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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

How are the 2007-2008 Boston Bruins doing?

Merry Christmas everyone! So you've hopefully gotten something you wanted and have given something that someone else wanted. So sit back, relax, and read away. Here's a description by the President of Bruins Nation of how every Bruin is doing so far (listed in numerical order by jersey number).

6. Dennis Wideman - Last season the Bruins traded Brad Boyes for Wideman at the trade deadline in hopes of getting some much needed defense. It didn't work. Wideman didn't fit the Dave Lewis system. This season, however, has been a completely different story. Wideman has been a great reliable defenseman. His puck handling has been very good and a great addition to the power play unit alongside Chara. Wideman currently has a 4-11-15 line in 35 games, has a +5, and has been getting near 30 minutes of ice time as of late.

10. Brandon Bochenski - Sort of the opposite of Dennis Wideman. Last season Bochenski was acquired for Kris Verteeg and all of sudden started scoring. But this year he's not been playing well under Julien. Despite all the injuries the Bruins have faced Bochenski has only dressed for half the games this season and has a very weak 0-6-6 line. His ice time during the games that he has played has been very low. Hopefully Bochenski will break through like he did last season, but if he doesn't I'd much rather a Nokelainen or Reich in his spot.

11. PJ Axelsson - This swede is and always has been a great forward that any team would be lucky to have. He hasn't been getting the credit he deserves from Bruins fans though. Axelsson, who is a great defensive forward, allows Savard and Murray to take risks with the puck because they know PJ always has their back. Axelsson has played in every game thus far and has a 6-7-13 line with a +9.

12. Chuck Kobasew - When I saw Kobasew at camp I knew this season would be different. Last year he was hurt and unable to perform well, but this season his skating and puck handling are very crisp. He spent some time next to Axelsson on the penalty kill and has really done well next to Metropolit (and hopefully will continue to do well next to Bergeron when he comes back). Kobasew is +6 on the season, leads the team with 13 goals, and has a 13-6-19 line while playing in every game thus far.

13. Glen Metropolit - This center came into training camp without a contract. He somehow made the team, disapointing the many other centers in the Bruins system. Metro has been nothing but a success here. When Bergeron went down I thought Phil Kessel would step up, he didn't. It was Glen Metropolit who filled in on the second line and has been the center for Bruins goal scorers Chuck Kobasew and Marco Sturm. Metropolit has played in every game this season, is a +5, and has a 7-8-15 line.

16. Marco Sturm - Sturm is on pace for another 20+ goal season and will only improve when Bergeron comes back. Sturm is a power play guy and has done very well with Metro and Kobasew during even stregnth play. Sturm is second on the team in points with 23. Sturm has played in 35 games, is a +6, and has an 11-12-23 line.

17. Milan Lucic - Claude Julien saw something in this 19 year old during training camp, and I'm glad he did. The player who was supposed to be captain of the Vancouver Giants is now a valuable member of the Boston Bruins. Lucic is a fan favorite for one reason. In 31 games this season Lucic has 8 fights. Not only has Lucic gotten into 8 fights, but he's won them too. This 19 year old has gone up against league heavyweights and has shown them who's boss. Lucic's ice time has only been getting larger this season, and the comparisons to Cam Neely have already started. Lucic is currently a +1 and has a 3-4-7 line.

21. Andrew Ference - A speedy defensemen who can handle the puck and make plays, something every team wants. Ference has been a little injury prone this season but hopefully he can stay healthy and be a large part of this Bruins team. He's best next to Alberts but can play with anybody, including Chara (he balances out Chara's lack of puck-handling skills). Ference in 20 games is a +1 and has a 0-7-7 line.

22. Shawn Thornton - This winger got to hold the Stanley Cup last June, and hopefully this June he'll do it again. Thornton had to miss 21 games due to a broken foot but finally was able to return on Saturday. He made his appearence known by dropping the gloves against DJ King. So far Thronton has played his role very well in the games that he has been in. Thornton is an energy line tough guy. He's gotten into five fights in 15 games played. I think he, Reich, and Lucic are competing. Lucic is currently winning. Thornton has zero points so far, however, and has contributed next to nothing on offense. Hopefully, now back from injury, Thornton can pick up his scoring abilities while keeping his fighting spirit.

27. Glen Murray - The Bruins first round pick in 1991 is showing once again why he has always been on Boston's top line. Murray has a scoring touch that Savard knows very well. The two of them have made a great pair and hopefully can both stay healthy. Glen Murray has a 10-9-19 line in 34 games. That's over a point every other game. I would have thought the 35 year old would have slowed down by now but he hasn't, and Bruins Nation is loving it.

29. Alex Auld - First Manny Fernandez went down, and then Tim Thomas went down for two weeks. The Bruins needed a goalie and Tuuka Rask still is not good enough. Peter Chiarelli made the trade and got Auld from the Phoenix Coyotes. Still with his Coyotes mask and pads on, Alex Auld is 4-3-0 with a 1.87 Goals-against-average and has a 94% save percentage! Now that Tim Thomas is back, hopefully Thomas will play most of the games with Alex Auld giving him some worry-free rest time when he needs it.

30. Tim Thomas - Everyone thought Manny Fernandez would be the number one goalie. Everyone was wrong. Tim Thomas has come in once again and has proved how good he really is. Tim Thomas has made key save after key save after key save all season long. The 33 year old is here to stay, and I hope he stays for a long time. This season TT is 10-8-3 with a 2.26 GAA and a 93.2 save percentage. that save percantage is the best in the league among goalies with enough games played. Tim Thomas is not on the ballot this year, but everyone should write him in. TT deserves to go to the all-star game.

33. Zdeno Chara - It's always tough to write about Chara. Sometimes he's the 7 million dollar man that Bruins Nation wants, and sometimes he's worthless. I think Chra is having a good year. He's played so many minutes and has an impressive 5-16-21 line in all 36 games. He is a +1, which is weak for a number one defenseman, and is a very poor puck handler. It's just his weakness. Chara is a strong tough competitive guy, who is a great team captain, but he has trouble handling the puck. Heck his eyes are so far away from the puck I don't blame him. Anyway, I'll take his huge hits and league-fastest shot if it means a few mistakes with the puck anyday.

35. Manny Fernandez - Not at all worth Petr Kalus and 2009's 4th round pick. He needed surgery and his out for the season. Not only that but it turns out he is significantly worse then Tim Thomas. Claude Julien gave Fernandez 4 games (3 of them were gifts because Julien kept wanting Fernandez to get out of his slump, it's too bad he didn't) to show what he's got and Manny went 2-2-0 with a 3.93 Gaa and an 83% save percentage. He did have one game against New York. It was a shutout. but he gave up 16 goals in the three other games. With Thomas, Auld, and Rask, it's okay that Fernandez is out for the season and I hope he gets better so that we can trade him for someone valuable.

37. Patrice Bergeron - Fuck you Randy Jones!!! A blatant cheap shot with the intent to injure Bergeron, and it worked. Jones severely hurt Bergeron and all of Bruins Nation is suffering. There is no doubt in my mind that the Bruins would have an even better record now if Bergeron was with the Bruins. Bergeron is such a key member of the team. His power play skill and his set up ability with kobasew and Sturm next to him on the second line would have gotten the Bruins plenty of goals. In 10 games Bergeron had a 3-4-7 line. Currently nobody knows whether Bergeron will be able to come back this season or not. He is slowly working out again now and all of Bruins Nation wants a healthy Bergeron.

38. Bobby Allen - Allen's role is to be the 7th defenseman. It sounds mean, but he just isn't as good as the other defenseman on the team. Allen's gotten some ice time this year because Ward, Alberts, and Ference have all been out at some point or another, but hasn't done much with it. He's dependable if needed, but hopefully we won't need him that much (sorry Allen). Allen has played in 15 games this season.

40. Tuuka Rask - Tuuka Rask, in his four games playing as a Bruin, has proved to me that he is a very valuable prospect, and will one day make a great NHL goalie. That day is not tomorrow though. Tuuka Rask has a great eye for the puck, and has very good reflexes (like all NHL goalies) but he is too conservative. He doesn't take risks to save the puck. All the great NHL goalies leave the net when they need to. Rask never does. That allows shooters to see more of the net and aim their shots better. Confidence will come with experience, and there is no doubt in my mind that when Tim Thomas's age catches up to him, Tuuka Rask will be able to keep the Bruins winning.

41. Andrew Alberts - Alberts just like last season has been a dependable 4th defenseman for the Bruins. He plays best when next to Ference, and numbers wise hasn't had a bad year. Mike Hartnell almost took his head off when he hit Alberts while Alberts was on his knees. Alberts seemed fine but is now suffering from post-concussion syndrome. Hopefully he'll be back soon. In 32 games Alberts has 2 assists and is a +4.

44. Aaron Ward - Aaron Ward when healthy has been playing very well for the Bruins. He just broke his foot though a couple days ago. I don't know how long he'll be out. Ward has been in for 29 games this season and has a 2-5-7 line with an impressive +5. He started off the season playing next to Chara but I thnk he'll be playing with Stuart when he comes back. Wideman has been playing so well that he'll probably take over the role as Chara's sidekick.

45. Mark Stuart - Boston's first round pick in 2003 is finally something of value to the Bruins. We all waited very long for this guy to make it, and he finally has. Mark Stuart has played in every Bruins game thus far and is a +5. He's only got one goal, but he's not a goal scorer. He's a young defenseman who is still learning and who is getting increasing amount of ice time as the season progresses.

46. David Krejci - After David Krejci's phenominal performance in the AHL playoffs last season, and after proving himself at camp, Krejci was given a roster spot. He played 12 games with the Bruins before Julien had enough, and sent him to Providence in favor of Nokelainen. In those 12 games, Krejci had only 3 assists and had a -3. Krejci was a disapointment, but he'll get better in Providence and will be valuable someday soon.

48. Matt Hunwick - With all the defensive injuries the Bruins have suffered, it's good to know we have some guys we can call upon when we need them. Matt Hunwick was one of the last players cut from training camp and there's a reason for it. Hunwick is a skilled 22 year old dfenseman who has a bright future. He's played in 10 games for Boston and is a reliable backup when the Bruins need more then just Bobby Allen to fill in for injured guys.

49. Matt Lashoff - The Bruins 2005 first round pick has just been recalled because Ward and Alberts are injured. Lashoff has played alongside Allen the past two games. I don't know why Lashoff is up over Hunwick but Chiarelli and Julien thought it best. Lashoff has apparently been very good in providence. In 3 games with the Bruins, Lashoff has one assist and is a +1.

53. Jeremy Reich - Last year's fan favorite started this season on the bench. The Bruins already had two fighters on the ice (lucic and Thornton) so a third wasn't needed. When Thronton broke his foot, Reich started playing and immediately assumed his role as the team tough guy. In 24 games Reich has 6 fights, a goal (his first NHL goal, it was on December 15th), and an assist. Reich proved himself to Claude Julien and now, even though Thornton is back, Reich is still in the lineup.

56. Petteri Nokelainen - Over the offseason the Bruins traded Ben Walter for Petteri Nokelainen. Nokelainen started the season in Providence, but 12 games in, when Krejci wasn't working out with the team, Nokelainen was called up and has been with the Bruins since. In those 24 games, Nokelainen has scored 4 goals and has an assist. Any given night, wither he or Kessel plays center while the other plays right wing. Currently it's Kessel as the right wing (next to Savard because Murray is injured) and Nokelainen as a center. That should change soon when Murray comes back.

60. Vladimir Sobotka - This 20 year old Czech hasn't done anything too flashy but has done one important thing for the Bruins. Now that Bergeron is out, Sobotka has been brought up to play center, allowing either Nokelainen or Kessel to play right wing. Sobotka, who has played 13 games so far, has been improving with each game. His ice time has also drastically increased (4 minutes on December 18th, 10 minutes on Sunday). When Bergeron comes back, Sobotka will probably be demoted, but until then this kid is for real and is here to stay.

72. Peter Schaefer - Whether one thinks Schaefer has been a good acquisition or not depends solely on what one thought Schaefer was going to do here. We traded Shean Donovan for him and basically Peter Schaefer has turned into a slightly better Shean Donovan. At the begining of the season, I thought Schaefer would play alongside Savard and Murray. He didn't fit into that role, but has been a very successful third-liner. Schaefer has played in all 36 games this season and has an impressive 6-11-17 line (tied for 6th on the team in points).

81. Phil Kessel - The Bruins 2006 first round pick is having sort of a good year. Stats wise he's looking very good and is off to a very impressive season for a second year player, but it seems like coach Julien is coming down hard on the 20 year old. Every now and then (including last Sunday) Julien just benches or significantly reduces the kid's ice time. If you look at the number, though, Kessel is having a great season. Kessel has played in all 36 games and has a 9-8-17 line. He is a very poor -7 on the season however. Once Kessel becomes more comfortable with Julien's system he should be more successful in the +/- category.

91. Marc Savard - Last year's one star is off to another great year. With Murray and Axelsson by his sides Savvy is a more-than-one point per game center. Hopefully this season the NHL will send him to the all-star game, which he deserves to go to. Savard did start off the season a little slow, but got out of his funk and is doing well. Marc Savard in 35 games has an 8-31-39 line and leads the team in points by 16.

Well folks, that's everyone. Thanks for reading and I hope all members of Bruins Nation have an excellent holiday season!


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