Category Archives: Hockey

The Differences Between Habs Yahoos & Canadiens Fans

habs yahoos

The picture above encapsulates what a Habs “Yahoo” is. In case, you don’t know the definition:

Habs yahoo – noun informal: a rude, noisy, disrespectful or violent supporter of the Montreal Canadiens hockey club that doesn’t think his/her sh*t stinks and possess a holier than thou mentality even though he/she’s team has won NOTHING since 1993. 

 

canadiens fans

 

Canadiens fan - noun: a respectful, down to earth, hockey loving supporter of the Montreal Canadiens hockey club that can poke fun at themselves and carry on adult conversations/debates with the opposition’s fans without be hateful or accusing them of being racist.

Yes folks, Canadiens fans do indeed exist. They are not myths or legends like the Loch Ness Monster or Big Foot. There are actually Montreal fans that can engage in friendly debates with Boston Bruins fans rather than mud slinging contests. They can take a joke and a ribbing without picking up their phones to call 9-1-1.

I know at least a half dozen Canadiens fans on Twitter that I would even consider friends. Know how your friends tease you? They say, “We make fun of you because we like you”. That is my relationship with these salt of the earth kind of people north of the border.  We NEVER take ourselves too seriously in this great and intense rivalry.

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Boston Bruins: Last Two Weeks By The Numbers 11/22

Despite a couple of consecutive startling losses, the Bruins have weathered the storm without Zdeno Chara quite nicely over the last month or so. They are now…since losing their captain, including…over the last two weeks. Also during that time, one winger notched an offensive milestone, Toronto scored the most goals it has scored against Boston at home in 14 years and one Bruins leader had his worst individual game in over three years. This is Boston Bruins: Last Two Weeks By The Numbers.

The Bruins celebrate a goal during a come-from-behind win in Columbus.

The Bruins celebrate a goal during a come-from-behind win in Columbus.

1: Somehow, Simon Gagne, Dougie Hamilton and Dennis Seidenberg were each plus-1 in the 6-1 loss to the Maple Leafs on Nov. 12 and no one was worse than minus-2.

1: Matt Fraser’s fight with Nathan Beaulieu of the Canadiens on Nov. 13 was his first penalty of the season in his 10th game.



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1: Matt Bartkowski recorded his first point of the season on Torey Krug’s Nov. 18 goal against the Blues though it was only his sixth game of 2014-15. Bartkowski, who still does not have a goal in 91 regular-season NHL games, notched his first point since April 3.

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B’s Beat: The Merlot Line Continues To Struggle

DL_0126_campbell_paille_Goal

The Boston Bruins’ Merlot Line has been a sparkplug for the team for the better part of the last four seasons. The B’s struggled to create the perfect fourth line for a few years with guys like Stephane Yelle, Steve Begin, and Glen Metropolit at center, before making a trade with the Panthers for Nathan Horton and Gregory Campbell in 2010.

Obviously Horton was the big piece in that deal, but Campbell was more than just a simple throw in. He immediately brought stability to the line that turned into the best fourth line in the game. It could actually be argued that the rest of the NHL followed suit with their fourth lines after watching the B’s roll all four lines en route to their first Stanley Cup in 39 years against Vancouver.

I am not being so overly dramatic as to say they changed the game, but teams definitely took notice.

Shawn Thornton provided the brawn and energy for that line, Campbell was an all-around defensive guy with the occasional offensive flair, and Daniel Paille was a speedster with the ability to keep opposing defensemen honest. They just had unreal chemistry that you can’t teach.

So what happened to them?

Well for starters, the NHL is starting to trend away from the enforcer type guys like Shawn Thornton. The Bruins cut ties with the 37 year old winger last season and he signed with the Florida Panthers in the offseason. His character and leadership will clearly be missed, but his play on the ice was definitely beginning to show signs of wear.

I understand that it may be difficult for Paille and Campbell to have to adjust to him moving on, but I don’t believe for a second that his departure is affecting them as much as it seems. They also have a new linemate in Simon Gagne who is coming off of a full season of no NHL action.

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B’s Beat: Seth Griffith Making The Most Of Opportunity With Bruins

seth griffith

One of the biggest problems for the Boston Bruins this year, aside from consistency, is their inability to replace the void Jarome Iginla left when he decided sign with Colorado. Guys like Iggy obviously don’t grow on trees, which is why it was nearly impossible to replace him in free agency



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Hell; even if there was a guy like him available in free agency, it isn’t like they could afford it given their terrible salary cap situation. Who am I kidding?

In the offseason; the B’s were essentially forced to plan on giving a shot to the underrated Loui Eriksson, who underwhelmed in his first season in Boston due to two significant concussions. It wasn’t ideal for the team to break up the Loui and Carl Soderberg connection, but they really didn’t have a choice.

That was until the team stumbled out of the gate, the Soderberg line was the only successful line, and they proved that their chemistry was too good to split up.

This development left the B’s back at square one with the Krejci line, right wing problem. They tried plugging Ryan Spooner as that team’s center to no avail, Matt Fraser had an opportunity to step in and earn himself a spot, but he underwhelmed.

It was at this point that the Bruins called up diminutive winger Seth Griffith from Providence.

Griffith was a fifth round for the Bruins in 2012. He played his OHL career with the London Knights from 2009 to 2013 and amassed 102 goals, 129 assists, and a +36 in 207 games. He was also a stellar playoff weapon for the Knights with 26 goals, 36 assists, and a +18 in 56 games. Griffith was also part of the team when they won back-to-back OHL Championships in 2012 and 2013.

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Lucky number 6 or will Luck end the Patriots hot streak? New England Patriots vs Indianapolis Colts

Many people associate the “Lucky number” phrase with the number 7 or the movies Lucky Number Slevin and Ocean’s Seven but did you know that the number 6 is auspicious in matters with love and relationships in Chinese culture? There was also a fragrance for men made by fashion designer Liz Claiborne called Lucky Number Six and the Patriots will be hoping for their sixth consecutive victory when they face off against Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts tonight.

patriots

Out with the old and in with the new is an expression that billions across the globe know very well but in the National Football League that saying doesn’t always ring true. Tom Brady has continued to defy the odds in his career and he has done that more than ever since the defeat to Kansas City back in week 4. He and the Patriots continued their fantastic streak last week when they blew out the Denver Broncos 43-21.

The Broncos are in the eyes of many the best team in the AFC if not in football but with the New England victory last week it caused many to rethink their opinions and once again the win gave Terrific Tom some more pulling power in the Brady-Manning debate as he extended his winning record over his long term record to 11-5. After trailing a close first quarter 7-3 the Patriots battled back to completely smash Denver in the second quarter scoring 24 consecutive points.

From then on out the Patriots were in cruise control with Brady, making his 200th career start with the win giving him his 155th win (the most of any QB ever), completing 33 of his 55 attempted passes with Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski hauling in 9 receptions each for a combined 194 yards. Those two were Brady’s main targets as the Patriots offense continues to up the gears week by week; Gronk was the standout player though as he decimated the Broncos defense and made one of the most spectacular catches of the season.

Now the Patriots walk in to Lucas Oil Stadium tonight to take on the epitome of “the new” type of NFL quarterback in the shape of Andrew Luck and his Indianapolis Colts with huge playoff implications. With seedings, home field advantage and a potential bye week at stake on the line it makes tonight’s game an intriguing contest as with New England at 7-2 and the Colts at 6-3 a win for either team would put them in prime position for one of the two byes on offer going in to the postseason.

With both teams coming off a bye week giving them an extra weeks preparation ahead of tonight’s crucial game you can expect it to be a fantastic affair. The Luck led Colts have been high flying this season. After starting the season 0-2 the Colts went on a five game winning streak of their own before losing a crazy game to Pittsburgh 51-34 on the road but bounced back at MetLife Stadium when they convincingly defeated the Giants 40-24.

Since Luck came in to the league the Colts are 17-4 at home including their amazing comeback against the Chiefs in the wildcard round of last seasons playoffs. Tom Brady and co are use to overcoming obstacles and Indianapolis are slight favourites ahead of tonight’s matchup in what many are anticipating to be a close one. In the two previous encounters between Brady and Luck the Patriots have blown out the Colts 43-22 in last years playoff game and 59-24 in Luck’s rookie season back in 2012.

Both of these teams have come a long way since last years playoff game and both are very improved in various departments which is what makes, in my opinion, tonight one of the games of the season especially with all that is at stake. If the Patriots get the victory tonight it’ll give them a huge boost in terms of going on to clinch the 1st seed as well as home field advantage for the postseason which is what they will want to keep away from Denver so that they can guarantee that the road to Super Bowl 49 goes through Gillette Stadium.

The Patriots and Broncos had an arms race this past offseason to improve their rosters in hope of ensuring a trip to Arizona next February but the Colts are the dark horses in the conference especially as Andrew Luck is the best young quarterback we have ever seen just because of the impact he has had on the NFL in his first 2 and a half years and the talent he has displayed. When the Colts last faced New England they had no running game with only Donald Brown, now a Charger, playing and lacked any offensive weapons due to injuries.

Since then Colts legend Reggie Wayne has returned to action, TY Hilton has broken out to improve his game and become an established wideout in the league who provides a down field threat along with tight end Dwayne Allen who provides a nice balance to Luck’s friend from Stanford Coby Fleener. Add that with Hakeem Nicks, who despite not having a good year so far is a good player, along with rookie receiver Donte Moncrief and a one to punch of Bradshaw and Richardson in the backfield and it is clear to see why this Colts offense is on pace to potentially break records in 2014.

With that being said they are facing a Patriots defense tonight which under the guidance of defensive mastermind Bill Belichick has the potential to stop any offense in the league and did stop what many feels to be the best last week when they made Peyton Manning’s Broncos look ordinary. Despite having Chandler Jones absent due to injury the brilliance of New England’s secondary has given the front seven opportunities to be creative in getting to the quarterback and stopping the run which has helped the likes of Jamie Collins, Hightower and Rob Ninkovich as we saw last week with the latter’s interception against Peyton.

With Revis and Browner playing man coverage on the outside they can stop near enough any receivers in the league. Revis’ skill set is amazing for a corner and with one of the best safeties in the league in the form of Devin McCourty just behind him it allows for not only Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia to be creative with defensive play-calling but it also benefits the strengths of the two corners as it allows them to be aggressive. This also allows Patrick Chung and, when he gets on the field, Kyle Arrington to be effective in the secondary and break up plays.

When I previewed the Patriots and Broncos game I said it would come down to who wins the battle between the Denver offense vs the Pats D. With the latter winning it ensured that New England held on to their healthy lead which gave their offense the opportunities they needed to score more points to finish their opponent off and I would say that the same applies tonight if not more with the Pats being on the road. The offense will have to deal with crowd noise etc and while we know Tom Brady is one of the best QB’s of all-time in road games you need your defense to come up big and make stops in order to take some of the pressure off of your offense as well as give it opportunities.

If this happens I expect the Patriots to have the tools to defeat the Colts. Indianapolis’ defense played lights out during their 5 game winning streak but were brought back down to earth against the Steelers after their star cornerback Vontae Davis was knocked out the game. Davis is one of the better players in the league at the corner position but depsite is talents this Colts defense usually struggles against tight ends and when you considering that the Patriots have the best tight end in the league in Rob Gronkowski, 8 touchdowns this season, you would say that the Patriots have a critical advantage which could make the difference needed in a game that is anticipated to be so close.

Offensively you can expect the Patriots to spread the ball round like they’ve done in the past 5 games to Brandon LaFell, Danny Amendola, Shane Vereen, Julian Edeleman and even Tim Wright who I think will be used a lot more tonight considering the Colt’s vulnerability to tight ends. In the big moments though it will be Gronk who is thrown to and if the Colts don’t come up with a game plan to try and limit him especially in the red zone then I think the Patriots will pick off any weaknesses this Indie D has and will punish them.

One thing’s for sure and that is that tonight’s matchup is a mouthwatering encounter with both QB’s at the top of their respective games. Tom Brady has rediscovered his hall of fame form following a run of 5 games which has seen him throw 18 touchdowns to just one interception with a completion percentage of over 70% meaning he is now 5th with 22 touchdowns on the year to just 3 interceptions (tied with Aaaron Rodgers for the lowest among starters). The Patriots winning run also means that Brady now has a passer rating of 103.5 which also ranks 5th. His opposite number Luck ranks 2nd in touchdowns with 26 TD’s and leads in terms of passing yardage with 3,085 yards. Despite the fact that Luck thrown more passes than other QB in the league it is a testament to his abilities that he has managed to keep his completion percentage at 63.6%

So with everything being weighed up now we just have to wait a few hours to see who wins when the best of the old guard takes on the best of the new guard in the third dual between Tom Brady’s Patriots and Andrew Luck’s Colts. A Patriots win means they will take control of the AFC following Denver’s defeat to St. Louis earlier on today which is exactly what they need as they have two tough tests against the Lions and Packers coming up. New England would be a game ahead of the Broncos and two games ahead of the Colts with the head to head over both so tonight’s game is huge but will their Luck run out when they go in to the Dome tonight?

Historically the Patriots are 9-2 in their last eleven post-bye games. Bill Belichick with an extra week of preparation is a recipe for disaster for any opposing team as he will have planned everything to the exact final details along with the fact that quarterback Tom Brady’s record when playing inside a dome is 10-2 record, 26 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions I will go with a New England victory.

Prediction: Patriots 35-27 Colts

Bold Prediction: With the Colts down by a point 28-27 Andrew Luck looks to seal off a memorable 4th quarter comeback victory but a tipped play by Jamie Collins give Brandon Browner a ‘lucky’ pick 6 to gain some personal redemption after TY Hilton embarrassed him when the Colts faced the Seahawks. The return goes all the way in to the Colts end zone to put the Pats up by 8 and seal the game for New England as the Colts have just 10 seconds remaining and no timeouts!

Boston Bruins: Last Two Weeks By The Numbers – 11/9/14

Since losing Zdeno Chara a little over two weeks ago, the Bruins have collectively stepped up and gone 5-1-0 without their captain in the lineup. Guys like Dougie Hamilton and Brad Marchand have really started to take off and despite all of the injuries on the blue line, Boston now sits just one point behind the Canadiens. Here is a closer look at some of the statistics, which includes a look at just how hot Marchand has been, a first for one former Bruin and the continuing domination of the Black and Gold against one rival netminder. This is Boston Bruins: Last Two Weeks By The Numbers.

Brad Marchand has been a big part of the Bruins' success in the last couple of weeks.

Brad Marchand has been a big part of the Bruins’ success in the last couple of weeks.

0: The Bruins did not have a power play against the Panthers on Tuesday. It was the first time since March 17 of last season that they did not have a power-play opportunity.

1: Shawn Thornton played in his first ever game as a visitor at TD Garden on Tuesday night. It was also the first time he had ever played against the Bruins.

1: Zach Trotman picked up his first career point with an assist on Seth Griffith’s goal in the first period of the Oct. 28 game against the Wild.

1:28: Matt Fraser scored two goals in 1:28 in the second period against the Senators last Saturday to give the Bruins a 3-1 lead.

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