Days of Y'Orr note: We know players may get moved around. Certain guys may play their off wing, etc. For the purpose of simplicity, we're going by the Bruins official site. Okay? Cool.
Boston's right side is a bit different this year. It could be really different depending on how the roster shakes out. Love him or hate him (we know most of you hate him), the Bruins have not had a legitimate scoring threat on the right side since Kessel left for bluer pastures up in Toronto. Could that change this year?
Man, too bad Toronto is so savvy. If only there were something the Bruins could take from the Leafs....
Sorry, we got side tracked. After the jump, we cover the Bruins (potential?) right wings.....
Oh man he's hitting Horton!
Last Year: Old man Recchi had 18 goals and 43 points in 81 games last year on an offensively challenged Bruins team. He was basically the only front of the net presence the Bruins had. That's how awesome Recchi is. A 42-year old man stood in front of the net, putting himself in the way of Boychuk and Chara slapshots to try to get tip ins and screens.
He was also a steady veteran presence on the team, calling out his teammates when they're effort wasn't quite there. Not his fault some of them didn't listen. He tried. He is slowing down a bit but Recchi is still the man. Recch-ing Ball for life.
Role: Offensively, Mark Recchi isn't quite what he used to be. Obviously. Does that matter? Not at all. Recchi is a fantastic teacher and role model for both the younger guys and other vets on the team. His job this season is to take the younger guys under his wing (Seguin, Caron, etc) and teach them how to be good NHL players. Maybe even great NHL players. He is going to be the person these kids look to and say... I want to be like that guy.
He'll also be that guy buzzing around the net looking for re-directs and ugly goals. He doesn't just teach with advice... he goes on the ice and shows players how to get business done at all costs. His role? Being the man.
These videos were waaaaaaaaaaay overdone during the playoffs...
Last Year: Atrocious. Really awful. If we had a nickel for every night we felt Ryder gave maximum effort, we'd still have to put a piece of Bazooka Joe on lay-a-way. Here's a fantastic quote from him after the season ended:
"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.”
Oh thanks buddy. Glad fans are paying to see games and you're purposely dogging it. Matt Kalman of the Bruins Blog said it best at the end of last season:
"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."
If we think about this anymore we're going to fly into a rage and flip off a box of kittens.
Role: If the current lines overseas are any indication, his role is to ruin Tyler Seguin's rookie season. No idea why the coaches feel its a good idea to have Seguin center this dud. He's done nothing in the pre-season to indicate he's more motivated this year than last year. If a younger player underperforms, they get less ice time and see time in the AHL. We feel that should be Ryder's role if he brings the same attitude to the regular season.... hanging out in the AHL. His cap hit and Julien's frustrating devotion to Ryder will likely make that impossible.
Ryder's biggest role this season? Likely team whipping boy. With Wideman down in Florida the wrath of Boston fans will likely fall on Ryder if he doesn't shape up. We would absolutely love you to prove us wrong Mr. Ryder.
Last Year: The relationship between Days of Y'Orr and Blake Wheeler has been rocky at best. And just down right mean at worst.
Last season Wheeler scored 18 goals and 38 points in the regular season and finished the playoffs with 1 goal, 6 points and a minus-6 in 13 games. His stats were down slightly from his rookie year, but what bothered fans most was that the 6'5", 200+ pound Wheeler rarely threw a hit, rarely went near the front of the net and lost a ton of corner battles. And his offsides. Sooooooo many offsides. We bet he turns off offsides when he plays NHL11.
Role: This is where is gets complicated. In the pre-season Wheeler has obviously made attempts to use his big frame more, but as much as we complained about his lack of physicality last year... we're not sure hitting and all that fits Wheeler's skill set. It seems... forced and seems to take away from his game.
I bet by now you're expecting some cruel Wheeler jokes. We're going to have to disappoint you this time around. We're starting over with Wheeler. That's right. We don't like him. We don't hate him. Clean slate to start the season.
Why? He's only 24. He'll be entering his third NHL season. Players take time to develop and learn the game fully. Some longer than others. We're going to watch and see where Wheeler falls in the line-up and judge him on that. Is his role a scorer? The Bruins hope so. Is his role a physical presence? Bruins fans hope so. But that's Lucic's job on the wing. We're guessing Wheeler settles somewhere in between. We're hoping he learns how to stay on sides. We're also hoping to see more of this:
Last Year: Yeah we know his name is "Nathan" not "Nate." But we like calling him Nate so suck it.
Anyway. Horton was recused from Hockey Hel... ummm, the Florida Panthers when GM Peter Chiarelli send a package including much maligned defenseman Dennis Wideman and the 15th overall pick in the 2010 draft to Florida for Horton and Gregory Campbell (or "Soupy" as Thornton has been calling him).
He only played 65 games with the Panthers last season but scored 20 goals and 57 points. Those 57 points would've led the Bruins. What gets Bruins fans, us included, excited about Horton is that he's scored 20+ goals for 5 consecutive seasons with little help on bad Panthers teams.
Role: Scoring. Simple as that. Horton has 30-40 goal potential playing with any of Boston's talented centers and the thought of watching the Horton-Krejci-Lucic line makes us tingly. He has a 30 goal season on his resume and like we've said, scoring 100+ in the past five seasons in Florida is fairly impressive. Horton hasn't used his big frame much but from what little we've seen of the pre-season he's not afraid to throw a big hit, go to the dirty areas and is a beast with the puck. Once he settles in we think fans will like him a lot. And hopefully he stays healthy, something he hasn't been able to do in a couple seasons.
He's not known as a fighter but has thrown down on occasion (see above) and playing in a good hockey market for the first time in his career should do wonders for him. There's a lot to like about Horton. We're excited about Horton's potential. Also, he doesn't smoke.