The John Tavares Decision.

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July 1st came and went in the NHL, and it was quite an eventful week or so leading up with John Tavares exploring the open market.  The Bruins made their pitch to the prized Center, but he decided to go home to Toronto.  Good for him getting to live a childhood dream.  Counting down the days until the Toronto Media fakes a daily trip to hot dog cart, like they did with Phil Kessel.  The Leafs haven’t won a cup since the fucking 60’s, yet they have the most obnoxious fans, and media coverage.  The Bruins have 2-3 beat writers covering the team, Toronto has around 15.  There is an extreme amount of pressure from the fans, and media up there.  It almost never works out, and I cannot wait for the stories, and or turmoil that come with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

As for the Isles, I really feel for those fans.  They haven’t had much to cheer about since the clock struck 1990.  I wouldn’t say they were the worst team in the NHL from 1990-2018, but they are right up there.  I understand the fans anger and frustration with John.  I would be fuming if a player like that left the Bruins, especially after John repeatedly reinforced his love for the Island, and the Organization with the media.  This seems to be a huge source of anger for the Islander fans.  “HE SAID HE LOVED IT HERE,  HE WAS LYING!!!!!!!!”.  No shit morons, he’s not going to say “We’re a fucking joke, Garth Snow is incompetent, Charles Wang moved us off the Island, in 2019 we’ll play games in Brooklyn and Long Island.  I want to leave here I hate it”.  The anger shouldn’t be directed at John, he gave 9 seasons to a joke of a franchise.   You forced Corey Conacher on his line for 15 games in 2014:

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AHL MVP Cory Conacher

John Tavares earned $16 million dollars from the Colorado Avalanche for career Journeyman,  P.A. Parenteau.  In 2010-11 Parenteau was brought onto Long Island after only playing 27 total NHL games in nearly 7 full seasons.

PAP stats

Boom goes the dynamite.  These two seasons riding on JT’s hip was parlayed into a 4 year $16 million dollar contract with Colorado in 2013.  He lasted only 2 seasons out of the 4 he signed for, was traded to Montreal, and was bought out heading into the final year of his contract.  He’s bounced around team to team ever since, and he announced his retirement just a few weeks ago.

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If crappy/journeyman linemates weren’t enough, the Islanders don’t have a home.  In 2015 the Islanders left their long-time home, Nassau Coliseum for the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn.  The arena was a complete, and utter dump at the time they left, but it was still a great arena.  The fans were fucking nuts when the Islanders were actually good.  But the team couldn’t get approval for a new Arena in Nassau.  As we know this move has sucked the life out of the Islanders, and their loyal fans.  The Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn is a joke.

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To make matters worse, the Barclay’s Center kicked the Islanders out!  Leaving them homeless for the 2018-2019 season.  An agreement was eventually set where the Islanders would split games between Brooklyn and the (renovated?) Nassau Coliseum for the next THREE seasons.  What a joke.  An NHL franchise without a home arena.  Last I checked Air Canada Centre is the Leafs home, and will likely be the Leafs home for the foreseeable future.   These are just a few of the reasons why I believe Tavares left.  He’s played with many crappy players, and the organization overall is a mess.  Sure they hired Lou Lamorillo and Barry Trotz this off-season, but too little too late.  Shouldn’t have waited to make these types of moves until the last minute.  They had 9 seasons to hire a competent GM, coach, and have a stable fucking Arena.  Sooner or later enough is enough.  I just feel like Islanders fans are miss-directing their anger, this is 100% on the organization.

Look for the Islanders to probably suck again this year (They’d have a lot of work to do if Tavares stayed).  They have the rookie of the year winner in Mat Barzal.  This kid has all the skill in the world, and was a great compliment to John Tavares as their second line center.  Now he’ll have to be the guy.  A lot of pressure for the kid, and I hope it’s not too soon for him to take the leap.  While he won rookie of the year,  he largely was playing behind Tavares with and against worse competition.  Doesn’t make him any less nasty, but it is a factor.  John takes the best defenders, and forwards from the opposition night in night out.

There are a few decent pieces in the forward group from which to build on despite no JT.  Josh Bailey is coming off a career year in which he registered 71 points on 18 goals, and 53 assists.

Anders Lee is another Islander forward coming off a career year.  He registered 40 goals and 22 assists for 62 total points.  He had himself a fucking year, despite the team going down the crapper during the second half of the season.

These are the forwards they’ll have to build around.  Obviously, no one is going to replace JT right away, but these are the guys that I would build my team around.  It’ll take a miracle to find another Center in the ilk of John Tavares.  That would likely have to come through the NHL Draft.  Maybe Barzal fills the shoes, but it is a lot of pressure.  Part of me see’s the speedy, shifty, smaller Barzal as a perfect compliment to a big bruising two way center like Tavares.  I feel like Barzal is destined to be a really fucking good second line center.  Time will tell.

The NHL Draft, at least the beginning of it saw the Islanders “Win the draft”.  They had two first round selections (11 and 12).  They drafted Oliver Wahlstrom from the US National Development Program.  Bruins fans might actually remember this dude:

With the 12th pick they took Noah Dobson, a Defenseman from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.  Don’t know too much about the kid, but everything I am reading sounds good.  He’s fairly tall at 6’3, is a good skater, and is productive at both ends of the ice.  Might need to put on some weight to deal with the NHL, as he is only 176 lbs.

It is going to be a long year for the Islanders, but I thought they would still suck with Tavares.  They have a poor Defense Corps (Boychuk, De Haan, Seidenberg LOL, Pelech, Pulock, Mayfield, Aho, Etc.)  Bunch of JAGS.  They have some solid puck movers in Pulock and De Haan, but De Haan has two feet out the door already.  Boychuk is being paid as a top pairing Defenseman, but he’s a number 3 Defenseman at best.  Their starting goalie, Jaroslav Halak, who is average at best, left the Islanders for Boston to be Tuukka Rask’s backup on July 1st.  A lot of holes to fill on this roster, and not enough time.  Lets hope the John Tavares decision doesn’t push this organization down a deeper, darker hole.  A team with such GORGEOUS uniforms, and colors cannot be this bad.

Pray for the Islanders.

John Tavares Meets With Bruins Brass in LA.

It’s been a while since we talked Bruins, even longer since we talked at all.  We are smack dab in the middle of the NHL Off-Season.  Last week started it all off with the NHL Entry Draft.  The Buffalo Sabres finally caught a damn break, and won the Draft Lottery.  They used the number 1 pick on Swedish Defenseman Rasmus Dahlin.

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I don’t want to focus on the NHL draft, but just know this kid is going to dominate.  He’s a top end Defenseman, who can play at an elite level in both ends.  It might take time to develop, but he will be amazing. Buffalo has a plethora of top-end young talent.   Eichel, Ristolainen, Sam Reinhart, Ryan O’Reilly, and now Dahlin.  Don’t forget Casey Mittlestadt another top end prospect.  Buffalo, headed in the right direction for eternity.

Now, to the real story here.  John Tavares, the Number 1 overall selection in the 2009 NHL draft is set to become an Unrestricted Free Agent on July 1st.  For much of his time in Long Island and Brooklyn the Isles have sucked.  He’s only made the playoffs three times in 9 total seasons.  He’s only made it to the second round once, and his Isles were bounced in 5 games.  All of that doesn’t matter.  John Tavares is a fantastic hockey player.  He’s lived up to every bit of the number 1 overall tag. Johnny TStats speak from themselves.  4-time 30 goal scorer, scored 28 goals in the lockout shortened season, and even put up a solid 6g-5a-11pts in his only half decent run with the Islanders.  To go along with the goal scoring ability, John is not as good but in the same ballpark as Patrice Bergeron defensively, and in the Face-off Circle.  This is what Baseball weenies would call a five tool player.

2018 was yet another disastrous season on the Ice for the Islanders.  They failed to qualify for the postseason, General Manager Garth Snow stepped down, and Head Coach Doug Weight was axed.  Dusty fossil, Lou Lamorillo was hired as GM to replace Snow.  Lamorillo was the original GM of the New Jersey Devils, and most recently helped rebuild in Toronto (It was done for him by the time he got there).   Most recently, Barry Trotz was named the teams new Head Coach just a week after winning the cup with the Washington Capitals.

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Those hires are great for the fans as it gives them hope.  For me, Lamorillo didn’t do dick in Toronto (how hard is it to draft Auston Matthews?).  Most other pieces were in place for him, but he still had massive holes along the Blueline that he never filled.  For a playoff team, that d corps up in Toronto was just horrendous.  In New Jersey, Lamorillo built a juggernaut that competed for cups from the mid 90’s to mid 00’s.  After that?  Mediocrity.  Since 2003 the Devils have been mediocre at best.  They made a cup run in 2012, but lost in 5 games to the LA Kings.  From that point on, the Devils iced some of the most boring, untalented hockey teams I have ever seen.  Overall Lou will bring some stability to the Isles front office, and he certainly won’t be worse than Mike Millbury, or Garth Snow.  I just don’t know that Lou has his fastball anymore.   These two additions certainly would show Tavares that the Islanders mean business in turning this thing around, but that didn’t stop him from using this week to listen to a pitch from 5 teams.  I hadn’t been keeping tabs on it, as I just figured why on earth would he come to Boston?  The Bruins ownership are cheap pricks, they NEVER sign big money guys.

Sure enough, Monday Morning saw the Bruins, San Jose Sharks, Toronto Maple Leaves, Tampa Bay Lightning, and New York Islanders all be listed as teams he would meet with in LA.  At first, I said, “No Cap room” WRONG.  Tavares will command probably the second highest per year salary in the NHL.  McDavid makes $12.5 million, and Tavares would command around $11.  The Bruins have $12 million free at this very moment, out they would be able to sign Tavares and NOT be forced into making any moves if they want to. This is unlikely, as they would definitely have to move on from a hefty contract like David Krejci, David Backes, or both. They have some young guns that will need to be re-signed after their rookie deals (McAvoy, Donato, BeBrusk, Heinen).

This a good sign for Bruins fans, even though Jimmy Murphy is a raging tool bag, a few other outlets have reported the same.

Now, do I think John Tavares will sign with the Boston Bruins? Probably not. John is likely just doing his due diligence while mulling the extension with the Islanders. But I do think if he were to leave Long Island, the Bruins have a damn good shot.  The Bruins have a perfect mix of veteran talent under contract for multiple seasons, and young up and coming pieces that should help the Bruins contend for many years.  You got Marchand locked up for 8 years at only $6 million per season, Pastrnak is locked up for 5 more years at $6.6 million, and Bergeron is locked in for 4 years at $6.8.  The key pieces would not have to be moved.  Sure some maneuvering would need to be done, but that is more than ok.

Now we wait.

 

It’s Finally Over.

After the month’s and month’s of crap spewing every which way regarding the Browns draft, we finally got some answers.  With the 1st overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, The Cleveland Browns Selected, Baker Mayfield.

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The whole lead up to the draft almost all of the pundits had the Browns selecting Darnold first overall.   Darnold was my preferred option, and the more I look back, the more I believe that had to do with him being the cardboard cutout of an NFL Starting Quarterback.  Despite everything, Baker was always in the back of my mind to be picked.  He intrigued me the most.   This kid is a winner.  He’s not putting up a front like, Johnny Manziel.  He will come in and work his ass off to beat Tyrod Taylor.  That has always been what Baker Mayfield does.  Naturally, the Browns got absolutely ripped for taking him.  Fans were upset that the golden boy from USC was not selected, and the national perception is that the Browns just picked Johnny Manziel again.  It is simply not true.  There is 1 similarity between the two, and that is their both dicks on the field.  Other than that, they are two completely different football players.

Baker Mayfield

Baker comes into the NFL having been one of College Football’s most productive players ever.  The above PFF scores don’t mean dick really, but it helps us compare him to everyone else.  A recent article on SB Nation really highlights the main differences between all of this years top QB prospects,

“In college:

  • Josh Allen was a tall mediocrity.
  • Sam Darnold coughed up gobs and gobs of turnovers.
  • Lamar Jackson had a slight physique and got hit (and sacked) a lot.
  • Josh Rosen got crushed a lot and never had a chance to shine because of iffy line play and a bad running game, not that he can’t become a great NFL QB himself.

The knock on Mayfield is he’s … a little short, I guess? He’s 6’1, which is on the smaller side for a quarterback, but he still had fewer passes swatted at the line than the 6’5 Allen did.” ( 

I knew all of this going in with Mayfield.  I knew how dominant he was in college, and I still didn’t think the Browns would even consider him.  Public opinion of the team is pretty poor obviously, and I just thought the Haslam’s would not have drafted Mayfield after what happened with Johnny Football. That public perception is wrong, and I am glad the team is ignoring it.

On field, Baker Mayfield is more than capable of being the Cleveland Browns franchise quarterback.  He’s deadly accurate.  In his three years at Oklahoma Mayfield had finished with 68.1, 70.9, and 70.5 completion percentage.  That is at 69% on average.  That is insanely good for a 6 ft. 1 Quarterback.  In terms of play style, Mayfield excels within the pocket.  He is going go through his progressions, and fire the ball downfield.  The scrambling you see is mostly a fail safe, not his first instinct.  He would be decent in designed runs, as he is used to the Run-Pass Option offense.  It is not something you will catch him doing a lot of, as he is a gunslinger.

So, Browns fans quit bitching about Baker Mayfield being picked over Darnold.  This guy is money, and is going own being QB one of the Cleveland Browns.  He is going to put his balls on the line for his teammates, and when we eventually see him on the field it will be because he earned it.  Baker’s always earned it.

Fourth overall was also a pick the Browns got unanimously ripped for.  I on the other hand was doing cartwheels.  With Bradley Chubb on the board, the Browns opted to pick the highest ranked corner in the draft.  It woulda sent me up a fucking wall if the Browns pissed away a draft pick on another edge rusher.  Currently our two edge guys are Myles Garrett, and Emmanuel Ogbah.  Ogbah is less known, but is only entering his third season.  Last season Ogbah played in only 10 games due to injury, and was tied for the team lead in sacks with 4.  He played in 16 games in 2016, and finished with 5.5 total sacks.  What exactly is wrong with Emmanuel Ogbah?   He is super young, on a team friendly deal, and has prior success in oh I don’t know….THE NFL.

The Browns may have reached with Denzel Ward, but he was the best Corner in the draft per many outlets.  I haven’t watched this kid play much, but multiple reports say that Ward is one of very few College corners who plays man-to-man.  That is 100% exactly what the Browns need.  The past few years the Browns have trotted out nothing but JAGS in the secondary, and people are still going to bitch?   Would you prefer Tramon Williams? No? Johnson Bademosi anyone? Nah, you’d rather have Buster Skrine. Give me a break. I’ll leave you with Defensive Coordinator, Gregg Williams statement on the pick.  This comes in Josh Edwards Orange and Brown Report Article explaining the pick.

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“Ward. The reason is our need for a press cover cornerback. Denzel probably plays that position as well as anyone I’ve seen in college football in some time. We probably play the most press of any team in the league. There’s another reason. I’ve got a video of 28 snaps of Myles Garrett pass-rushes last year where he gets within two steps or less of the quarterback when the ball comes out. Basically, we aren’t covering long enough to let him get to the quarterback. Myles and others—especially [defensive end] Emmanuel Ogbah—will get more chances because of Denzel.” Ogbah, Williams said, was a major reason why the Browns went Ward over Chubb. “Ogbah’s a rising star in this league,” Williams said. “He’s got a chance to be Chubb.” High praise”  

Couldn’t have said it better myself, Gregg.  Come get some baby!

A full breakdown of the rest of the picks can be found here.   I frankly don’t care about the picks outside of 1 and 4.  I wanted the Browns to identify their guy, and select him at 1.  They did that with Baker.  Now we wait for the new shitheads to arrive, and hit the field.  Go Browns!

Bruins Drop Game 5 to Maple Leaves, 4-3.

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Supremely fucking frustrating.  The Bruins had the chance to put the final fork into Toronto’s season on Saturday, but a series of miscues will extend this series to a sixth game.  Patrice Bergeron re-entered the lineup, after missing game 5 due to an undisclosed injury.  Bergy’s return wasn’t enough to overcome a shitty 35 minutes of play.

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The first period saw both teams come out with energy.   The Bruins had their chances, but were playing too loose.  Guys were making sloppy passes, or taking themselves out of defensive positioning trying to do too much offensively.  The Bruins sloppy play would bite them early on, as Auston Matthews wrap around attempt was stuffed home by Connor Brown to make it 1-0 Toronto.

Adam McQuaid allows Auston Matthews to get behind him easily in the slot, and Matthews has loads of space/time to attempt a wrap-around.  Rask stuffed the puck by hugging his post, but Torey Krug allows Connor Brown to get to the garbage in front and shovel it home.

Just a few minutes later, ex-convict Nazem Kadri fed Andreas Johnsson behind the Bruins defense.  Johnsson received the puck behind all Bruin defenders, quickly shifted the puck to his backhand, and shoveled it home to make it 2-0 Toronto.  This goal was just a pathetic display from two guys you wouldn’t normally expect to fuck up this badly.  Charlie McAvoy basically let Johnsson get behind him, and Zdeno Chara was unable to contest the pass from Kadri.  McAvoy had his worst game as a pro on Saturday.  He was falling all over the place, turning pucks over, and was unable to keep up with the Leaves.  I was calling for his ass to ride the pine for the remainder of the game, but Bruce Cassidy did not throw his prized Rookie into the doghouse.

The first period would end 2-0 Leaves, but early in the second the Bruins started to tighten up.  Finally, nearly 10 minutes into the second period, David Backes notched his second goal of the series to make it 2-1 Leaves.

Meat and potatoes goal there for our man Backes.  The Bruins worked the puck around on the power play, get a shot on goal with Backes providing the screen, and he shovels home the rebound.  Vital goal in the quest for a comeback.  Wouldn’t matter though, as just Tyler Bozak added a third goal for the Leaves.

This would come just a few seconds after Backes’ goal to make it 2-1.  Once again, McAvoy got absolutely torched on the rush.  Both he and Zdeno Chara were getting beat on simple 2 on 2’s all night long.  James van Riemsdyk added yet ANOTHER goal on the power play less than 2 minutes after Bozak made it 3-1.   JVR’s goal would make it 4-1 Leaves.

Garbage effort from all Bruins associated with this goal.  JVR is able to stand free in fron of Tuukka Rask, and easily bang home the rebound for a goal.  There was little resistance from any of the Bruins.  Pathetic effort.  Tuukka Rask would be pulled from the game at this point, and Anton Khudobin came on in relief.

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The end of the period saw the Bruins turn it on.  They hounded Toronto, and the puck for the remainder of the game.  Towards the end of the second period, Matt Grzelyck flung a centering pass in the offensive zone, and Sean Kuraly fired it past Andersen to Make it 4-2 Toronto.  The garden was finally buzzing again, and the Bruins threw the kitchen sink at Toronto in the third period.   Just 5 minutes in, Noel Acciari slapped home a loose puck in a net front scramble to make it 4-3.  The rest of the game was basically pond hockey.  Both teams went up and down the ice exchanging chances.  Khudobin did his part in keeping the deficit at 1, but Freddy Andersen made enough saves to preserve the win.  The Bruins will be heading back to Air Canada Centre for a game 6.

The first 35 minutes saw the Bruins play like dog-shit and it cost them a series victory in this one.  The Leaves have had a hard time generating much offense off anything other than stretch passes.  It is no secret they would be doing so all series, and last night the Bruins decided they did not want to defend it.  Multiple stupid breakdowns on non odd-man rushes is not very characteristic of a Bruce Cassidy coached Bruins team.  Rask had himself a tough night, as he let in 4 goals on 13 shots.  He will look to rebound tonight, as Bruce Cassidy confirmed he’d be in the pipes for game 6.   Cassidy says he is considering shuffling the forward lines for this one.  I’d like to see Ryan Donato get a crack in the lineup.  Danton Heinen has been a regular since coming up in October, but he has gone bone dry in terms of goal scoring.

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As always, Let’s go Bruins!  End this fucking thing once and for all tonight in their fuckin’ barn.

Bruins 3 Maple Leaves 1.

OH BOY!! After suffering a 4-2 loss at the hands of the Leaves on Monday night, the Bruins were handed a dose of bad news just before game 4.

Patrice Bergeron was ruled out of Game 4 with an upper body injury about 20 minutes before puck drop. Oddly enough, I wasn’t all too surprised about this. Game 3 saw each member of the Bergeron line take a few shots. The Leaves played them physical all night. It’s alarming that the extra day of rest didn’t give him the time he needs to return. As many know, Patrice Bergeron played game’s 5 and 6 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals with a pierced day lung, separates shoulder, and broken ribs. If Bergy can’t go, that’s alarming.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but thank Christ for Riley Nash. Nash fills in for Bergy whenever he’s out, and does a fantastic job. He can do just about everything Bergy can, but not nearly as good. Yet again, Nash filled in admirably.

The game started off perfectly. A mere 28 seconds into the game, Torey Krug fired a snap shot over the shoulder of Freddie Andersen.

This exactly what the Bruins needed. Come out and score first after a tough loss and missing your best player. From here on out it was all Leaves. They dominated from the 5 minute mark of the first period, to the 18 minute mark of the second. The Leaves dominated, looking to feed of the energy gained in game 3. It wasn’t long after Torey Krug’s opening goal, that an old nemesis came back to haunt the B’s:

Fuck this prick. Seriously fuck this piece of shit. Plekanec was traded from Montreal to Toronto at the deadline, and he hasn’t done shit since. He was in and out of the lineup for the Leaves, simply because he’s old and sucks. Nothing more than a fourth line center. This series saw Leaves Coach, Mike Babcock play him against the Bruins top line, because it’s a familiar matchup. That decision paid off 6 minutes into the first period, as Plekanec fired a wrister home to tie the game.

From this point on, Tuukka Rask stole the show. The Leaves threw the kitchen sink at Rask, and the Bruins for 30 minutes. Rask stayed calm, and stopped 31 of 32 shots when it was all said and done. This game was all him, without Tuukk’s this one is a bloodbath.

Just a few examples right there. He was incredible last night. He often gets shit on for not “Stealing one”, but last night he fucking stole one. Give the man the Starter Jacket!

An old tradition with the Bruins, the players pass around a Bruins Starter Jacket for the duration of the playoffs. The players hand it out each game to the player that was most impactful on the game. Cool little tradition that I hope they continue. Badass jacket, honestly.

With about 2 minutes left in the second period, the Bruins finally broke through.

The Leaves finally cracked late in the second. David Pastrnak made an unbelievable play in his own zone by chipping the puck past the defenseman trying to keep the puck into the offensive zone. The sprung Marchand and Pastrnak on a 2 on 1. Naturally, Pastrnak’s pass was just perfect, and Marchy easily slotted it home.

At this point all life inside Air Canada Centre was sucked out. All the energy expended to try and get a go-ahead goal only to be stoned by Rask. The Marchand goal pretty much iced the game. Just in case, Jake DeBrusk added another goal early in the third to truly ice the game.

Just a disgusting saucer pass from David Krejci, who played like shit again last night. Who the fuck cares? Wouldya look at that fuckin’ pass? Sexy. The game would end 3-1, with the Leaves not really challenging after the DeBrusk goal.

The Bruins will have tonight off, as they travel back to Boston for game 5. They have the chance to eliminate the Leaves on home ice on Saturday. Bergy skated today back in Boston. Let’s hope he’s good to go for Saturday. If not, they have some time to rest up and heal. There are still two additional games if they can’t close the deal tomorrow, but this is a good sign.

Please be ok, Bergy!!!

Welcome Back, You Fucking Shit Stains.

It’s not a lot but it is something.  The Cleveland Browns have started up Organized Team Activities (OTA’s).  For the first time this new look Browns team will be together in one place.  It is their first chance to wipe off the stink of 2017.

This wasn’t the biggest news of the day regarding our beloved Shit Stains:

Josh Gordon officially signed his Exclusive Rights Tender, putting him on the books for 1 year at roughly $790,000.  This is actually pretty significant to me in terms of Josh staying on the field.  Now, Josh Gordon is on the last of all last chances.  Should single little nugget of Mary Juana enter his body, he is fucked.  No if’s, and’s, or but’s.  With this extension, and the Browns publicly backing him earlier this year, I feel like the Sobriety is going well?  I don’t want to speculate, but I feel like the Browns are comfortable with tagging him.  Hopefully this means no more fuck ups?  Tyrod Taylor spoke to the media today, and stated that Josh was participating in workouts and looked good.

I was all happy about the Browns returning, and working out as a team again.  But, then I got a rotten fucking stench:

LOL okay, Hue.  Go Browns!

Bruins Drop Game 3 to Maple Leafs 4-2.

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Just a brutal night up in Toronto for the Boston Bruins.  Coming in, they were looking to put a stranglehold on the series by taking a three games to none lead.  Alas, it wasn’t meant to be as the Leaves broke through for a 4-2 win.  The series now stands at two games to one in favor of the Bruins.

Much of the first period was a feeling out process for both teams.  The Bruins had to weather an early Leaves attacking storm.  Being back on home ice really gave them the jump they needed early on.   The Bruins were able to calm things down, and get some quality chances of their own.  They were even starting to carry the play, when the Officials shoved a Sherwood up the Bruins ass. With 3 minutes left to play, and the puck in his own defensive zone, Riley Nash went to fire the puck off the glass to get it out of the zone.  The puck deflected off the dasher, and went out of play.  Harmless right?  Wrong.  The Bruins were assessed a two minute delay of game penalty.  Normally, the rule is if a defender is clearing the puck and he shoots it over the glass (without it deflecting/ricocheting) it is a penalty.  It prevents players from doing it on purpose to get a whistle.  Video replay CLEARLY showed the puck ricocheting off the dasher and glass before exiting the ice.  They even pretended to review the call, but Nash was inexplicably left in the box.  James Van Riemsdyk would make the Bruins pay just a few seconds later, making it 1-0 Leaves.

So frustrating that time and time again the Bruins get screwed by the officials.  This was the wrong call, it was reviewed, and still ruled incorrectly.  Even with all of this, the Bruins were able to keep the score at 1-0 for the remainder of the first.

The Bruins continued to push through Toronto surges.  When you are on home ice, you are given “Last Change”.  This simply means the home team gets last chance to change lines before a face-off.  This allows Leaves Coach Mike Babcock the match-ups his team needs.  Tomas Plekanec, an ex-Canadien spent most of the evening shadowing Patrice Bergeron.  Plekanec spent the previous 15 seasons in Montreal playing against Bergy.  Plekanec and his linemates stoned the Bruins top line all night.  David Pastrnak coming off one of his best games, had arguably one of his worst last night.  He was trying to do too much, getting run over by opponents, and missing chances he normally doesn’t.  With the top unit getting shut out, it lead to an unlikely goal scorer for the B’s:

Darth Quaider scored on a seeing eye slap-shot just barely three into the second period.  The Bruins were on the board making it 1-1.  New game!  Wrong.  A mere 48 seconds later oldie but goodie, Patrick Marleau scored to make it 2-1 Leaves:

Horrible fucking effort after you just tied the fucking game, and looking to take the lead.  Everyone caught standing around, and the Leaves walk in with an easy odd man rush.  38 year old Patrick Marleau was there to tap it home.   Not an issue for this years Bruins, however.  All year long we have seen them comeback, especially when you think they’re done.  A few minutes after the Marleau goal, Big Z rumbled down the left wing down to almost the goal line.  At a near impossible angle Z flicked the puck over Freddy Andersen’s shoulder.

This time the Bruins were able to keep the game tied for more than a couple of minutes, but the Leaves kept pressing.  Finally noted Sally, Auston Matthews finally got on the board.  Not much that can be done there.  It wasn’t a shot that is stoppable, but it was still a rocket.  Congrats to Auston Matthews on scoring a goal in the playoffs.

The remainder of the game saw the Bruins battle for a tying goal.  They had numerous chances to tie the game, but choked.  Pastrnak hit two posts, while David Krejci whiffed on a one-time chance set up by Jake Debrusk.

Shoulda had it tied right there, but David Krejci was in one of those “I don’t give a fuck” type moods, and was off all night.   Finally with less than 5 to play in the third period, the Leaves put the game away.

You can’t tell in that clip, but Krejci was working on trying to dangle through three Leaves there.  The puck is stripped from him, and it’s off to the races for Patrick Marleau.

Overall, it really wasn’t the worst game ever.  The Bruins didn’t play great, but they still had plenty of chances to win.  The Leaves expended a massive amount of energy to win a one goal game essentially.  Obviously the blown call in the first period was brutal, but it is no excuse for the loss.  A valid excuse in my book is David Krejci played loaded last night.  Holy shit was he bad.  When Krejci is bad it looks as if he doesn’t care, and when he does care he tried to do too much.  There were multiple instances of this throughout last nights game.  This is a long series luckily, and the Bruins will look to re-gain momentum on Thursday night.  Two days off will allow Matt Grzelyck time to heal, and hopefully he will be good to go.  Nick Holden was just horrible in his place last evening.

Get some much needed rest, and come out balls to the fucking wall on Thursday.  Let’s go Bruins!

Boston Bruins Take Games 1 and 2 From The Leaves… “Shit Happens, That’s Hockey”.

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Just an ass kicking through and through.  The Boston Bruins opened up their first round match-up with the Toronto Maple Leaves on Thursday, and they came out with a convincing 5-1 win.  Saturday saw the B’s take the second game of the series 7-3.  They are now up two games to none in this best of 7 playoff series.  A lot has gone down since the Series began, so let’s get after it!

Game 1 saw the Bruins come out and assert themselves into the contest.  The previous 5 games to end the season the team had stalled.  They finally looked tired, and warn out from all the injuries.  They lost the number 1 seed in the Eastern Conference on the final day of the season, by losing to the Florida Panthers on the last day of the season.  Had they won the game, they’d be playing the New Jersey Devils.

Luckily for the Bruins, they finally began to roll out a fully healthy lineup for the first time in well over a month, and it showed.  They were the better team in Period One, they were hounding the offensive zone, and firing everything at Freddy Andersen.   Finally, leading a 3 on 2 attack, Torey Krug fed Brad Marchand behind the Leaves Defense.  Marchand took the feed, and slipped it past Andersen.  1-0 Bruins.

What an absolute beauty of a feed from Torey Krug, who is having a monster campaign.  The Toronto Defense is old and slow.  It really showed on this goal.  Roman Polak and Ron Hainsey were out on the ice together.  It doesn’t get much older and slower than those two.   The game stayed 1-0 for most of the period, but as it went along the Leaves really picked up their game.  Soon they were carrying the play.  Eventually, with just under 5 minutes left in the first, Zach Hyman tied the game at 1 for Toronto.

Bad pinch from Zdeno Chara in the Bruins offensive zone.  This sprung Hyman up the right wing side, and he was able to out-muscle Rask and McAvoy for the game tying goal.  The first period ended at 1-1, and Toronto had all the momentum.

The second period saw the Leaves continue to push the play.  They got the better chances, and forced the Bruins to take stupid penalties.  A couple of beautiful saves by Tuukka Rask, and missed empty netters kept the game at 1-1.  The intensity was raising with each passing second.  This is when Nazem Kadri did exactly what I had expected him to do:

Fucking rat.  Not sure what in the shit Kadri was doing here.  Wingles is on his knees, looking down at the puck, and Kadri takes a fucking run at him. This would give the Bruins a 5 minute Power Play, and eventually the game.  The stupid fuck is a 30 goal scorer, and he pulls a busch league move like this? Moronic. This may be the last memory of this series for Kadri, as the NHL Suspended him 3 games for the hit.

From here on out the Bruins meticulously picked apart the Leaves, and their molasses D -corps.

David Backes proved to be a force in front of Andersen, as he parked his ass out front, and shoveled home a garbage goal to make it 2-1.

David Pastrnak ripped home a high-slot one-timer shortly after to make it 3-1 B’s:

Early in the third, David Pastrnak’s breakaway chance was blocked into the air by Freddy Andersen, and Sean Kuraly followed up the play to bunt the puck into the gaping cage.  4-1 Bruins.   David Krejci would slip a puck off the back of Andersen’s legs later on to make it 5-1, and that’s how game 1 would end.

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Game 2 on Saturday Night saw the Bruins continue to slap around the Maple Leaves.  Game 1 went of the rails for the Maple Leafs towards the end of the second period.  They were able to hem the Bruins in their own zone, and generate quality chances.  Game 2 this was not the case.  The Bruins took it to the Leaves en route to winning 7-3, and taking a 2-0 series lead.  The Maple Leafs were without Center, Nazem Kadri, and will be for an additional 2 games.  Kadri was suspended three games for his blindside hit to Tommy Wingles.

The first period started out a little uneasy for the Bruins.  The Leaves brought an initial surge to start the game, and the boys had to weather it.  Weather it they did, and just five minutes into the game David Pastrnak made it 1-0 Bruins.

Skill level off the fuckin charts here.  Pastrnak would not be done, as we’ll see here later on.  It was the goal the Bruins needed to break the will of the Leaves early on.  You could feel all the momentum tipping to Boston.

A few minutes later Jake DeBrusk notched his first career NHL Playoff goal.  Bit of a lucky bounce off a nice feed from Krug, and it was 2-0 Bruins.

#22 in White, Nikita Zaitsev.  Embarrassing effort my man.  The joke that is the Toronto Maple Leaves Defense corps continues to grow.  If Zaitsev’s nuts had dropped yet, he would not allow DeBrusk free standing room in front of his goalie’s cage.  Pathetic.  Just a few moments later, Kevan Miller decided he wanted to join the party.

Lucky goal to get here.  See kids, flinging the puck to the net is never a bad thing.  Millsy just trying to generate some havoc in front throws the puck there, and it goes in.  Later on a Boston Power Play, Rick Nash added his first of playoffs doing exactly what Rick Nash does.  Parking his ass in front of the net.

Mitch Marner added the Leaves first goal just 1:22 into the second period to make it 4-1, but David Krejci beautifully re-directed a David Pastrnak slap-pass to up the lead to 4 goals once again.

Tyler Bozak made it 4-2 before the end of the second period, but David Pastrnak decided it was time to ice the game.  Pastrnak scored twice in the third period capping off a natural hat-trick.  In between the two third period Pastrnak goals, James Van Riemsdyk added a third goal for the Leaves.  Final score in this one was 7-3 Bruins.

Just a great way to start off the playoffs for the Bruins.  They come out and kick the shit out of a team that I thought would match-up better than it has so far.  Losing Nazem Kadri did not help their chances.  Kadri had 32 goals this year, and much like Brad Marchand, creates energy by being a fucking rat.   Bis loss  in the Leaves lineup.

Toronto’s Holy-Trinity hasn’t shown up AT ALL this series.  Mitch Marner has a goal and one assist, Nylander has none, and Matthews has none.  The best line in hockey (Marchand, Bergeron, Pastrnak) has amassed 20 points in two games by comparison.

WHAT A FUCKING SALLY.  Screw having to work harder, having to come up with a new game plan, or watching more film.  Shit happens, right golden boy?  That is a worrisome take if I am a Leaves fan going into game 3.  Now, he’s only in his second year, but man.  Your getting your ass beat to hell and back, and “shit happens” is your answer?  (I think I now hate Auston Matthews? What a fucking pussy).

Game 3 is tonight from Air Canada Centre in Toronto.  The Bruins look to take a commanding 3-0 series lead.  Riley Nash will be returning to the lineup after missing the last 1-2 weeks with a cut on his ear/concussion like symptoms.   Matt Grzelcyk is doubtful for the Bruins, and Nick Holden will replace him (brace yourselves). Leo Komarov will be out of the Leafs lineup with a lower body injury.

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Lets go Bruins!!

Browns Re-Sign WR, Jarvis Landry to 5 Year, $75.5 Million Extension.

Holy shit!  That is some serious dough being forked over by the Browns.  As soon as the trade went down the belief was that a deal would be done at some point.  It finally happened this morning, and Landry’s payoff is massive.

A lot of chirping about this being an over payment, blah blah blah.  I don’t agree with that statement, but I also don’t disagree.  The guaranteed money, and term is a bit much in my opinion.  $47 million is the most guaranteed money any active receiver is making, but there is no debating the fact that he produces.  What do the Browns suck at ( I know  everything! HAHA)?  They suck at throwing, catching, and completing first downs to sustain drives.  Those drives eventually lead to points.  Jarvis is one of three receivers in the  to have at least 400 catches since 2014.  Not bad!

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Jarvis lead the league in catches last year, and had 60 first down catches.  He catches the ball, and gets first downs at an exceptionally high rate.   That is something that sounds really fucking simple, but the Browns did not have a reliable guy in Landry’s mold pretty much ever.

Overall I like this move and have zero issue with overpaying.  The $15 million per year the Browns just shelled will drop their available cap to around $70 million. Boy that Landry contract is really putting us in cap hell!  Fuck outta here with that.

So far so good with Landry since coming over from Miami.  At first you feel bad for the guy, going from South Beach to Cleveland.    From 6-10 to 0-16 I figured he wouldn’t be too pleased, but he seems excited, and thrilled to be in Cleveland (Now I know the $75.5 million reasons why).  He’s even got the skill position players together to work out in the offseason.  Something we never see from the lowly Browns:

Kind of a lame video, but at least we have some decent Football players, who appear to be excited to work together.  Team Chemistry gets overblown in terms of impact, but with these Browns anything is positive.   That video is a tease.  I need these guys on the field, and I need these guys on the field now.

Go Browns.  T-Minus 2 weeks until draft day.

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Stanley Cup Playoffs Preview: Bruins vs. Maple Leafs.

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Well folks, the regular season is finally over, and the best tournament in sports commences.  The Stanley Cup playoffs began with a bang last evening with two Western Conference match-ups, and one in the East.  The Flyers got run out of Pittsburgh by Sidney Crosby 7-0.  The Winnipeg Jets won their first ever playoff game (The current version of the Jets) 3-2 over the Minnesota Wild, and Las Vegas squeaked past L.A. 1-0.  Tonight the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs will commence their first round playoff match-up.

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The Maple Leafs come into the series having finished third in the Atlantic Division:

atlantic standings

All last season, and current season everyone has been hyping up the Toronto Maple Leafs.  A young, fast, skilled core of forwards is developing in front of everyone’s eyes.  Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, and William Nylander have all been drafted and inserted into the Maple Leaf lineup within the past two seasons.  Auston Matthews being the most important of any of their forwards.  Matthews was drafted 1st overall in the 2016 NHL Draft.  From the very get go, he has been one of the league’s top players.  Not just young players, all players.  Hell, in his first NHL game he scored 4 fucking goals.  That is how good he is.

 

 

 

Mitch Marner was drafted 4th overall in 2015.  Seen as a flashy, undersized forward, there was a lot of speculation as to whether or not he would succeed at the NHL level.  Not only has he succeeded, he’s been a valuable goal scoring winger for Matthews.  In his two seasons, Marner has amassed 61 and 69 points respectively.  He has contributed since day 1, much like Matthews.

 

William Nylander was drafted 8th overall in 2014, and spent the following 2 seasons in the AHL.  He debuted last season with Marner and Matthews posting 61 points, and helping the leafs reach the playoffs for the first time since 2013.   This season saw Nylander pot 61 points again,  and his Leafs are in the Playoffs in back to back seasons for the first time since 2004-05, thus completing the “Holy Trinity” up in Toronto.  The Leafs looked to take a large step forward this year, and these three were able to do so.  Last year they squeaked into the playoffs as the second Wild Card team, and they were 8th and final seed.    This season they were within the 3 automatic playoff seeds for the duration of the campaign.  This means they will be facing the Boston Bruins, who finished 2nd in the Atlantic.  These two have been on a collision course all season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bruins weren’t playoff favorites coming into the season.  They were inserting youth into the lineup in many places.  It just seemed like it would be a developmental type season.  The Bruins got off to a luke-warm start, as a rash of injuries hit the team.  Under .500 in November, Anton Khudobin saved the season out West.  The Bruins lost the first game in Anaheim on a massive three game California Road Trip.  The Bruins were able to beat both San Jose and L.A. in the following games.  At this point, the season took off.  They kept winning, and winning, and winning some more.  They went on an 18 game point streak that wasn’t snapped until January 30th.  This propelled them above the Leafs in the standings, and gave the 1st place Lightning a run for their money.  In the end, a push for first place was not meant to be.  The Bruins finished 1 point shy of Tampa to secure second place.

A lot has been said about the Leafs young guns, and rightfully so.  That trio lights you up for a lot of goals.  The Bruins have some pretty good youngsters themselves.  They might not be as flashy, but they all contributed to this teams surge up the standings.

Jake DeBrusk has been on the Bruins second line all year long.  It was his first full season in the NHL, after spending all of 2016-2017 in Providence.  That time has really paid off.  While he didn’t score 60 points, he was a solid contributor potting 43 points.  He rode shotgun with David Krejci for most of the year, but Cassidy is not afraid to sit his ass, or play him on a lower line if need be.  A lot to like from this kid, a bit of prime Nate Horton in his game.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Danton Heinen was an early season call-up from Providence when a rash of early season injuries hit the Bruins hard.  Heinen earned a spot on the third line full time shortly after.  Riley Nash, David Backes, and Danton Heinen has been the Bruins second best line when all parts are healthy.   Problem is, there has rarely been a time when all three are healthy.  The time they were, they went on their 18 game point streak.  Heinen was a major contributor offensively, grabbing 47 points in his first full season with Boston.  He’s creative with the puck on his stick, he can dangle, shoot, and pass at a high level.  Better yet, he’s able to play a physical game and win battles in the dirty the areas.  He will be an important piece moving forward for the B’s.  He’s got a lot of Loui Eriksson in his game.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, the big one.  Charlie McAvoy.   The Bruins X factor.  Charlie was drafted in 2016 from Boston University, and made his NHL debut in the 2017 playoffs.  This first full season he continued to develop into a future number 1 Defenseman.  He missed a full month due to a MCL sprain, but still was able to notch 32 points in his Rookie Campaign.  He finished with a +20 +/- rating and averaged well over 20 minutes a night when healthy.  This kid is going to be the number 1 Defenseman here for a long ass time.

 

 

 

 

 

Recent history does not bode well for the Boston Bruins when it comes to beating the Leafs.  They are 1-3 against Toronto this season, and 1-7 going back two seasons.  When it comes to dynamic, game-changing forwards the edge goes to the Leafs.  Along with the three kids they have, James Van Riemsdyk, Patrick Marleau, Zach Hyman,  Nazem Kadri, and Tyler Bozak.  These are all forwards who can score, and bring toughness.  Look for Kadri to turn himself into a villain this series.  Dudes a punk.

After the forwards, the Bruins have the just about edge everywhere else.  The Achilles heel for these Leafs is defense.  They have a top 10 bad D-corps.  Morgan Reilly and Jake Gardiner are there two best Defenseman.  They both can skate, and add offense to their game.  Those two will be eating up a lot of minutes for the Leafs.  After them it falls off.  They have veteran Ron Hainsey who is on his last legs.  He is not very mobile at all, and will mostly be used to block shots and kill penalties.  They have 31 year old Roman Polak, who is in the same mold as Hainsey.  He can’t skate whatsoever, but is gritty enough to block shots and kill penalties.

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The Bruins have the edge here with a solid balance of shutdown D-men, and puck movers.  The first pair features Zdeno Chara and Charlie McAvoy.  Despite being 41 Big Z still has plenty left in the tank, and is as good as ever Defensively.  He doesn’t contribute much offensively anymore, but he may surprise with a few clappers.  The second pairing features Torey Krug and Kevan Miller.  Miller has completely transformed his game in the past 2 seasons.  In 2015-2016 he was the team whipping boy.  He was injured for much of the campaign, and when he was healthy he sucked.  This season he is probably the second most valuable D-man on the team.  He allows Torey Krug the freedom to be more creative offensively.   Torey Krug is coming off his best regular season as Bruin posting 59 points.

As for the Goalies:

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Frederik Andersen will be between the pipes for the Leafs and Tuukka Rask will man the cage for the Bruins.  I wouldn’t say either team has a distinct advantage in Goal, as their stats are almost identical.  Rask has a lower Goals Against Average (2.36), and Andersen has a highers Save Percentage (.918). I’ll give the edge to Rask and the Bruins, largely because Rask has lead the Bruins to the Cup Final in the past.

The Verdict:

This series is going to be as close as it possibly can be.  The Bruins could sweep the Leafs in 4 games and they could lose to the Leafs in 4 games.  I see it going 7, and just based off the heart………………………Bruins in 7.

Fuck the Leafs.  NEVER FORGET:

 

 

 

 

 

 

I look forward to Kayaking through tears in Maple Leaf Square.  Lets go Bruins!!