Posts Tagged ‘Boston Bruins’

2011 Stanley Cup Final Predications

June 1st, 2011

As we get ready for the start of game one of the Stanley Cup finals, I thought it’d be wise to drop in my predictions. I know I haven’t done any predictions for the 2011 playoffs like I have for previous years, mostly because it’s been a crapshoot this year, but I’m weighing in now. Here we go.

2011 Stanley Cup Finals logoWhile these two teams are closer than a lot of people are willing to admit, I think there are two key areas (that everyone else hasn’t already mentioned) that separate the Vancouver Canucks from the Boston Bruins.

Top Lines
There’s no doubt that the Bruins have some terrific offensive depth. It’s a large reason why they are in the Stanley Cup finals. However, their top line of Lucic – Krejci – Horton isn’t quite a top line. It’s more of a strong second line and it pales in comparison to the D. Sedin – H. Sedin – Burrows line of Vancouver. It’s not even a debate. When you break down the Bruins second line of Marchand – Bergeron – Recchi, it’s solid, but no better than the Canucks second line of Raymond – Kesler – Higgins. Boston are rocking a 2a and 2b type set up for lines. Sure, it’s good enough to get you through the East, but not the Western Conference champs in Vancouver.

» Read more: 2011 Stanley Cup Final Predications

NHL.com Is Pretty Damn Accurate

May 25th, 2011

It wasn’t pretty, but none of that matters. Kevin Bieksa’s overtime goal on Tuesday night put the Vancouver Canucks into the 2011 Stanley Cup finals. It’s an incredible achievement for the NHL’s top regular season team, although Bieksa was quick to point out the goal was a bit of a “duck.”

For anyone who missed it, the puck took a crazy bounce off a glass partition known as a stanchion. No player on the ice knew where the puck had bounced to, except Bieksa, who took the quickest shot possible to beat San Jose Sharks goalie Antti Niemi. Although the shot beat Niemi, the “duck” comment came from Bieksa in a post-game interview admitting he fanned on the slapshot.

What makes the unique goal even more incredible, however, is the accuracy of NHL.com’s game stats. In fact, I was so blown away how precise the stats were, I had to take a screenshot. Check it out:

(Click here for a hi-res image)

In all seriousness, congrats to the Vancouver Canucks. Boston or Tampa: you have your work cut out for you now.

Stay classy, Vancouver Canucks. Stanley Cup finalists.

The NHL Just Got Chara’d

March 13th, 2011

About a year ago, when I wrote about a hit in the OHL, I have to admit that I was close to writing a blog proclaiming that someday, an NHL hockey player will be killed on the ice. I’m not talking about a heart attack, or some one-off freak play involving a skate and a jugular vein (a.k.a. Clint Malarchuk and Neck Guards).

Zdeno Chara hitting Max Pacioretty into arena stanchion

Chara on Pacioretty: One hand off the stick, guiding Pacioretty's head into the stanchion.

I’m talking about a collision. Involving players. Perhaps an unmovable board. Or even a moveable iron hockey net. Or how about a stanchion, a term which until last week, wasn’t even in the vocabulary of most casual hockey fans?

» Read more: The NHL Just Got Chara’d

A fans guide to preseason hockey

September 21st, 2010

It’s no secret that you and I, and every other hockey fan is eager to get the regular season underway. In fact, I’m so excited for hockey that I was actually reading about the Minnesota Wild earlier!

Unfortunately, there’s a catch: hockey hasn’t started yet. We still have a few weeks before opening night. We’re in preseason mode right now and NHL preseason is crap. It’s slower hockey and harder to pronounce names. Basically, it’s NHL-lite. But, because I know a lot of hockey fans really enjoy the preseason, I thought it would be nice to explain some of things you might see over the next few weeks in a small, bullet point guide:

  • It’s well understood some referees blow calls when they work with the AHL and minor league players. They just don’t care when it’s not authentic NHL. That’s why the league has gone to great lengths to ensure Stephane Auger won’t be calling any of Alex Burrows games this year.
  • In Edmonton, fans are lining up for hours to meet new stars Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle. As an alternative way to get Hall and Eberle’s autographs, try asking Sheldon Souray to get them for you. It’s not like he’s busy playing hockey and it will be good for his ego too… this might be the closest he comes to the NHL this season.
  • There’s a slight potential the NHL’s preseason might become a testing ground for wacky new ideas, following the summer’s Research, Development and Orientation camp. Some “out there” ideas might include actually calling penalties.
  • It’s customary for veterans to leave steep dinner bills with newbies throughout preseason/regular season. You can probably imagine why Matt Carkner, then 28, looked awkward last season after having to take Nick Foligno, then 21, to dinner all year…
  • Over the next week or two, you’ll notice a lot of NHL players signing last minute contracts – some with new teams and some with their teams from last season. Whatever you do, please make sure your favourite player has a signed contract before switching allegiances, buying new jerseys or uprooting your family.
  • It’s taking awhile for Boston fans to learn who the new Bruins players are, how to pronounce their names and imaging what they will look like in yellow jerseys this year. The long list of players includes the likes of Tyler Seguin, Nathan Horton and some rarely seen guy named Milan Lucic.
  • Don’t be alarmed if you notice Rangers fans as the only fans around the NHL who aren’t excited about the upcoming year. Although the beginning of the season represents a fresh start for every NHL club, Rangers fans already know their team will be terrible since Glen Sather was in charge during the offseason.
  • You might notice players fighting each other during inter-squad scrimmages and practices, but it’s no reason for concern. Most of the time it’s two players playing “tough hockey” or in Mike Komisarek’s case, it’s a harmless attempt at hitting on the new team nurse.
  • Sometimes players get hurt or come down with strange injuries in the preseason. Some fans will try to encourage their favourite players to stay healthy with home-made signs that say things like “Get well soon Drury – Please stoping hanging out with DiPietro.”
  • In Toronto, Maple Leaf commentators are trying out several new sayings in TV and radio telecasts. The one that’s sticking the most is ” He Phaneufed it.” It’s basically a clever way of saying a player’s shot missed the net by only seven feet.
Stay classy, NHL preseason.

The awkward part of No Trade Clauses

July 6th, 2010

It seems whenever a new contract is signed a no trade clause is the first thing reported, often before the term of the deal. Players want NTC’s to be in control of their career and to see teams commit to them (I guess being offered Millions of dollars isn’t enough…). GM’s offer NTC’s because they have to. If they don’t some other GM will.

But do players ever stop to wonder how awkward it would be if asked to waive their NTC’s? Regardless of how well a team or GM approaches the subject, it still says a players’ services are no longer valued as much as they once were. Let’s take a closer look at some players who’ve recently been asked to waive their NTC:

Sheldon Souray
The prospect of Steve Tambellini telling Sheldon Souray he’s going to be traded makes me laugh. In a round about way, the Oilers came to the conclusion that Souray wasn’t good enough to play on the worst team in the NHL half way through the 09-10 season when most of their roster was sick, injured, wedding ring shopping, hiding, etc… I have it on good authority that after telling Souray this, Tambellini quickly offered up a “… but no offense. It’s nothing personal.”

Simon Gagne

News of Simon Gagne being asked to waive his no trade clause hit the internet last week. It might come as a shock to some fans but probably not to Gagne. His name has been kicked around the rumor mill for some time now. But here’s the best part: Apparently the Flyers don’t have any particular team asking about Gagne. Assuming that’s factual, can you imagine that conversation between Paul Holmgren and Gagne? Philadelphia are essentially saying “You are the one player we’ve identified as getting rid of regardless of the return. Trading your contract gives us room to qualify Daniel Carcillo’s new contract.” Ouch.

Marc Savard
Around the last month’s NHL draft, word was going around that Bruins center Marc Savard was available. Apparently Savard has said he would waive his NTC to go to either Ottawa or Toronto. What do you think that conversation between Savard and Peter Chiarelli was like? Purely speculative on my part but probably something like this… “Marc, we didn’t draft Taylor Hall like we really wanted to. We ended up with Tyler Seguin and because of that, we can’t get rid of you soon enough. *Starts speaking slowly* Now, do you remember signing that seven year extension a few months ago?? No? Perfect. Just sign here… and here… and repeat ‘I, Marc Savard waive my NTC’… perfect… OK, we’re good to go. And oh – by the way, training camp is in Toronto this year… yeah… thanks!”

OMG!! It must be so awkward! I bet hockey players won’t stop asking for no trade clauses though. Let the awkwardness continue!

Stay classy, NHL players requesting no trade clauses.

Boston’s Buckner – Take 2

May 16th, 2010

Have you ever seen a collapse like that? Ever? I’m still scraping myself off the floor. Another crazy week at work left me almost comatose by the time I turned on the television to try to catch the rest of the Bruins-Flyers Game 7 final on Friday night. Second intermission. Tie game. OK, looks like I’ll at least get to watch the third period.

Zzz.

Next thing I know, I wake up, and TSN is showing some baseball highlights. I flip around only to find out that:

(a) I’ve missed one of the best Game 7 finals in this year’s Playoff run (so far) and

(b) my neck is stiff and sore from sleeping in a funny position.

As I finally find a channel to watch the highlights with my head stuck at a 86 degree tilt, the enormity of what the Flyers have accomplished slowly sinks in. Note to Bruin fans: quit complaining about the too-many-men on the ice call — The Bruins are the collective equivalent of Bill Buckner on skates.

I think I heard someone say that this is the first time a seventh-seeded team has home ice advantage for the conference final. It’s almost like the hockey gods decided to have fun with this edition of the Playoffs and screw up everyone’s pool picks in the Eastern Conference.

So we have the seventh and eighth seeds in the East ready to battle either the first or second seed from the West. What is even more bizarre is of the various sites I have visited (OK, I know it is not very scientific), the East is picked as the winner in every case.

Montreal is looking very much like a team of destiny, and the same can be said of Philly. It’s not the first time I’ve been called a “bandwagon” fan, for jumping teams (I was cheering for Pittsburgh), but I’ll have to now root for the Canadiens. They’re a likeable bunch and you have to like the underdog, if being an eighth seed instead of a seventh seed entitles you to the underdog label. I think Chicago has a really good chance too.

But back to the implosion of the Bruins. It’s easy to question the penalty call, or whether it was Marc Savard or Milan Lucic who was at fault, but that would be missing the point. A team simply does not lose a series when they are up 3-0 on the basis of one play.

And just like Buckner, it was not one play, that cost Boston the series. It really does take an entire team to collapse the way they did.

Stay classy, Bill Buckner and the Boston Bruins.

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Saturday Chat Roulette Sessions (May 15 edition)

May 15th, 2010

Since last week’s Chat Roulette debut was an awesome success (kidding… more like nonsense…),  I’ve decided to keep my word and continue with this feature. But before getting to the new Chat images, a huge congratulations to the Philadelphia Flyers who staged a truly amazing come back against the Boston Bruins. For the Bruins, it’s going to be a painful summer… *PING* Sorry, but the Bruins hit so many posts/crossbar’s in game 7. It was ridiculous. I can just see this becoming the newest “History will be made” NHL commercial, “What if Philadelphia didn’t fly?”. I even predicted it last night around 8pm EST.

Anyways, we have Chat Roulette escapades of Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Zdeno Chara, Alex Ovechkin and the Boston Bruins this week. Enjoy.

Stayclassy.net's Chat Roulette feature with the Sedin twins.

Stayclassy.net's Chat Roulette feature with Zdeno Chara and the Bruins bear

Stayclassy.net's Chat Roulette feature with Alex Ovechkin and Lebron James

Stayclassy.net's Chat Roulette feature with the Boston Bruins

Stay classy, NHL Chat Rouletters.

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Saturday Chat Roulette Sessions

May 8th, 2010

Welcome to Stayclassy.net’s newest weekly feature, Saturday Chat Roulette Sessions. Each week, I’ll have a few new Chat screenshots from our favorite NHL-ers and people associated with this great game. Before going any further, the wonderfully witty BladesofFunny.com inspired this idea, so all the credit/blame should go to them.

This week, we have Chat Roulette escapades of the Edmonton Oilers and Jaromir Jagr, Tim Thomas and Matt Cooke.

Stayclassy.net - Chat Roulette escapades of the Edmonton Oilers and Jaromir Jagr.

Stayclassy.net - Chat Roulette escapades of Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins.

Stayclassy.net - Chat Roulette escapades of Matt Cooke and some elbow pads.

Stay classy, NHL Chat Rouletters.

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Burgundy’s 2nd round NHL playoff predictions

April 29th, 2010

Stayclassy.net's NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs

With no real break between rounds, tonight marks the beginning of the Stanley Cup Conference Semi-Finals! The 1st round was a blast and featured the elimination of the top 3 seeded teams in the Eastern Conference. The way the Washington Capitals were eliminated was surprising to many, while the defeats of the Buffalo Sabres and New Jersey Devils was predicted by a number of people. The Western Conference saw some interesting developments – the Phoenix Coyotes and Los Angeles Kings gave the Red Wings and Canucks a few scares but ultimately couldn’t hold on. And oh yeah, the San Jose Sharks are through to the next round, no thanks to Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau.

For those of you wondering, I went 5 for 8 in my 1st round predictions. Here are my 2nd round predictions:

Pittsburgh Penguins (4) vs Montreal Canadiens (8)
The Montreal Canadiens shocked the entire hockey world with their amazing series come-back against the Washington Capitals. I don’t care what the truest of Habs fans say: no one saw them coming back after going down 3-1. Having said that, and as well as Jaroslav Halak has played, there’s no way the Pittsburgh Penguins will fall victim to the Canadiens the way the Capitals did. The Penguins are proven winners and have Russian stars that actually know how to show up in the post-season. Sidney Crosby is on another level in this year’s Playoffs and I don’t think the Hal Gill-Josh Gorges tandem will be able to contain him, despite their tremendous play so far. Pittsburgh will figure out within minutes of the first game how to not shoot directly at the two or three Habs defencemen who are trying to block shots…
Verdict: Pittsburgh in 6 games.

Boston Bruins (6) vs Philadelphia Flyers (7)
I’m not sure how many of us figured we’d see the Boston Bruins playing the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2nd round of the Playoffs, but this should be an interesting series. I really liked how Tuukka Rask played in the 1st round and I felt like the Bruins got stronger as their series with Buffalo went on. Milan Lucic seemed to wake up towards the end of the series and key players like Michael Ryder, Miroslav Satan and Mark Recchi stepped up in the big moments of each game. The highly anticipated return of Marc Savard should provide the Bruins with a nice emotional boost and perhaps a bit of additional scoring. Looking at the Flyers, although they are rested, they will be without the services of three very valuable players: Simon Gagne, Jeff Carter and Ian Laperriere. I’m not convinced Brian Boucher is for real, nor do I believe he can outplay Rask. It’s a shame we can’t see each game of this series played at Fenway Park… or can we? No, nevermind. We can’t.
Verdict: Boston in 6 games.

San Jose Sharks (1) vs Detroit Red Wings (5)
The San Jose Sharks are now at the critical point of their season. Let’s be honest: the 1st round was a formality. While the Colorado Avalanche gave them a quick scare, it was a foregone conclusion the Sharks would/should easily win that round. For the most part, the Avalanche were badly outplayed. Evgeni Nabokov played very well too – something we can’t say has always been the case in the post-season for the Sharks. Devin Setoguchi and Joe Pavelski really elevated their play in the 1st round, and yet again, Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau continue to fight the Playoff pressure. Meanwhile, the Detroit Red Wings enjoyed a scare of their own from the Phoenix Coyotes. Detroit’s leaders got stronger as the series wore on and stepped it up when it mattered most. I really liked Jimmy Howard’s play and attitude (for the most part) against the Coyotes too. My gut feeling lies with the experience of the Wings and I’m still not sold San Jose are the real deal. Still.
Verdict: Detroit in 6 games.

Chicago Blackhawks (2) vs Vancouver Canucks (3)
This is easily the best series of the 2nd round. A rematch from last year’s Conference Semi-Finals, with a slight reversal. Last year, I’d say the Chicago Blackhawks were the stronger team. This year, I’d have to say the Vancouver Canucks are the stronger team. I believe the Canucks may have the most complete forward roster of any team in the Playoffs. All the lines are firing well and appear to be healthy. While the Blackhawks offense is more lethal and battle-tested than the young Los Angeles Kings, I still give the advantage to the Canucks. Both team’s have some injuries on defence, but I think this is a series that will see Roberto Luongo will steal a game or two for Vancouver. And of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how much I’m looking forward to Byfuglien & Luongo’s battle royale rematch. I can’t wait for this series to start!
Verdict: Vancouver in 7 games.

There you have it. These are my 2nd round predictions. What are your predictions?

Stay classy, NHL Conference Semi-Finals.

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Maple Leaf selling points when signing free agent prospects

April 22nd, 2010

There are a number of reports suggesting the Toronto Maple Leafs are close to signing goalie Jussi Rynnas. Rynnas, a Finnish goalie, is this year’s version of Jonas Gustavsson – a highly touted European goalie who’s elected to sign with the Leafs after seeing and talking with a bunch of other NHL clubs. This signing will mark the second consecutive time Brian Burke and the Leafs have ousted other NHL teams to sign a sought-after free agent goaltender.

I know what you are thinking. “How are the Leafs out-selling other teams that actually win and have less goaltending depth??” Here’s some of the selling points I’ve heard Brian Burke uses to sign these highly touted free agents.

  • Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment is owned in majority by the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan. As a result, it’s been agreed to have the Maple Leafs schedule closely follow that of an Ontario-based teacher. Every year work starts in September/October and concludes for the year in April.
  • The Toronto Maple Leafs are closely affiliated with the NHL. Many former Leaf employees have gone on to great careers in the league. Take Joe Nieuwendyk for example. Wait, nevermind. You are the second good goalie we’ve stolen away from him now. Sucks when you aren’t working with us, right Joe???
  • Under performing for most of your time in Toronto is OK. All of Toronto’s other pro sports teams suck too. However, if you happen to fall in deep slumps, please make sure you do more interviews than normal and stress how hard you are working. Everyone likes to root for the loser.
  • Signing with the Maple Leafs as a goaltender gives you so much opportunity without much competition. In fact, the Leafs haven’t had a good goalie since the 1990s.
  • The Toronto Maple Leafs currently staff 9 NHL-caliber defencemen, so you know you’ll be well supported. The only problem is, we can’t promise how many of them actually show up on a night-to-night basis.
  • Sometimes in Canada, the pressure to perform is too much. Luckily, there’s something very unique about Toronto and the Air Canada Center: No one in the first 15 rows shows up until the 2nd period. And as a bonus, they usually leave before the 2nd period ends.
  • Note that if you turn out to be pretty good and look to have more potential than the average NHL player, you will probably be traded to a team that plays the Leafs 8 times per year. A team like Boston, for example.
  • Our AHL affiliate, the Toronto Marlies, are down the street from the ACC, so getting called up/sent down isn’t a big deal. It’s also not a big deal because both the Marlies and Leafs staff pretty much the same level of talent and depth.

Stay classy, Toronto Maple Leafs.

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