There's a ever-so-slight chance Bruins will get Zdeno Chara tonight. According to Bish over at BostonBruins.com, Big Z was looking pretty good on the ice this morning, skating hard.
Boston.com reporter Fluto added that Chara skated for 35 minutes. "No hard starts/stops." Of course, as of this post, there's no official word on if Z would play tonight or not. But the Bruins wouldn't have flown him out to Ottawa if there wasn't a chance, so take that as you will. Boston.com thinks Chara is still unlikely.
The Senators are currently sitting in 11th place in the East with 32 points but they're only one point away from seventh place, so there's that. That bottom playoff race spot is still tight at this time of year.
Let's take a moment to also recognize how awesome Tuukka Rask is. It's gotta be tough to be Tuukka -- to be a #1 goalie anywhere else in the league but having to play second fiddle to Tim Thomas in Boston. That has to be a trial in patience for him and an exercise in player management for the Bruins' brass.
Sometimes Bruins fans forget how spoiled they are with Thomas. It often casts Tuukka in a negative light because he doesn't make insane acrobatic saves that blow minds and gets women and men pregnant just by watching it. You know why he doesn't do that? 'Cause he's not fucking Tim Thomas. No one else is.
Want to know what Rask is? Currently, #2 in GAA at 1.82 and #2 in SV% with .939. Timmy's behind Rask with a GAA of 1.92 and SV% of .938.
The Bruins were without, arguably, their best player but you wouldn't have realized it last night. Sure, there's no giant out there stalking players like he's Jack and he stole the golden goose but you know what I mean. The Bruins looked good last night. They looked fast, something they've lacked recently, and they moved the puck really well. That may be the biggest thing that stood out for me last night. It was especially prevalent on the Rich Peverley goal that we'll show later in the Positives/Negatives/Lingering Questions recap.
Chara being out could have been more disasterous than it was last night. The defense played well, although its obvious that Steve Kampfer isn't the answer going forward. I'm not going to rip the kid's head off and put it on a fence post, although it would show dominance, but the mistakes he made and the penalties he took were lazy. Maybe he was just shaking the rust off, I don't know. All I know is that it's a good thing the Bruins were playing the Kings last night, a team that is looking for an identity of it's own. Throughout most of that game, the Kings looked to be a mess. Terrible zone entry, terrible defense and if anyone but Jonathan Quick was in net, the score would've been closer to 6 or 7.
The defense, and especially the penalty kill, held it's ground.
I feel like it's been forever since the Bruins played a game, but that's probably because Saturday night I was drowning myself in Narragansett beer and Jameson whiskey at a Christmas party with the Bruins game on in the background. It was a good win, but it came at a price. Tim Thomas was pulled before the start of the third period and Zdeno Chara left with an injury. There's some good news though Bruins fans:
Bish (you know ^BISH) posted this on the Bruins website:
"Today, after practice, both Daniel Paille and Zdeno Chara each explained that they felt better than expected after injuries suffered last week.
"The plan is to take it a day at a time," said Chara, who suffered a lower-body injury during the B's win over Columbus on Saturday and did not skate on Monday. "You can’t really put a time-stamp on it — [beyond] basically how it feels," added the defenseman. "It feels better than I expected and we go from there.""
There's also a rumor that Paille could return to action tonight after suffering a minor concussion against Florida. I wonder if David Krejci embodied Krys Barch and made him hit Paille like that. Or maybe Barch has Crosby on his fantasy hockey team and is pissed that he's not playing.
Now here comes the real question. Who plays in net tonight?
Tim Thomas didn't look sharp against Columbus. The worst goal being the RJ Hamburger goal where Thomas' five hole was bigger than that Duggar lady's baby hatch. When the third period began and the game was tied at 3-3, Tuukka Rask was on the ice and played wonderfully. Rask stopped all 11 shots he faced, made some nice lateral movement saves and kind of bailed the Bruins out of that game in Columbus (of course, Joe Corvo helped).
If there is a silver lining with everything, it's that the LA Kings may be even more of a mess than the Bruins. Last night (or maybe this morning) the Kings told Terry Murray to get the fuck out and fired his ass after a disappointing number of seasons, which includes some disappointing playoff losses. The Kings are loaded with talent (Richards, Kopitar, Doughty, Gagne) and have a good god damn goaltender in Jonathan Quick. Yes, the Kings have been bitten by the injury bug (Richards on IR for a concussion) and *insert the inevitable Dustin Penner sucks comment*.
I wonder what it's like to be fired as an NHL coach. If it's anything like I imagine it is, NHL GM's just called Vince MacMahon.
That's logical, right?
I mean the Kings aren't even in the playoffs right now, which is sad considering how loaded with talent they are. Los Angeles is 13th in the West, though they are only two points out of 8th place. They're also on a four game losing streak. The lone bright spot for this team is that Boston will be without their best player.
The defense with Chara and the defense without Chara is like drinking a good beer and having a donkey piss in your mouth. Do you remember that playoff game against Montreal when Z didn't play? What a clusterfuck. I've been a group of drunk monkeys trying to bang a football go more smoothly than that game did. The real question is who steps up? Also, are you comfortable with an Adam McQuaid/Steve Kampfer pairing? Maybe a Kampfer/Corvo pairing? One would think that Seidenberg has to carry the load tonight, which is fine because Seidenberg can, but it makes a guy like Boychuk have to become something he's generall not: reliable.
Now don't throw me to the sharks here brosephs, I'm just saying he's not reliable because you never know which Boychuk you're getting. Are you getting the Johnny Boychuk who brings deliverence to other players like the NHL Archangel of Death or are we talking about the Johnny Boychuk who pinches down so far you'd think he had crabs on his nuts. I don't even know what that last statement is supposed to represent, but just know that crabs pinch. I don't know if ball crabs pinch, but ya know, testicles.
After the jump, more previewness... Projected Roster
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Tyler Seguin Benoit Pouliot-Chris Kelly-Rich Peverley Jordan Caron-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton
Dennis Seidenberg-Johnny Boychuk Andrew Ference-Steve Kampfer Joe Corvo-Adam McQuaid
Tim Thomas Tuukka Rask
Do You Know Your Enemy?
TV: NESN Radio: 98.5 The Sports Hub
Game Day Video
I'm going to post one of the many awesome videos Joe Gill posted on Boston Sports Then And Now. Seriously, go there.
"If you had to look at one hit then yeah...if anything it was probably that one. It was a good one." -- Crosby
Here's video of the hit again. Still doesn't look like an elbow. If anyone has a better quality video or angle, send it our way.
Here's the thing. If that "hit" is the reason why Crosby is sitting out a few games and not his mid-ice collision with his own teammate, than Crosby probably shouldn't have been on the ice. That's an innocent battle along the boards for the puck. That's about as low intensity of a hit you're ever going to see in the NHL. Our grandmothers dish out harder hits.
Regardless if you're trying to keep Christ in Christmas, Han in Hanukka, keeping the Kwan in Kwanza or keeping the ol' pagan traditions alive for the Winter Solstice, Team DOY hopes you have a fun holidays.
Best case scenario for the Bruins captain is he will only miss the next three games. If his recovery goes well, a December 19 return against the Montreal Canadiens could be realistic. If his recovery takes longer than expected, he could be out until after Christmas.
Could be worse. Could be a lot worse. See: Marco Sturm.
Bruins play three games over the next week:
Tuesday against the Kings
Weds. against the Senators
Saturday against the Flyers
Philly's the biggest threat in that stretch, topping the Eastern Conference. Both the Kings and Senators are sitting below playoff spots, each with 30 points. If recovery goes beyond this week, Chara could miss games against the Habs, Panthers, Coyotes and Stars.
The good news is the Bruins have a strong defensive core. Ference and Siedenberg will have to lead the charge and guys like Boychuk, Corvo and McQuaid will have to step it up a few notches to make sure the defense is sound. And luckily the Bs have Thomas and Rask in net. Should be interesting to see how the Bs fare without Chara and with Kampfer in the line-up.
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Nice win for the Bruins last night. After falling behind the Blue Jackets 2-0, seeing Chara go down with a knee injury and yanking Timmy in the third period, Boston was still able to pull out a win. Definitely a character-building game; thankfully it was against Columbus.
And leading the charge for the Bs was none of than... wait... let us look it up...
Alright. New rule: Do a shot of Jose Cuervo everytime Corvo scores.
It's hard to write a game preview on today like this. So we won't.
Instead we're dedicating this post to Big Poppa Pizz, Robb's dad, who died last night.
Big Poppa Pizz was the coolest guy any of us on the DOY staff knew. No one compared. His personality was larger than life, he had a hearty laugh that would carry for miles, and always a good story or 10 to share -- though most weren't for mixed company ears. He loved his family, the Patriots, and would do anything to help a friend. He also was a fantastic griller and chopbuster extraordinaire. He was an all around great man. We were lucky to know him. We'll cherish the stories he told and the days we got to hang with him.
He will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him. It surely won't be the same without him.
Jesus fucking Christ. You would've thought that the the 15 game point streak never happened. Once the Bruins lost a game, people started coming out of the woodwork screaming about firing Claude Julien, trading Tuukka Rask and juggling the lines. This isn't shit I'm making up people, this is real life talk. People actually want to fire the head coach after a 15 game point streak because the team lost two games. Look, I like to give the Boston sports fan credit and believe that they are one of the most informed fan bases in the country. Well, let me rephrase that: Bruins fans are one of the most informed fan bases in the country. Last night the Bruins lost a game 2-0 to the second place Florida Panthers.
That's right, second place.
Oh, I mean in the East.
Yeah the Florida Panthers are a viable hockey team this year. They went out and spent some money on guys like Kris Versteeg and Brian Campbell and they're paying dividends. Crazy how actually applying some money in a sport can make you a contender. It also helps them that Washington can't remove their heads from their collective butthole.
So what happens when you play a good team? You have a chance of losing. If you believe the Bruins would carry a 68 game point streak than you're an idiot. There's absolutely no way that a team can sustain that high level of play for an elongated period of time and not have an adverse effect. You don't think that run in 2008-2009, where the Bruins boombashed their way through the East, hurt them come the playoffs? Of course it did. The Bruins were obviously going to stumble.
Breaking news: Teams lose.
So the Bruins lose a game in Winnipeg and now they've lost a game against Florida. A two. game. LOSING STREAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAK. Sweet Jesus people, I think it's time to fire Rask and trade Claude...I mean trade Rask and fire Claude! He benched Seguin for being late! He didn't juggle the lines! He loses 85% of his body head on a daily basis through his bald head! And so on. And so forth!
Take a Xanax and chill the fuck out.
I'm about to blow your mind here: It's okay for a team to play well and lose. Did the Bruins play well yesterday? That's debatable on what your idea of "well" is. If "well" is your idea of flawless hockey than most teams aren't going to play well most nights. Were they good enough to win a game? Yeah. They've put about 80 shots on net the past two games, the puck just isn't hitting the twine. That's normal for teams. Teams go through stretches where they can't score. It'll happen people.
I think winning the Stanley Cup and then this (virtually) unbeaten November has really softened people up. Calling for Julien to be fired? Yikes.
This isn't going to be one of my 1,000 word rants because im too sick and too tired to give anyone the business. Just know that if you're looking for the coach to be fired after losing two games, you need to turn your jersey in and pay attention to another sport.