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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

posts are coming

I will be three games behind after tonight's game. I'm sorry. The games have been fun, though, and I look forward to writing about them. If I was a full-time beat writer, I would probably be able to prevent myself from falling behind this far.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Rays Suck!

The Ottawa Senators suck too.

Both the Red Sox and Bruins have big games tonight. I'll be watching both (I've done it before and have become quite good at watching two sports at once.)

Here is the Bruins lineup. Wideman and Ward switched places, and Lucic and Sturm switched places. Manny Fernandez is starting.

P.J. Axelsson-Marc Savard-Michael Ryder
Milan Lucic-Patrice Bergeron-Phil Kessel
Marco Sturm-David Krejci-Blake Wheeler
Vladimir Sobotka-Stephane Yelle-Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara-Dennis Wideman
Andrew Ference-Aaron Ward
Mark Stuart-Shane Hnidy

Manny Fernandez
Tim Thomas

Here is the Red Sox lineup. Josh Beckett is the starting pitcher.

1. Coco Crisp, CF
2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
3. David Ortiz, DH
4. Kevin Youkilis, 3B
5. J.D. Drew, RF
6. Jason Bay, LF
7. Mark Kotsay, 1B
8. Jed Lowrie, SS
9. Jason Varitek, C

SP -- Josh Beckett

(Thank you Boston Globe bloggers for the lineups!)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Two videos and some thoughts

The Anaheim Ducks are 0-4-0 and the Philadelphia Flyers are 0-3-1. I'm loving it. Everyone picked the Ducks to do well, I didn't. Although it has only been four games, the Ducks are not playing well. Meanwhile the Flyers suck too. I hate the Flyers, and I picked them to miss the playoffs as well. I honestly could not care less whether he Ducks sink or swim, but I really want the Flyers to continue to lose. Their dirty style of hockey is unacceptable.

Also, as i type this the Columbus Blue Jackets are playing their first home game of the season. This means that the Bruins have the last home opener in the NHL.

My first video is Shawn Thornton vs. Georges Laraque. You can decide who won.

And of course, Sarah Palin being booed by Flyers fans:

Game 3: Bruins lose in a shootout to the Habs 4-3, are 1-1-1

It is nice to see that the Bruins are resilient, but next time, we should play the full 60 minutes and get an easy two points. The Bruins played very well, yet a few collapses in the first period led to a huge lead for Montreal. The Bruins never gave up, and with some help from a terrible Montreal goalie, were able to tie up the game. As usual though, we blew it in the shootout and lost to Montreal again.

Everything was going great in the first period. During their very first shift, Shawn Thornton and Georges Laraque threw down. It was hard to tell who won. Laraque threw more punches but it looked as if Thornton connected more times.

All hell broke loose late in the period. On a MTL power play, Ward let a puck get by him. That puck went to Kovalev who scored. Just a little later, Saku Koivu put in a rebound to make the game 2-0 Habs. A minute later, on a Bruins power play, every Bruin on the ice let the team down, including Tim Thomas, and the Habs scored a shorthanded goal.

The Bruins got one back in the second period. A long rebound squirted towards the blue line where David Krejci skated up and blasted the puck home.

Midway through the third period, with Thomas playing like a champ, the Bruins reduced the deficit to one on a 5 on 3 power play. Zdeno Chara's shot hit off Carey Price and went right to Marc Savard, who shot the puck into the net. Marc Savard's shooting has been very nice to watch so far this season.

With TT on the bench and under a minute left to play, Michael Ryder dumped the puck behind the Montreal net. Now we here in Boston know how bad Carey Price is, but it must have been a shock to everyone in Quebec when Carey price skated behind the net to retrieve the puck. The puck bounced off the boards right in front of the net. Marc Savard easily knocked the puck in and the game was tied.

After a pretty boring and conservative overtime, Kessel, Bergeron, and Ryder attempted shots for the Bruins in the shootout. Kessel missed, and Bergeron & Ryder both sent the puck right to Price. Meanwhile, Alex Tanguay got one by Thomas and the Habs won.

The Bruins fight until the whistle blows, that's for sure.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Game 2: Bruins lose to Wild 4-3, are 1-1-0

Just a real frustrating game. The Bruins looked pretty solid, especially in the third period. The real problem was the inconsistency of Manny Fernandez. He made some great saves, however, three of the four Minnesota goals were ones Fernandez should have had. Maybe I'm being too hard on a guy who's been injured and hasn't gotten his groove back, but he is eating up too much cap space, especially considering all star Tim Thomas is on the team for a quarter of the price.

Meanwhile, Marc Savard, Michael Ryder, and PJ Axelsson continued to play very well together. Savard had two goals, both of them assisted by his linemates. The offense as a whole played very well. Minnesota's defense was up to the challenge, but clearly overwhelmed in the third period, when the Bruins really took it to the Wild.

In the first period, Phil Kessel got things started when he sent a shot into the net. His goal came seconds after Bergeron hit the post. Kessel's shot was beautiful.

Minnesota, however, scored 4 straight goals. One power play goal in the first period, and three goals in the second period. The first two should have been saved by Fernandez. The third one was due to poor defense, and the final one was a goal that Fernandez should have on a good day, but it too was due to a defensive letdown that the shot was even taken.

The third period started with the Bruins down 4-1. The Bruins really started pushing the attack, but Backstrom was not letting anything by. In the middle of the period, the Bruins finally got the break they were looking for when Ryder fed the puck to Savard, who shot the puck into the net. Then with under two minutes left, Savard scooped up a puck from Ryder and got the puck past Backstrom. The Bruins had some opportunities in the next minute, but couldn't convert. The Bruins lost 4-3.

Although frustrating, this game showed me something important. The 2008-2009 Bruins are not going down without a fight.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Bruins to play the Crazies tonight in Minnesota

Update: The Bruins lost a heart-breaker 4-3. I'll have the game summary up soon

Bad news coming out of Minneapolis: Chuck Kobasew has fractured his ankle. If I had to guess I'd say he will be out for 3-4 weeks.

He will obviously not be available for tonight's game against the Minnesota Wild. The game is at 8:30 and will be NESN's first regular season game of the year. Without Kobasew, tonight's lines will probably be:




My guess is that Fernandez will start. Thomas was great, but Julien will probably be trying both of them out early in the season.

Also, right now the Northeast division is the only division whose teams all have at least one point.

Game 1: Bruins beat Avalanche 5-4, are 1-0-0


It's been a while since Bruins Nation has seen an opening day win. It was not pretty, but a win is a win. On Thursday night in Denver, the offense dominated. The Bruins defense could not stop the Colorado attack at all. Tim Thomas, however, kept the Bruins in the game with 35 saves. Meanwhile, the Bruins focused on developing plays and taking quality shots instead of overloading Peter Budaj with shots. The Bruins scored 5 goals on 20 shots. Although it looked as if Colorado dominated the game, I really did think the entire time that the Bruins were going to win.

In the first period, Colorado came out firing, out-shooting Boston 20-5. With 13 minutes left, Phil Kessel sent the puck past Budaj and gave the Bruins the lead. Colorado quickly got it back though. While on the Power Play, someone missed an assignment and let Hejduk skate to the goal unguarded, where he recieved a pass and easily tipped in the puck. The Bruins quickly got the lead back when Kobasew battled for the puck and got it to Wheeler who scored. Colorado was able to tie the game up, but after Tim Thomas made an incredible save and killed a 5 on 3. The Ave's did tie it up though. It was a really ugly goal, though. Guys were falling everywhere and the puck just managed to go in. The period ended tied 2-2.

In the second period, the Ave's took the lead when a rebound went through Thomas's legs. The Bruins tied it up when Chara drove a wobbly puck towards the net. Savard tipped the puck in. With a little over two minutes left, Aaron Ward blasted the puck past the net and into the glass. The plexiglass shattered, so the refs decided to end the second period and attach the last two and a half minutes onto the third period.

Five minutes into the third period, the Bruins took the lead when Savard handled the puck behind the Avalanche net. Savard turned and blindly slid the puck to Ryder, who was in front of the net and able to shoot the puck in. This is a great sign! If the Bruins want success this season, the Savard-Ryder pair is going to have to come through. The Avalanche were able to tie up the game once again, however, with under 3 minutes left in the game, the Bruins pulled out a win. Lucic passed the puck to Kobasew, but it somehow got to Krejci next to the net. Krejci shot the puck in and the Bruins won.

A 5-4 win, yet no team ever had a two goal lead. Also, the Bruins did a good job of spreading out minutes. Julien seems to have confidence in all the players, which is great. Dennis Wideman led the team with just over 25 minutes, while Shawn Thornton played the least with a healthy 12 minutes.

One last note: Michael Ryder's goal was the 100th of his career.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Thomas Starting

update 9:45PM: Toronto beat Detroit 3-2 (what an upset!), so that's the East's first win of the season.

Tim Thomas is starting in goal tonight for the Boston Bruins. Peter Budaj will start for the Avalanche, not Andrew Raycroft. Claude Julien, probably due to the time difference, decided to cancel the morning skate. Tonight's lines, if previous games and Fluto Shinzawa's posts are any indication, will be:

P.J. Axelsson- Marc Savard- Michael Ryder
Marco Sturm- Patrice Bergeron- Phil Kessel
Blake Wheeler- David Krejci- Chuck Kobasew
Milan Lucic- Stephane Yelle- Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara- Aaron Ward
Andrew Ference- Dennis Wideman
Mark Stuart- Shane Hnidy

Tim Thomas
Manny Fernandez

Tonight's game is at 10:00 on VERSUS. Go Bruins!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Some Commentary

Yesterday, the Bruins cut four guys. John Bishop right now has it on his blog that Vladimir Sobotka has been assigned to Providence, making it five. This one took me by surprise because Sobotka ended last season on a high note and had a great preseason. Bishop also mentioned that Nate Thompson was claimed off waivers by Scott Gordon and the New York Islanders. Peter Chiarelli must have foreseen this. Thompson was Gordon's captain last season in Providence.

Anyway, I'm happy with the Bruins current 22. Tomorrow night is the first game of the season, and it looks as if Axelsson-Savard-Ryder will be the top line. This line should produce. Savard is a great playmaker, and Ryder is a great finishers. I know we all thought that about Murray, but Ryder is younger and in better shape. Ryder should rebound from last season and be a major contributor. Meanwhile Axelsson is a tremendous two way player. Axelsson's defensive minded attack will allow Savard and Ryder to take more risks. The second line looks as if it will be Sturm-Bergeron-Kessel. This should be another high producing line. Bergeron is ready to have a career year, I'm thinking 90 points. Sturm has a 30 goal potential now that he's next to Bergeron again, and Kessel has improved his two way game and should be an asset to the team. The third line should be Wheeler-Krejci-Kobasew. Another solid line! Chiarelli told every player in camp that if they were good enough, they would make the team. Wheeler showed he was good enough and Chiarelli gave him a spot in the lineup. Wheeler is a tough player and can battle for pucks and battle for garbage goals. Meanwhile, Krejci and Kobasew showed last season that they can skate and score. Lastly, the fourth line will be Lucic-Yelle-Thornton/Nokelainen. This is obviously an energy line. Lucic and Thornton playing together will hopefully lead to competition, and by competition I mean a competition to see who will rack up the most KO's.

On defense, Chara and Wideman should see the most ice time. They are tough to score against and contribute in many ways on offense. Ward and Stuart will probably play together. Aaron Ward is injury prone, though, and Shane Hnidy or Matt Hunwick will likely see time with Stuart. When I say Ward is injury prone, I don't mean it as a bad thing. Ward is a puck blocker who does everything he can to make sure the puck does not reach the net. He's a great defenseman, but when that many pucks hit you, you're bound to spend some time healing injuries. Lastly, Andrew Ference and Andrew Alberts will probably play together. The two played well with each other last season before an extremely illegal hit by Scott Hartnell led to Alberts missing most of the remainder of the season.

I won't discuss the goalies. We have two great goalies in Tim Thomas and Manny Fernandez and I have no idea who will start or who will see the majority of the playing time. When it comes to the latter question, I doubt Claude Julien even knows the answer.

Game 1 is Thursday at 10:00 PM on VERSUS.


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The Final Cuts

Peter Chiarelli announced today that Peter Schaefer, Jeremy Reich, and Nate Thompson have been placed on waivers. The three should clear waivers and be able to play in Providence. Meanwhile Matt Hunwick was assigned to Providence.

So 23 are left. There could be a move before Thursday's opener, but it's unlikely. Here's what I think the lines will be based on the last few games and practices (the lines from the last few practices and games were provided by Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe).



Tim Thomas
Manny Fernandez (we might have the best goal-tending duo in the league)

Hnidy, Thornton, and Nokelainen are scratches.

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