end of the spectrum for penalty minutes. The Bruins got rid of the passive Eriksson, for the physical and in your face Backes. The B’s are trying to get more and more physical, ever since the addition of Matt Beleskey and Jimmy Hayes in 2015. This signing allows us to get closer to that goal. Backes is more of a Bruins type player than Eriksson and gives fans the physicality and intensiveness that they want to see.

Not just a center.

While the center is the natural position for David Backes, he also has experience playing on the right wing. With the Bruins stacked on center with Krejci, Bergeron, and now, Backes, it is good to look at all the options. There have been multiple ideas to how we can utilize Backes. There was the Krejci for Shattenkirk rumors, to open up a top 6 centerman spot. There is also the talk of putting him on the right wing, and slotting him with Bergeron and Marchand. Hearing all of these options is a good thing. Backes has even said that “If you want to call me third line, I completely respect that,” , which shows that trading Krejci doesn’t have to happen to make Backes actually work with the lineup.

I’m not gonna lie, I was surprised when I heard about this trade. Even though the length and salary isn’t something to boast about, Backes is a player that could reasonably fit into the B’s system.

For those who don’t know Backes’ contract is a five-year, $30 million. He is 32 years old and the contract is set to expire when he is 37 (which isn’t that bad).

What is really funny is seeing all the people who got upset about how the B’s should have signed Eriksson because “he is younger”.

The contract Eriksson got was a 6 year, $36 million one. He is 31.

So, Vancouver has Eriksson for a longer term than we have Backes. Eriksson one more year, but he is also one year younger than Backes.

So, it looks like both Vancouver and Boston are stuck with 37-year-olds. Eriksson’s contract  is kinda the same as Backes, just one extra year (which will probably bite VAN in the butt).

I’m also not gonna lie when I say that I like this contract.

Does anyone know if the “Roar Bacon” pig was included in the contract?

I’m asking for a friend

 

see you in October!

^AHC