Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September Closing, October Approaching

If there is one thing to gripe about the NHL preseason, it is how condensed and how compact the schedule turns out to be. 

For example, the Boston Bruins, who have seven "tune-up" games prior to opening night on October 8, completed four of them last week. Although they emerged with a 2-1-1 record through those first four games, they have to put that behind them and focus on the upcoming week.

The B's wrapped up the final three preseason games this week, starting with the first one on Tuesday night against the New York Islanders. 

Prior to the game, the Bruins got some reinforcements back in their projected roster. The team announced that they re-signed both Reilly Smith and Torey Krug to one-year deals, solidifying their depth and having them avoid both players holding out into the start of the regular season. *Exhale*

Unfortunately, they could not help them in this game. In fact, the main issue here was the goaltending. Niklas Svedberg and Jeremy Smith combined to allow four (shaky) goals on 26 shots. They could not hold the early lead the Bruins had built, and the surge from New York came from there. The Isles scored two late goals in the final minutes to secure the 5-3 victory. 

Boston will go back-to-back on Friday and Saturday to conclude the preseason campaign. They will take on the Isles again, followed by the finale against the Detroit Red Wings. 

Preseason Game Five Box Score

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Round-Up of First Week

Although the Boston Bruins fell to the Montreal Canadiens in their preseason opener, we witnessed (for that matter, listened to) one heck of a hockey game. One would assume that is how this season series will go: a bounce of the puck and late scoring chances.

Regardless, the B's wasted little time getting back to the grind. They were in action both on Wednesday and Friday against the Washington Capitals.

The lineups looked vastly different from game one; we saw players like Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, Dougie Hamilton, Brad Marchand, and Tuukka Rask make their debuts this week. With the turnover expected to come in the form of cuts, try not to make your head spin with all of the jersey numbers in flux. 

As for the games, you can tell that these two teams were playing preseason hockey. The pace was sluggish at times with no real emphasis to win hard battles.

Wednesday night went to the Bruins, as they scored two late goals to seal their first victory of the preseason. The captain (Big Z) netted the game winner on the power play, which is also encouraging to see this early. When it comes to Friday's game, this was the one to tune in for. The Caps won in overtime, but it was a see-saw affair with nine total goals scored. Seth Griffith netted a pair of goals for the Bruins, plus the fans were witnesses to two fights in the game. The youngsters are leaving it all on the ice for a chance to make their respective opening-night rosters. 

On Saturday night, the Black and Gold took on the Detroit Red Wings to close out this very busy opening week of preseason action. Milan Lucic made his preseason debut after his offseason wrist surgery. However, he spent a bulk of time in the penalty box due to three minor infractions. He may want to clean that up.

Other than that, the Bruins played a full 60 minutes against the Wings, but we should have expected nothing less from an "Original Six" matchup. Rask and Jeremy Smith had solid games in net while Ville Leino recorded his first goal as a Bruin that led to a 3-1 victory for Boston. 

Preseason Game Four Box Score

The Bruins will take their 2-1-1 preseason record back home to the TD Garden on Tuesday night when they skate against the New York Islanders. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Guess Who's Back? Well, Almost...

It is hard to believe that it is already this time of year yet again. Hockey is back, and so are the Boston Bruins.

So far, we have experienced a very uneventful offseason for the Black and Gold. To be honest, they really could not do much with the lack of cap space. Shawn Thornton signed with Florida, Jarome Iginla signed with Colorado, and Torey Krug and Reilly Smith continue to hold out as restricted free agents. 

Where is the optimism? 

Simon Gagne and Ville Leino received training camp invites from those in the front office, while David Krejci cashed in on his new contract extension. Add in the return of both Dennis Seidenberg and Adam McQuaid, along with a plethora of emerging young studs within the B's organization, and there you have it: the 2014-15 Boston Bruins. 

Keep in mind, several cuts must be made and weeks of practice still need to unfold, but this is what we have presently. Have the palms of your hands become excoriated with anticipation? 

The B's kicked off their seven-game preseason campaign against the same squad who bounced them in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs last year--their divisional rival--the Montreal Canadiens. 

Below are the forward lines and defensive pairings for this game....

Matt Fraser-David Krejci-Loui Eriksson
Ethan Werek-Carl Soderberg-Brian Ferlin
Daniel Paille-Ryan Spooner-Simon Gagne
Jordan Caron-Chris Kelly-Tyler Randell

Dennis Seidenberg-Johnny Boychuk
David Warsofsky-Kevan Miller
Chris Castro-Joe Morrow

Niklas Svedberg-Malcolm Subban

Ugh. Let's hope some of these players, particularly at the forward position, are not with the team come opening night. 

As far as the game, the "baby bears" shined. Spooner looked like he had something to prove, recording a goal and several other scoring chances. However, the Bruins fell to the Canadiens by a score of 3-2 in the preseason opener. 

There is only so much to discuss when you have no live action to go by. The Bruins will now play two games against the Washington Capitals in the upcoming days. 

Preseason Game One Box Score