A verry merry Christmas it should be for any and all Bruins fans out there today, as our Christmas present this year has been… well an NHL team that is actually, good (I think). Listen I know they might not be as strong as some of the top teams in the league, and a lot of their guys don’t have the required experience to win a cup, however this team is good, this team is fast and this team is young– even if all the experts and analysts haven’t come around on them quite yet.
I stumbled upon The Hockey News season preview magazine from earlier this summer and saw that they had predicted the Bruins to finish FIFTH in their division, Fifth! As big of B’s fan as I am I wasn’t going to pick them to win the division however I felt comfortable slotting them into the 3 or 4 spot at the start of the year. I wrote about the Habs deficiencies at the start of the year and they’re need to address them, (found here – Marc Bergevin… you do have a plan right? ) and they haven’t and they haven’t done very well as a result. The underlying numbers and “fancy” stats for the Sens all pointed towards a not so successful year this year as they experienced last year. Thus leaving it a guessing game and a wide open race as to who would take the 3, 4, 5, and 6 spots in the Atlantic. (Sorry Buffalo)
The Bruins have stepped up, taken that third spot and even looked primed to pass the Leafs for second! Here are the reasons why, and the presents that have made all Bruin fans Christmas a merry one:
- Charlie McAvoy – Eats monster minutes, unreal skill, plays like a vet, 19 years old. Need I say anymore?
- The Best Line In Hockey – Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak IS the most dominant line in the NHL today, you can’t argue against it, they are not only a threat offensively they’re the best defensive line in the NHL too, 63 and 88 are both on pace for 40 goal seasons, meanwhile the trio have not been scored on even strength in something like 19 games. Thats insane!
- Bruce Cassidy – I wasn’t a fan of the Julian firing, however it appears a change of voice was needed, over an 82 game stretch Cassidy would have led the Bruins to a 110 point season, he was just what the doctor ordered.
- Heinen, Derusk, Bjork, Grzelcyk – These young rookies may not be McAvoy or Pastrnak level however the emergence of each one of these guys is what has allowed the Bruins to perform better than most thought they would.
- Solid Goaltending – First it was Khudobin, then Rask, now both are playing stellar hockey on a nightly basis, that makes for a winning combination.
Stay Classy Bs fans. It’s been a hell of a ride and we have plenty more to take in.