Your Boston Bruins season came to an end late Saturday afternoon as they lost game 7 to the Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The series went the full 7 and could’ve gone either way, but in the end the Bruins couldn’t solve the Antti Raanta puzzle. CAR came as advertised; big and physical and they attacked relentlessly in waves. The entire roster was fierce along the wall and they competed for every loose puck. Their centermen were excellent at the dot and the team-wide gap control gave the Bruins fits trying to gain the offensive zone. As a team, they play a full 200 foot game. I said on an earlier podcast, that this was the matchup that I wanted for the Bruins and that teaches me a few things: 1. That I should be careful what I wish for and 2. There’s a reason that I’m a blogger/podcaster and not coaching the team. If you had told me 2 weeks ago that Rod Brind’Amour had access to a time machine and was going back in time to get the 2016-2017 version of Antti Raanta? I may have hoped for a different first round matchup. Speaking of Brind’Amour; when did he become such a whiny twat? I don’t remember him carping to the officials as a player but man does he do so now. The entire team plays the “palms up” style of play that is becoming more common-place in the NHL (see TOR, TBL and NJD for more examples) and it drives me nuts. Just play the game. Sorry, I need to focus up on the task at hand.
The beauty of this space (my safe-space?) is that I can share my opinions and thoughts. These are not facts, and if you don’t agree with them that’s okay too. That’s what’s nice about opinions, we can differ and both be right (or both be wrong). No matter how much you want it to be true Skippy, your opinion is not a fact. If wishes came true we’d all live in a beautiful world and I’d own the Bruins and be married to Salma Hayek. Sadly that’s not the case. Just because you believe it to be true, that doesn’t make it truth. In today’s society, we’ve seen that a lot of people can’t make that important distinction. They really really believe it, and they are going to scream at you until you believe it too. Not here dipshit.. Save that noise for your Facebook group. In here it’s opinions (mine) and if you don’t like them, click that big X in the upper right and happy trails to your dumb ass. So with all that settled, let’s get it going already. Since this blog turned into another opus from me, (and I crashed the site multiple times trying to get it to post) Captain Ked
demanded insisted suggested breaking it into multiple posts. Since, I always follow directions, here we go.
The things that plague the Bruins are what have plagued them for years: secondary scoring and physicality. That’s what’s needed to win in the playoffs in today’s NHL. I’m not here to lay blame at the feet of anyone, as the Bruins are a team and they win and lose together as such. What I am going to do is lay out what I think should/could happen at each spot and maybe sprinkle in
some okay, a lot of wishful thinking.
Patrice Bergeron – Brad Marchand – Jake DeBrusk
In case you’ve been living under a rock, Bergy is now UFA. There’s been rumours of his retirement, signing with MTL and re-upping with BOS for a year or two. What I can say definitively: no one except the man himself (and presumably his family), have any idea what he’s going to do. In the last few days Bergy has said that it’s down to two choices basically. Either he’s coming back or he’s retiring. Bergeron has given everything to this franchise and has earned to do whatever the fuck he wants. If this is the end, I’ll applaud him and write the best weepy send off I can while hunched over the keyboard ugly crying. If MTL throws the proverbial bag at him? That’s his right to grab it, and you know what? He’s earned it. Remember Chumley, just because you were born here and still live in your mom’s basement: Bergeron didn’t. He grew up in Quebec City and if he wants to go play in his home province, God bless and I’ll cheer him on (except for when he plays the Bruins of course). Marchand is signed for another 3 years and has a full NMC so he’s coming back (although the reports about a possible hip injury and maybe off-season surgery are troubling) DeBrusk is another much talked about player. After requesting a trade earlier in the season and moving up and down the lineup (with some health-bombs mixed in); DeBrusk signed a 2-year extension and was elevated to the top line. He started playing with some pace and effort and was contributing on the score sheet and on the penalty kill. If this is the DeBrusk that the Bruins will have under contract for 2 more years, then we’re good to go. If this is not, and he’s unwilling to rescind his trade request, then he’s signed for $4M for the next 2 years and he has certainly upped his trade value. If history has taught us anything, it’s that it always eventually repeats itself. I can’t see DeBrusk maintaining this level of effort on a nightly basis and hope the Bruins package him while his value is high. EDM are you listening? RNH – Nurse – Ceci – Yamamoto – Puljujarvi all would look good in the Black and Gold. We’ll talk in a week or so once CGY eliminates you.
Conclusion : I hope and pray that Bergeron is re-signed for 2 years and that DeBrusk is traded while his value is high. Fingers crossed that Marchand gets healthy over the summer and continues his world domination tour next fall.
Tomas Nosek – Nick Foligno – Curtis Lazar
I’m going to say this right now. Outside of Bergeron, Lazar should be a priority to be re-signed. He elevated his game in the playoffs, he was physical and tough on the forecheck and he drove the bottom 6 of the roster. My fear is that his play at the end of the season and into the playoffs will price him out of Boston. I thought his play warranted him more than 4th line minutes, but as we’ve said already, I’m not behind the bench. Nosek was hot/cold in the playoffs (okay more like warm/cold) like he was all year. He’s a smart hockey player, and good at the dot, but I would think even he’s disappointed in his scoring this season. This year was his worst goal output in his 5th full NHL season. He’s on the books for $1.75M and is just the type of player who’s packaged up in a larger trade. Foligno is admired for his leadership and toughness (great in the room), but he developed the habit of going to the box by himself this season. If you’re playing 10-12mins a night and you spend chunks of that in the box, you’re not helping the cause. Just ask Freddie. Foligno has a 16-team NMC clause so that tells me he’ll most likely be back.
Conclusion: I hope that the B’s do everything possible to bring Lazar back and maybe explore packaging Nosek and Foligno together in a DeBrusk trade. Lazar and Frederic both play center and wing and I’ve heard Anton Blidh is looking for more ice time
Connor Clifton and Derek Forbort
This pair was the most reliable down the stretch and through the playoffs. Forbort ate pucks like he was getting a bonus per blocked shot and Cliffy is developing into a very good reliable defenseman. I like this pairing and I like the minutes they were getting. They both bring a physical element to the back end that is needed and appreciated. The fact that Reilly is looking over everyone’s shoulder drives the competition. Forbort is signed for 2 more years with a NTC and Cliffy for next year at $1M. Clifton also had added value in that he can play either side.
Conclusion: They are signed to (relatively) cheap deals and I don’t think you’ll see them move as the Bruins brass knows how important defensive depth is especially in the postseason.
Mike Reilly, Josh Brown, Jakub Zboril
I’ll answer the easiest first, Zboril was just re-upped for 2 more years, so the Bruins mgmt. must think his rehab from the torn ACL is going along fine (or he’s trade bait, but I lean towards the former). Brown is most likely gone, unless he’s willing to sign another team friendly deal to be a spare part? This leads us to Reilly, who’s signed at $3M for another 2 years. Reilly has shown he can play on any pair and after sitting out a few games, played excellent when he drew back in. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Reilly still here with another D-man being dealt. Zboril has more upside due to his age and ability to play either side, but I think Reilly is (mostly) steady on the back end. Reilly also adds good on ice vision with initiating breakouts and working the point on the power play.
Conclusion: Brown will most likely be gone but I think Zboril and Reilly are back.
That’s it for today Dear Reader. I’ll post the rest of my thoughts/hopes/prayers in a day or so. Until that time stay well, stay hydrated and enjoy the rest of the NHL playoffs. As always let me know what you think on socials @abrow28 and check out the latest podcast here