Friday, December 31, 2010

Year in Review: Your 2010 Boston Bruins. The Good, the Bad, the Loss to Philly

I figured out that I haven't written anything here for a while. As it turns out, I've been busy or on twitter or on another blog or whatever. If you're using this blog for all of your NHL news, here's a couple tidbits since the last time we spoke:

  • Sidney Crosby is the best hockey player in the league again. Hate all you want, it's the simple truth.
  • Team USA is doing work in the WJC tourney this year. For more on that, check out Sleeping Giant.
The Good:
Some end-of-calendar-year awards:

Best game, for a forward:
Milan Lucic, 3g 0a vs. Florida. In 13:27 of ice-time, Lucic managed to score the only Bruins hat trick of the 2010 Calendar Year. No skater scored more than 3 points in a single game (though there were plenty of 3 point games) and so the 3-goal game takes the cake. Not bad for an "overpaid" winger.

Most improved player, forward:
As much as I'd like to say Lucic and Savard and Krejci playing injury free should be the ones getting this, nobody can take away the scoring prowess that Shawn Thornton has shown off this year. 7 goals and 5 assists over the calendar year, the man is playing hockey and doing it well, especially recently.

Best game, for a defenseman:

This goes two ways.

On the one hand, the defenseman with the best +/- game of the year is Captain Chara with a +4 against Buffalo on November 3rd. Obviously, he thought the new sweaters looked as dumb as the rest of us did.

On the other hand, the highest-scoring game for a defenseman is Dennis Wideman with 3 assists on May 1st (game 1) against Philly. Hate all you want, but he had the assisting touch all playoffs in 2010 and was the Bruins leading playoff scorer. Not that I mind having Nathan Horton or Greg "insurance" Campbell around, mind you.

Best game, for a Goalie:
Both Thomas (Dec 1st @ Philly) and Rask (November 18 vs. Florida) posted a 41-save shutout in 2010. Of the 10 shutouts of 2010, Thomas has 6 and Rask has 4. I'm not un-lazy enough to calculate overall save percent in 2010 or anything, deal with it. Both goalies rule and I'm worried Rask has an undisclosed injury and isn't playing for a little while as a result.

Some good pickups:
Our team looks a hell of a lot better with (blank) instead of (blank)
Brad Marchand - Daniel Paille
Greg Campbell - Steve Begin
Shawn Thornton - Shawn Thornton

The all-new "4th" or "energy" or "Merlot" line have been playing like champs. Killer effort. Marchand is even up with Bergeron right now.

Nathan Horton - Whoever the fuck was our "first-line" winger last year.
Dennis Seidenberg - Half the PK, he blocks every shot in the world.

Special Award, blog category:

Days Of Y'Orr: Best new funny Bruins Blog - probably should be one of your first stops for Bruins news and views. Especially Views. Here's to another year of Patrice Purr-geron investigative reporting

Somethings Bruin: Best blog that puts out an article every 6 hours because everyone on the internet writes for them.

The Bad:
Well, the Bruins aren't very good at scoring, still. They had a 2 month+ streak where they couldn't win at home worth a damn. We're not convinced that Claude will be The Guy to coach the Bruins to a championship...but I'm worried who'd we pick up if he left.

Tyler Seguin on the 4th line isn't so great...but he's already bested the last 19's rookie year, so I shouldn't be too worried just yet. Honestly, I'm more worried about having to deal with another decade of those awful "Caught Cold" Seguin/Dunks commercials.

The Ugly:
Yeah, I don't really want to re-live it either.

It sucked. Philly is dumb. Tell your friends.

Oh, and someone dropped a bowel bomb of a fart in the locker room today, per

Bruins will make the playoffs, might even win 4 or more games. Depends on how the next 3.5 months go.

If nothing else, it won't be boring.

If you're itching for Bruins coverage and you don't want to wait another month or so for me to get off my ass and write, please to be checking out Days Of Y'Orr,

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Matt Kalman: Have you no sense of decency, sir?

So I'm reading through my RSS feed reader and an item of interest popped up: "Column: Horton has to show more, and Florida would be a place to start." Yeah, you're not reading it wrong. It's really a slag on Mr. New Bruin, Mr. Fought Dion Phaneuf, Mr. point-per-game until Monday when everyone sucked. So, Matt, what have you got for us about this season's possible 7th man award winner?

Appearance-wise, the Florida fans (however many of them bother to show up Wednesday night in Sunrise, Fla.) probably won’t recognize Nathan Horton.
Well, they actually might, since he's only been gone a couple months. He was one of their stars for the last 5 years. I'm sure Ottawa fans don't remember Zdeno Chara and Phil Kessel plays in Boston with barely a whisper mentioned about him, right?
Unless something changes overnight, he’ll probably be sporting the same grin he has been wearing ever since he first joined the Bruins and escaped what he obviously deemed to be an ill-fitting situation with the Panthers last June.
Likely, yes, but the only reason Florida fans won't recognize that is that when Nathan Horton smiles, he turns people to stone. So there will be some statues in and around the Sunrise arena that recognize the grin but the rest are luckily far enough away or conveniently dressed like tarps.
However, there are evidently two Nathan Hortons when it comes to on-ice performance, and if the wrong one takes the ice for the Bruins it could bring back all-too-familiar memories for the small but loyal Florida fan base.
Finally, Matthew gets to the meat of his argument: Nathan Horton has played 19 games for the Bruins and has failed to win the Stanley Cup in each of those 19 games. Nevermind the fact that he's clicking on the top line or leading the Bruins in points and up until Monday night's snoozefest (literally, I was asleep) he was a point-per-game player. Let's see what he has to say here:
Horton’s numbers have been excellent through 19 games, as he has recorded 18 points, including eight goals. He leads the team in scoring and is on pace to top the 30-goal mark, which was what the Bruins optimistically set for his potential production when the season started. En route to that solid amount of production, Horton has enjoyed nights of physical forechecking and work along the boards, in addition to diligent backchecking. That’s the Nathan Horton the Bruins bragged about after they picked him up.
Wait, isn't that exactly what I just said? So what's the problem here, Matt? Did he refuse you an interview or not bite on some bait? What's the deal?
But then there are nights when the other Nathan Horton shows up — nights like Monday in Tampa, where Horton failed to record a point or even a shot on net. It was the third time Horton failed to shoot on goal this season, but this time his lack of an attempt led to his extending his season-worst goal-less stretch to four games.
Even when Gretzky set the scoring record for what will probably be all time, he still had a couple nights without a point. That's right. En route to 215 points, a record that will stand for a long long time, he had a couple of off nights. Now, I'm not saying that Horton is Gretzky - far from it. I am saying that Horton wasn't brought in to not only be point-per-game but also put the Bruins on his back every night and drag them to victory. Let's see how much further down the rabbit hole Kalman falls:
In the aftermath of Horton’s two prior shot-less outings, he bounced back well. He scored a goal at home against Washington Oct. 21 and did the same on the Capitals’ home ice Nov. 5. He was still a bit gun-shy in those two contests with just two shots on net in both, but at least he cashed in on his chances. We’ll find out Wednesday night how Horton responds to maybe his worst game as a member of the Bruins against the Lightning.
Horton played his 19th-best game as a Bruin Monday night. He went 0-0-0 and was a -1. He's been a minus in three games this season, including that November 5th game mentioned above when he was a -2. The other was his debut game as a Bruin where he had 2 goals and Rask had a spot of bad luck starting out. So yeah, his -1 rating in a 3-1 loss might be his worst game. Ask Thomas Kopecky about bad games (-5 in 17:12 of ice time) this year, maybe. 0-0-0 and a -1? Well, that could be a lot worse.
Not only didn’t Horton manage a shot on goal, he seemed disinterested. In fact, he looked like the player the Panthers carried the last couple of years who earned a reputation for passion-less hockey. Horton’s last seven games, actually, have left little to be desired. He has scored just once in that stretch and averaged just 1.57 shots per game. Shots on net don’t have to be an end-all indicator of solid play — and Horton did assist on all three Milan Lucic goals last week against the Panthers — but there has been little else to Horton’s play over the same stretch.
I heard he told the caterer he wouldn't feed the roast beef to his dog, either. Excuse me, I've got to go find my eyeballs - they seem to have rolled out of my head. Be back in a minute. Here, while I'm out, watch this video of Horton playing "passion-less hockey":
Oh, thank goodness! I found them! Under the fridge. Gotta get the dust off and we're back in time to savor what Andy Brickley just said about Horton while we read on in Kalman's atrocity:
Prior to this string of games, he averaged 2.5 shots per game in the 12 contests that featured his first seven goals. When you figure he averaged 2.45 shots per game on the way to 20 goals last season and 2.65 shots in 2006-07 (a 31-goal year), it’s obvious he’s only at his best when he’s putting that lethal wrister to use more often.
And in 08-09 he averaged 1.96 and scored 22. Yes, he obviously scores more when he shoots more but it's not a bad thing to have a high shooting percentage. Average around the league (by team) should be around 10...Horton's lowest percentages were 12.6 last year and 12.7 the year before when he scored 27.
Horton has to now prove that he can take the necessary steps to prevent an extended stretch of lifeless play from turning into an all-out slump. When he’s not scoring, he has to be creating chances, has to be making things happen with his body. That’s what he said he was ready to do on a consistent basis right after the trade and all through training camp. Now it’s time to show it. The Bruins don’t need another high-priced passenger in their lineup.
Passenger. Yup. That's what Kalman just said. He called Horton a "Passenger." Or called it into question, at least. Say what you will about Nathan Horton (unless you feel like writing up some dumb character assassination crap like Matthew has done here). Mr. Kalman, I believe you have locker room access. Can you do something for me? Can you go in there and ask Milan Lucic (or anyone else) if they think Nathan Horton's been a "passenger" to the Bruins?

While we're at it, who are the high-priced passengers in the lineup right now? You did say "another" so let's figure out who it is. Highest priced forward is Patrice Bergeron, and I don't think he's exactly having a bad year. He slotted in just fine up top with Krejci out, which actually helped Wheeler prove he's a better player than we thought. Next up for forwards is Milan Lucic (ha!), then Marc Savard (arguably, yes, but ask again when he's on the ice), Michael Ryder (having a hell of a contract year), then Horton and Krejci. Nope, no passengers there. Everyone else is Seguin (rookie doing work), Marco Sturm (See also Marc Savard), and a bunch of forwards making under 3 million. None of the forwards are "high-priced passengers."

On Defense, there are two guys making over 3 million: Norris-trophy winner and Captain Zdeno Chara (4-5-9 +10 - not a passenger) and Dennis "Dikembe" Seidenberg (7 assists, +5, 4th in the league in Blocked Shots - not a passenger). Nope. Okay, so it's gotta be a goalie, right? Sure! Tim Thomas is earning his cash money and Rask is being paid like a backup and soaking up losses (including one where he played a 3-1 period and got the loss). So, nope, not seeing any passengers here right now.
There’d be no better place to do that than in the BankAtlantic Center. The day after Horton and the Bruins downed those Panthers in Boston last week, he contemplated what playing in front of the Florida crowd might be like when asked about the possibilities.
Ah yes, the pre-written storyline. Player returns to team that drafted him and had him for a while. Gaborik back to Minnesota, Kesselmania, and now Horton to Florida. I bet he says something like "I appreciate the fans, and I have great memories, and I want to come home with the win" or something like that.
"I don’t know what it’s going to be like. It’s different. Obviously, it’s nice when you get the win against them. But it’s definitely going to be a little bit weird being down there,” said Horton.
Horton spitting mad fire. Throwing big heat against Flori-what? Oh, okay. Maybe he didn't. Whatever, he pulled from a different quotebook.
It’ll be a lot weirder if Horton goes out and plays the spirited hockey he started the season with. The folks in Sunrise probably don’t remember what that looks like. And the Bruins don’t want that Nathan Horton to become a distant memory.
It actually would be pretty weird if he came out and scored like crazy. In each of the afore-mentioned returns, the returning scorer put down a paltry 0-0-0 in front of his former hometown crowd. Of course, Gretzky broke a scoring record in Edmonton but I don't think it was his first game back.

As for that last part, Matthew? I think Mr. Joseph N. Welch, head of the council for the Army during the McCarthy hearings said it best:

"You've done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?"

Well, Matthew? Do you?


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Game 18 Preview: Kings at Bruins BEAT LA BEAT LA BEAT LA

Apparently the NHL schedule makers really enjoy the Boston/LA matchup since we doubled with them last year and are doubling with them again this year. The game in LA is in January and is Czech/Slovak pride night. Cool. Also cool: the Kings are doing "Legends nights" this year where they wear old-school jerseys and celebrate 40 years. One of their legends nights is against the Wild but that's neither here nor there. Here's the old-school jersey:
Yeah, not too shabby. Especially on Drew Doughty

So here's hoping for a good win.
Both teams are playing pretty well so far this season, with LA sitting atop their division and the Bruins having one of the best points percentages in the league. It's all going to come down to whether the Bruins want to extend their 3-game win streak more than LA wants to stop their 3-game losing slide. Should be a good one.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Game 17 Preview: Bruins V. Panthers NO YOU SHOULDN'T BOO WIDEMAN YOU IDIOT

NESN, 7pm, Home game, 98.5 FM, you know the drill.

Last year's top playoff scorer for the Bruins is going to get booed and it's going to be stupid. Kinda hope he gets a hat trick in a 4-3 Bruins win, honestly.

They played in the preseason, this happened:
Fly, little water bottle. FLY!

Not a lot of time for this (or any) post, but look at that FLA PP%! They also take the fewest penalties in the league. Top scorer is Frolik with 11, and then 2nd-best scorers (10 points) are Dennis Wideman, David Booth, Marty Reasoner, and Brian McCabe. Horton, Lucic, and Recchi are all outscoring the Florida top scorer.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

L10: 7-3-0: Capital Tour

So the Bruins have gotten off to a hot start, Thomas going undefeated and 7-0-0 and Rask getting screwed and going 0-3-0, including tonight's (last night's?) effort, coming in down 0-3 and still getting the L. It's nuts. They've also played in the capital city of 3 different countries so far.

The Bruins are nice enough to provide the last two years side-by-side with the current year on their website. 10 games in the last 2 years? Bruins beat Ottawa to improve to 5-4-1 in 09-10, and Thomas had just put on a clinic shutting down Edmonton and Vancouver in back-to-back shutouts in '08. The Bruins were 5-2-3 then. Now?
2-2-0 home
5-1-0 away
So that's not bad. Not bad at all. Next stop is gonna be goal differential:
The best in the league. Leading the team in individual +/- is none other than, you guessed it:
Milan Lucic.
This is in part to Thomas's 3 shutouts and altogether unreal hot streak in the beginning of the season, and also due in part to the offense, which is a breath of fresh air this season. The Lucic-Krejci-Horton line are all individually rocking a PPG for the moment, with Horton (6) and Lucic (5) leading the way in goals. The players without points this season are Dan Paille (scratched after the first game, quite possibly heading to Providence) and McQuaid (1 point in 32 career regular season and playoff NHL games).
#73: 4-4-8
One nice thing to see is the resurgence of the good Michael Ryder. Despite being one of only 3 players with a -1 (Paille and Recchi are the others), he's been scoring at a pretty good clip, 4th on the Bruins behind the Mushroom Kingdom.

Basically what I'm saying is this team is a hell of a lot of fun to watch right now.

L10 Highlight:
Tyler Seguin's first NHL goal
Tyler Seguin has been playing pretty well for a kid who is as old as your average college freshman. He's scored goals in 3 countries on two continents. Best part? Jordan Caron has been about as good, especially joining Patrice Bergeron on the PK (and otherwise) for what I like to call "The French Connection."

Most common forward lines, by percent ice time (per Dobber Hockey)
Lucic-Krejci-Horton (The Mushroom Kingdom)

Non-Bruins NHL spotlight:
Steve Stamkos is literally on fire right now. 10-10-20, +9. Ridiculous.
Stammer rules, get used to it.

By the time you read this I'll be sleeping through my alarm and hurrying off to Boston Sports Blogapalooza! I'm pretty psyched, last year was a lot of fun and hopefully this year will be too.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Game 10 Preview: Washington AGAIN?

This whole "playing the Caps" thing is starting to get old already. Just kidding, so far it's been great. Here are some pics from the previous 2 WSH/BOS games. Click on them for bigger versions. Enjoy.

Remember when the Caps PK hadn't let in any goals?
Totally mailed it in today, I'm pretty busy.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Game 7 Preview: I wonder if Dennis Seidenberg and Marco Sturm are offended by "The Kraut Line"?

So yeah the Leafs are coming to town but more importantly it's Milt Schmidt Night. Milt Schmidt started playing for the Bruins in 1936 at the age of 18. Yeah, that was a hell of a long time ago. Pre-WWII. If anyone reading this is that old, congrats. Anyhow, he played 18 regular-season games that year, coming up halfway through the year to play alongside childhood friends Bobby Bauer and Woody Dumart. The latest he could have started would have been January 7th, 1937, though if he sat a game or two for injury then maybe it was earlier. Regardless, Howard Hughes was setting speed records for flying across America when Milt stepped in as a rookie. Not too long after that, Milt and friends (including such greats as Eddie Shore, Dit Clapper, and Favorite-of-the-Blog and Pride of Eveleth, MN Frank "Mr. Zero" Brimsek.Got together and won a couple of cups before WWII started and the Bruins dynasty was broken up to fight the Nazis. Kind of a bummer, yes, but a worthy cause. All in all, I hope it's a great little ceremony to celebrate the career of the only person to ever be Captain, Coach, and GM of the Boston Bruins.

Here's some more reading:
In 2000, The Hockey News assembled 50 hockey experts to definitively rank the top players of all time. Milt Schmidt came in at number 27, ahead of the likes of Paul Coffey, Henri Richard, Bryan Trottier, Patrick Roy and Boom Boom Geoffrion.
Schmidt was 28 years old by the time he returned [from the war]. Many other NHL players had difficulty starting their careers again, but Schmidt actually seemed a better player after missing more than three seasons.
"He was the one who gave us the name, the 'Kraut Line.' He said, 'All you fellas come from Kitchener/Waterloo. There's a lot of people of German descent from there. We gotta get a name for ya - the Kraut Line!' We didn't mind. It was a name that kinda stuck to us."
Milt Schmidt, 88, is still a Bruin at heart and watches the B's on television and visits the Garden whenever he can. He has an overwhelming affection for Boston and Bruins fans in particular, and would talk to you for hours about his many fine days playing, coaching and managing the Boston Bruins. Milt remains the only person in Bruins history to play, captain, coach and serve as general manager of the club.

Anyhow there's also a game to be played. We're welcoming the Toronto Maple Leafs, currently sitting second in the division behind Montreal. What? Yup.
(blah blah blah Kessel trade blah blah blah)
Timmy Time
Thomas v. Gustafsson in nets per Left Wing Lock. Thomas has been playing out of his mind this year so far, here's hoping that continues.

Here's a picture saved a little while ago called "LeafFansAreCrazy.jpg"
Yup, they're nuts.

Good folks for the most part, though, what with the hating the Habs. I heartily endorse Pension Plan Puppets for your Toronto Maple Leafs blog needs.

Bruins have statistical advantage in a lot of categories except "record." Unfortunately that's the one that decides everything.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Game 5 Preview: HOME, HOME ON THE RINK

Okay, folks. You know how it do. The Bruins are on a hot streak, having won the last 3 games against Phoenix, New Jersey, and Washington after dropping the international home opener to Phoenix in Prague. You can see pictures of the Prague games in the next post, but I'm not here to dwell on the past.

I'm here to point out how goddamn badass Thomas's white-as-snow pads look. No, really, check this out:
(click for huge, also looks like some doan-face action)
Thomas has been posting ridiculous goalie numbers right now, including against some elite competition. Like Ilya Kovalchuk:
Gotta love Jack.

So basically Thomas owns right now and all the haters are climbing over themselves to get back on the Thomas bandwagon. Which is dumb, since rooting for a specific goalie instead of the team is just silly. Tuukka starts tonight, and if he lets up more than a goal I fully expect some assholes to boo him for no good reason. For more on that, go check out Day's of Y'Orr's excellent post about it.

No really. Go read it. I'll wait.

Did you read it yet? No? Here's the link again: CLICK HERE.

Okay, now we can continue.

The Caps are obviously looking to prove they're not a bad team and can beat the Bruins like they did all last year. The Bruins are out to prove they're not completely lost and alone and hopeless on the powerplay. The Caps haven't let up a PPG yet. DRAMA! INTRIGUE!

Oh, and I know I didn't write about the Bergeron and Chara extensions, but basically my thought is that I'm happy to have those 2 guys back, and the Chara one might be a little long...maybe. He works out like a maniac, so it might work fine. Then again maybe not. Who knows? And now you know why I'm not an NHL GM.

Now, here are some stats:
Horrible Jerk who should really pick it up, jeez:
Tyler Seguin is a -1 and has only 2 points in his first 4 NHL games.

Keep your head up and your stick down, kids.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Trip Report: Prague Pictures!

So I didn't spring for a data plan in Prague so instead of twitpic-ing every photo I'm putting a little picasa gallery or two here of all of the pictures. Should be good if you want to see some and haven't seen a ton already:

Bruins In Prague Day 1Bruins in Prague Day 2

Suffice to say, it was a lot of fun watching with the Czech crowd. On the first day they pointed out a couple of famous (and not-so-famous) Czechs in the crowd that had played in the NHL, including Jiri Slegr. Additionally, the penalty graphics were pretty sweet, with a cartoon ref doing the motions and a sweet fire graphic exploding behind him. I took probably 5-6 pictures of that between days. You know, phoenix kept taking penalties.

Anyhow, game stories. There was a slovakian gentleman sitting in front of me in the first game who clued me in to the fact that "Chara" in slovakian is pronounced "Hara" like the beginning of "Chanukkah." Pretty interesting tidbit, I thought.

Other things of interest: Ilya Bryzgalov is a great goalie, but Horton owns. OWNS. Check this out, from after the second game:

And then of course the second game (on at 10am Eastern) was even better. First fan-favorite Milan Lucic potted a blast on Illllllyaaaaaaaa, assisted by the Goomba. Then of course the Goomba put in his own. And then, well, this:
Yeah, that ruled.

Congrats to Tyler on his first NHL goal. It was a doozie.

Thomas got an assist on that, as well as this little honor:

More stories as time allows.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Hockey's biggest rivalry officially home to Hockey's biggest captain height difference

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Oh Captain my Captain!
Yup, it's official. The Habs announced yesterday that Gionta will be leading the Habs down the yellow brick road to wherever they're going this year.

Tis the season for season previews but I don't think I'm doing one. I never get it right and even if I did I don't think I'd care to spend all day patting myself on the back about it. Let's just say there's plenty to be excited about this year.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

PJ Axelsson suspended 2 games for knätackling

Yes, it's true. PJ "Pebben" Axelsson was suspended today for a knee-on-knee hit on Marcus Paulsson, former Islanders' 5th-round pick...from 2002. The hit is near the end of the video, from Aftonbladet:
Normally I'd get youtube for this sort of thing but it's just not available there. Yet.

If you watch that video above you get to see Pebben hit the guy and then flip out a bit because the guy turned at the last second. PJ was ejected from the game immediately. Frolunda still won but

PJ has of course reached out and apologized for the hit. If you look at it, he's not going for knee-on-knee but he certainly ends up doing it. In the Hockey Expressen article, they say: "Per-Johan Axelsson kommer in bredbent och utdelar en tackling, som till följd av att motspelaren plötsligt vrider sig, träffar olyckligt och orsakar skada." which in non-moonspeak means something along the lines of "Pebben skated in for the hit with a broad stance, and Paulsson suddenly turned, and unfortunately caught his knee"

Here's the picture of the aftermath, you can tell the right leg is a lot bigger than the left:

So, I think we all learned an important lesson. Don't get drafted by the Islanders in the 5th round in 2002.

Thanks to @puckarinen and @sarah_connors for the heads-up.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Thanks, TSN, for that amazing headline/picture combo.

No, I'm not going to write up a review. The events are all over the place. Horton scored in the first 1:35. If anyone has a youtube or whatever from puck-drop to that first goal, I'd love to see it. I am, however, going to just put this gif right here:

Yeah, that owned. Spacek is probably still chasing Bergeron.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Watch the Rookie Game Live Right Now!

I've set this up earlier today to see if it will broadcast tonight properly. If you see the rookie game below:

If that doesn't work, please please please leave a comment letting me know and click here to go to the official page.


Monday, September 13, 2010

Bruins partner with Gods of Metal in Finnish Hockey Team form

The Bruins just signed a deal with JYP, an SM-Liiga team from Finland. I immediately reached out to sleza, a real live Finn, as someone who might know more about them than me. Here's what she found out, with minimal editing:

For somewhat unknown reasons, the Bruins have signed a deal with a Finnish team called JYP (note, the pronunciation is close to “yup” not to J Y P) which enables training co-operation, a player exchange and exchange of information between the organizations. The co-operation will include 6 teams: Boston Bruins, Providence Bruins, Reading Royals, JYP, D-team (JYP’s “farm team”, plays on the 2nd highest league in Finland) and JYP’s A-juniors. The final details of this deal will be discussed in Prague between 8th and 10th of October.

Basic info: JYP is a Finnish Elite League team from Jyväskylä. I know, I know… It’s a horrible word monster with too many umlauts. But hey, at least it’s not Örnsköldsvik. The team is the only Elite League team in the Jyväskylä area (and the only team in its near – and not so near – surroundings for that matter) so it has a pretty large potential fan base.

Jyväskylä’s first hockey team (and the granddad of the modern JYP) was found in 1947 and the team has played in the Elite League from 1985.

Success: JYP’s best years this far were in the late 80’s and early 90’s but they didn’t won their first championship until 2008-2009, when they destroyed Kärpät 4-0 in the final series. This was quite an achievement since Kärpät had won 4 from the last 5 championships before that. JYP was also 3rd in 2009-2010 season (yes, we have “bronze game” in our league and yes, some players occasionally skip that). Their journey in the league hasn’t been skating from one success to another if you count the golds but overall, with the small/medium budget, they’ve done good work.

Despite not being bad in the big boys’ league, their success in the juniors has been better: "JYP is renowned for its strong work with juniors. The club’s junior teams have won numerous Finnish youth championships, most recently in the spring of 2007, when JYP’s ‘B’ juniors (under 18) won the gold medal.

Players: Like said, their budget is not the highest one in the league so the star players they might have had, have usually moved to other teams pretty quickly, following the siren call of money. Some of the biggest names who played in Jyväskylä are Steve Kariya and Michael Nylander.

From JYP’s players 15 have been drafted to NHL, among them Ducks’ 4th round pick in 2009 Sami Vatanen, who (despite the low draft) is one of JYP’s top prospects and broke last season the rookie defensemen’s points record.

Missing link in the puzzle: JYP’s Director of Player Development/player development coordinator Jukka Holtari is also a Bruins scout.

Fun fact: They know how to make an entrance:

Thanks very much to friend of the blog sleza for writing this up for us. And the sweet youtube video. My thought: could it be a destination for an underperforming player a la Nylander last year?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Tuukka Rask: Revisiting the 'New Kid'

With Tuukka coming off of a relatively successful first season as a full-time NHL goalie, I felt that it was time to revisit him, and explore a little bit more of his past. What I discovered was far more than I had ever imagined possible.

Tuukka Rask is not his original name. He was actually born "Tuukkarrasque." This name illustrates who the man REALLY is: The Tarrasque.

(eat your heart out Days of Y'orr - CH)

From Wikipedia: "The Tarrasque is a highly destructive creature. It needs to eat constantly and savors its desire to destroy in order to survive. As a result, it has many combat methods. It can attack with its tail, its claws, its spikes and horns, by stomping, by grabbing and by slamming its massive 130-ton body into opponents." Does this not perfectly describe our young goalie? 130 tons is an exaggeration, he is actually only 169 pounds... FOR NOW.

It is this writer's humble opinion that, once Tuukkarasque comes closer to fully grown, now only will he dwarf the net making scoring on him all but impossible, he will eat habs faster than the Canadiens can pay people to stop caring about playing hard.

(like I need an excuse to post this picture - CH)

Oh, and one other thing...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

SBNation Mock Draft: Results

Goodbye Fake Michael Ryder. Goodbye Fake Andrew Ference. We knew you well, and in the end you provided us with a good way to drop some serious cap space dough. This also means we get to see McQuaid play the "punch faces and be mediocre at hockey" role that Hnidy did when he was here. It solves the depth and salary problems up front. And we've still got a fantastic goalie tandem in Thomas and Rask.

In memoriam:


Thursday, September 2, 2010

SBNation Mock Draft: Protected Players

So SBNation is doing a mock expansion draft because hockey isn't here yet and we're all a little bored, no matter how many times we watch Brady2Moss make magic in the preseason. The first part of the exercise went as expected and a couple of Canadians still crying over the Jets and Nordiques get to feel a little better about themselves as a result.

Now comes the interesting part: They'll be having a mock expansion draft. Each team gets a chance to protect some but not all of the players. Here's the criteria, stolen from the post over at Hockey Wilderness, where they're having trouble picking enough players to protect, and I don't blame them:

- Teams can protect either "1 goalie, 5 defensemen and 9 forwards" OR "2 goalies, 3 defensemen and 7 forwards."
- If you go the two goalie route, at least one goalie left unprotected must have played in at least 10 games last season OR 25 games in the last two seasons combined. One game = at least 31 minutes.
- Each team must leave unprotected at least one defenseman who appeared in 40 games last season OR 70 games in the last two seasons combined.
- Each team must leave unprotected at least two forwards who appeared in 40 games last season OR 70 games in the last two seasons combined.
- Players who have played in 49 or fewer games are automatically exempt and do not need to be protected.

So Seguin is exempt, but Johnny "51 games" Boychuk is not.

Originally I decided to go the 2 goalies, 3 defensemen, 7 forwards path because, well, I thought Thomas was a good enough goalie to be worth more than protecting a 4th and 5th defenseman and an 8th and 9th forward. After laughing at Toskala all last year while watching Colombus go down in flames in front of Steve Mason I think Thomas is worth it. Yes, his contract is pretty ridiculous but I just don't know if Rask is ready for 60 games+ playoffs. He looked tired in the Philly series, you know?

But then again maybe I want to play the will-he-won't-he sweepstakes with Thomas. The upside is he's good, the upside of leaving him dangling is that his contract is giant. Plus, only 2 guys can get taken and only 1 of those can be a defenseman or goalie. So maybe someone's more likely to take Ference than Thomas? Uh oh, that was a spoiler.

So far, 1 Keeper Goalie: Tuukka Rask.

I'm worried about him getting too many starts but there are un-signed goalies out there, right?

Which brings me to the next step of the exercise, the defensemen. Here are the defensemen eligible for this exercise:


So of course Chara and Seidenberg are locks, and Boychuk and Hunwick have too much upside to let go. That brings it down to a game of which defenseman do you expose? As mentioned before, I'm gonna go with Ference. He's a hell of a guy and I'm a big fan but when I don't protect Thornton in the forwards someone else who is popular should probably get on there. Also Stuart's cap hit is a hell of a lot more friendly. This gives the GMs a choice between Ference and Thomas. Should be interesting.

Moving right along we need to keep a couple forwards around. Because we're dangling Thomas we get to pick up to 9 forwards to keep around. We also need to expose up to 2 forwards that have played a bunch of games the last season or two. So here's the list:


Above the line are the 7 who I think are pretty much no-brainers. Obviously Ryder is going to go unprotected, and maybe you leave Sturm out there too. Paille can end up in the protected list - I like his style. And I'd probably put Sturm on there too, yeah. Let's keep sturm around for now. He's hurt anyways. So that means our dangling forwards are Michael Ryder (sorry Chemmy) Greg Campbell (sorry Colin, thanks for suspending Matt Cooke for intent to injure) and Shawn Thornton (sorry katie).

So here's the final protected list:




Where'd I screw it all up? Let me know.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Nathan Horton: The Goomba

Yeah I've been gone for a while but there hasn't been a whole lot going on, so I'm about ready to write some things. I've got the itch and the same thing keeps popping up time after time:


I mean, have you seen the man? I'm hoping he jumps immediately into the category of "I don't care if he's got a face tattoo, as long as he scores goals like this:
Oh yes, I'll take one of those please.

So yeah, let's get into it. I'm excited about the guy, you're excited about the guy (or you should be you ignoramous or fan of another team) and who wouldn't be? Heck, back in 2009 someone thought he was awesome enough to make a custom NHL 09 cover:
Great work, Custom Sports Covers! They did another one for NHL10, actually. And a Thomas NHL10. Whatever. Here's a Powerplay snnnnnnnipe on one Jonathan Quick:
Yes, yes, yes, Horton!

So what about statistically? Well, first of all he's had 20 goals in each of the last 5 years but you probably already heard that one about a million times. Well, I have anyhow. Let's see, last year he was 4th on the Panthers in GVT, and second in Defensive Value. GVT is a little odd because you're better off comparing to the team than the whole league. Either way, a big part of that Florida team. And then he comes up here, a goal-scoring talent who just squeezed 20 goals out of Stephen Weiss, Michael Frolik, and the corpse of David Booth. Oh, did I mention 7 of his 57 points were in concert with Dennis Seidenberg? Oh, probably should've mentioned that one.

Lucic-Savard-Horton? I need a napkin.

He's also fought a couple guys you may remember: Hal Gill, Arron Asham, Tim Gleason, etc. Of course, that was all a couple years ago. According to, his last fight was in the 08-09 preseason: Dropping the Purse with Ryan O'Byrne. The video isn't on youtube, so instead watch Horton try to take on the hilariously larger Hal Gill:
Look at him try to pick up Gill. What?

So we shouldn't really expect much in that department from him. Oh well. We've got Thornton and friends to take care of face-punching. What this team needs is goals and I'm pumped at the thought we might actually get some this year.

All that aside, and I think most importantly, he looks like a Goomba:
Thanks to random Puck Daddy Commenter "Richard R" for pointing this out.
GO Goomba!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Youtube (black and) Gold: Monday sucks let's watch highlights!

November 16th, 1989. The Bruins are playing Montreal at home in their third meeting of the season. Patrick Roy against Andy Moog. Cam Neely, Ray Bourque, Glen Wesley, Bob and Don Sweeney, Ken Linsemen. Coach Terry O'Reilly. What a team that year. Fuck Mark Messier forever. Anyhow this video was cut together by my favorite youtube superstar, dafoomie:

Classic Cusick.

Wouldn't it be nice if we could still hear his voice when the Bruins score? I think it would. That link goes to an excellent proposal by Days of Y'orr, my favorite new Bruins blog.

Is it October yet? No?
How about September?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Place Your Bets: Blake Wheeler's Arbitration is coming up on July 27th

Okay, folks. There's not much happening with the Bruins lately but we've started to get the early returns for arbitration come in. So far there have been 2 cases that have come back: Clarke Macarthur and Jannik Hansen.

Clarke Macarthur

Previous salary (per capgeek): 1.4m

Award: 2.4 Million (not accepted)

Stats: (from



2006-0721Buffalo SabresNHL193474430001618.81698:54
2007-0822Buffalo SabresNHL37871532080015115.753914:34
2008-0923Buffalo SabresNHL71171431-4561250010815.798213:50
2009-10242 TeamsNHL81161935-16491141312912.4119014:42
2009-1024Buffalo SabresNHL60131326-1447103039913.186214:22
2009-1024Atlanta ThrashersNHL21369-2211103010.032815:37
Career4 SeasonsNHL208444488-131293491430414.5288013:51

Clarke Macarthur took his time coming into the NHL, similar to Wheeler. However, he spent time in the AHL and didn't really play a full season until 08-09. His 2 seasons of 31 and 35 are a bit less than Wheelers'. Uh oh.

Jannik Hansen

Previous salary (per capgeek): 550k

Award: 825k (accepted)

Stats (from

2007-0821Vancouver CanucksNHL500002000030.05811:34
2008-0922Vancouver CanucksNHL55615215376001649.468812:31
2009-1023Vancouver CanucksNHL479615-51880136713.458012:20
Career3 SeasonsNHL1071521360571401413411.2132612:24

Jannik Hansen seems to be a third-liner for the Canucks, was making league minimum, and now is making slightly less than league minimum.

Blake Wheeler

Previous salary (per capgeek): $875k salary plus 2.05m performance bonuses = 2.825m cap hit.

Award: Your guess here!

Stats (from

2008-0922Boston BruinsNHL8121244536461632315014.0110913:41
2009-1023Boston BruinsNHL82182038-4531431215911.3129515:47
Career2 SeasonsNHL16339448332993063530912.6240414:45

Look at that odd PIM total. Remember when he dropped the purse with Ryan O'Byrne?

Blake's hearing is July 27th and if the Bruins don't sign him I wouldn't be too surprised to see him walk. If he does, he's definitely getting picked up by someone else. I know some people on here hate him for not being a superstar in his sophomore year but personally I think he's got promise.

If you're not familiar with the process, you basically find comparable RFA players that have signed contracts and use them as evidence for how much the player should make. Here's what I wrote about Greg Campbell when he filed for arbitration in a comment on this story:

So looking for a comparable, I (of course) went to Hockey-reference and cut it down to this group by ppg, PIMs, Games played (after removing anyone whose time there was pre-lockout)

1 Stephane Veilleux 2003-2010 – ended up signing a one-year/$737,500 contract with the Wild of 08-09 to avoid salary arbitration. 4 Gregory Campbell 2004-2010 – the man of the hour 5 Brian Sutherby 2003-2009 – signed a one-year/$700,000 contract with the Ducks in 2008 as an RFA. 6 Jordin Tootoo 2004-2010 – might be a better player than Campbell, got a two-year, $600,000 AAV contract back in 2006 as an RFA 7 Matt Bradley 2001-2007 – might be too out of date to matter, and apparently signed a UFA contract before he signed as a RFA one year later, and I can’t find any numerical data. Making 1 million a year now.

(AAV stands for Average Annual Value, aka Cap Hit)

So I’m hopeful he’s not going to go over 800,000.

Greg Campbell later signed a deal for 1.1m AAV/2 years.

I tried to track down my comment about Wheeler's comparables but then I remember only finding one or two.

So, what do you think? Who's a good RFA comparable to Wheeler and how much do you think he'll get in arbitration?

Good luck, everyone.

(this was originally posted as a fanpost on