A Win is a Win

The Bruins continued their winning ways this Saturday, having beaten the New Jersey 1-0 at TD Garden. This one was mostly a snoozer, as most are against the sorry Devils. When the Devils suck, they play an awfully boring hockey game. It’s been that way for years, and this year was no different.

Much of the game was a battle of Goalies. Tuukka Rask manned the pipes for the Bruins, and Mackenzie Blackwood for the Devils.

The only goal of the game came early on a Bruins power-play:

A filthy goal from Marchand who received a disgusting no-look, behind the back pass from Patrice Bergeron. It was so naughty it should be illegal in some states. This goal came just 2:37 into the First. Neither team would score for the remainder of the contest.

Rask stopped all 20 shots he faced, while Blackwood stopped 29 of 30. Including a Marchand Penalty Shot in the First.

With this loss Devils remain in the basement of the Metropolitan Division, whereas the Bruins continue to roll. Saturday was the Bruins 12th win in their last 16 games

Small note regarding Marchand:

Marchand with some improbable history in this one. There isn’t a more obscure stat that is more fitting for Brad Marchand than that.

Next up for the Bruins are the surging Carolina Hurricanes. The Canes have won 8 of their last 9 and 5 in a row. This will be a good test for the Bruins, playing a team almost as hot as they are. Sebastian Aho leads the way with 73 points, followed by Tuevo Teravainen in second with 61. This isn’t a typical Canes team with piss-poor forwards.

They’ve got quality youth in Aho and Alex Svechnikov. They made a ballsy mid-season trade when they were out of the playoff picture to acquire Minnesota Wild forward, Nino Niederreiter. He’s provided secondary scoring with 41 points. Canes biggest whole comes in net where they sport two below average, stop-gap goalies. We will have a better idea tomorrow whether Peter Mrazek or Curtis McElhinney will man the crease. Bruins will need to be as focused as they were against Tampa to win a 13th out of 17. Lets keep those sorry Maple Leafs in the rear-view.

Big Boy Win.

The Boston Bruins welcomed the surging Tampa Bay Lightning last night, and came away with a resounding 4-1 victory. The Bolts came in having won 9 games in a row. They already post a whopping 102 points. The Bruins are the next best Eastern Conference team with 85. Didn’t matter on this night, as the Bruins stifled the Lightning from the get go.

I was just hoping they’d keep it close, but from the get-go they were all over Tampa, out-shooting them 32-9 after two periods. Jake DeBrusk was the only Bruin able to sneak one past Tampa Net-minder, Louis Domingue. Domingue was having himself a career game, making highlight reel save after highlight reel save. Finally DeBrusk snuck one through in the Second.

I can’t remember the exact stat, but through the first two periods, I believe Kenny Albert mentioned the Bruins had only allowed two shots by Tampa forwards. Stamkos, Kucherov, Point, Tyler Johnson, Palat, and countless others. They could only muster up two freaking shots from forwards.

Tampa woke up to start the Third Period, finally applying consistent pressure on a Rask and the Bruins. Able to withstand the pressure, Noel Acciari stuffed a rebound past Domingue to break open the floodgates.

Less than a minute later, Patrice Bergeron snuck in a Five Hole one-timer past Domingue to make it 3-0 B’s.

Once again less than a minute after Bergeron’s goal, Brad Marchand sprung free on a breakaway to put it away:

The game would finish 4-1, as the Bruins finish February 11-0-4. The last time they had a perfect month was November 2011. It’s been just a sensational month. Our deadline acquisitions played well again, but registered 0 pints between the two. I actually really like Charlie Coyle. He is a very very good Third Line Center. He’s got size, decent skating ability, and generates scoring chances. Problem is his linemates fucking BLOW. Backes is too slow, and Nordstrom just is one of the worst hockey players I’ve ever seen. Due to some re-shuffling thanks to Kuraly missing a few days with an injury, we finally see a decent player on Coyle’s wing in, Peter Chelarik. The past three games there was Nordstrom and Backes flanking Coyle. 🤢………🤮.

How embarrassing, Nordstrom. Whole fucking net to shoot at, and flops it into Domingue’s glove. Shame on you, Joakim. Domingue got lots of praise for this save, he got lots of help from Nordstrom.

So moving forward I’d like to see some other combinations, and giving Charlie Coyle a legit player in his wing. Bruins next game is Saturday at TD Garden against the rotten, New Jersey Devils. The Bruins look to cement their place as one of the NHL’s elite over the last Month of the season.

Let’s See What They’re Made Of.

Two nights ago the Boston Bruins dismantled the San Jose Sharks, 4-1 at TD Garden. The game featured sexy goals, big hits, and plenty of bad blood. The Bruins first game back from a lengthy road trip brought plenty of emotion, especially from the Captain.

41 year old Captain, Zdeno Chara, and San Jose Shark Diva Evander Kane squared off in the Third Period. The fight was brewing all game, as Kane was running around picking fights with multiple Bruins once the game was out of hand at 4-1. A second period flurry of goals from McAvoy, DeBrusk, and Marchand put the game away. It was the Captains bout with Kane that put the icing on the cake.

At 41 the big guy can still peat the piss out of anyone. It’s much more rare than in the past, but he is still just too strong for anyone in NHL. Kane got a head start by knocking Z to the ice, but Z got up like it was no problem. He then proceeded to beat the bag out of Kane causing TD Garden to go nuts. Throwback city, it was great.

Tonight will be the biggest measuring stick the Bruins will have faced in some time. They played some solid Western Conference teams on that trip, but tonight they’ll play the best team in the NHL. Tampa Bay comes to town having won last night in New York. Tampa has an astonishing 102 points already. It’s still February. They are historically good, with Stamkos, Point, Hedman, and Kucherov leading the way. Tonight we’ll see how the Bruins stack up. We will get a good look into weather or not the Deadline acquisitions will make an impact.

In his first game as a Bruins on Tuesday, Marcus Johansson looked like he belonged. He certainly is flashy enough with the puck on his stick to make things happen. He did so by contributing an assist on DeBrusk’s goal.

Hopefully he keeps it up, and builds on a solid debut. While he wasn’t who I wanted the Bruins to grab at the deadline, he came pretty much as advertised. Super skilled, crafty with the puck on his stick.

Charlie Coyle has been good so far, problem is Cassidy is hanging this guy out to dry. His line mates have been Joakim Nordstrom and David Backes. Both are just terrible. Coyle is playing well, carrying that line, but he is being held back by these two stiffs. Hopefully the following games we will see legitimate hockey players on his wing like Peter Cehlarik. Regardless, tonight will be a great test to see if they will have any shot to push Tampa in a Playoff series. I am not holding my breath.

Not Good Enough.

With regular 60 point scorer, Mark Stone on the move to the Vegas Golden Knights, the Boston Bruins laid another Trade Deadline egg yesterday afternoon.

Having been in the conversation to acquire Stone for upwards of two weeks, Donny Sweeney couldn’t get it done….again. Much like Hossa and Kovalchuk from 2008-2011 (that was Chiarelli but still, John Tavares, and Kovalchuk again this past summer. Most reported the Bruins were pushing hard for the Superstar Winger. Stone was unable to negotiate a contract extension with the Senators, which made him available to contenders.

Once again Donny failed. This might be criminal case of failure. How do you have an aging Bergeron, Marchand, Chara, Rask, and Krejci on your team, and not put all your resources you possibly could into maximizing their window? Instead they trade for Marcus Johansson who is simply not good enough. I shouldn’t be surprised, this is the Bruins “MO”. You’ll always find the Bruins associated with the biggest available trade targets, or Free Agents. They never have the balls to pull the trigger. This team had a chance to be something special, had Sweeney invested future assets. He was a afraid to trade a First Round Pick, because last year he pissed one away on the corpse of Rick Nash. Mark Stone is 26. They would be all sorts of dangerous adding a 60 point winger in his prime, but instead they add two guys who combine for 55. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride. Marcus Johansson is a pretty crafty player, loads of skill especially with the puck on his stick. More of a pass first player, I would think he’d be on the second line with Krejci and DeBrusk. Problem with MoJo is he took a cheap shot from Brad Marchand just last season:

The guy hasn’t been the same since, not many would be after taking that Bush League shot. We’ll see how he contributes, but I don’t think he and Coyle is enough to match Tampa. Not even close. The Bruins just don’t have the stones (no pun intended) to maximize their ever slimming Stanley Cup window. People will say, “They didn’t mortgage their future!”. To that I say, there is no fucking future. This is it, the next 2-4 years is about as long as Bruins fans can expect to compete with the aging roster. One more bonafide stud, and they woulda been a real threat. Instead, we’ll have to pray they go in some magical run with a string of upsets.

B’s take on San Jose today at TD Garden, where MoJo will make his Bruins debut. Put up or shut up time with just over a month left.

Bruins Aquire Center, Charlie Coyle from Minnesota.

In the midst of a Six game winning streak, the Boston Bruins added depth to their lineup by trading for Minnesota Wild Center, Charlie Coyle. In return, Minnesota received Ryan Donato and a 5th round draft pick. This is a solid trade for both sides. Donato really hit snag toward the end of last season, which he looked to be a sure fire fit in the Top 6. This year saw Ryan struggle mightily, traveling between Boston and Providence for most of the year.

Needless to say he was struggling. Barely amassing 12 points in 18 AHL games for a guy who is labeled as a goal scorer is fucking bad. Watching him play you can tell he has a wicked shot. Problem is he doesn’t have the hockey IQ, toughness, and willingness to get to quality scoring areas. Most of his shots come from around the perimeter. I still think he could do with finishing this season in the AHL and playing a full season down there next year. Sure seems like his development has been rushed. There is still hope for him, but a good amount of time in Iowa (Minnesota’s AHL affiliate) will be needed. Who knows, maybe they plug him in right away in Minny? Can see that happening too, and in typical Bruins fashion he becomes an All Star like Seguin, Kessel, and Blake Wheeler.

As for Charlie Coyle? Not a bad addition for the Bruins by any means. He is a solid player, who can play up and down the lineup. He play Center or Wing. I do think he has been brought here to be a Third Line Center, which is one of two massive holes in the Bruins forward group.

Charlie is good for anywhere between 35-50 points a year, which will bring much needed depth to the Bruins lineup. Hopefully, Coyle has been brought in to solidify the Third Line, and NOT to be the scoring Winger the Second Line needs. We’ll see, but Don Sweeney had this to say:

Fingers crossed they are still trying to pry Mark Stone from Ottawa. They certainly aren’t going to say out loud if they are, but this is worrisome. Monday is the NHL trade deadline, which will see a plethora of moves made by Playoff contenders. I would like to think the Bruins know they need one more piece, and I can’t think of a more perfect piece than Mark Stone.

I fucking hope so. In terms of the On-Ice stuff, the Bruins continued their winning ways with a 3-2 Shootout win over Vegas last night. It’s their 7th win in a row, which has propelled them to second in the Atlantic Division. Some of the struggling youngsters such as, Debrusk, Heinen, and Peter Cehlarik are coming alive. Next matchup is Saturday in St. Louis, who have won 11 straight. Can’t wait.

Can’t Sit On Their Hands.

We’re past the halfway point in the 2019 NHL Regular Season, and the Boston Bruins rest in 3rd place in the Atlantic Division. Despite major injury issues at the beginning of the Season, Bruce Cassidy’s bunch has once again kept the ship afloat.

That tells you that the Bruins are kind of good this year, but looks may be deceiving. They are not great. As of this moment, the Bruins pretty much live and die by two things:

1. Tuukka Rask, who’s been phenomenal since his early season woe’s. Rask is clocking in the Top 3 for Save Percentage across the league.

2. Marchand, Bergeron, Pastrnak. The Erection Line, or better known as the best line in hockey.

Those two things are keeping them in the middle of the Eastern Conference Standings. From there on, they have a boat load issues. Biggest issue is secondary scoring. They rely so heavily on the Erection Line, and Powerplay it often gets overlooked, but the Bruins have nothing after line 1. David Krejci is having a good year statistically, even though he’s great one week, invisible the next. That’s the “MO” of David Krejci. His linemate, Jake Debrusk is a good player, and is a good fit for the Second Line. He has 19 points, but just isn’t as lethal as we’d all like. No issue with Debrusk whatsoever, he’s nails and will one day wear a letter on his chest I am convinced. It’s Krejci’s other wing that’s an issue.

Krejci’s right wing has been a a revolving door of stiff after stiff after stiff. Ryan Donato, a second year guy who looked to be a Top 6 piece last year, has been up and down all year. He’s regressed badly. Last year he had 9 points in 12 NHL games, this year he has 9 points in 34 games. Not good. Anders Bjork had 3 points in 20 NHL games this year, and 10 in 13 AHL games before being sidelined with a season ending injury. Those guys were both rushed into NHL duty, and will likely be spending the majority of this season and next in Providence.

Currently Peter Chelarik is manning the wing, and has produced decently in his stint. Chelarik has 4 points in 8 games so far. Hopefully he keeps it up, but I’m not holding my breath.

To make matters worse the Bruins third line has been shitty too. Danton Heinen has regressed badly after nearly cracking 20 goals his Rookie Year. David Backes is a complete shell of himself, as his physical play style has caught up to him. Both those two have been in and out of the lineup all year. They have a quality Fourth Line with Chris Wagner, Sean Kuraly, and Noel Acciari. They are physical, and contribute with big goals. No issues there.

As we inch closer to the deadline the need for depth, and secondary scoring becomes more glaring. They cannot just sit on their hands with the Roster as it currently stands. Don Sweeney owe it to Bergeron, Chara, Rask, and (FINE) Krejci to add for a playoff push. It allows Chelarik to move down a line, which is probably better suited to him. Who should the Bruins look at?

1. Mark Stone

Mark Stone is the ideal trade option for the Bruins to help fill that second line void. He’s cracked 60 points in all but one of his five full seasons as a Senator. Stone checks all the boxes for me. He’s a bit of a pest a la, Brad Marchand, but he’s got more size. Most importantly, he’s and expiring contract. His deal is up at the end of the year, so his $7.3 AAV is easier to stomach. Adding Mark Stone is my primo, creme de la creme target. On a team like Ottawa, who’s tanking, a deal could be made.

2. Kevin Hayes

The Bruins haven’t had much success with Hayes brothers, but Kevin is an option I’d consider. Hayes isn’t quite the player Stone is in terms of goal scoring ability, but he is younger, and is good to contribute around 40 points a season. Hayes is versatile, with the ability to play center or wing. The Bruins have a solid trading relationship with the Rangers, and with them out of the Playoff picture I could see a deal being made. Kevin will be a UFA after this year, so his $5.1 million AAV will not be an issue.

3. Brayden Schenn

The Bruins have been linked to Schenn at earlier points this season. St. Louis loaded up on talent this past summer, and they came out of the gate as one of the league’s worst teams. All signs pointed to the Blues selling off names like Pietrangelo, Tarasenko, and Schenn. They’ve recently turned a corner, and are a mere few points out of the last Wild Card spot in the West. Last year was a career year for Schenn, potting 70 points for the first time in his career. He’s not on pace for similar this year, but he is on pace for his career average of around 40-50 points. Much like Hayes, Schenn can play Wing or Center if needed. He’s got 2 years left on his deal at $5.1 million AAV. A deal will be tougher since the Blues have regained their form, but I could still see one being made for Schenn.

Notice how Wayne Simmonds is not on the list, Bruins fans? For some reason Bruins fans are hell bent on acquiring Simmonds. At 30 he is half the the player he once was, which was a solid 40-50 point guy, who was tough and fought. This is pretty much what Milan Lucic was for the Bruins, and I think that’s why Simmonds is always mentioned. Like Lucic, Simmonds is slowly regressing with age, so trading for Simmonds on the back 9 is pretty much identical to last years Rick Nash trade. Let’s not do that again, the Bruins need an honest to goodness, in their prime, goal scoring stud.

Over the next few weeks we will find out what the Bruins have in store. Sadly, they are in a spot where they kinda have to take a kick at the can. I hope Don Sweeney see’s what everyone else see’s, a team that needs guys who can put the fucking puck in the net.

Cleveland Browns Coaching Decision and 2018 Season Review.

Image result for Browns vs. Ravens 2018

Well it’s Super Bowl Week, and in a stunning a turn of events, the Browns have already been eliminated.  That leaves the Rams and Patriots standing in Atlanta.  Sadly the Browns were eliminated quite some time ago.  Week 16 to be exact.  In Week 17 there was still hope of finishing the 2018 season with a winning record (8-7-1).  In a Week 17 showdown with Baltimore, the Browns fell 2 points short of achieving that goal.  The Ravens outlasted the Browns 26-24, with CJ Mosley intercepting Baker Mayfield on the final possession to seal the deal.  It wasn’t all bad for Mayfield, who threw for 375 yards and 3 Touchdowns.  Bakers third TD toss gave him 27 on the year, which surpassed Russel Wilson’s record for the most of any Rookie Signal Caller.

7-8-1 sucks, but clearly is an improvement from 0-16.  If the Browns ducks were in a row last summer, well I think we would’ve been playing at least one Playoff game this year.  Once the coaching dust settled, they showed just how good they could be.  They were one of the most efficient Offense’s during the second half of year.  They could run it down your throat with Nick Chubb, and sling the fucker all over the joint.  In the end, the Defense is just not where it needs to be for this team to reach the Postseason.  In the final game, Lamar Jackson ran for 90 yards and 2 Touchdowns.  Kenneth Dixon rushed for 117 yards, and Gus Edwards added 76.   While they were able to generate a shit ton of turnovers in 2018, the Browns Defense just could not get a stop when they needed it the most.  Priority number 2 this Offseason should be improving the Defense, especially the interior of the Defensive Line.  What is the reason this is only second on the Offseason “To-Do List”?  That’s because priority number 1 this Offseason was to find a new Head Coach to pair with Baker Mayfield.

 

Image result for freddie kitchens

They wouldn’t have to look to far to find the 17th Head Coach of the Cleveland Browns.  With Sean McVay having so much success out in Los Angeles, and Matt Nagy having similar success in Chicago, every NFL team is trying to replicate that type of hire. These young, offensive minds have captured the hearts of desperate, stupid Owners.

Kliff Kingsbury was hired out in Arizona, for reasons that confuse many. This guy choose Davis Webb over Baker Mayfield at Texas Tech, and was unable to win anything with Patrick Mahomes. He’s seen as this young genius, who has connections to McVay. The Cardinals went as far as to mention it in their Press Release:

You see where Arizona’s Head is at with this hire. They see those McVay connections, and history with Mayfield and Mahomes. It makes owners drool. They see high point totals and Kliff being the media’s darling like Sean himself. Problem is the dude finished under .500 at Texas Tech. Mediocre at best.

Kingsbury is just one example of this type of hire. The Jets hired Adam Gase, a mere few hours after he was fired by Miami. He too, is a young Offensive minded Head Coach.

Matt LaFleur was hired by the Green Bay Packers, who was Sean McVay’s Offensive Coordinator in 2017 out in LA. LaFleur then took over as Titans Offensive Coordinator. The Titans finished 27th in Points Per Game this past year, averaging 19.4 per game. This guy was hired to coach Aaron Fucking Rodgers.

The Browns interviewed a slew of mediocre Coordinators and former Head Coaches for the open position. Names like Jim Caldwell, Mike McCarthy, Gregg Williams, and Dan Campbell were interviewed. Josh McDaniels was linked to the job, mostly due to media speculation. Thanks to his Irish Goodbye from Indianapolis last year he never got an interview, while Patriots Defensive Coordinator, Brian Flores did. Despite having arguably the most attractive job open in the NFL, the Candidates were slim pickings.

All of these factors helped John Dorsey circle back around, and hire Interim Offensive Coordinator Freddie Kitchens as the teams 17th Head Coach. This comes as surprise, as Freddie was just a Runningbacks coach in August. He then was given the keys to the Offense when Todd Haley was told to screw. The results speak for themselves:

The Offense exponentially improved during the second half of the year with Kitchens calling the shots. The Browns Offense went from being one of the leagues most lackluster to most potent. Biggest tell for me is Red Zone Efficiency. From October on, the Browns were fucking money in the Red Zone. Mayfield was surgical inside the 20’s, so much so he was one of the better Red Zone passers in the NFL. You might think it’s easier to score in the Red Zone, but in the NFL it narrows your margin of error. You have to be even quicker, even more decisive in the Red Zone. Mayfield was just that and then some.

The Browns are betting on themselves with this hire. It is very rare a coach rises so rapidly within the ranks. Freddie has been in the league for quite some time, but he came from nowhere to be the most popular candidate. The one time Alabama Quarterback is loved by players and fans alike.

He is nearly impossible to dislike and or root against. Kitchens hails from Alabama, so naturally he’s got a deep Southern Drawl. He’s got a natural sense of humor at the podium.

That natural sense of humor is what helps Freddie connect so well with players. He clearly has a tight bond with Mayfield, and the whole team. He has this belief in the team, a belief that clearly translates on the field. Take a look at the second half of the year. The Browns were running trick plays to show off how good they were, they were breaking 90 yard Touchdown runs, and were slinging it 60+ yards to a first round bust (Perriman). Hell, if Alabama had not beaten Georgia in the SEC Championship, Freddie was going to let Nick Chubb call some plays in the Browns upcoming game. He was serious too. This sort of stuff was impossible for the Browns to ignore.

While I am definitely nervous about this hire, but there is definitely that slim chance this dude pops and the Browns explode to like 11-5 or something . I am certainly skeptical, but this is Dorsey’s guy which makes it all better. What do I mean by Dorsey’s guy?

Jimmy and Dee Haslam keeping their fucking asses out of Football decisions. That’s what i mean. They desperately need to keep watching from the sidelines, keep mouths shut, and sign fucking checks. Sounds harsh but these two do more damage than good. This is John’s team now. John, Alonzo, Eliot, and the rest of the old Packers boys should be making these calls. John Dorsey knows this. Seth Wickersham recently wrote just a fantastic Expose for ESPN on the Browns under Haslam. Regarding the Kitchens hire Dorsey states, “I flexed my muscles and got what I wanted”.

Dorsey paired a cabinet of solid Assistant Coaches with Freddie to help ease the transition.

Todd Monken is taking his talents from Tampa to Cleveland to be Freddie’s Offensive Coordinator. Monken comes of high regard, and was Interviewed for numerous Coordinator AND Head Coaching gigs this Offseason.

Monken is an aggressive coach, who’s philosophy revolves around the Air Raid system. His teams are aggressive, and it showed with Buccaneers this year. Monken is coming in to run the offense, but not call plays. That will still be Freddie’s bread and butter.

On the Defensive side of the ball, Steve Wilks was brought in to run the show. Wilks spent the 2018 Season as Head Coach of the Arizona Cardinals. His team was an absolute train wreck. They gutted the roster before he got there, basically hanging the dude out to dry. Wilks is most known for being the Carolina Panthers Defensive Coordinator. If anything, Wilks will be able to help guide Freddie through the Up’s and Down’s of being a Head Coach in the NFL. Gregg’s Defensive scheme had gone stale, and was masked by the unit generate a shit ton of turnovers. Wilks is a highly regarded Coordinator, and the Browns are hoping he can take the Defense to another level.

All that’s left now is to wait for the League New Year for any sort of news. March 13th will be the day Free Agency opens up. Big John has stated he doesn’t have any Jaw Dropping plans, like last years flurry of Trades and signings.

I tend to agree with that stance from Johnny. There aren’t really any Free Agents out there that tickle my fancy. A list of the top NFL Free Agents ranked by Pro Football Focus can be found here. Obviously there are a few names that stand out. Demarcus Lawrence certainly tickles the fancy, but the Cowboys are likely going to re-sign him. Trey Flowers is another one that moves the needle. If he hits Free Agency odds are he won’t want to leave a perennial winner in New England for Cleveland. Still, there are a few D line options the Browns could go after to bolster the Run Defense and Pass Rush.

Shaq Barrett is one to grab on the cheap, as Bradley Chubb outshines him out in Denver. The Browns have been interested in the past, but never got anything done. Maybe they take a flyer? Other than that nothing appeals to me. It’s an older Free Agency class than what we normally see.

2018 being over sucks. I have major Blue Balls for next season. I am not going to sit here and guarantee playoffs or anything though. The Browns are the Browns. Usually when they make strides the next year is hell. While I feel comfortable with Mayfield and Dorsey, it’s still going to be interesting to see how the teams builds of the late season success of this year. Fingers crossed.

I’ll leave you with an assortment of Browns Porn to get you through the Offseason.

Hope 2019 adds a second volume of Browns Porn. I sure enjoy it! Go Browns!