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.

 

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!

The Islanders are Headed Home

 

Some major news coming out of the NHL yesterday. News broke that the New York Islanders will be returning to Nassau County, Long Island. It has been two years since they moved to the Barclays Center in disgusting Brooklyn.

It has been two disastrous years since moving from their longtime home, Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum out on Long Island.

Nassau Coliseum was completely run-down, and the county would not build the team a new stadium. In 2013, it was announced that the team would move to Brooklyn at the start of the 2016-17 season. It was a nightmare. The arena is built specifically for basketball, so hockey sight-lines are miserable.

The above pictures say it all. Brooklyn may help you reach a wider audience marketing wise, but they lost a major portion of their fan base. Watching the Isles play is strange at the Barclays. There is no atmosphere. It is a very cookie cutter environment, which is a shame. The Islanders’ old stadium was a fucking dump, but it had everything Barclay’s doesn’t. It has atmosphere and charm. Two elements that make a great arena.

The Isles are one of the proudest franchises in the NHL like it or not. Back in the 1980’s, they went on a run that won’t be repeated. They won four Stanley Cups in a row from 1980-84. They were known for having rabid fans looking to get out of the shadow of the New York Rangers.

A huge chunk of their history was ripped away the second the Islanders moved to Brooklyn. This move back will hopefully bring back one of the leagues most intense fan bases.

Now, this new barn will not have the same charm the Colisuem had (it was a complete fucking dump) but it’s a start. Congrats Isles fans!!!