Thursday, September 29, 2011

Preseason Game Five: There They Are!

At last we get to see a Bruins preseason game live on television. Even though some of the other games were streamed over the Internet, there is no better feeling than watching the game from your couch on your TV. The only other feeling that surpasses that would be seeing a game live from the arena.

Anyway, the Bruins took on the Ottawa Senators tonight at the TD Garden, a game that was called by Tom Caron of NESN. I hope that was only for the preseason because Bruins fans will riot if Jack Edwards does not call the games this season. Tonight, Boston fell to Ottawa 2-1 after a late third period goal scored by David Rundblad (OTT) on the power play.

That goal culminated as a symbolic outcome to this game because this was a frustrating one for Boston to lose. They outshot Ottawa 40-20 and controlled most of the neutral zone. However, a late double minor high sticking call against Rich Peverley led to the game winning goal by the Senators.

Milan Lucic scored for the Bruins on the power play assisted by Nathan Horton and David Krejci. Daniel Alfredsson (OTT) also had a goal for the Senators. Tim Thomas did not face that many shots tonight, stopping 18 pucks on 20 attempts.

The story of the night was when Bruins defenseman Steve Kampfer left the game in the third period after colliding with Senators defenseman Jared Cowen into the boards. He eventually had to be helped off the ice with what looked like a knee injury. This will likely open the door for Matt Bartkowski to take the 7th defender spot on the roster. Kampfer would have won the job in all likelihood if it was not for this injury. It is a shame to see somebody win a job like this, but that is the nature of the sport. It is not yet confirmed on how serious the injury will be.

The Boston Bruins will finish up the preseason this Saturday night against the New York Islanders at 7:00pm.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Chiarelli Willing To Carry Maximum Numer Of Players

Boston Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli said that he will not be opposed to carrying on the maximum number of players (23) when camp ends next week. As of this morning's practice, the Bruins had 27 players left in camp. The lines that the media witnessed this morning on the ice were as follows:

Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Rich Peverley
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Chris Clark
Benoit Pouliot-Chris Kelly-Jordan Caron
Shawn Thornton-Tyler Seguin-Max Sauve/Lane MacDermid

That is interesting that Thornton was not skating with Campbell and Paille. Together, they were the most productive fourth line in the NHL last season as far as points and physicality. Hopefully, this is just an experiment. Also, Pouliot and Caron continue to battle for that final forward spot. Look for Clark and MacDermid to be cut by next week.

As far as defensemen, Zdeno Chara, Dennis Seidenberg, Johnny Boychuk, Andrew Ference, Adam McQuaid, and Joe Corvo will be the top six defenders. Steve Kampfer and Matt Bartkowski are the top two contenders for the seventh defender spot. Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask should and will be the two goaltenders.

Final rosters must be set by Wednesday, October 5th at 3:00pm.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Bruins Continue To Make Cuts

The news broke today that the Boston Bruins made seven cuts as they continue to dwindle down their roster for opening night. Among the individuals who were released and sent down to Providence were Zach Hamill and Trent Whitfield. Some of the players that still remain on the bubble are Anton Khudobin, Matt Bartkowski, Max Sauve, Jordan Caron, and Lane MacDermid, all of whom spent most of last season in the minors.

Hamill has been given a raw deal ever since he got drafted by Boston in 2007. He did lead the Western Hockey League in scoring during the 2006-2007 season with 32 goals to go along with his 61 assists. However, with the exception of three regular season games last year, the former eighth overall pick spent his entire career in the minor leagues.

The Bruins have been stocking up on the center position over the last several years. The latest evidence of that was two years ago when they drafted Tyler Seguin. Hamill had to deal with stiff competition throughout the organization. If he got drafted to another team, he probably would have had a moderately successful NHL career thus far. Now he has been groomed as a trade prospect. Really sad.

The other five players that were cut today were Jamie Arniel, Colby Cohen, David Warsofsky, Zach McKelvie, and Mike Hutchinson. They do not have to clear waivers to play in Providence, although Hamill and Whitfeild do have to clear waivers.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Preseason Game Four: Early Look At The Rivalry Part 2

The Boston Bruins have swept the short preseason series with the Montreal Canadiens by defeating their rival tonight in their fourth preseason game. The final score was Boston 2, Montreal 1. Tuukka Rask got the start in goal for the Bruins and he played solid, stopping 31 shots on 32 attempts.

Montreal actually had the lead through two periods. Mike Cammalleri (MTL) scored at 15:33 of the second period on an assist from Phil DeSimone. In the third period, Tyler Seguin evened the game at one goal each on the man advantage. Jordan Caron and Matt Bartkowski had the assists. Chris Clark put the Bruins on top later in the period by putting the puck passed Canadiens goaltender Carey Price. Max Sauve and Steve Kampfer had the assists.

This was a relatively quite game with only four total penalties called throughout 60 minutes of play (three of them were minor penalties on Montreal). Boston did look sloppy at times tonight since they turned the puck over on 11 different occasions. However, it was their power play that gave them the needed momentum to pull out the win.

The Bruins are 3-0-1 with two preseason games remaining. Their next preseason game will be this Thursday at the TD Garden against the Ottawa Senators and this game will be shown live on NESN at 7:00pm.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Preseason Game Three: Early Look At The Rivalry Part 1

The Boston Bruins took the ice tonight for their third game of the preseason. They took on the Montreal Canadiens up at the Metro Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Boston went on to win the game by a score of 7-3. Brad Marchand and Joe Corvo each had a power play goal. This was Corvo's first preseason game as a Bruin. He missed some time after suffering a minor groin injury during the "Black vs. White" scrimmage game.

Bruins forward Nathan Horton made his return to the ice tonight for the first time since the Stanley Cup Finals. He was stretchered off the ice after a late hit by Vancouver Canucks defenseman Aaron Rome in game three. During the summer, Horton had his symptoms treated and was cleared to play. The question was whether or not he would see any ice time during the preseason? That was answered tonight as he picked up two assists in the game and showed no noticeable effects from his concussion.

Zdeno Chara and Daniel Paille each scored a short-handed goal in tonight's game. The Bruins had more penalties than the Canadiens (7 to 6), yet they were still able to net two short-handers. That says something about the Bruins penalty kill, which we all know was solid throughout last year's playoffs. Gregory Campbell, Tyler Seguin, and Jordan Caron each added a goal. Seven goals scored by seven different players. Bruins goaltender Anton Khudobin played solid tonight, stopping 27 shots on 30 attempts.

Boston and Montreal will meet again tomorrow night in Montreal.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Preseason Game Two: A Win At Home

The Bruins faced the New York Islanders tonight in their first home preseason game. Several players returned to the ice tonight including Zdeno Chara, Tim Thomas, David Krejci, and Brad Marchand. One player who was not present on the ice was Nathan Horton. He tells the media that he is ready to go, but the Bruins are just trying to be extra cautious and ease him back into the lineup.

The Bruins ended up winning this game by a score of 6-3. Rich Peverley and Patrice Bergeron each had one goal and two assists. Brad Marchand and David Krejci also added to the scoring. Boston fell behind early trailing the Islanders 2-0. After tying the game at two, New York took the lead again. The Bruins went on to score four consecutive goals and that was where the game was won. Tim Thomas only made 13 saves on 16 shots.

The story of this game was what took place immediately after the final whistle. Boston cut 14 players by sending them down to Providence or back to their junior hockey teams. Some of the cuts included Dougie Hamilton (Boston's first round pick in this year's draft), Alexander Khoklachev, Ryan Spooner, and Jared Knight.

It was Knight that actually started on the first line tonight with David Krejci and Milan Lucic. Benoit Pouliot replaced Knight as the game went on. Pouliot played a solid game even though nothing he did will show up on the stat sheet. He is one of those hard-working grinders that head coach Claude Julien absolutely loves. He is now on the right side of the rivalry. After all of the cuts, the Bruins now have 34 players remaining in camp, with 19 forwards, 11 defensemen, and 4 goaltenders.

Boston's next two preseason games will be against the Montreal Canadiens up in Canada. The first one will take place this Sunday night.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Rumor: Bruins Look to Spread The Second "A" Around This Season

As reported earlier, captain Zdeno Chara did not play in last night's preseason opener against the Ottawa Senators. Instead, the Bruins dressed three alternate captains: Andrew Ference, Chris Kelly, and returning alternate captain Patrice Bergeron. That sighting gave us some insight on who might wear the second "A" this season. At the same time, it also did not help us fully establish who will wear the second "A." A classic situation where an issue answers one question but generates a few more. Weird.

There are several candidates that could be the other alternate captain. Head coach Claude Julien loves his grinders, or players who play with an old-school mentality. Gregory Campbell and Nathan Horton fit that description. Despite only being with the team for one season, they are both candidates.

He could also go with someone with a natural leadership ability like Chris Kelly or Shawn Thornton. Kelly's only downfall is that he has only been with the team since February. Julien could also go with a player who has been with the organization for a while, like Andrew Ference, David Krejci, or Milan Lucic. Why not just have all of those players wear the "A" Julien? You would be the Vancouver Canucks of the Eastern Conference.

Actually, he may end up doing just that. He will not have them wear it at the same time, but he might rotate it among those players throughout the season. He did this during the 2008-2009 season when he would pass off the "A" to worthy players every month. I like this idea very much. This will solidify the Bruins as a true team in a true team sport.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Preseason Game One - Tough Loss

The 2011 Stanley Cup champions were back in action tonight as they took on the Ottawa Senators. The roster for the Bruins tonight, as well as for the rest of the preseason, will feature brand new faces. The reason for this is because the coaching staff will look to evaluate these young players and determine if they are worthy enough for a roster spot.

It also gave the chance for some of the veteran guys to rest up ailing injuries. Zdeno Chara, David Krejci, and Joe Corvo all missed tonight's game due to minor injuries. No one should read too much into this because none of the three were expected to play regardless if they were healthy or not.

It took overtime, but the Senators dropped the Bruins by a score of 2-1. Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask played great tonight, saving 34 shots on 36 attempts. Lane MacDermid scored for the Bruins to give them an early lead. Brian Lee later evened the game at one goal each and that remained the score after sixty minutes. Just three minutes into overtime, Mike Zibanejad scored for the Senators giving them the victory. Their next preseason game will be Friday at the TD Garden against the New York Islanders.

*I usually enter a gold star and a black star for each game entry. I will omit those for the preseason. However, I will resume with the gold and black star evaluations once the regular season begins.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bruins Scrimmage: Black Team Defeats White Team

The annual "Black and White" game was played tonight at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island and it featured all of the Boston Bruins remaining in camp. Team Black defeated Team White by a score of 4-1. Bruins second-round pick Alexander Khokhlachev scored two goals, beating two different goaltenders (Tuukka Rask in the first period and Michael Hutchinson in the third period).

A couple of minor injuries to touch upon in regards to tomorrow's first preseason game: Defenseman Joe Corvo suffered a lower body injury in tonight's game. It does not look to be major, although he did leave the game. Also, captain Zdeno Chara will not play tomorrow since he suffered a contusion in his knee after getting hit by a puck in Monday's practice.

For those of you who are eager to see the Bruins of last year back in action, you might have to wait a little bit longer. The preseason will feature line-ups consisting of rookies, draft picks, and newly signed free agents in order for the coaching staff to make final evaluations. David Krejci, Milan Lucic, Nathan Horton, Gregory Campbell, Brad Marchand, Johnny Boychuk, and Tim Thomas are not expected to play tomorrow.

Here is what the projected roster will look like for the first preseason game against the Ottawa Senators:

Benoit Pouliot-Patrice Bergeron-Jamie Tardif
Jordan Caron-Chris Kelly-Chris Clark
Max Sauve-Tyler Seguin-Jared Knight
Lane MacDermid-Ryan Spooner-Jamie Arniel/Shawn Thornton

Andrew Ference-Colby Cohen
Matt Bartkowski-Adam McQuaid
David Warsofsky-Dougie Hamilton/Steve Kampfer

Tuukka Rask
Anton Khudobin

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Bruins and Marchand Reach Deal

Rumors are part of the sports industry. It keeps everyone on their toes. Sometimes a rumor could be substantial enough to hold a little bit of water. Sometimes rumors are just tossed into the media rotation to throw you off.

Well my last blog entry was one of those times. Hey, I am human and things like this happen. A day after trade rumors started to fly in Boston about Brad Marchand, he squashed that rumor like Daniel Sedin's face. Oh yes, I went there.

Marchand and the Bruins reach an agreement that is worth $5.75 million over a two-year period. The 23 year-old restricted free agent will make $2 million his first year and a little over $3 million the second year. He scored 21 goals and racked up 20 assists during the regular season and contributed 19 points during the Stanley Cup playoffs. With the new deal in place, he looks to follow up on his strong rookie season when camp opens up on Friday.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Rookies Roll, Questions Regarding Marchand

Even though the big boys do not convene until Friday, which is the opening day of veteran's training camp, the baby bear cubs (also known as the Bruins rookies) where in action earlier this week.

They began training camp last Friday and they had their first rookie game on Monday night against the New York Islanders. Prized prospect Ryan Spooner scored two goals and tallied two assists
in an 8-5 win. Spooner picked up right where he left off last year as the former second-round draft pick made the final cuts in last year's Bruins camp. This year he might actually challenge for a roster spot, with the worst case scenario being him getting a call-up when an injury exists among the top Bruins players.

Reports say that Brad Marchand is hoping to get a new deal done by the time camp opens, which is in three days time. If that does not get done there is speculation that Marchand might not be a Bruin by the time the regular season starts. We all know that Rich Peverley, Tyler Seguin, and Jordan Caron are likely candidates to fill his spot on the second line if that occurs. But are the Bruins willing to seek re-enforcements outside of the organization?

There is a rumor that the Bruins are willing to pull the trigger on a trade that will send Marchand to the Washington Capitals for left winger Alexander Semin. A solid player with speed and scoring ability, Semin scored 28 goals and tallied 26 assists last season. He spent time on the first and second lines for the Capitals. This player is a mirror image of Marchand, but Boston would lose the agitator quality he possesses. The trade rumor makes sense. Will fans go for it? Very doubtful.

On a side note, Marc Savard will indeed get his name engraved onto the Stanley Cup. After missing the majority of the season with concussion symptoms, the Bruins petitioned for the veteran center to get his name on hockey's greatest prize.

The rules say that a player must play 41 regular season games or one Stanley Cup Final game to be eligible to get on the Cup. Defenseman Steve Kampfer played 38 regular season games and he will not get onto the Cup. That is very disappointing to me. If he did not suffer that mild concussion in the middle of last season, his name would be right next to Savvy's name. Shame.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Former Bruin Killed In Plane Crash

Former Bruin Brad McCrimmon was killed in a fatal plane crash that took place earlier today. The plane was carrying members of the Lokomotiv team of the KHL when it crashed shortly after takeoff. The plane was heading over to western Russia for training camp.

McCrimmon was a first-year head coach of the team and he was obviously looking forward to testing his knowledge of the game and applying it as a coach. The 52-year-old was drafted 15th overall as a defenseman by the Bruins in 1979. He roomed with beloved defenseman Raymond Bourque. He tallied 54 points in three seasons with the Bruins organization.

He was last seen in the NHL as an assistant coach for the Detroit Red Wings. The entire hockey family all over the world lost a great player and a great individual today. Our thoughts and prayers should be heavily extended to McCrimmon's family and to the families of the rest of the victims on that plane.