Unfortunately this season, the Bruins played with just one right wing: the ageless Mark Recchi. He played on all four lines. He never took a rest. What's that? They had others? You sure? I don't believe you. Ryder? Wheeler? Some dude named Stan? Oh Satan. I think I remember him. Was he that guy that scored a lot before Krejci went down? Oh right. Those guys we tried to forget about. Thanks for bringing up painful memories. Admittedly, we're sometimes harsh on the team and some of the players. But that is the joy of being a nonathletic fan sitting on the coach criticizing professional athletes. We still love them. Except Wheeler. Mark Recchi, Michael Ryder, Miroslav Satan and Blake Wheeler were Boston's main right wings this season. Others filled in at various times, but these are the ones we will unfortunately focus on. If this was NHL10 we'd be trading Wheeler and a 2nd round pick to Calgary for Jarome Iginla. If only real life worked like videogames. We review the right wings:
Mark Recchi is 373 42 years old. He played during the times of the Original Six was drafted by the Penguins in1988. He's been around awhile. He was the Bruins best winger in both the regular season and the post season. That is indicative of both how awesome Recchi is and how terrible the Bruins wingers are. Recchi never took a game off. When younger players (Wheeler, Ryder) were taking games, weeks, months off to diddle themselves, Recchi was on the ice defining what a Bruin should be. He's not the biggest guy. He's not the best or fastest skater anymore. Time and age have certainly diminished his skills. But one cannot question the old man's heart. He led the Bruins in the playoffs with 6 goals. His 42 year old body could always be found in front of the net, a place younger, bigger guys like Wheeler and Ryder refused to go. He tried to take on the giant Chris Pronger to get his team going. Recchi didn't care about individual stats. He didn't even care about his body. He only cared about winning. He was an example for the Bruins. An example most of the team unfortunately did not follow. Recchi was 4th on the team in regular season points with 43. A 42 year old man was 4th on the team in points. Just had to express that again. His leadership, heart and determination are factors that cannot be replaced. B's would not have gone as far as they did without Mr. Recchi. And for that, we salute him. And hope the B's grab him for another year.
Final Regular Season Grade: A... for Awesome
Final Playoff Season Grade: A... for Ass-kicker.
Going into the season, we knew gingers had no souls. But now we also know that at least this ginger has no heart. And some rapidly diminishing skills. To put it bluntly... Michael Ryder sucked. We're not going to break out some SAT words here and sugar coat this. He was atrocious. Watching him play and knowing he is making $4 million for another year made us want to hurl bricks at Chiarelli's statue in the "GM's Who Overpay" Hall of Fame. But that's a misdemeanor and we're not in a position to pay the fines. After scoring 27 goals last year, he netted just 18 this year and was invisible for large stretches of games. Then he laid down this little gem after the playoffs:
"But I’ll learn from the playoffs, the things that I did a little different, maybe try to do a little more in the regular season, like getting prepared and stuff like that. It’s a lot easier to get motivated for games in the playoffs than the regular season sometimes.”Great. So you're lazy and don't try. Fantastic. Matt Kalman of the Bruins Blog said it best:
I’m glad to know Ryder is going to try to be prepared for games next season, even if they don’t have the importance of playoff games. If that’s what $4 million against your salary cap gets you these days, then something’s wrong with the NHL’s economy. Wideman, who makes right around the same amount as Ryder, made that very point numerous times during the season. Time and again we heard about how much easier it is to get up for playoff games, and you wonder if Wideman and Ryder are willing to refund some people’s money after a couple of those “unimportant” regular-season tilts.
Just think Bruins fans... he's almost un-tradeable because of his comments and play, is 30 years old and still has 1 more year at $4 million left. High five! Is it too late to get a refund on our season tickets? F you Ryder. We're not asking you to get 50 goals, but at least show up. And you call yourself a professional. He did slightly better in the playoffs, but mostly just against Buffalo. He was once again the Invisible Man against the Flyers. And we just can't respect players who try to coast. Unacceptable. Unless you're Julien or Chiarelli. Then its perfectly fine for a player to do that. Thanks for coming Ryder. We barely noticed you. Hope you're traded.
Final Regular Season Grade: D
Final Playoff Grade: C-
Satan was a mid-season pick up by GM Peter Chiarelli. After missing out on the Kovalchuk Sweepstakes, Chiarelli brought in Satan as a desperation move. He was a little tough to grade. He remained un-signed for half the season and played just 38 regular season games. He had a strong start, but finished slow. He ended the regular season with 9 goals and 14 points. Not terrible considering (1) He's way past his prime, (2) The Bruins offense was about as potent as your grandfather, (3) He hadn't played any meaningful hockey in months. Satan became a cult hero (no pun intended) in Boston during the playoffs. He had 5 goals, 3 of them game winners, and produced the Satan Shuffle/Slovakian Dance of Joy after a goal against Buffalo. He was a force for the Bruins during their impressive early playoff run. But once Krejci went down, so did Satan. Satan's production, not surprisingly, seemed to be determined solely by Krejci's effectiveness. He slipped back into irrelevance once Krejci's wrist broke and was never heard from again, finishing with no points in Games 4-7 against the Flyers. But based on his playoff performance, Chiarelli has a 10-year, $104 million deal waiting for him. But hey, the whole team went down the toilet after Game 3. We thought Satan performed admirably given the circumstances during the regular season and most of the playoffs. However, we won't be upset if the B's don't re-sign him.
Final Regular Season Grade: B Final
Playoff Season Grade (pre-Krejci loss): A-
Blake. Fucking. Wheeler.
We can't find any evidence Wheeler actually played for the Bruins this season. He's listed on the roster on the teams page. We saw racks full of his jerseys that no one wanted in the Pro Shop. We heard the announcers say his name a few times, quickly follow by "... screws up again." Unfortunately, he did play this season. Wheeler is a waste of roster space. According to the Bruins site, Wheeler is 6'5" and over 200 lbs. He wouldn't shut up about how he put on 15 lbs of muscle over the summer. He neglected to tell us those 15 lbs went to his vagina muscles. This is a contact sport. You hit. You get hit. A guy Wheeler's size should be trying to hit and going to the front of the net. Instead he hangs around the perimeter throwing shots on net, and poorly we might add, and only goes to the front of the net if a 5'5" opposing D-man is chasing him. He couldn't find the crease with a friggin' GPS. He avoids the tough areas of the ice like Jack Edwards avoids coherent sentences. He makes Phil Kessel look like a tough guy. He has no idea how to use his size and doesn't even try. As a Christmas present to Bruins fans, he didn't score a goal the entire month of December. Why a guy with that size and potential doesn't work harder completely baffles us. The guy also has no hands. I can count on 1 finger the amount of times Wheeler received a perfect cross crease pass and didn't completely whiff or completely miss the open net. And he apparently loves beating the goalie on a breakaway or shootout but then shooting the puck directly into the goalie's pads. Good job. He shows flashes of skill, but then sees his own shadow and retreats back to his underground lair. Blake Wheeler has less heart than Steve Irwin, and that's a fact. Hope he gets traded too. We'd trade him for Steve Irwin in a heartbeat. If we could find one on them. No place on the Bruins for players who don't give maximum effort. Watching Wheeler had the Bruins calling his parents and asking if a really, really, really, really late term abortion would still fly. Don't throw the 18 goals and 38 points at us. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut occasionally. He had 2-3 game stretches a couple times where he looked good, then remembered he hates playing hockey and immediately disappeared again. Points mean nothing to us for players who refuse to show up when it matters most. Wheeler is useless. In fact, here is a list of things more useful than Blake Wheeler: Ray Charles' glasses. He is blind. He doesn't need glasses. But he wears them for style. They are more useful to Ray Charles than Wheeler is to the Bruins.
Here is a picture of Blake Wheeler after watching his own highlights:
Sidney Crosby's "playoff beard." Crosby is a phenomenal talent. Arguably the best player in the world. But his playoff beard is basically useless. Its like a couple of hairs and some marker. But it has more grit than Blake Wheeler.
Ice to an Eskimo. Eskimos are surrounded by ice. They wouldn't need any more if you were giving some free ice away. But they could find more use for ice than the Bruins get out of Blake Wheeler.
Foreskin. You don't need it. The majority of babies are circumcised at birth. It really just serves no purpose. I guess you could cut it off and make a lil parachute for your G.I. Joe's. But it's still more useful than Wheeler. Land line phones. I bet you can't think of one person you know who's not your grandmother who doesn't have a cell phone. We don't have a single land line phone at the Days of Y'Orr offices. But this almost dead technology is still more useful than Blake Wheeler.
A road cone. You could stick one of these in the neutral zone and it would dish out more hits than Blake Wheeler. You could park it in front of the net and let Savard or Bergeron bank in passes off of it. This road cone would probably score 30 more goals than "No Hands" Wheeler.
We could probably name 1,000 more things more useful than Blake Wheeler. You can even try this game at home. It's fun for the whole family. Except Wheeler's family I guess. Wheeler is a restricted free agent. Chiarelli likes to pay for potential so Wheeler will no doubt end up the highest paid player on the B's. But Wheeler takes games off. You can teach skills. You can't teach heart or desire. And hey, remember that one time Wheeler almost scored on that empty net? Thank you Bergeron for being awesome. Blake Wheeler owes us money.
Final Regular Season Grade: F-
Final Playoff Season Grade: F
Recchi was the saving grace of an otherwise atrocious right side for the Bruins. Satan provided a boost but unfortunately is very streaky. Here's to hoping we see heavy use of AHL guys next year. They may not be good yet, but at least the effort will be there.