Game Day

There’s a Bruins game today at 3:00 against the Flyers and it counts.

Teams on the playoff bubble when the season was suspended get themselves a play-in playoff round while the remaining teams at the top of the standings get a lame round robin seeding round. This means that if the Bruins have a couple of off games at the start they could end up being the first President’s trophy winner that isn’t the #1 seed in their conference.

Still, it’s better than having the four best teams in each conference wait while the rest of the league plays 3-5 games leading into the actual playoffs. We get the Flyers today at 3:00, the Lightning on Wednesday at 4:00 and the Capitals on Sunday, time TBD. All of the games will be played in an empty rink in Toronto and that’s perfectly fine with me.

The only thing I would do different, and this is purely selfish of me, is that I would add the numbers from this faux playoff round to the regular season. That’s really just so we can give David Pastrnak three more games to hit the 50 goal mark.

3:00pm. NESN. 98.5 The Sports Hub. Watch it, listen to it, whatever. Just be happy that the NHL is back and there are meaningful Bruins games coming.

ADDENDUM: Sorry, it’s on NBC Sports Network, not NESN.

Ray Bourque

I’m listening to podcasts while working around the house. Right now The Bruins Diehards are interviewing Ray Bourque and I’m 16 all over again. Those were the days, man.

The NHL post season (or what’s passing for it in the age of COVID-19) starts today. The Bruins start tomorrow.

It’s just like baseball. I knew I was missing it, but I’m a little surprised to realize how much I was missing it.

Bring me that Stanley Cup!

Clear Your Schedule for August 1st

The NHL is coming back. Play returns on August 1st. All teams qualifying for the play offs, including teams that will play in the extra play-in round will be assigned to either Edmonton (the Western Conference teams) or Toronto (the Eastern Conference teams).

It is my great hope that the good people of those two historic Canadien cities are smarter than any of their American cousins and will do what is necessary to keep COVID-19 from decimating the league and putting an end to play once again. MLB and the NBA are also expected to come back before the end of the summer, but they are going to be playing in the USA, which means everyone is going to get sick and many of them are going to die… because Americans are too fucking stupid to wear masks and not go to bars.

Please, good people of Edmonton and Toronto… help a brother out. I needs me some hockey.

Oh yeah, and did I mention that the labor (labour) agreement the league and the players just ratified includes sending NHL players to the next two Winter Olympics? Well, assuming we ever have Winter Olympics again.

This is all good news. It could all go horribly wrong if COVID-19 gets it’s way, but for now I am going to believe that this is good news.

August 1st. Be there or be a knob, you hosehead.

HOCKEY!

‘Member Hockey? Yeah, I ‘Member!

Sometimes I like to look back through this blog to see what happened on this day in history.  I’ve got posts going back 14 years now so there is the potential for a lot of stuff.  This morning before work I did exactly that.  I read every post (well, I skimmed every post) made on the 10th of April in each year from 2006 through 2020.

One thing of note was a post in 2010 where I mentioned the Bruins scoring three goals on a single penalty kill.  I did not remember that at all.  Let me rephrase to keep with the South Park ‘Member Berries theme, I did not ‘member that at all.

Wouldn’t you know it, some one posted this video onto the Bruins subreddit today.  It recaps all three of the goals.  It was an NHL record, as Jack Edwards will tell you in about three and a half minutes.

So, do you ‘member hockey?  Yeah, I ‘member!

The Domino I Hoped Would Not Fall, Will Fall

The NHL is expected to suspend the regular season today.  The commish has a call with the ownership group at 1:00pm Eastern (they are probably all on the call as I type this).  After the shit show in the NBA last night*, it is expected he will temporarily pull the plug.

I was sincerely hoping this would not happen*.  David Pastrnak is sitting on 48 goals for the season.  I was really hoping the league would keep operating long enough for him to score two more.  When was the last time the Boston Bruins had a 50 goal scorer? According to this article, the last time was when Cam Neely did it in ’93/’94.  I was really hoping Pasta would tick this box before things went bad for the league.  The Bruins have a game tomorrow in Buffalo.  Couldn’t Commissioner Bettman give him one more game to see if he can pot two more goals?

Oh well.  They are telling teams to look into booking games through July.  I just hope Pasta doesn’t cool off during this unfortunate break in the season.

In closing, here is a list of Boston Bruins 50 goal scorers:

  • Phil Esposito
    • Scored 76 goals during the 1970-71 season
    • Scored 66 goals during the 1971-72 season
    • Scored 55 goals during the 1972-73 season
    • Scored 68 goals during the 1973-74 season
    • Scored 61 goals during the 1974-75 season
  • Johnny Bucyk
    • Scored 51 goals during the 1970-71 season
  • Ken Hodge
    • Scored 50 goals during the 1973-74 season
  • Rick Middleton
    • Scored 51 goals during the 1981-82 season
  • Cam Neely
    • Scored 55 goals during the 1989-90 season
    • Scored 51 goals during the 1990-91 season
    • Scored 50 goals during the 1993-94 season

 

*Unlike the NHL, the NBA has confirmed players have COVID-19.  The first, NBA patient zero, if you will, was joking about the virus just a couple of days ago.  During a press conference the rocket scientist made a show of touching all of the microphones, effectively guaranteeing that all of his teammates who were interviewed after him caught the virus that he was already carrying.

*This is sarcasm.  Like, #sarcasm.  Everyone in North America knew this was coming and it’s not a bad thing.

The Bruins Win The Season Opener

The Boston Bruins opened the 2016–17 season last night with a win against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Everyone who is happy that they kicked off the new year with a win, raise your hand.

(Robert raises his hand)

Everyone who walked out to the middle of the Tobin Bridge when Tuukka Rask let in a goal on the very first shot he saw this season, raise your hand.

(Robert raises his hand)

I am so glad hockey is back (especially after the pathetic way the Red Sox season ended) but I know full well that it’s going to be a long year.

Does Don Sweeney Deserve a Honeymoon Period?

Question for Boston Bruins fans:

Does new GM Don Sweeney deserve a honeymoon period where we lay off the major criticism for a while?

For me?  No.  He doesn’t.  In fact, I already have him on the hot seat.  Doug Hamilton, gone and not replaced.  Not even close.  Milan Lucic, gone and not quite replaced.  We’ve got some new forwards to try and fill his skates, but does anyone really believe we won’t look at that trade and wonder what could have been?  And what did we get in return?  Three first round picks (yay!), none of whom passed the conditioning test on the opening day of training camp (boo!).  Also, Zac Rinaldo… because what the team that can’t score or play defense really needs is a goon.

Remember the start of the baseball season when Red Sox Manager John Farrell tried to tell us that the Sox had five aces when everyone with even the smallest brain could see that we actually had five fifth starters?  Was I the only one who kept thinking of that statement as I watched the Bruins roll out six sixth defensemen last night?  When Torey Krug is getting 20+ minutes of ice time, something is seriously wrong.  Now I know we’ve lost two legitimate top pairing guys to injuries, but the depth is clearly terrible.  Isn’t it then the GM’s job to build up that depth and replace the missing pieces?  How did Sweeney react to the Siedenberg and Chara injuries?  Well, he didn’t.  He failed to supply a roster that could compete in an NHL game.

I suspect we’re going to see a lot of games like last night’s over the course of this season.  Even after Chara and Siedenberg (I’m spelling that wrong, aren’t I) come back.  I suspect Tuukka Rask is going to set a new league record for most shots against in a season.  Is he good enough to be the only line of defense on the ice?  Not nearly.  No one is.

I know last night was only game #1 of the Sweeney regime, but given the performance so far, I can’t imagine his job isn’t in jeopardy already.

Bruins Win

I turned on the Bruins game with about 14 minutes left in the third period. They were losing 2-1 to Edmonton. EDMONTON!

When the game ended the final score was 5-2 Bruins.

The last 10 minutes were seriously fun to watch.

Long Term Contracts

As a general rule, I do not like seeing professional athletes getting long term contracts. In the NFL contracts are not guaranteed, so the term length is meaningless. In the other major sports contracts are guaranteed so if a player’s performance level drops over time the team is still contractually obligated to pay out the full price. Also, if a players performance level drops off the face of the Earth, you are stuck with the guy for years and no other team is going to take him off your hands. That’s why if I were a major pro sports league general manager no one would ever get more than a three year deal. I might have to fork over Fort Knox to get a player, but it’s better than paying a mint six years down the road and have the guy ride the pine, or play in the minors.

Having said that…

The Boston Bruins this week have given eight year contracts to Tuukka Rask and Patrice Bergeron. Rask gets 56 million over the full term and Bergeron gets 52 million. In both cases, I approve whole heartedly. I’ve made no secret that I am not the worlds biggest Tuukka fan, but given the way he played in the post season, he assuaged many of my fears. Bergeron, on the other hand… well… let’s just say that the only thing I am unhappy about in the announcements of the last two days is that somehow Bergeron is making less than Rask. If Rask makes 56 million over eight years, then Bergeron needs to make 60 million over eight years. He must have given the Bruins a home town discount.

Many hockey fans and pundits will think I am nuts for saying this, but there isn’t a hockey player on Earth right now that I would trade for Patrice Bergeron. You can keep Crosby and Ovetchkin and Stamkos and any other great player you can name. I would rather have Sir Bergy than any of them. Let’s face it, the guys does everything and has been doing everything for 10 years and he’s still only 28 years old! He’s the best defensive forward in the league. His offensive skills are off the hook, and don’t give me that he’s-only-a-20-goals-a-year-guy. He’s topped 30 in the past, and we all know that if the Bruins were an offense first system he would be reaching 40. He’s an animal. He played a game in the Stanley Cup finals with a collapsed lung. A COLLAPSED LUNG! He is matched up against the other teams best players, and he still finds the time and space to be one of our most productive offensive players. He’s the best. There. I said it. Patrice Bergeron is the best. When Zdeno Chara leaves us (hopefully via retirement) he will be Captain Bergy. I would not be opposed to giving him the C even before Chara leaves, and I am willing to bet that Chara would agree with the move.

While I stated that I am not a fan of long term contracts, here are two eight year deals that I am 100% behind. Congratulations Tuukka and Patrice. May you both enjoy long, long productive careers as members of the Boston Bruins. Keep up the good work.