Thursday, March 31, 2011

Game 77: Toronto @ Boston BRUINS CAN CLINCH TONIGHT

Yup, it's the leafs again. For the last time all year.
It's been quite the run, from one of Seguin's only home goals:
To the acquisition of one Tomas Kaberle, Esq.
And some Waffles:
Not really a whole lot left to say about it all at this point.
Everything's in our favor but Powerplay Opportunities and record over the last 10 games.
Trap game, big time.
A win tonight clinches the division. Remember crushing New Jersey's dreams? That ruled.
Make them cry.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Game 76: Bruins v. Blackhawks

The game tonight is on Versus at 7:30pm, a concession for Chicago fans (and games starting at 7pm.) This is a different team than the one that won the cup last year but the important pieces are still there. Beatable but not easily so.
Second-best PP in the league, behind Vancouver. 6th-worst PK. Should be interesting.
The magic number to win the division is 6.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Game 73: Habs @ Bruins RIVALRY

Big rivalry game tonight. Nothing to do about it except go lose your voice at the game.
You should know the storylines by now. I really don't have to write much of anything at all.
Feels like days until puck drop.
Bruins magic number is 7 to clinch a playoff berth, 14 to clinch the division.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Peter Chiarelli STH Conference Call Recap

I was live-tweeting the conference call Peter Chiarelli had with season ticket holders today, here's what I wrote on twitter:

And here...we...go! Bob Beers: "what's the deal with all the losing?"
Chiarelli points to weak wins to end 7w streak, dip in special teams. "Guys have allowed themselves to drop a bit"
Chiarelli: "We didn't show up" in Toronto. Liked special teams practice on Sunday.
Chiarelli "winning battles applies to every facet of the game, and that includes powerplay"
Seguin getting limited time, is he tough enough? Chiarelli: "Good question. In TOR game, he's on PP half wall. He's done a good job."
Chiarelli says Seguin's been "diligent" with stuff the Bruins give him to work on. "You can't teach his hands."
Chiarelli: cautious about headshot rules, shoulder-to-shoulder hits are what fans want but if it glances up to the chin, is that a headshot?
Keep KABERLE on point and move Chara to goalmouth on powerplay? "Obviously we're struggling with our PP, and we have discussed that." Bruins don't want to lose cannon from the point but if it's not working, well...maybe.
Why not so much Boychuk on powerplay? Chiarelli: We like Johnny. Broke his finger late last year and has been struggling. Looking at options
Thomas having a dip after unreal start. "Guys can't perform like superheroes all year." Tuukka's finding his game. Goaltending can be better
"I feel we're in a good spot right now" with KABERLE re-signing. Hasn't been elite numbers-wise since coming here "but no one has"
Mark Stuart move? Chiarelli: Weren't making compromises by moving Mark Stuart. Still have blueline size.
Scratched players? Chiarelli: Paille gives us speed, can't tell about tonight's lineup.
BAD QUESTION ALERT: Why haven't Bruins won cup yet? Why haven't you made that adjustment yet? Chiarelli: "I want to win a cup as much as anyone."
Hnidy's role? Chiarelli: "Right now? Depth. He'll get some games and we'll see."
Chiarelli: When "we have to win one" is theme of practice, heavy practice. Some new plays on PK, PP. Spending more time on PK in practice.
How will Horton do in playoffs? Chiarelli: "Pretty high expectations" Stepped up game recently, plays hard game. Been happy with Nathan.
Marc Savard? Chiarelli: daily concussion symptoms, no depression. Slow and delicate matter.
Ryder re-signing? Chiarelli: "haven't entered into any extensions talks for anyone at this time."
Blown leads? Chiarelli: We've seen it. Concerning. Hasn't been much of an issue up until recent slump. "Maddening and frustrating."
Recchi getting old? Chiarelli: Can win battles, leads by example. Hope that's the case in playoffs as well. Sure he will.
Shootouts? Chiarelli: some managers want to remove it. "Sometimes difficult to swallow." Fans like it, so it's here to stay.
Bad o-zone entries? Chiarelli: Tried to generate more speed since camp, been pretty good until slump.
Cycle too much outside on PP? Chiarelli: Puck hasn't been getting there [inside] for a shot as much as we like.
Matt Cooke? Chiarelli: He's a repeat offender. "I've seen him do it too many times." Thinks it was a good ruling.
Callers on powerplay more than Bruins. Not rely on Chara blast? Chiarelli: 3 or 4 plays that work for formation. Too much for slot guys to do?
Fatigue? Chiarelli: no excuses, observations. Road trips are tiring, everyone goes on them, and Bruins don't win at home enough.
Montreal game Thurs? Chiarelli: Likely no revenge hit on Chara but expecting a tough game.
Goalies been struggling but they're still really good. New guys "fit in well. Stats haven't stood out."
Montreal in playoffs? Chiarelli: "we're not as fast, but we're bigger" and deeper. Get pucks behind their D and forecheck hard. Winnable.
Good work by @guy3777 who was also live-tweeting the call.
Overall the questions were focused mostly on the powerplay and the recent slump the Bruins have been on. Sorry that's so poorly put together, I don't have time to really write a good recap. Powerplay's sucked, recent 6-7 games have really sucked, Seguin's improving, trying new things on PP, we can definitely beat Montreal in the playoffs. Cam Neely doesn't have his name on the cup yet but he wants it there pretty bad.

Game 72: Devils @ Bruins TEN GAMES LEFT

Tough draw tonight. Devils need to basically win every game from here on out to make the playoffs. Jacques Lemaire is making a run to get the Jack Adams renamed. He's got the Devils in serious trap mode. They're letting up very very few shots. The last 2 games they let 12 and 13 shots get to Brodeur.

Will luck change? I certainly hope so. Players to watch for: Kovalchuk, Patrick Elias, Travis Zajac, Jacob Josefson, and Brian Rolston have all played a large part in the scoring. So watch out.
Magic number is still 9.
Habs 1 point behind, hosting Buffalo tonight. GO BUFFALO!

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Bruins' Magic Number is 9

The Bruins have a magic number of 9 to clinch a playoff spot and 20 to clinch the division.
Games coming up:
71Sat, Mar 19, 2011@Toronto Maple Leafs.500
72Tue, Mar 22, 2011vNew Jersey Devils.500
73Thu, Mar 24, 2011vMontreal Canadiens.599
74Sat, Mar 26, 2011vNew York Rangers.549
75Sun, Mar 27, 2011@Philadelphia Flyers.671
76Tue, Mar 29, 2011vChicago Blackhawks.592
77Thu, Mar 31, 2011vToronto Maple Leafs.500
78Sat, Apr 2, 2011vAtlanta Thrashers.507
79Mon, Apr 4, 2011@New York Rangers.549
80Wed, Apr 6, 2011vNew York Islanders.458
81Sat, Apr 9, 2011vOttawa Senators.430
82Sun, Apr 10, 2011@New Jersey Devils.500
Seems simple enough, right? Right. A combined points percentage of .532 or so for upcoming opponents. Not bad but beatable.

Well except for the Devils x2, Flyers, Blackhawk, and maybe Rangers. I'm pretty sure they'll make it. It's time to bring up Horton and Campbell, who combined for 0 playoff games with Florida, and said this about it back in June when they came to the Bruins:
"I watched the playoffs pretty closely and it's not fun ending your season in April," Campbell said. "I follow it closely and you kind of get a taste of what it's like to play, but it's not close to being in one of those arenas."
"As a player, that's the best part of playing hockey, getting to the playoffs," Horton said. "You don't make them for seven years, it's too long and it can't happen. The Bruins organization [missing the playoffs] just doesn't happen and it's exciting for me to come and be a part of it.
(Both from Joe MacDonald's piece for ESPN back then.)

A quick look back over the last 2 years, the Bruins' 88 points are 11 points behind 08-09. With 2 more wins, the Bruins will pass last year's point total. They're on pace for over 100 points, to boot.

Anyhow, yeah, I'm looking forward to it. There's little better than live playoff hockey.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Game 70: Bruins @ Smashville ST. PATRICE BERGERON-CLEARY

Nashville fans gonna complain and say Shea Weber is a better defenseman than Zdeno Chara but I don't see him breaking hardest-shot records or winning the Norris, so hmph.

Pekka Rinne is also first loser on the save percent leaderboard this year, and has been hot as .931 goaltending can be, so pretty much assume he's a brick wall. Thomas has a .938 in the Bruins' last 10 games. Rask weighs in at only .929 aka "still amazing." If it's not a goalie duel tonight then something funny is in the air and I don't mean leprechauns or green beer.

Patrick Hornqvist is trying to pass Andy Brickley as highest-scoring last-overall pick of all time. He's got 92 points in 175 games. Brickley had 222 points in 385 games as a defenseman. Brickley's got a better career pace but Hornqvist might play more games. He had a great year last year but has tapered off. We'll see whether he gets another 130+ points.

On the whole I think the Preds are a pretty cool team.

Marchand's probably suspended but I'm not sure yet since the NHL is taking it's sweet time with the hearing.

Yeah, you could say I'm worried.
Don't expect to see a lot (if any) powerplay time for the Bruins tonight.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Game 69: Bruins @ Columbus

Yup, Blue Jackets on a tuesday. Nothing to get excited about, right? Well, let's not be so sure.

For one, the Bruins are in the midst of a 4-game losing slump and that sucks, so of course watching them on TV will help them break on through. Columbus introduced and mothballed a new mascot, Boomer, this year. Feel free to check out Boomer's backstory on Sports Argument Wiki. Great stuff.

Game's at 7 on NESN, see you there.
Generally I find that if the Bruins win every stat column, it's not promising for that night's game.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Bruins V. Lightning

First home game in a while. Should be a good game. Two division leaders, one with the high-flying offense of St. Louis and Stamkos and Lecavelier and the other with more goals for per game. Owned.

However the Lightning have gone from a -6 goal differential and leading their division to an even goal differential and leading their division. They're improving ever since they got Dwayne "a real goalie" Roloson.

The winner of tonight's game is second in the conference tomorrow.