It’s been a busy couple of weeks for the Bruins and despite only playing five games, there has been a lot going on both on the ice with some quality opponents and off the ice with the trade deadline approaching on Monday. The team returned to Boston after a long, and somewhat miserable, 5-game Western Conference road trip this past Tuesday, but continues to struggle to hang on to the final playoff spot in the East. Just to name a few, the Bruins endured their longest shootout ever and helped to nearly set an NHL shootout record, had two players debut in the same game, scored their most goals in a game this year, saw their coach reach a milestone and one of their leaders reach a couple of his own. We have a lot to get to, so this is Boston Bruins: Last Two Weeks By The Numbers.
While the Bruins have faltered pretty mightily in the last couple weeks, Tuukka Rask certainly has not been to blame.
0: Edmonton defenseman Martin Marincin scored the only goal in the 12-round shootout between in Bruins and the Oilers on Feb. 18. He has no goals and just one point in 21 games played this season.
1: St. Louis’ Petteri Lindbohm scored his first career goal against the Bruins in their win on Friday night. It also happened to be the first career goal allowed by Malcolm Subban and, according to Elias, Lindbohm became the first player in Blues’ history to score his first career goal on a goalie who gave up his first career NHL goal. The last time that happened in any NHL game was in 2007.
First a little disclaimer: the headline might be somewhat misleading. The Red Sox’ signing of Cuban uber-prospect Yoan Moncada does seem to stabilize the team’s infield picture, but for the future, meaning two or three years down the line. There is no current opening in the Red Sox infield, but there should be by the time Moncada is ready to show the world why the Red Sox just paid $31.5 million to a 19 year-old who has never played baseball in the United States. The tools, talent, and projectability are allegedly off the charts, so once he is ready the Red Sox might more or less have to find a spot for him, but it might not be as hard as it sounds.
Consider the Red Sox infield picture beyond the 2015 season; Mike Napoli is headed for free agency, and while he says he would like to stay beyond this season, there probably won’t be much motivation for the Red Sox to get something done beyond a one-year deal. So that leaves Dustin Pedroia and Pablo Sandoval locked up long-term, plus Xander Bogaerts sticking around at shortstop. However, given Sandoval’s less-than-inspiring physique (plus his career 0 DRS and 2.2 UZR at third), it might be best to move him to first base in the long term. If injuries or weight really become an issue, he could even DH on a near full-time basis, thereby leaving first base open for Hanley Ramirez. Regardless, the first base/DH duties should go between Sandoval and Ramirez, in whatever order the Red Sox see fit.
Isaiah Thomas can create shots for himself and his teammates.
The Boston Celtics were very quiet until the closing minutes of the NBA Trade Deadline on Thursday. The Celtics traded Marcus Thornton and a 2016 first-round pick to the Phoenix Suns for guard Isaiah Thomas.
Thomas is a 5-foot-9-inch guard who is currently in his fourth season. He was drafted with the 60th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft by the Sacramento Kings, where he spent his first three seasons. The 26-year-old provides instant scoring as he is averaging 15.2 points per game this season. He is shooting 39.1 percent on three-pointers and he is a great at the pick-and-roll. Thomas is in the first year of a four-year, $27 million contract he signed last summer.
When the Celtics played the Suns at the TD Garden on November 17th, Thomas told reporters that Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge called him during the summer. Ainge expressed interest in Thomas and he was the first person to call Thomas. The Celtics had a crowded backcourt at the time with Rajon Rondo, Marcus Smart, and Avery Bradley was in the process of resigning with the Celtics. Since the Celtics unloaded Rondo to the Dallas Mavericks in December, they had a need for a guard.
Thornton’s contract was expiring after this season. The first-round pick came from the Cleveland Cavaliers in the three-team deal between the Celtics, Cavaliers, and Brooklyn Nets last summer. The Celtics essentially turned the trade exception from the Nets into Tyler Zeller and Thomas.
In a separate deal, the Celtics shipped forward Tayshaun Prince to the Detroit Pistons for Jonas Jerekbo and Luigi Datome. Jerekbo’s contract expires this summer and its unclear of the Celtics’ plan with Jerekbo past this season. Prince was headed into a buyout so the Celtics acquired a couple of potential assets for him.
After the Bruins rolled out that pile of crap they called an effort versus Vancouver, a fan of the Black & Gold had enough. And I don’t blame him/her one bit for kind of celebrating Vancouver’s hat trick out of pure disgust. Mental mistakes by the barrels, giving ZERO f*cks and just going through the motions….this is now called Bruins hockey.
Nobody said it was going to be easy. The Bruins knew this and every day they find themselves fighting to hold on to the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. They have had a rough go of it over the last couple of weeks and things will only get more difficult on their current 5-game Western Conference road trip. During the last two weeks, the Bruins got a rare opportunity to face a different New York goaltender, the Habs accomplished a couple different things not done in quite some time by beating the B’s, Boston suffered its first home regulation loss against one Western Conference team in over a decade and they experienced a first-period outcome not seen since 2008. This is Boston Bruins: Last Two Weeks By The Numbers.
Zdeno Chara gathers his thoughts during the Bruins’ most recent setback to the Canadiens.
1: Gregory Campbell had a plus-1 rating against the Islanders on Jan. 28 and again against the Kings on Jan. 30. It was the first time this season he has had a positive rating in consecutive games. In fact, he had gone 18 consecutive games without having a negative rating before a minus-1 showing Friday in Vancouver with his previous coming on Dec. 27.
1: Vancouver is the only NHL city the Bruins have not won a game in since they claimed the Stanley Cup in 2011, according to Dan Cagen.
2: Brad Marchand’s two goals against L.A. on Jan. 31 gave him his first multi-point game since Dec. 23.
2: Chris Kelly’s goal against the Kings on Jan. 31 was his second game winner of the year, but first since Opening Night.