Shawn Thornton Not Welcome Back In Boston

 

Shawn Thornton Ex Bruin

In what I can only describe as a surprise move, the Boston Bruins will NOT be resigning Shawn Thornton.  I say surprise move because the Bruins are such a well rounded team where the sum of the parts are what matters and Shawn Thornton is one of the best fourth line players currently in the NHL.

It will be interesting to see where he ends up signing. A team like the Toronto Maple Leafs may want to kick the tires on this one.  Thornton would add the energy and grit that the Leafs are missing.  At a 1.1 million dollar price tag, any team would benefit with having Thornton on their fourth line.

Let’s see how things play out when the free agency begins July 1st.

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Where Do The Boston Bruins Go From Here?

 

Boston Bruins Hockey Logo

Well it’s been a while since the Bruins lost their bid to advance to the conference finals to the Montreal Canadians, and now the shock is gone and the dust has settled.  So, where do the Boston Bruins go from here?

It’s hard to say.  After a stellar regular season that say the Bruins at the top of the Eastern conference a lot of people in the know had Boston pegged to go to the NHL finals for a chance to win the Stanley Cup.

But how much blame can be put on this hockey team juggernaut?  In the playoffs a hot goalie can make or break a series and Montreal’s Carey Price was on top of his game.

I would hate if the Bruins just hacked up their roster, made a ton of front office changes and just gutted the team.  I don’t think it’s needed, but some retooling definitely needs to happen.  Here is my take.  First off the untouchables, the core, the soul and the heart of the Boston Bruins that should stick around next year and give the Bruins another shot.

GM Peter Chiarelli -When a team fails, the GM can quickly find himself in the hot seat, but Chiarelli needs to stay in Bean Town.  Since joining the Bruins, he has brought in some great players, put together some of the best 4 line teams hockey has seen in a while.  Made some great trades and has even made some tough trades in the case of Kessel and Seguin, two young players you would hate to trade away, but did not fit the team.

Coach Claude Julien – Julien and Chiarelli work in tandem and both have a great idea of the big picture when it comes to the Boston Bruins.  His coaching style of being responsible in both ends of the ice and capitalizing on the mistakes of opponents is what the Bruins are all about.  Julien has had a lot of success in Boston during the regular season and has already brought Boston to the big dance twice in his 7 years behind the Boston Bench.

Zdeno Chara – Chara is the cornerstone of the Bruins defense.  He is getting older, but still has a few years left of Norris level hockey.  Getting rid of Chara would be a huge no no!

Dougie Hamilton – Young defenseman Hamilton still has some learning to do, but has already proven himself as a top defenseman capable of great things.  He has flashes of offensive brilliance that are reminiscent of the Bruins great Bobby Orr and it would be insane to get rid of this young talent.

Torey Krug – Krug, another young defenseman probably won’t turn into the next Zedno Chara, but he is going to be a great second line defenseman with lots of up potential.

Patrice Bergeron – Bergeron is the heart of the team amongst forwards.  One of the great two way hockey players and a tour de force at the faceoff circle, there is no Boston Bruins without him.

David Krejci – Krejci is one of the most underrated players on the Bruins squad.  His ability to slow or speed up the game and create open ice is bar none.  He has a ton of hockey vision and can create plays out of nowhere and is the most creative player on the team.

Milian Lucic – Lucic needs to stick around for a variety of reasons.  One he is a brute that can tire out and intimidate any opponent and he can also score which is a huge bonus.

Tuuka Rask – Rask is proving himself to be a premiere goalie with each and every season.  Still a young goaltender, he is only getting after every season.  After Tim Thomas left Boston, Rask took the goaltending reins and proved himself.

Other then these untouchables, the rest of the team is under the gun.  Lately Boston has been a working class team where the sum of the parts are what matters.  They play as a well oiled machine so it’s just a matter of swapping a few pieces to kick it up a notch.  Hopefully the Bruins pick up a good UFA or two during the off season and get a good trade in to bring the team to the next level.

Goooooooooooooo Bruins.  See you in October!

Round 2 of The Playoffs – Tonight

Tonight marks round 2 of the NHL playoffs.  With round 1 still fresh in a lot of peoples minds, especially since round 1 just ended for a few teams last night that forced a game 7, round 2 is shaping up to be quite the hockey melee.

We are now left with 8 teams. The Boston Bruins vs. Montreal Canadians will be the series to watch.  These original 6, divisional rivals have met each other in the playoffs an astounding 34 times.  Montreal has the historic edge of winning 24 of those series, but history plays no role here.  Things are tilting in Boston’s favor since they are now a dynasty in the making team.  Regardless, it will be a hard hitting series filled with a ton of animosity between fans and players alike.  This will be the series to watch.

In the west the LA Kings and Mighty Ducks will also be a great series to watch.  I couldn’t even begin to pick a clear winner in this series and it’s probably the closest match for skilled players.  I think Anaheim might edge out the Kings, but this is definitely going to game 7.

We’ll have to wait and see how these playoff matches work out, but I am excited for some great hockey as I’m sure all of you are as well.

Stay tuned for an exciting round 2.  Can’t wait to see who ends up playing for their conferences.  If I had to guess, it’s gonna be Boston vs. New York in the east and Anaheim vs. Chicago in the west.

NHL Playoffs and The Dreaded Instigator Penalty

We are about a week into the NHL’s playoffs and I’ve tried to catch as many games as I can.  There have been some good series so far.  Montreal Canadians vs. The Tampa Bay Lightening has been a wild ride.  Not as wild as Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Pittsburgh Pennguins and The Boston Bruins vs. Detroit Red Wings is showing a lot of promise.

With all this great hockey, you’d think there would be no complaints, but I have one major complaint and thats the damn instigator penalty.

I don’t know what Gary Bettman, The NHL and everyone else involved was thinking when they brought forth the instigator rule, but it needs to go and it needs to go right now.  Just watching the playoffs you see how valuable this would be.

The on ice shenanigans thats been going on in these playoffs is getting out of hand.  Players are laying cheap shots left, right and center.  Plenty of hits from behind and skilled players like Sidney Crosby just can’t do what they do best because of pests like Dubinsky.  Just look at a guy like Matt Cooke who is looking at a suspension for his hit last night.  This is just getting out of hand.

Time was, there was a certain respect amongst players in the NHL.  Even if you had a player without any respect for the game he had respect for his own well being.  You messed with a guy like Gretzky and you’d have your nose broken by an enforcer.  This is hockey and it should still be today.

Instead we are left with players running wild and taking all kinds of cheap shots.  And why wouldn’t they?  A mere 3-5 game suspension means nothing in the grand scheme of things and even less considering that the recipients of these cheap shots are looking at their playing careers ended or injuries that last weeks.  In the playoffs it’s even worse since someone will take a run at one of your players and the team is left defenseless.  There is no retaliation.  No retribution since teams are afraid of getting that extra two minute penalty for putting a clown like Matt Cooke in his place.  In the world of playoff hockey, a lot can change in those two minutes and a penalty can mean the difference between moving on to the next round or playing a round of golf in the off season.

Looking at a guy like Crosby, he is getting knocked around this playoff round.  Now Crosby is actually a pretty tough guy and plays his game without complaints even though he’s being rubbed into the boards and slashed every chance the opposition gets.  Now if we got rid of the instigation penalty, the Penguins could actually have a guy patrol the ice and be a warning.  If you mess with Crosby, I’ll break your nose.  You would then notice players lean off him a bit out of fear and let the man play his game the way he knows how.

And if Gary Bettman is really that concerned about fighting and the instigator rule and demands on keeping it, then the only real viable option would be to bring in more officiating.  Give the ref’s more power to give out double minors for gutless hits or force them to make more calls.

Because right now there is no downside to playing gutless hockey.  A two minute minor means nothing in the grand scheme of things if you can use it to either knock a team off their game, box in a star player or end someone’s career of playoff run.

You want to protect hockey players?  Then give them the power to actually fight back and get rid of this ridicules rule!

Tuukka Rask Leading Bruins In Net

Boston Bruins Goaltender Tuukka Rask

Tim Thomas who?

When Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas won the Stanley Cup and then fled the NHL into a self imposed exile, Boston fans were left wondering the future of their goaltending.

Luckily backup Tuukka Rask always shined when he took duties from Thomas, but would he be able to take his game to the next level?  Was he ready to be a premiere, starting goaltender.

Well it’s been 2 years since Thomas left and at the halfway point of this season, the Boston Bruins and Tuukka Rask are in contention of receiving the William M. Jennings award.  The hockey award for an NHL team that has the fewest goals against.

As it stands right now at the halfway mark of the season, Boston is tied with Los Angles for the fewest goals against at 89 goals allowed.  However, Los Angles has played 1 more game, but anything can happen over the next 42 games.  The race will be tight, but Boston could prove they are a force to reckon with in net.

Let’s see how the rest of the season plays out.