Wednesday, July 23, 2008

So long, and thanks for all the goals...

As I wanted, Glen Murray is starting to go through the motions for a buyout by putting him on waivers. Don't feel too bad for him, though - he's still getting over a million dollars for his services. He certainly has played well for the Bruins, and some fans will no doubt be annoyed at this. On the other hand, check the graph. It's rough when players who have been good decline, but at the same time I think Glen Murray's not putting up numbers in accordance with the money he's making.

Then again, I will probably be eating my words when the soon-to-be 36-year-old winger ends up on a team looking for a veteran and they all do well. Or, he may just retire. But I doubt it. In the age of Chelios, there is no such thing as too old to play pro hockey. So, what's next for Muzz?

Friday, July 18, 2008


Thanks to the NHL Frozen Moment, which needs it's own RSS feed, I was reminded of the most exciting pickup by the Minnesota Wild this offseason - Owen Nolan.

Here's the thing about Owen Nolan: He's a Brit. Not only that, he's one of two active British players. The other one? Daniel Taylor, who has played all of 20 minutes backstopping the Kings last year, letting in 2 goals on ten shots (including letting in the first shot) in the third period, letting Dallas turn a 5-1 steamroll into a 7-2 blowout and giving himself a career GAA of 6.

With so few British players in the NHL, and Owen Nolan having had a long and illustrious career, you'd think that he is one of the best british players ever. You would be correct. He's second best in Games Played, Goals, and Points behind Steve Thomas. Nolan is also second overall British player in Penalties in Minutes, to another Steve - this one's Smith.

Steve Thomas played with Toronto, Chicago, NY Islanders, New Jersey, Toronto, Chicago, Anaheim, and Detroit between 1984 and 2004, when he retired at the age of 40. Nolan? He's only 36 this year, and just signed for 2 years. He's gotta get 40+1 goals in 167+1 games to best those totals...and he's also 124 assists behind Thomas.

As for national team aspirations? Both Thomas and Nolan have played for the Canadian National team, but not at the same time. Also, no mention of Owen Nolan is complete without this:

It would of course be wrong to mention British players without mentioning Ken Hodge, who won two Stanley cups with the Boston Bruins after coming over as a part of the deal for Phil Esposito. Remember when that used to happen? Me either - it was over 10 years before I was born.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Home openers/HOME-AND-HOME

So, the new NHL schedule has each team playing:
Divisional rivals: 6 times (24 total)
Non-division conference rivals: 4 times (40 total)
Western teams: Once each + 3 home-and-homes. (18 total)
It's still 82 games, but each team has to play each other at least once, which is awesome.

The full schedule is due at noon today. For those keeping track at home, that's less than 12 hours since I started this post, and less than 5 from when I'm actually posting it. Many (all?) teams have announced their home openers, as well as which teams they're playing the 3 extra extra-conference games.

Luckily for me, Wild and Bruins fan that I am, the Bruins and Wild are playing each other TWICE this season. In fact, the Bruins will be the Wild's home opener team. Last year, the Bruins were the home opener opponent for the Anaheim Ducks. The Bruins lost, 2-1. Two years ago, the Bruins hosted the Minnesota Wild. I totally went to that game, even though it was right before spring break. Regardless, I enjoyed the Wild's 2-1 win then. I'm not sure I'll be so happy about such an outcome this time.*

So, the extra divisional games for the Wild are Boston, Tampa Bay, and the Islanders.
The ones for Boston are Minnesota (duh), St. Louis Blues, and...The Chicago Blackhawks!

I'm pretty excited about the Blackhawks/Bruins matchup, because Chicago has raised itself up out of a what, 10? 20? 30? year slumber and are now quite the exciting team. Heck, they're hosting the winter classic this year at Wrigley Field.

Also, the Bruins' home opener is on October 20th (2 weeks into the season) against the Pittsburgh Penguins. I'll see you there.

*Actually, screw it. I still like the Wild a lot. They were the team, with the rotating captaincy, that really got me into hockey in the first place. Both teams have lost Brian Rolston to a non-conference team (he went NJ-Boston-MN-NJ). That guy is good at teh hockies. That said, I hope Manny Fernandez backstops the Bruins to a spoiler. I like minnesota a lot, but they don't have the long history that the Bruins do. Luckily, both GMs seem to have a "long-term-plan" (aka the "lack of" plan) about their respective teams. They DO NOTHING AT THE TRADE DEADLINE. They both lost in the first round to teams that had crushed their hopes and dreams earlier that season. My first hockey Jersey was a Wild jersey, (My name, #1) but my second was a Bruins jersey (Chara, at the 50% off merch booth behind the bad guy balcony seats).

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Flames/Jets Preseason Showdown

According to TSN, Calgary and Pheonix are playing a preseason game this year in Winnipeg. Normally, I don't care much about preseason games, but this is interesting in that the Phoenix Coyotes were once the Winnipeg Jets. The Jets beat Calgary in the 1987 preliminary round of the playoffs in 6 games. No word on what residents of Winnipeg have to say about it, or whether the Coyotes will wear throwback jerseys (please?). If they did, that could set the stage for, say, Hurricanes/Northeast team in Hartford. Which would be...baller. I bet I know some people who wouldn't know whether to go or not.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Matt Foy Signs with Blues

Ah, Matt Foy. I knew ye well, ever since that time when I watched you in your first NHL game with the Wild, where you scored twice and then were so excited you ran right into some guy, got a penalty, and then were sat for the rest of the game. I remember it well, watching on the Center Ice free preview at my parent's house a couple years ago. Good times. I wonder if he'll be playing with the big club, or in the AHL still. In fact, I wonder what the blues' minor league team is. Huh...oh well.

Foy, I know the fine folks on the message board didn't like you much. Oh well. That one game was a hell of a time. Have fun with the...whatever they are.

In similar news, former Bruin Brandon Bochenski got picked up by the Lightning earlier this month. I remember going to a game and seeing him bring the hustle, all game long. Rookies are exciting like that, I guess. Then it turns out they're not that great, but there's a whole new crop of them, trying to push the slightly older guys out.

Thursday, July 3, 2008


Looks like Detroit will be dirty good next year. They've managed to poach Ty Conklin on July 1st, and then grabbed Hossa the next day. They aren't exactly losing anyone too important, either, except Hasek. Then again, Hasek lost 2 games to Nashville before he got pulled and Osgood won 10 straight games. Basically, Detroit is going to be EVEN BETTER than last year. I'm repeating it now, after everyone else already has: The Detroit Red Wings will be DIRTY DIRTY DIRTY good next year.

From my friend Joe, a Penguins fan:

Its one thing to say "I'm not winning in Atlanta, I want a chance to win somewhere."
It's another thing to say, "I was only runner up last year. I am going to the team that won and abandon the team that have me a chance."
I hope he blows out his knee and can never play again.
Enjoy that 1 year mercenary contract, Cinderella.
I hope you die.
He will get stabbed in Detroit.

Well, at least there's no hard feelings.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Big Moves....but not in Boston or Minnesota

Well, the first day of free agency is over and there have been some interesting signings. Once again, fans of Boston and Minnesota have to sit idly by while the big-name free agents disappear off to other teams - and later score on us. Rolston is back in Jersey, Brunette is back in Minnesota, Metropolit is a Phlyer (that's a mistake on our part - I've liked Metro, he always plays hard)

Oh, and Michael Ryder is now a Bruin. You should see him up and to the right, trying to score on a wraparound against Thomas. Searching youtube for clips, here's something I found:

Anything that makes a Canadiens fan cry is ok by me.

Hopefully, he won't have another season like last year's, but one more in line with his first three seasons. Maybe playing for his old coach, his old coach, and his old coach (that would be Claude Julien, who coached him in Montreal, Hamilton (AHL), and Hull (QMJHL, or "the Q")) will return him to scoring form. The Glen Murray buyout apparently may happen after Denis Wideman's salary arbitration. I'm still hoping.

Personally, I think the best move this offseason for the Bruins will be a getting Patrice Bergeron back. I hope he hasn't lost his touch.

As for Minnesota, they've got cap space, they lost Rolston, and they don't have four full lines of NHL forwards. Hossa, anyone? Demitra hasn't signed anywhere yet.

Mirtle has a list of who you should get your hopes up for just to get them dashed away when some other team nabs them. Speaking of those teams, ThePensBlog has a list of who still has to spend money to get up to the $40 million cap floor. I was going to quote them directly, but instead here's a quick rundown on what they had to say, since the numbers are about halfway down their post:

- Atlanta needs to spend 11 million, but they have Lehtonen to sign.
- Colorado needs to spend 3 million, with RFAs still to sign.
- Columbus needs to spend 9 million, but they have R.J. Umberger to sign
- LA needs to spend 11 million.
- NYIslanders need to spend 3 million.

And lastly, the Blackhawks are over the cap limit right now, which is fitting, since they have a dirty team right now. They picked up Brian Campbell for over 8 million/year, as well as Cristobal Huet for 5.something million/year. They still have Khabibulin, who is costing them 7 million/year. Cristobal Huet is not a backup goalie, so maybe we'll be seeing the 'Bulin Wall in LA, Columbus, or the ATL.

Tampa Bay was making a ton of splashy trades and signings prior to July 1st, so they're looking pretty alright too, but we still don't know if Melrose can coach. If he can, it could be a good year for them. If not, then Koules and Barrie are shown to be bad owners, but for the meantime y'all should enjoy the ride.

The Oilers are looking pretty good too...let's see who makes it into the playoffs from the logjam that is the Northwest conference.

Current Bruins 08-09 optimism meter: We'll make the playoffs.