Tag Archives: Boston Bruins

MBATF: JAGR, BRYZ, LIDSTROM, SMYTH

21 Jun

Here’s what you missed while you were busy talking about Game of Thrones…the latest news at the start of what looks to be a very interesting couple of weeks….

– The cap is going up to 64 million. Great news for the Flyers and Devils among others.

– Ryan Smyth requests a trade, wants to go back to Edmonton.

– Ryan Smyth denies he requested a trade to go back to Edmonton.

– Flyers are close to signing newly anointed franchise saviour, Ilya Bryzgalov. The big question is what will it cost them? Matt Carle looks like the likely option at the moment.

– Jammy Jagr wants to be a Penguin again.

– Lidstrom saves the Red Wings one last time by returning for a 20th season. He also ensures there will be a long talk about his place in the greatest defenceman category and is a long shot to equal Bobby Orr’s record for most Norris trophies.

– I wrote an article for Hockey Quarterly, counting down the best draft day steals of all time.  Go read it!

– Neither Craig Mactavish, nor Craig Ramsay will be the first coach of the Winnipeg “Something-or-Others”.

– The Boston Bruins know how to party.

– Norm Macdonald continues to struggle to find a comedic home.  Sorry Norm.

 

 

Crank’s Corner – Vancouver’s Loss is Hockey’s Gain

20 Jun

Man having a heart attack

"Hey did you hear? Lapierre was just traded to the Red Wings!"

 

Well, the season is over, the riot is over, and any respect I had, which was very little if any, for Max Lapierre and Alex Burrows is forever gone. The only thing worse than an old school team like Boston losing to the Canucks would be the fact that  jerks like them would get to have their names on the Stanley Cup. Unacceptable!! I like to think that it is because of players like these that teams, who have every odds maker believing in them, lose. You see, odds makers use stats and numbers, not heart, determination, and respect to calculate who should win.

Who could cheer for the Canucks after watching the childish, YES CHILDISH, antics of not only those two clowns but also of the Sedin sisters. Thankfully, our great game was not reduced to the embarrassing level of a soccer match dive fest. I’m not a big fan of the NHL’s officiating (as my previous posts will attest) but they at least let ‘em play for the most part, although they had to try to even it up in the 3rd of game seven by throwing a couple of phantom penalties at the Bruins. It seemed to me that they were sending a strong message that you gotta man up and show some balls if you want the cup, and good on them.

I suppose every one will blame the players for Vancouver’s failure, but you gotta look at the management team that wasn’t savvy enough to realize that players like the one’s mentioned above will ruin any team’s chances by epitomizing how not to play the game, while undermining the good intentions and hard work of your classier players.

Embarrassed at home in game 7?  Looks good on ‘em.

Game 7 – 2 Girls, No Cup

16 Jun

 


The Counting your Chickens award goes to….

“If we win,” predicted Kesler, the Canucks’ assistant captain, “then we’re legends”.  No word yet on what Kesler is now.

A Touch of Class

Alexander Burrows really let down the side (and Vancouver fans in general) with a blind-side head shot on Rich Peverley with about 5 minutes left in the game.  Peverley seemed to be unaffected by it, which is lucky for him (and Burrows), as I can’t imagine what it would feel like to listen to your teammates celebrate a Stanley Cup while you’re being checked by a doctor for a concussion.

I doubt a suspension will come of it because it’s the last game of the season and there’s so much else going on right now, but if ever there was a suspend-able hit, that would be it.

Pullongo!

Why keep playing Luongo going into the third?  He’s not playing well, your team is down 3 – 0 and obviously needs something to get them going.  Did Vigneault really believe his team was going to turn it on by themselves?  As a coach sometimes you need to shake your players back into the game, Vancouver just kept rolling the same game plan even when it became obvious it wasn’t working.

Recchi

One of the things I’ve grown to dislike in the “new NHL” is how powerful youth has become.  It’s getting harder and harder for older players to compete with the speed and power of today’s youth.

With that in mind, how awesome is Mark Recchi?  At 5-foot-nothing, and 43 years old, he’s still out there schooling younger, stronger, faster men, in the most difficult hockey tournament in the world.  Laying out fools and leading the final round in scoring, Recchi didn’t look out of place for a second.

Boston Bruins Cup Celebration

Pumping Tires

People are actually asking what will happen with Roberto in Vancouver in light of  his recent failures and his hefty contract, but I can’t imagine much. The guy backstopped you to a record setting season and then to game 7 of the finals, while getting nominated for the Vezina, hard to fire a guy for that, even if he didn’t play well at the end.

Hodgson

Could Cody Hodgson have helped out the Canucks in those final games?  I know a lot of people hate the shoulda coulda’s of hindsight, it must be hard for Canuck fans to see Tyler Seguin taking a regular shift and providing some spark from time to time while your team is struggling to get anything going offensively and your own wunderkind sits in the stands.

Vancouver Riots

Meh, more on this later.

2 Girls No Cup

Vancouver fan or not, that’s pretty funny.  NOTE: A friend sent me that picture, sorry I can’t credit the creator (send me a note if you know who it is).

 

7th Heaven! Lose-ongo!! No Doubting Thomas!!!!!!! STANLEY CUP PUNS!!!!!!!!!!

16 Jun

Tim Thomas lifts the Stanley Cup

I’m not a huge fan of hockey cliche’s but, in the end, the Boston Bruins just wanted it more.  From rookie Brad Marchand (2 goals, 1 assist in game 7) to 43 year old walking museum exhibit, Mark Recchi (7 points in the finals, +3 in game 7) to the oldest player to ever win the Conn Smythe, Tim Thomas, the Boston Bruins outhustled, outprepared, outworked and generally outplayed the Vancouver Canucks in game 7, which is a shame, because whether your a Boston or Vancouver fan, I think you wanted to see a tighter game than 4 – 0.

Luongo v. Thomas

If this was indeed the game and series that will define Roberto Luongo’s career, it’s going to be a long summer.  Not only was he beaten for three while watching his counterpart put up a shutout, he let in a goal mimicking the type of goal he famously claimed would be “an easy save for me” for the second goal of the game, and then showed a complete lack of determination on a Patrice Bergeron semi-breakaway for the back-breaking third goal of the game.

Throwing Vancouver’s performance into sharp contrast was an incredibly focused and determined Boston Bruins defence anchored by a very confident Tim Thomas.  Thomas ended his Conn Smythe award winning payoffs with a shutout on the road against the highest scoring team in the league, hard to beat that.

Disappearing Act?

Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin and Ryan Kesler combined to be a -10 tonight.  Kesler didn’t have a point in the series.   I’m sure we’ll find out about some injuries in the next couple of days, but it’s hard to win with those numbers.

The Horton Effect – Also known as the opposite of the Krejci effect.

When you have deep, balanced scoring like the Bruins, you can take what should be a devastating blow, like the hit to Nathan Horton, turn it into a motivator and continue to be successful.  The Bruins staff obviously did a great job of that.

 

I’ll have more of my trademark bullet point analysis tomorrow.  For now, I have to prepare for the long dark of the off-season.

There Can Be Only On*AAAHH* HE BIT MY FINGER!!!

15 Jun

Patrice Bergeron and Alexander Burrows

It’s hard to believe I have to work hard just to come up with a post about Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals….but…here we are.  I realized last night that the second you decide that you’re not going to write about Roberto Luongo, you’re almost out of stories.  At least that’s what the lamestream media would have you believe.   It turns out, surprisingly, that you can’t make it to the last game of the season without having a couple of interesting storylines.  And so…this is the story…of those stories…

– I heard a professional hockey analyst describe these finals, without any sense of irony, as “classic” because “it’s not like any other finals I’ve ever seen”.  So there you have it, these finals…classic-ly un-classic.

– 43 year old Mark Recchi is tied for the scoring lead in the finals.  If Boston wins you have to think he retires, but what if they lose?

– Vancouver is either a really fucking good hockey team or a really fucking lucky one.  Like it or not, they’ve made it to game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals with a goalie who’s been pulled 4 times (I know it’s technically only 3, but I count an 8-0 game as a pulling) and a minus rating as a team! Imagine how good you have to be, to be outscored and still win.

Bodog has 5 to 1 odds that Luongo gets pulled tonight.

– Downgoesbrown has a great deconstruction of the run each of these teams had to put together that, for me, really highlights the idiocy of cheering for a jersey on any serious level.

Question of the Day: “Should a team that’s fallen so short on so many levels -biggame production, personal comportment, class -and which is (so we hear) unloved by many in the Rest of Canada be given the hero treatment if they rebound from their Boston embarrassments and win tonight?”

Answer of the Day: “No.”

– Let us pray, that in a year full of idiotic gestures and acts, this game isn’t decided based on a ridiculously stupid play by a ridiculously stupid player on one side or the other.  On the other hand…maybe it would be a perfect ending, it wouldn’t be the first time the Hockey Gods have shown us the error of our ways.

– I’ve never heard so many hockey fans talk about how they just want the season to be over.  To all those fans…I would have them be reminded of this.

That’s it, I’m out of here. Go Hockey Team!!

The Luongo Dilemna Pt. 3 – Return of 7uongo

14 Jun

Luongo sitting on the bench

Another game at the Gardens, another absolute pounding of Roberto Luongo and the Vancouver Canucks.  The game is two periods deep and the Stanley Cup is already on Kayak.com looking for a cheap flight back to Vancouver.  So, in honour of Luongo’s piss-poor showing tonight, I’m concluding my acclaimed “Luongo Dilemna” trilogy with a debate on the merits of playing or pulling Bobby Lou in game 7.

PULL HIM!!

– Assuming Luongo plays (and doesn’t get pulled) he’ll have been pulled in 2 of 7, and should have been pulled in 3 of 7 games. If the series was only 6 games long he would have been pulled in 50% of the games!

– At the Garden, Luongo has allowed 18 goals and posted a dismal .773 save percentage. (source)

– The three games that the Canucks have won have all been by one goal, so your margin of error is very, very slim here.

Schneider has been solid in every game he’s played, and that’s coming off the bench cold.  Give the kid a chance to warm up and watch him shine.

– The Vancouver players cannot have any confidence in him at this point. This is the third time people are debating whether or not to play him. That has to weigh on you eventually doesn’t it?

PLAY HIM!!

He’s your #1 goalie, if you lose with him, it’s his fault, if you lose with without him, it’s your fault.

– He’s making what, 25 million this year? Schneider gets paid in bus passes.

– Luongo has been hot at home with two shutouts in three games, it’s hard to argue with that.

– The guy is a Vezina finalist and Olympic gold medal winner, he’ll pull it together.

VERDICT

You really have to play him, but my god, if Boston scores first (or within the first ten shots, or gets any goal that could be considered weak) you pull him and pull him fast.

The More you Know….

– Vancouver captain, first line centre and reigning NHL MVP, has a single point in this series. And people give Lebron a hard time.

– Win or lose, Boston will likely end the series with twice as many goals as Vancouver.

– Brad Marchand treating Daniel Sedin’s head like a speedbag is one of the funniest and saddest things I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen Requiem for a Dream.

– Regardless of what happens in game 7, Thomas has virtually locked up the Conn Smythe.

– Ex-Vancouver Canuck captain and current Vezina finalist, Roberto Luongo, has two shutouts and has been pulled twice…all in 6 games.

-The four goals against in four minutes and 14 seconds scored against Luongo in game 6 is a Stanley Cup final record.

See you for Game 7, in the meantime…enjoy this….

Alexander Burrows dives when hit by Milan Lucic

 

Meanwhile…back at the farm…

12 Jun

Whenever the Stanley Cup Finals roll around, it’s easy to get locked into a Finals-centric hockey world.  But one must remember, while the best of the East and West fight it out for the “Stanley-Cup-Cliche-Here”, 28 other teams are trying to make the changes required to get themselves one step closer to being one of those two teams. So, in honour of those teams…I bring you what is quickly becoming my favourite feature here at The Puck, “Meanwhile…back at the farm…

The Flyers Get (the rights to) their Man

Earlier in the week it was announced that that Flyers had acquired the negotiating rights to Phoenix Coyotes goalie Ilya Bryzgalov.  Flyers fans seem to be of two minds on this one; on the one hand, they may finally have themselves a legitimate top-flight goaltender, on the other hand, Bryz is going to cost them dearly and he has no playoff success under his belt. Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) has a great piece about how Ilya is holding all the cards in this negotiation and could really take the Flyers to the cleaners.  This, of course, is bad news for Flyers fans everywhere, but good news for Ville Leino’s real estate agent.

Personally, I don’t think this is the answer for the Flyers.  I know the fans and ownership are clamoring for a top-tier goaltender, but now is not the time to lose one’s cool and trade away some proven talent (Leino, Carter, Carle, etc) for a guy you can’t promise will give you a solid performance next year. I’d sit on Bobrovski, see what he can do in the early parts of next season and look for a trade if he doesn’t perform.

James Reimer was signed to a…oh who am I kidding…nobody cares about that right now…back to the Finals!

Aaron Rome confused English majors, logic students, and ethicists everywhere when he said in an interview that; he was sorry that Horton was hurt, he is upset that he was suspended four games, that the play was admittedly “a little over the edge”, and that, if he could do it all over again, he would.

It’s shocking that Horton hasn’t returned Rome’s apology texts.

I didn’t realize it was my job to correct Luongo’s grammar.

Pumping someone’s tires” isn’t an expression, Roberto. At least not one I’ve ever heard of (or can find on the internet). Also, if it were to become an expression, I have a feeling it wouldn’t mean what you’re using it to mean.

Home on the Rage

There are shifts when watching the Vancouver Canucks is like watching a team full of Pete Rose’s, and they’re all trying to steal third.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the trash talk and I love the hate in this series, but I can’t stand the diving.  I’d rather a player be dirty than dive-y, at least the dirtiness has a sense of honesty to it.  (It’s very difficult for me to pretend I didn’t slash you on the ankle.)  Diving on the other-hand is for cowards, pretending to be hurt/sick is what children do to get what they want and it’s what we deride in other sports.  More importantly, while we call it unsportsmanlike, it’s really un-hockeylike.  So cut it the fuck out Vancouver, and you may just have a chance to become “Canada’s team”…if only for a year.

Also, I only used that title because it fits in with the whole Back on the Farm motif.

Peace.

 

 

2 Games a Piece….What are the Odds?

10 Jun

While the Bruin’s inspired play over the last two games has the Beantown faithful feeling a whole lot better about their team’s chances, the bookies still have the Canucks as the heavy favourites.  That’s not to say that people haven’t taken notice of the 12-1 beatdown the Canucks have received, the B’s are now sitting at 31/20 as opposed to the nearly 2-1 (39/20) underdog they started out as.

The Canucks on the other hand have only seen a slight dip in bookies confidence and are now sitting as the favourites at 4/7, having dropped from 20/47 (or 4/9.4 for those that have trouble with math).

So the question is, what does a team need to do to get some respect around here?  Because obviously outscoring a team 14 – 5 in four games is not enough.

One person that is getting some respect these days is Bruin’s stopper Tim Thomas, who is now the 2/1 favourite to pick up the Conn Smythe as the MVP of the playoffs, replacing Ryan Kesler who, as I reported earlier, was far and away the favourite to win the trophy when the finals started.

The Luongo Dilemna Pt. 2 – Electric Boogaloo

9 Jun

Roberto Luongo Gets Scored On

Back in the first round I wrote an article called “The Luongo Dilemna” talking about what the Vancouver Canucks organization needed to consider heading into game 7 against the Blackhawks, including whether or not to pull Luongo…we’ll, a few weeks later and who thought we would be here again!  After another one-sided loss to the Bruins, people are talking about Luongo, and what to do with him.  As usual, a couple of thoughts.

1 – You play Luongo, it’s absurd to talk about not playing him in the next game.  First of all, the game’s in Van-city, where Luongo’s numbers have been great. Second of all, your team has scored one goal in two games, so it doesn’t really matter how well your goalie plays….which leads me to….

2 – The Canucks are being completely outplayed right now. Completely.  Not only are Boston’s top players beating Vancouver’s top players.  But Boston’s pests are completely outplaying Vancouver’s pests.  Think about it, what’s Burrows remembered for right now? Biting someone’s finger?  Why’s everyone talking about Brad Marchand? He’s treating the Sedins like they’re his kid brothers and is busy scoring short-handed goals and playing like this

3 – The Bruins scored 4 goals on Bobby Orr night and 8 on Cam Neely night! Apparently they’ve already put in a call to Andy Moog for game 6.  Vancouver shows just how out of it they are right now and brings in Kirk Mclean for game 5.

Andy Moog Covering a puck

Andy Moog was contacted after the Bruins thought it might be a bit arrogant to go with Ray Bourque night.

4 – Boston has outscored the Canucks 12 – 1 in the last two games, a record for the Stanley Cup finals.

5 – Henrik Sedin is pointless in this series and had his first shot on net in game 4!!

6 – The Canucks need to man up and stop with the childish chippy bullshit.  Having Ryan Kesler and Alexandre Burrows lay a couple of slashes and then run and hide only makes the Bruins more angry and more confident.

7 – The fans at the Rogers Centre in BC actually cheered when Luongo was pulled.  When asked about it after the game, Luongo gave the old “next question”. That has to hurt.

8 – Tim Thomas is quickly becoming my favourite hockey player. How can you not love this guy? In the last two games, at home, in the Stanley Cup finals, he’s let in one goal and has one fight and one hit.

Horton hears a *WHOMP*

7 Jun

Nathan Horton on Ice after Aaron Rome hit

 

In case you missed it, for the second year in a row, the Boston Bruins are losing one of their top players for the rest of the playoffs to a crushing hit.  Last night Aaron Rome might as well have used a trampoline to launch himself at an unsuspecting Nathan Horton, not just knocking him out, but knocking him right out of the playoffs.

Everybody’s clambering to weigh-in on the hit, what it means and what the suspension will be so I figured…why not join in?

The Hit

Ugly.  So fucking ugly.  It was late, high, to the head and caused a severe injury.  If Rome’s not sweating, he should be.  There’s no defence for this hit, Rome committed to it at the same time Horton passed the puck off, there was time to call it off, or even tone it down, but he didn’t.  Rome had arguably the Bruins best player in his sights and he hit to hurt him.  Which brings us to…

The Suspension

Rome will be suspended.  This has all the ingredients of a serious suspension.  The fact that it’s already been announced that Horton will be out for the playoffs is going to hurt Rome big time.  I’m thinking 2-3 games, which since it’s the Stanly Cup Finals, is about 10-15 regular season games.

What it means…

The Bruins now have to play without a top line guy for the rest of the playoffs, the Canucks will have to play without a middle-tier defenceman for a minimum of two games, which on the surface doesn’t seem very fair (which is why I’m praying for a longer suspension, in the 4 game range. UPDATE: 4 it is.) but consider that the Vancouver D is already stretched thin with injuries, and Rome was playing on a top defensive pairing with Kevin Bieksa, and this becomes kind of a big deal.

This is also the first suspension since Colin Campbell announced he was moving out of the supplementary discipline game, so it’s a chance to set a new tone for suspensions. Three or four finals games would definitely do that, and nobody could argue with it.

Editorial Note: A lot of people are comparing this to the Stevens v. Lindros hit in 2000, saying that what was legal then should be legal now.  Two things; first, they’re completely different hits (Lindros had the fucking puck!! See video below). Second, laws change, get used to it.  We used to smoke on airplanes and drive without carseats for our kids. There are 90 guys in the NHL today that can hit as hard as Scott Stevens on his best day.  I don’t like the idea of a zero tolerance rule for head shots, but the players are changing, the rules need to change with them.