It’s Tommy Wingels World, and We’re all Living it.

Last night the Boston Bruins defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 in overtime. Rick Nash scored his first goal as a Bruin, and a surprising player shined in the comeback win for the Black and Gold.

Tommy fucking Wingels ladies and gentlemen. Ever heard of him? Doubt it. While the Tampa Bay Lightning were completing a blockbuster for Ryan McDonagh, Donny Sweeney was pulling off a depth trade for the stretch run.

Enter Tommy Big Dick Wingels. Wingels was acquired from the faltering Blackhawks for a 5th round pick. If the Bruins win a round, the pick will turn into a 4th. Not a bad price at all.

The trade immediately reeked dividends for the Bruins. In his first game this past Tuesday, Wingels slotted in on the Bruins third line. He played along side David Backes and Danton Heinen. Boy, did he ever look good on that line too. Wingels posted a goal and assist in the B’s comeback effort.

What a little snipe there from Tommy boy!! In all seriousness, this trade has the potential to be a massive steal for the Bruins. Take away the goal and assist, and I still love what I saw from him. He was buzzing all night. He was relentless on the forecheck, and showed that he could play with speed. If Cassidy needed, Wingels could slot up in the lineup, or he can generate energy on the third line. No matter where he plays, playoff teams need a Tommy Wingels on their roster.

If he can continue to play at the speed he did on Tuesday than this is a fucking steal. For those upset about giving away a draft pick, ask yourself this: What’re the odds that the 5th round pick records a regular season NHL goal? Astronomically low. This is a great depth move by Sweeney for the playoff push.

B’s take on the Penguins tonight at 7pm at TD Garden. Let’s go Bruins!!

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2018 NHL Trade Deadline Round Up.

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Believe it or not, yesterday was the NHL trade deadline.  Unbelievable that we are already staring down the barrel of the NHL stretch run.  Throughout the course of the year a few teams have  separated themselves from the pack as Stanley Cup Contenders, and old powers are finding themselves “blowing it up” as the playoffs are likely out of reach.

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Here is where we sit coming down the stretch.  The biggest takeaway for myself personally is the fact the Original Six is a disaster.  Two of them are in dead last in their respective divisions.  After being a cup contender for the past 5-7 years, the Rangers have hit rock bottom.  This year was the year Jeff Gorton and Glen Sather finally decided it was time to start re-tooling.

This brings us to the first of many big moves of the trade deadline:

This trade was completed last Monday between the Bruins and Rangers.  Not a major blockbuster by any means, but the message was clear.  The Bruins would be adding pieces for a playoff run, and the Rangers would begin to sell off what they can for picks, and young assets.

As a Bruins fan I am somewhat indifferent regarding this trade.  Nick Holden sucks.  Plain and simple.  I have nightmares of Holden giving away multiple games during the 2017 playoffs.  Brutal giveaway after brutal giveaway.   He’s a depth Defenseman, who isn’t a fucking slug, so he can skate and move the puck fairly well.  He would need sheltered minutes, meaning playing favorable match-ups, Offensive Zone starts, etc.  We saw last year the Bruins ran out of gas in the postseason largely due to injuries.  They were down to their 8th-9th Defenseman, and Tommy Cross was playing meaningful playoff minutes.  Holden would be an upgrade in a situation like that.

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To Rob O’Gara.  I really liked Rob, and was certainly not too pleased to see him go.  The Rangers are getting a solid Defenseman that should develop into an NHL regular.  He’s had a few cups of coffee with the Bruins, but was mostly a mainstay in Providence.  He’s solid.  Nothing flashy with O’Gara, he’s going to block shots, kill penalties, and play physical.  A valuable piece for any NHL should he develop properly.

The Bruins were not even close to being done making moves to bolster their depth, and free up roster space.

Wednesday saw Donny Sweeney free up some cap space by trading Frank Vatrano.  It was time to move on from the UMass product.  Vatrano stormed onto the scene scoring 36 goals in his first 36 AHL games in 2015-2016.  That goal scoring touch never translated to the NHL level.  Frankie needs a bunch of time and space to pick his spot, and you’re just not getting that regularly in the NHL.  He’s still got a rocket shot, and decent skating ability.  He’s pretty “meh” in every other facet of the game.  The fact that he wasn’t traded for a conditional 7th or 6th round pick is beyond me.  Florida just handing out 3 round picks like candy.  Donny managed to regain a 3rd after sending one away for Holden.  Frankie will get a shot to play a regular shift down in Florida, as he just wasn’t good enough to crack the Bruins lineup this year.  We’ll see if a fresh start is what was needed.

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Coming off a brutal loss on Saturday, the Bruins were still not done adding to their roster.

Finally to the big one.  Don Sweeney pushed all of chips in and acquired veteran Power Forward, Rick Nash.  Nash is a big guy standing at 6’4, 220 lbs.  He will slot in on the Bruins second line centered by David Krejci.  This is a big move for the Bruins, and Rangers equally.  The Rangers off-loaded an aging veteran piece for assets.  They get back a roster player who could contribute right away in Spooner, and gain an additional 1st round pick.  The prospect is what it is.  Lindgren was more or less the 6th best Defense Prospect the B’s had.

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The Bruins add a guy that can bolster their top 6.  One of the few glaring holes on this team was Krejci’s wing.  Spooner was slotting in there, but he is a natural center.  Spooner had games where he looked fine playing the wing and would mesh well with Krejci.  Other nights he couldn’t care less, and was invisible.  Missing a chunk of time at the beginning of the year, Spoons has amassed 9 goals, 16 assists, and 25 points so far this season.

Rick Nash is a former perennial 30 goal scorer, who is starting to show his age.  The 33 year old is on the final year of his contract, and his point totals have slowly declined the past couple of years.  While he’s not leading the league scoring 41 goals anymore, he will still provide much needed secondary scoring.  Hopefully playing for his last NHL contract, and a shot at the cup will motivate Nash.

 

Now on to deadline day itself.  There were a lot of deals made towards the final the hour.  I am not going to breakdown each one, but I thought I would highlight the most important ones.  A full list of deadline day transactions can be found here.

First and foremost the Ryan McDonagh trade.  The Rangers continued their fire sale by shipping off their team captain to Tampa Bay.

This trade right here settles the balance of power in the Eastern Conference.  While the Bruins were knocking at the door, and adding Rick Nash, the Lightning decided to drag their nuts across Sweeney’s forehead.  Adding Ryan McDonagh is just, well it’s just unfair.  The Lightning’s Top 4 Defeseman are: Norris Trophy Candidate Victor Hedman, Rookie of year Candidate Mikhail Sergachev, and ole’ reliable Anton Stralman.  That is far and away the best D-corps in the Eastern Conference, and will likely bolster their chances of landing the number 1 seed.

The Rangers did fairly well in the return.  Namestnikov is a young skilled forward, who is NHL ready.  He’s got 44 points so far this year, posting 20 goals, and 24 assists.  The two prospects (Howden, Hajek) are solid, and by all accounts seen as B/B+ prospects.  This was a fair haul for McDonagh on his own, and I am still scratching my head as to why J.T. Miller was involved.  The Rangers tossed him in there for free.  Miller is a young gritty forward who is fast, and can play both Wing and Center.  With 13 goals, and 27 assists on the year, the Rangers basically sold off Miller a 40 point guy for free.  Miller will be a valuable depth piece for the Cup run.

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To another Original Six City we go! The first big-ish trade of the day came from two divisional rivals in the Central Division.

Sitting in a similar position as the New York Rangers, the Blackhawks are beginning to sell off pieces.  Bad contracts galore in Chicago.  It will be harder to blow it up there versus New York largely because of albatross contract after albatross contract.  Familiar names like Brent Seabrook, Duncan Keith, and Jonathen Toews have immovable contracts.  Which cannot be said for the assets the Rangers traded away.  Even so, the Hawks were able to move a piece to Nashville.

Ryan Hartman was sent to Nashville for two draft picks, and Victor Ejdsell.  Edjsell is a prospect playing over in the Swedish Elite League.  He is projected to have a solid NHL future ahead of himself.  Obviously the main prize here for Chicago is the 1st round pick.  Stan Bowman had dealt away prospects and picks chasing down a 4th Stanley Cup, and fell short.  Similar to the Bruins, the Blackhawks will have to, “rebuild on the fly”.  This would mean acquiring any picks and prospects you can for expiring contracts, while keeping the main core in place.

From Nashville’s perspective, I guess it’s a solid deal?  Hartman is having a down year this year.  In 2016-17 he finished the season with 19 goals, 12 assists,  and 31 points.  So far through 57 games  he’s got 8 goals, 17 assists, and 25 points.  I certainly wouldn’t be shelling out a 1st round pick for him.  He’s a solid depth scorer only in his second full NHL season, so there is time to develop.  To go with the ability to score, Hartman brings an edge to his game.  He plays the agitator role, and we all know how crucial those guys can be come playoff time.

Once the Hartman trade went through, another Central Division rival was making a bit of a surprising move:

This one came as a bit of a shocker, as the Blues are only 2 points out of the final Wild Card spot in the West.  Two years in a row the Blues were on the outside of the playoff picture at the deadline, and sold off a major piece.  In 2017 it was Kevin Shattenkirk to the Capitals, this year Paul Stastny to Winnipeg.

From a Jets perspective I like the player they acquired.  They are looking to make a run, and wanted shore up their center depth.  Stastny is perfect for them.  They have the game’s most unnoticed superstars in Mark Scheifele, Bryan Little, and now Paul Stastny as their top 3 centers.  Not bad at all.  Stastny is a Center in the Patrice Bergeron mold.  He’s good in the face-off circle, defensively, and can score when needed.  He’s not nearly as good as Bergy offensively, defensively, or in the face-off circle, but he will be a quality veteran piece for a team that has made the playoffs once since 2012.   I would NOT have given up a first round pick for Stastny.  While he is a good player, a first plus a prospect is a high price to pay.  By all accounts, Erik Foley is a highly rated prospect at the NCAA level this season.  For all the big guns traded these past few days, Stastny was the most surprising by far, and will be interesting to see how he fits in with the Jets.

Moving further out West, Las Vegas made it’s first ever Trade Deadline Day move:

This trade will likely get a shit ton of love in the Media, mostly because Vegas is the leagues darling.  Vegas is sitting at the top of the Pacific Division for reasons that cannot be explained.  When you get this far you kinda have to, “go for it”.  I understand that and all, but this takes the cake as the worst trade of the deadline.

Tatar is a good player, who up until this year was a regular 50-60 point getter.  This year his numbers have declined, as Detroit sucks.  This year he has a measly 16 goals, 12 assists, for 28 points total.  There is absolutely no reason to be shelling out a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd round picks.  As a team that is approaching its second draft EVER, it’d probably be wise to hang on to draft picks, no? Tatar will give Vegas some more pop for sure, as that forward group is bone dry in terms of pure goal scoring.

This is yet another Original Six Franchise attempting to rebuild, and Detroit got a HAUL.  They are a team that prides itself of drafting and developing talent, so those three picks will come up huge when re-stocking the cupboard.

 

 

Late in the day, another Pacific Division team was selling off an expiring contract:

Edmonton is now officially out of the playoff race, which is just fantastic.  A team that has drafted 1st overall 3 times in the past 10 years.  The latest being Connor McDavid the NHL’s darling boy.  Last year Edmonton made a run into the second round of the playoffs. They were actually considered a favorite to be hoisting Lord Stanley in June.  Instead, this man…

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ruined any chance Edmonton had at building a playoff contender.  First, he traded Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson.  Hall was the number 1 pick of the 2011 entry draft.  He’s now a major contributor on Devils playoff team.  Larsson is a solid top 4 Dman, but Taylor Hall is an elite goal scorer.  Who needs those Chia?  He traded Matthew Barzal (Rookie of the Year Candidate) for Griffin Reinhart, a Defenseman for the Chicago Wolves in the AHL.  He handed out a 6 year, $7 million dollar contract to 29 year old Milan Lucic.  A contract that will hamper Edmonton until it expires.  He signed center, Leon Draisaitl to an 8 year $68 million dollar contract worth $8.5 million per year. Now, Draisaitl is damn good.  Someday he will be worth every penny of that contract, but this was his FIRST contract coming off his rookie deal.  Teams almost always opt for a bridge contract, and then dish out the cash.  Chia said fuck it, and handed ALL the money to Draisaitl.  But wait!  There’s more, Chiarelli signed Connor McDavid to an 8 year $100 million dollar contract extension.  This won’t kick in until 2019, but once it does the annual cap hit will be $13.5 million.  Let me preface this by saying Connor McDavid is worth every penny of that contract.  Has Chiarelli not learned from his time in Boston?  Has he not seen what the Brent Seabrook, Patrick Kane, and Jonathan Toews contracts have done to Chicago?  They cannot afford to keep their good secondary scorers/role players because they are so salary cap strapped. Edmonton is going backwards fast, they should probably be considering canning Chiarelli by now.

Anyway, enough ranting about Chiarelli.  Edmonton sent an expiring contract in Patrick Maroon to New Jersey in exchange for a prospect, and 3rd round pick.  New Jersey gets a big bodied goal scorer who can play anywhere in your lineup.  Maroon is coming off two solid years, but is likely a product of Connor McDavid.  Last year he amassed 27 goals, a career high by a wide margin.  New Jersey essentially gave up nothing for him, as by all accounts the prospect included (J.D. Dudek) would not even be signed to a rookie contract by the Devils.  Maroon’s point total is not where it was last year, bit he still has 14 goals, 16 assists, and 30 total points.  Head scratching move from the Bald Bandit Chiarelli.

Image result for Peter Chiarelli idiotThe last real big move came from San Jose:

Buffalo traded Evander Kane to the San Jose Sharks for a 2019 1st round pick, 2020 2nd round pick, and Dan O’Regan an NCAA prospect.  Solid trade for both teams involved.  It was time for the Sabres to move on from Kane.  On paper, Buffalo has a team that should be competing with Boston and Toronto for the Atlantic division.  They are the exact opposite.  They spend almost every season in the cellar, even with Jack Eichel, Ryan O’Rielly, Kyle Okposo, and Rasmus Ristolainen.  Buffalo needed to unload an expiring contract, as they were likely not going to re-sign Kane.

San Jose adds an elite forward to their top 6 for the stretch run.  Kane is a polarizing player, mostly due to off the ice issues, but he’s still an elite talent.  Sitting at 40 points, he will be a nice goal scorer to take passes from Jumbo Joe Thornton.  San Jose did not have to give up their 2018 first, which should be considered a win.  Both teams make out well with this trade.

The biggest story was Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson.  A superstar Defenseman in Ottawa.  The Senators explored trading him to Vegas, Washington, and a few other places.  Nothing worked out, and Ottawa will attempt to extend him before the draft in June.  I’m sure Senator fans can breathe a sigh of relief. Karlsson being traded would have sent major shockwaves throughout the league. Seems like trading for him mid-season would be stupid, because he completely changes the dynamic of that particular team so much, it’s probably be more beneficial to wait for the draft.

Overall it was an exciting day/week. Most of the moves were reported in the final hour, but boy was it worth it.  NHL trade deadline, and July 1st Free Agency are my two favorite days of each calendar year. Here’s why. As always, Lets go Bruins!!

With the First Pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, Cleveland Browns Select: Baker Mayfield.

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This is a time of year that is just the worst for sports.  Football will be over this time next week.  That means we’re stuck with silly Draft hype.  We will be getting slammed with Senior Bowl, Combine, and Pro-Day bullshit until our ears bleed.  Figured now is as good a time as ever to break down the top Quarterbacks in this years draft class.  Let’s kick it off with Baker Mayfield, 2018 Heisman Trophy Winner.  Is he qualified to be selected number 1 overall?

There is something about this kid, man.  I’ve said it a few times, but Mayfield is really the only Quarterback that intrigues me to a high degree.  Darnold, Rosen, and Allen just don’t move the needle for me.  Maybe it is because those guys are more of the “Prototype” Pro Quarterback.  Tall pocket passers with good arm-strength.  Mayfield is anything but tall.  Mayfield stands at 6 feet tall, and 216 ponds.  Certainly not built like most Franchise Quarterbacks.

I certainly understand the risks with Mayfield going in.  Much like Johnny Manziel, Mayfield took the College Football world by storm with electrifying play.  Much like Manziel, Baker is considered shorter than the ideal NFL Quarterback, but still electrifies.  They both have had issues with off-the-field issues in the past as well.  With all the similarities, there are differences to point out.

The first major difference is the way in which Johnny and Mayfield ran their offense.  Johnny was running a college based, read-option offense.  It involved a lot of Johnny improvising, and chucking the ball up to Mike Evans.  Evans was a man playing among boys at that time.

Taking a look at the highlights, it is pretty clear how simple Johnny’s offense was at A&M.  He was a one read and run guy.  He hardly ever stood in the pocket, and made his progressions.  At the slightest bit of pressure, or sign the play was breaking down Johnny took off running.  In the This lead to many highlight reel plays in college, as in the open-field Johnny was so hard to stop.  The Texas A&M offense set him up to fail in the NFL.  It was too improvisational, and he had an NFL ready Wide-Out at his disposal in Mike Evans.

Johnny in the NFL was nothing short of a disaster, particularly outside of Football. The second his name was announced, his time in Cleveland was a media circus.  On-field wasn’t great in 2014. Despite what many will tell you, 2015 Johnny was mostly good on the field.  The only real disaster performance came in his first career start in 2014.

After a tough start in 2014, and entering rehab; Johnny came back strong in 2015. Despite having next to no weapons, or belief from his coaches, Johnny put up solid numbers in his first chunk of playing time in the NFL. He finished 2015 with 9 games played.  He threw for 1,500 yards, 7 touchdowns, and 5 interceptions.  He added 230 rushing yards on 37 attempts.  Johnny’s off-field issues took off during the middle of the 2015 campaign, and got so bad he was released in March of 2016.

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With Baker displaying tamer, albeit similar off-field concerns you would think the Browns would scratch him off their QB Short-list ASAP.  Based off the sound bites from this past Weekend’s Senior Bowl, Browns GM John Dorsey is intrigued with the Oklahoma Signal Caller, and maybe enough to take him with the number 1 overall draft selection this April.

First things first, Baker Mayfield is nearly a spitting image of what Johnny Manziel was in some ways.  He’s a fiery competitor, who isn’t shy with words or actions.  Manziel had his patented “Money Manziel Sign”, and Mayfield stuck his teams flag in the middle of Ohio State’s field, which got a lot of heat for reasons unknown.  Grow up you fucking pussies.  Oh, and he’s grabbed his junk on TV clear as day.

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To the naked eye, Manziel and Mayfield look like one in the same.  Mayfield runs a similar offense to what A&M was running in 2012-2013.  It is a lot of read option, run-pass option type plays.  While the offense is similar, Mayfield plays the game completely different than Manziel did.  He has balls.  By balls, I mean he doesn’t take off at the slightest sign of trouble, or his number 1 read is taken away.

Take a look at his 2018 Rose Bowl Highlights.  Mayfield expresses the pocket presence and poise that Johnny never had.  You can see on multiple big plays, Mayfield is in the pocket moving his eyes downfield, and eventually hitting his 3rd/4th option for a big gain.  He doesn’t rely on scampering through College Linebackers once the play breaks down.  He does run, but it feels like he runs more on design, than improvisation.

Baker has done it these past two years with a group of JAGS at Wide-Receiver.  I think this has actually helped himself.  He hasn’t had the downfield options that Johnny did, so he’s had to develop better deep throw accuracy.  I feel like the placement on his deeper throws is far superior to Manziel.  Manziel had the luxury of turning his head and throwing it as far as possible in the direction of Mike Evans.

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These are the career college stats for both Johnny, and Baker.  Those who have been saying these two are a cut from the same cloth are just wrong.  Johnny caught fire in 2012, and carried it into 2013.  Baker has consistently performed at a high level.  With each year, you can see Baker’s stats grow.  The most impressive growth I see is, Average Yards per Attempt.  Baker’s grew from 10.4. to 12.3, and finally 12.9.  It shows that he developed into a quality downfield passer as he learned the college game.  Manziel’s Average Yards per Attempt was, 8.8 in 2012, and 10 in 2013.  Not even in the same ballpark as Mayfield.  It goes to show you how different they really are.

Should the Browns take Mayfield with the number 1 overall pick this fall?  I think he is as good an option as anyone to be drafted by the Browns this spring.  There is is something about the kid that makes me so intrigued.  He has the desire, and drive to lead his team to victory.  He isn’t afraid of anyone, and it shows on the field.  Is he cocky?  He absolutely is, but you can see how much he motivates his teammates on the field.  Baker has had an off-field incident, but it hasn’t plagued him nearly as much as Manziel’s issues.  Everything about Mayfield leads me to believe he really has the motivational drive in him, whereas the confidence Manziel displayed was more or less a front.

Mayfield has even expressed desire in being the Qaurterback to turn things around in Cleveland (Hey Josh Rosen, he ain’t scared ya fucking pussy). Whether this is just Pre-Draft bull-shit being spewed is yet to be determined.

Will Baker Mayfield be the Browns Quarterback in the Future when they hit the podium in April?   We’ll see…

Bruins Beat 1/4

The Boston Bruins opened up the 2018 Calendar year in spectacular fashion. The boys would kick the shit out of the Islanders 5-1. Great start to the new year indeed. Like many games recently, this wasn’t much of a contest.

The Islanders came into the game in a playoff position. Given how tough the Metropolitan Division that could change quickly. Once again, this game had scheduled loss written all over it. Random Tuesday night game in Brooklyn. Just didn’t have the feel of Bruins victory.

As they have for most of the season, the Bruins proved me wrong. From the drop of the puck they seemed to have their legs. They applied a relentless forecheck with all 4 lines early. At 8:17 of the first period, Danton Heinen ripped a wrist shot over the glove hand of Jaroslav Halak. The goal came from Riley Nash winning a face-off right back to Heinen, who slotted it home. 1-0 Bruins in the first.

Just over a minute later, the Bruins would be victimized similarly to the Islanders. Off. Brandon Carlo got the puck in front of Tuukka Rask off a defensive zone face-off. Carlo ended up having a car wreck, falling down, and kicking the puck in front of the net. Jordan Eberle hopped on the gift, and put it home

The first period would come to a close at 1-1. Carlo’s blunder had undermined what was a great first period from the Bruins. In the second, the B’s continued to hound the puck. Most notably, the fourth line. Tim Schaller, Noel Acciari, Sean Kuraly. A group of JAGS, but damn good ones. Kuraly in particular due to his speed, and relentlessness. This line made the Islanders look foolish all night. They drew multiple penalties on the Islanders, and 8:28 into the second, Patrice Bergeron batted home a wrap around goal to make it 2-1 Bruins. Perfect Patrice was behind his own net, caught the puck that bounced over the crossbar, put it down, and wrapped home short side. Perfect Patrice strikes again.

The game was 2-1 until mid-way through the third period. David Pastrnak stripped the puck from Cal Clutterbuck in the neutral zone. It created a 2 on 1, which Pasta beautifully sold a shot. Pasta slipped a pass over to Marchand, who ripped the puck home to make it 3-1 Bruins. Tim Schaller, and Noel Acciari would each notch a goal to ice the game. 5-1 win for the Bruins.

Tuesday was a night for the fourth line. They hounded the puck all night, and made life hell for Islander defenders. Each member isn’t afraid to use their body to make a few plays. They can also chip in on the scoresheet. Can’t find a better 4th line in the league right now.

Wednesday saw the Bruins assign forward, Anders Bjork to the Providence Bruins.

Bjork was the odd man out here, as he had been on the 9th floor in street clothes since David Krejci returned to the lineup. This was the right move to make for the kid. Let him go down, and play top minutes at the Dunk. Providence has been instrumental in the development of Debrusk, Heinen, and Pastrnak. Bjork will find his way back to Boston in no time.

Tonight’s game against Atlantic Division foe, Florida Panthers has been cancelled due to the horrid storm. The Boys will get a few extra days of rest, as their next game will see the Carolina Hurricanes come to TD Garden. Puck drop 7:00 pm on Saturday. Let’s go Bruins!!!

Bruins Beat 1/2

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The Boston Bruins ended their 2017 Calendar year with an impressive 5-0 shutout win over the “dead from the neck up” Ottawa Senators.  It was the second time the Bruins had played them this week alone.  Saturday night they played the Sens in their barn, Canadian Tire Centre. The outcome of the game was the exact same however, a fucking beat down.

The first period saw both teams come out with some jump.  The Senators were matching the Bruins scoring chances in the first.  8:13 into the first Ottawa Native, Ryan Spooner banged home a rebound to make it 1-0 Bruins.

Overall good puck movement on the power play.  They found Krejci for a hard slapshot threw traffic from the point.  Anderson couldn’t handle it, and Spooner was there to clean up the trash.  With David Krejci coming back, it looks as if the Bruins will get a much needed boost on the Power Play.

At 3:23 of the second period, Noel Acciari made it 2-0 Bruins.  The onslaught was on, when Ryan Spooner scored his second goal of the game. It came just two minutes after Acciari scores the Bruins second. Spooner won a puck race in the neutral zone, then beat Ben Harpur to the front of the cage.  It was 3-0 Bruins.

The Bruins added two more power play goals in the third from returning center, David Krejci, and Patrice Bergeron. Tuukka Rask notched another shutout, and was named the NHL’s Player of the Month for December.

The game was honestly over long before the two third period goals.  Acciari’s goal to make it 2-0 in the second took the wind out of the Senator’s sails.  They then decided to not give a fuck for the next 18-19 minutes of play.  When all is going well for Ottawa, they play what is called a 1-3-1 neutral zone trap.  It is the most garbage form of play.  Basically just slowly surround the puck in the neutral zone, until there is a giveaway.  Rather than forecheck in the offensive zone, guys hold back to play the fucking trap.

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Senators coach, Guy Boucher is famous for employing this tactic.  The defending team lines three guys across their own defensive blue line, and one forward plays the man with the puck in front of the three lined up defenders.  There is another defenseman that plays in his own zone behind the wall of three.  It clogs the whole neutral zone to a point in which teams can’t function against it.  Last season the 1-3-1 trap frustrated the shit out many teams, including the Bruins.  It is a good system when guys are willing, and committed to playing that way.  The 2018 Senators do not care.  Last year, the B’s could barely get the puck into the offensive zone, against the Senators, and tonight they won 5-0.  They have outscored the Senators 9-1 in their match-ups.  Time to blow it up and get rid of the Bond Villain (Guy Boucher).

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Tonight, tune it to catch the B’s in Brooklyn to take on the New York Islanders.  The Islanders come in at 20-15-4 record. That is good for 44 points.  Right now, it’s towards the bottom of playoff seeding.  It is a playoff spot none the less.

Tuukka Rask will be between the sticks for the Bruins tonight.  Nothing has changed lineup wise, and why should it?  The game in Ottawa really showed how important David Krejci is to this team.  When he came back all of a sudden they started potting a few more chances on the powerplay, they have more overall depth, and Krech just makes players around him better.  He slows the game down to his pace, allowing his linemates get into dangerous shooting positions.  He’s got hands as soft as a feather.  He can make any pass on the ice, and is good in the face-off circle.  It has certainly been nice to have Krech back.  Here’s to hoping he can stay healthy.

Veteran Net-Minder Jaroslav Halak will be manning the cage for the Isles.  Bruins fans might not want to, but definitely keep an eye on Islanders Rookie Center, Matthew Barzal.  In 2014-15 the Bruins had a chance to draft him on three consecutive picks., and did not pick him.  It kind of stings, because Barzal has 13 goals, 23 assists, and 36 points in his rookie campaign.  He tops all rookies in points, and is 1 goal behind Arizona Coyote’s forward Clayton Keller for tops in goals.

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As always, let’s go Bruins!

Bruins Beat 12/29

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The Bruins traveled down to our Nation’s Capital to take on the Washington Capitals, in the tail end of a two games in two nights stretch.  The Bruins came in a staggering 0-12 in their last 12 match-ups against the Caps.  What do you know, they lost again.  This one was right there for the taking, but they just cannot put this team away.  Miscues at inopportune times really derailed hopes for victory.

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The Bruins came out, and immediately staked their claim on the game.  Just 1:43 into the game Riley Nash served David Backes a sweet spin-o-rama dish, and Backes snapped the puck home.  1-0 Bruins.  Things were looking even better when Noel Acciari banged home a wrap-around attempt to make it 2-0.  The Bruins came out of the gate hounding the puck, just like they had against Ottawa the night prior. Both goals were a result of a amped up forecheck.

Everything was going according to plan.  The Bruins were on their way to exercising Capital demons.  The play became more balanced in the second period.  You aren’t going to silence a team that has Kuznetsov, Oshie (Most overrated player in the league), Ovechkin, Carlson, and many more for long.   With 8 minutes to play in the second period Lars Eller, a noted Bruins killer since his days with the Canadiens got the Capitals on the board to make it 2-1.

The worst aspect of this goal was the fact that Eller was offside entering the offensive zone, and for some unknown reason the Bruins decided to not challenge it.  It was an absolute head scratching decision, because had they challenged the goal would have been waived off.   Things got worse, as just over a minute later Alex Ovechkin tied the game at two. It was an unstoppable shot by a great goal scorer.  Nothing Dobby could do.

Luckily, the Bruins survived the second period, keeping the score at 2 a-piece.  The teams continued to trade chances in the third period, when Danton Heinen found David Backes in the slot.  Backes snapped home the shot to make it 3-2 Bruins close to mid-way through the third period.

The Bruins tried their best to hold on-to the lead, but just couldn’t.  A mere 4 minutes after Backes’ goal, the Bruins were hemmed into their own zone.  The puck was in front of Dobby, with multiple players crashing into him.  Through the casserole of nonsense ex Bruins stiff, Brett Connolly slipped home the tying goal 3-3 was the score.  It would remain the same for the remainder of the third period.

^ Tom Wilson was originally credited with the tally, but was later changed to Brett Connolly^

The Teams would go scoreless in overtime, but traded some decent chances.  Dobby, and Holtby stood tall.  The game would go on to a shootout.  Dobby stopped Oshie and Kuznetsov in the first two rounds.  Holtby stoned Marchand, and Pastrnak.  Finally, Alex Ovechkin potted home his attempt in round three.  Instead of putting out McAvoy, Bergeron, Spooner, DeBrusk, Bjork, Heinen, Grzelyck, or anyone else, Cassidy trotted out Riley Nash.  Nash missed the net per usual.  Two points for the Capitals, and a tough defeat for the Bruins.  They did pick up 1 point in the loss.

Tough night for Bruins.  It looked as if they would finally break this horrid streak against the Caps, but for some reason, they just can’t.  It was another quiet night for the Marchand, Bergeron, Pastrnak line.  Seems as if Pasta, and Marchy were trying to do a bit too much with the puck all night long.  They had chances on 5 power plays, but couldn’t get a goal to extend the early 2-0 lead.

Torey Krug’s days should be numbered.  He is a small offensive d-man.  The problem with Krug this year is the offense is not there.  His d-zone play has been a train-wreck, and twice he lost the puck on the power play leading to Caps breakaways.  He is the worst player night in night out.   With McQuaid healthy I think it might be time for Torey to take in a few games from the 9th floor.

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The Bruins travel to Ottawa to take on the limp-dick Ottawa Senators on Saturday night.  Puck drop 7:00 pm EST. Look for a return of Center David Krejci, and or Adam McQuaid.

Bruins Beat 12/28

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Riley freaking Nash!! Last night, the Bruins welcomed the reeling Ottawa Senators to TD Garden.  The Black and Gold would not disappoint. Coming off the 3 day holiday break, I was a bit nervous.  The team had gone into the break with some serious mojo, and any sort of time-off would possibly disrupt that.  This is not the case for the 2017-2018 Bruins.  Bruce Cassidy seemingly won’t allow complacency.

Last season, Ottawa had made it to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, and continued to make additions.  They added playoff tested d-man Johnny Oduya, and shockingly traded for Colorado Avalanche Center Matt Duchene.  It looked as if Ottawa was only going to get better.  What happened instead was major regression.  After looking like the best player in the world in 2017, Swedish D-man Erik Karlsson has had a bad year.  He is posting a -19 +/-, which is a huge dip from his +10 one season ago.  Matt Duchene has a measly 5 points in 20 games since joining the Sens.  Not number 1 center type numbers to say the least.

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To pour some salt on the wound, one of the pieces traded away from the Senators in order to acquire Duchene, Kyle Turris is having a monster year.  Turris was traded to the Nashville Predators as part of a three team deal.  Turris has 17 points in 20 games, and is a +8.  He was the heart and soul of the 2017 Sens.  Well respected by teammates, and coaches alike.  The trade has since caused Ottawa to do a tailspin. They are second to last in the Eastern Conference.  Posting an 11-16-8 record.  Good enough for 30 points.  The Bruins only made things worse for them on Wednesday Night.

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The Bruins came out firing early.  It’s nice what three days off can do for some players.  All four lines, and three d-pairs were flying from the second the puck dropped.  The Bruins back-end looked re-energized, as they stifled the Senators early attack.  The Senators came out, and looked as if they were equal to the task. Never fear, Kevan Miller is here.  About 6 minutes into the first period Miller ripped a laser over the glove of Senators goalie Craig Anderson.

Miller pounced on just an atrocious rebound Anderson gifted to him via a David Backes snap-shot.  Nearly three minutes later noted Candy-Ass, Ryan Spooner found rookie winger, Danton Heinen right in front of the net for an easy tap in goal.

Ryan Spooner made the whole play.  He drove to the outside forcing Anderson, and Senator defenders to commit to him.  That lead to the nice easy tap-in goal for Heinen.  With Danton’s 9th goal of the year he is now 6th in Rookie Scoring (9G, 15 A, 24pts).  The Nash, Backes, Heinen line is a three zone monster, especially during this current 5 game win streak.

The Bruins continued to hound the puck, as the Senators started playing desperate hockey.  With around 5 minutes left to play in the first period, Fredrik Claeson hit Noel Acciari in the neutral zone.  It was a high hit, but 4th line grinder Tim Schaller stepped up and beat the living shit out of that prick.  The Bruins were beating the Senators in every single facet of the game.

Early in the second the onslaught continued.  Riley Nash blocked Erik Karlsson’s shot from the top of the Blueline.  Nash did the incredible, he walked Karlsson end to end, and fired a snap shot goal past Anderson. The Bruins had taken a 3-0 lead early into the second period.

Soon after Nash’s goal the Sens finally got on the board.  Rookie D-man Thomas Chabot fired home a Slap-shot over the blocker of Tuukka Rask.  It was all set up by a slick feed from Mark Stone.  It was 3-1, and the Senators again start to up the pressure.  They seemed to be playing with a sense of desperation.  The Bruins weathered the storm.  Tuukka has been playing lights out, and tonight was no different.

Rask held the fort enough, and the B’s started to get their legs back.  With just over 5 minutes to go in the period, Anders Bjork pressured Dion Phanuef who turned the puck right over at the Bruins attacking blueline.  Bjork gave Nash a soft dish, and Riley walked to the crease slipping the puck between the post, and Anderson’s pad.

The Senators were done from that point on.  They completely quit for the remainder of the game.  Late in the third David Backes notched another tally.  Final score 5-1 Bruins.

The Bruins keep on rolling as the calendar moves to 2018.  All four lines are clicking.  A few games ago it was the Marchand, Bergeron, Pastrnak line that carried the young Bruins to victory.  Last night it was the Heinen, Backes, and Nash line that carried the team.  I can’t believe I am saying this, but Riley Nash has really solidifed a steady role on this club.  He is Bergeron lite.  He is a very good face-off guy, makes great plays defensively, and makes the smart correct play in the offensive zone.  People pick on him (myself included) because he doesn’t have the ability to finish on most nights. Even with that, he has a role on this team, and arguably the second best line the past month or so, has been that third unit centered by Nash.

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Tonight the Bruins will be in Washington to take on the Capitals.  The Bruins have a scorching 2-14 record against Brayden Holtby.  The Capitals are not much better than this Bruins squad.  I can’t think of a better time to break the Capital snide.  Dobby the goalie will be between the pipes.

Brayden Holtby will be in net for the Capitals.

Puck drop from Verizon Center at 7:30 pm EST.  Lets go Bruins!