It has not been the prettiest of starts for the Bruins in 2014-15 as they look to rebound from their early playoff exit last spring. With a fair share of injuries in the first two weeks, the B’s have struggled through their first nine games, but have shown signs of improvement after putting up a dismal four goals in their first four. Some of their most reliable offensive weapons have gotten off to slow starts and a lot of guys have had to learn to play with new linemates. Here is a deeper look at how Boston has fared statistically through the first two weeks of the season with some interesting nuggets on player, team and opponent stats.
Category Archives: Boston Bruins
Last night was another reminder of a trade prior to the beginning of the season, in which a beloved fan favorite Johnny Boychuk, was shipped to the New York Islanders in exchange for 3 draft picks. Though the trade needed to be done to free up sufficient cap space; it still left a bitter taste in the mouth of every single Bruins fan.
“Why didn’t they just trade Chris Kelly”? They said, “Matt Bartkowski sucks, why not him”?
It’s essentially the same pissing and moaning I have grown accustomed to from a continually spoiled Boston sports fan.
While I have a “take him or leave him” attitude with Bartkowski, I can’t say the same about Chris Kelly. Whether or not you like him, you can’t deny that he has far and away been the best player on the B’s so far this season.
Through all 8 of the B’s games so far this season; Kelly has 2 goals, 7 assists, and a +4. He is currently tied for the team lead with David Krejci. Yes, Krejci’s only played 6 games this season and put up the same numbers, but I expect that from a number one center. Kelly is a third line winger/center on this team, and typically plays a more defensive role. He leads all forwards on the team with an average of 2:18 minutes of shorthanded time per game, and has seen literally seen 40 seconds of powerplay time all season.
These are words/phrases you seldom heard about the Boston Bruins defense over the last 4 years.
However, this season is a different story.
The B’s “D” just seems out of sorts and at times downright lost.
The pre-season trade of Johnny Boychuk was a complete jarring jolt to the Black & Gold’s roster and their play showed it at the beginning of the season (1-3). Johnny Rocket was perceived by many to be a top four defenseman for the Black & Gold this year.
Johnny Boychuk is one of the most underrated defensemen in the NHL as a strong two-way player. He’s entering his sixth season with the Boston Bruins and will play a top-four role on one of the league’s best blue lines.
Peter Chiarelli’s unloading of salary, threw a 500 pound monkey wrench into the defensive pairings and put more pressure on the young d corps (Miller, Hamilton & Krug).
The Bruins GM felt that he could overcome the loss of Boychuk with the team’s blue line depth. Well through 9 games this season, his depth is becoming depleted with the loss of Kevan Miller to a dislocated shoulder and Zdeno Chara suffering a knee injury.
This leaves Dennis Seidenberg, who is still shaking off the rust coming back from a major knee injury. Adam McQuaid, who is a shell of his 2011 (+30) self, playing just 70 total games over the last two plus seasons. Dougie Hamilton, who has struggled mightily with Chara on the team’s top defensive pairing registering a collective – 4. Torey Krug, who is great offensively, but needs a defensive minded partner to cover up his mistakes. And Matt Bartkowski is the equivalent of a 43 car pile up.
Granted, there are over 73 games left in the season, but there is a pattern developing with the once solid defensive corps of the Boston Bruins….they are SLOPPY in their own end. They are coughing up the puck in front of their own net, leaving Rask & Svedberg out to dry.
And to add insult to injury, the defending Selke trophy winner, Patrice Bergeron appears to be human and is struggling as well. He is actually a minus player right now.
They are far from BIG & BAD right now and a big part of that mindset is now wearing the blue, white & orange of the New York Islanders.
If you are a Bruins fan, be concerned and scared. This is not the exception, this looks like the rule.
And you can thank Mr. Peter Chiarelli for doing a great job managing the salary cap as owner Jeremy Jacobs so eloquently put it.
I don’t know about you, but when I hear that Brad Marchand is coming into camp with a “chip on his shoulder”, and the best shape he has been in as a pro yet, I assume he is going to turn that into results on the ice.
Before we focus on his play through the first 8 games, let’s take a look at this “chip”.
The media in Boston, many of whom (including myself as a suggestion), alluded to the fact that he may be a trade candidate. He obviously began to take this stuff very personally, and used it to drive himself in the offseason.
I can’t say I blame him for reacting the way he did to the news. It has to be tough to play in a city you love; you have won in, and sacrificed in, only to find your name on the chopping block again and again. I always feel bad for the players that are traded from places.
We’ll talk about whether it was a fair trade or not, and the player will be picking his kids up from school and putting them in another school with strangers in a state or possibly country (often the case with older players). It is an unfortunate part of the business, but these are things you accept when you’re a pro.
Everyone knows that Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask rocks between the pipes, but did you know he rocks out behind the drums?
It has been well documented that #40 is a raging metal head, but he also like his share of jam band music.
This past Saturday night in Buffalo, Rask backed the band, The Mustn’ts on a Phish cover.
Tuukka knows how to bang the skins but I rather see his drumming talents at work during a Metallica or Megadeth metal skull crusher….
Pot Of Baked Beans Goes To Jam Base!
The departures of Jarome Iginla and Shawn Thornton in the offseason, and the injury to Gregory Campbell to start the year; left room open for a few young Bruins’ prospects to grab a hold of an NHL job.
Guys like Ryan Spooner, Matt Fraser, Bobby Robins (technically not a youngster), Alex Khokhlachev, Seth Griffith, Justin Florek, Craig Cunningham, and Matt Lindblad all had the chance to battle for a spot and run with it.
Let’s run through how each of them faired with the opportunity. I should warn you, it’s depressing.
Let’s start with Bobby Robins; Robins won a job out of training camp after he showed tremendous heart and determination. I have never really thought much of him as a player, but even I couldn’t deny that he had earned himself a spot.
Robins rewarded his own efforts with three scoreless games and 14 penalty minutes, including two spirited bouts, and a kneeing penalty against the Washington Capitals, which all but killed any chances of the team winning that game. If a star takes a penalty, it can be easier to swallow given their status and contributions to the team. If a role player like Robins takes a bad penalty, it hits twice as hard given their lack of contributions to the team. Robbins is currently on waivers for designation to Providence.
To be fair; it really isn’t all his fault. The game has passed players like him by. The goon age is at an end.