Here is the Kathryn Tappen interview with Patrice Bergeron that took place during the summer edition of 'The Buzz', which aired on NESN this week. Can't wait to see Bergy back in the black & gold...
Tim Thomas unveiled his new mask today over at the Bruins official website. The new mask will feature a composite lower jaw extension that will make the mask look fuller while also making it more solid. The cage of the mask seems to have stayed its same over sized self, which I guess in the end reduces the amount of protective bars in your line of vision. The paint job was done by Eye Candy Air, whom has been painting Thomas' masks since he came to Boston and it features a a custom abstract bear and claw design. While the back of the mask stuck with the old style "Beware of the Bear" look.
In the past Thomas has went with the more unconventional type of mask (Hasek stlye) that allowed him to feel more free as if he was wearing no mask at all. All of Thomas' masks are distributed by Sportmask, but this is just a new version of his old style.
- The Bruins just got a little bit bigger and badder at the blueline today with the additions of Mike Egener and Ryan Stokes. Both were acquired early Thursday morning, no contract terms have been released as of now. Egener is a big defenseman that has been slowed down lately by nagging injuries, though its recorded that when healthy he is not afraid to drop the gloves recording 805 PIM in 175 AHL games. Stokes is no stranger to the box either putting up his own impressive (PIM) numbers. Both players will likely make the Providence roster this year, adding the size and toughness needed to replace last years resident enforcer, Steve MacIntyre (signed with Florida).
- Staying with Providence, GM Peter Chiarelli announced that he will announce Rob Murrays new assistant coach sometime next week, as the teams interview process comes to a conclusion. PC mentioned that he was looking for a someone that can develop and have a defensive oriented background.
- Despite our best efforts yesterday, the Bruins lost yesterday in the semifinals of the "Center Ice Tournament" over at Icethtics to the Edmonton Oilers. It was a back and forth battle yesterday until around 5:30PM when the Oilers pulled away for good. I'd like to thank everyone who voted and we will get them next time around, I promise.
- Tim "The Tank" Thomas checked in this week with the NE Hockey Journal, reassuring fans that his injured knee, sustained during the 2008 IIHF World Championship, is fully recovered. Thomas is coming off a career year with the Bruins and hopes to raise the bar again this year. Hopefully, the B's will realize that Thomas is their number one keeper this season and not dick around any longer.
- Another Bruins checked in this week also. Andrew Ference spoke with Fluto, of the Bruins Blog, and filled him in on what he has been up to this summer. Ference has been working out with Chuck Kobasew and Milan Lucic and says his knee is 100% and can't wait for the season to start. He also reaffirmed that Kobasew is ready to go and fully healed after his playoff ending broken tibia via a Chara slapshot.
- Blades is a drunk? That's right, the Bruins mascot Blades is an alcoholic with a serious problem. Well that's according to Melt Your Face-Off who has a new series diving into the lives of our beloved icons. I always did wonder why he always needed people to escort him around the rink.
- EA Sports released the demo version of NHL 09 for PlayStation 3 this week and announced the Xbox 360 demo release will be in early September. (Also some game called NHL2K9 was released in demo version too?)
- In the Hockey News Magazine "Future Edition", there are a few rankings that I found interesting.
- Do you want to tell Jeremy Jacobs what you really think about him? Well you could have a chance. The Bruins are holding their annual "State of the Bruins" town meeting on September 10th, where fans can voice their concerns to or praise Bruins brass. The catch is that it is only open to season ticket holders. But if you are not a STH you are just in luck, because the "Cybear Club" is currently running a contest to allow 3 members the chance to join the meeting. All you have to do is send your name, address, phone number and your question for the meeting to email@example.com. (This years panel members will include: Jeremy Jacobs, Peter Chairelli, Charlie Jacobs, Can neely, CLaude Julien, Zdeno Chara and Aaron Ward.)
- Finally, The Buzz returned last night with its second summer edition episode on NESN. The subjects covered were the B's Development Camp, offseason charity work, the return of Bergy and the signing of Michael Ryder. The episode can be caught again tonight at 5:00PM on NESN.
The Bruins need your help! For the past month I have been reporting on the "Center Ice Tournament" over at Ieethtics. Currently the Bruins have made it all the way to the semi-finals and up until now they have really had no challenge from any of their opponents. But this week saw a change in that pattern as they were matched against the Edmonton Oilers. The Bruins have been battling to catch up with the Oilers since day one, coming back from being down by almost 200 votes to finally be only 30 votes behind today.
But today is the last day for the final push for a victory. There are less than 24 hours left to vote and the Bruins are still down and need your help. Please go vote and spread the word on this so that the Bruins can move on into the finals. This is our last chance to prove that we are the best fans out there...
UPDATE (1:57PM): Thanks to all the members of the Bruins messageboards at the Bruins Fan Forum, HFBoards and The ScoreBoards. Without you guys we would have no chance at this. We are only 27 votes down from catching up with the Oil...
The Pensblog gave me the idea to spread the word today on something that I had forgot all about from last season. RbkCustom Bruins shoes! I know nothing special but I'm still trying to fill some time till September picks up.
I mean for a fan that has everything B's related, these are perfect. All you have to do is go to the RbKCustom section of the Reebok website and then design a Bruins themed shoe with any color scheme you can think up. They even have the option to choose between the Bruins main logo or the old school alternate.
These are the shoes that I made last year. They are simple but I like them so I really have no complaints. They cost around $97 a pair, which really isn't that bad when compared to how much shoes sell for these days. So give the site a look over and if anything else, kill some time cause I know I am.
Here are some custom designs we came up with:
- The Bruins have finally come to realize as an organization that they are at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to media coverage in a city known for its support for local teams. The Bruins released a press statement on Monday
reminding begging all media to apply for season long credentials (aka a "press pass"). Don't worry, I applied today and when I'm denied I will post the response I received.
- Happy Gilmore returns! The Bruins will hold their 5th Annual Bruins Golf Tournament on September 17th, 2008. As always, it will be hosted by the Bruins Alumni Foundation and feature the entire Bruins roster along with auctions, raffles and a kick-ass dinner. It's about $2,500 for a foursome which is a hefty price but worth every penny in my eyes if you get to see Chara swing a club.
- Fluto has returned from vacation and already started up again at Boston.com talking about a few things he missed while away. But what sticks out the most is that he ends the post looking for some input on how to expand his blog this year and branch out into new things. Well, I hope it works out for him but not too well, don't want to lose all our readers.
- KPD is back with his weekly piece, and this one has caused some controversy. Mainly the portion about the chances that the CBA may be terminated after this season, causing what could be another lockout (aka death of the NHL). Well to say Detroit blogger, George James Malik, strongly disagrees with KPD is an understatement.
KPD also hit us with some quick B's notes this week and here are the ones I found most important:
Chara, Bergeron, Fernandez and Kobasew are all on schedule with their summer rehabs (Hnidy is a little behind but should be fine come the season).
Carl Soderberg is DEFINITELY NOT showing up to training camp this year.
Ryder is officially a "Bostonian". Not really but he now officially lives here.
The Rob Murray replacement hunt in Providence has already started, according to Chiarelli, and has been slimmed down to two or three choices.
- Bruins 4th round draft choice in the 2008 Entry Draft, Jamie Arniel, has plead guilty to to drunk driving and now must pay $1,500 in fines and will be prohibited from driving for two years. Funny thing is though, Arniel doesn't have to pay for the city property or the parked cars that he damaged the same night. Shows what having some money can do for you.
- USA Today released its preseason power rankings yesterday and surprisingly left the Bruins completely out of the top 16. Nothing new here, and just another group of people to prove wrong. Still though, I don't see how a team can improve from last year, yet fair worse this year in someone's eyes? And when is the love fest for the Canadiens going to end, with everyone projecting them to finish second or even first in the league? They are not the number one or number two team in the NHL.
- The Bruins crushed the Canadiens in the quarterfinals (1,332 to 504 votes) of the "Center Ice Tournament" this weekend and now face off against the Edmonton Oilers in the semifinals. This is going to be a close match up so make sure you vote and spread the word since there are only three days left to vote.
- Glen Murray's name has appeared again and it looks like the Phoenix Coyotes are interested in him. I'd expect to see Murray signed within' the next two weeks and look at the Coyotes to be the winning bidder. (Also, the Kings could make an attempt at bringing Murray back to L.A.)
- Bruins will hold informal skates at the Ristuccia Arena that will be open to the public, as well as free, starting Tuesday, September 2nd. You should try to make it out there and show some support for the B's after a great season and just to welcome some of the new faces. I'm sure they will be more than happy to give you few autographs and pose for some pictures too.
In closing, August is finally a week from ending and hockey can not come soon enough...
Found this over at TSN.ca, it chronicles Bergy's injury during the 2007-2008 season and his current comeback for this season. Honestly, its just great to just see and hear Bergeron, but I mean its even better to see him on the ice and hear him talking hockey. Plus, is it just me or does he look a lot older and more matured in just one year away from the game? (Also, you can catch a great look at the Bruins new alternate jerseys around the 2:30 mark of the video.)
- "On Point with Peter" returned this week with a quick update on the Scott Gordon situation. That being Gordon signing with the Islanders as their new head coach. PC basically wishes him luck and explains why the Bruins let him out of his contract to pursue a career elsewhere. All and all, the Bruins are looking better and better all around everyday.
- The Bruins organization and 600+ volunteers were out at City Hall Plaza this week to give a helping hand with the Cradles to Crayons Backpack-a-thon which will supply backpacks to over 20,000 children. When I was in middle school I had the same backpack for about 7 years, where were the Bruins then?
- Micheal Ryder was in Boston this week checking out some future residences when he vowed to have no problem finding his way to the back of the net this year, but finding his way through Boston was a different story.
- NHL.com writer, Doug Karda, wrote a great piece on the bond between hockey and heavy metal. Remember the days when the Dropkick Murphys were a Bruins backing local band and not selling out for the Boston Red Sox (Tessie? Really?)?
- The Providence Bruins are offering a "Buy One Get One Free" ticket offer right now for any game during the regular season. Its as simple as buy a ticket to any home game and pick another game for free, you cant beat that.
- Zdeno Chara on the trading block? No not really, but over at TSN this week, Scott Cullen, crunched the numbers and created his own top 50 list of players with the best trade value. Big Z came in at #50 on the list and for good reason, but don't expect the B's to trade away their captain any time soon.
- On the subject of our captain, Rob Simpson over at the NE Hockey Journal recapped how Chara spent his off season helping out some of his favorite charities while conquering Mount Kilimanjaro. Oh yeah, and he also provided us with this gem story:
"During the second period, Devils defenseman Colin White, no slouch at 6-foot-2, 225 pounds, tussled with first-year Bruins captain Zdeno Chara, at 6-foot-9, 260 pound.
After the two disengaged, White started chirping. The verbal barrage continued intermittently for a few minutes; comments about Boston being out of the postseason, jabs about making tee times and, finally, personal comments about Chara’s teammates. The Boston captain had heard enough. As paraphrased by a couple of his fellow blueliners who watched with awe, Chara finished one second-period shift by following White to the Devils bench. When White sat down, Chara actually stepped onto the New Jersey bench, grabbed White by the front of the sweater and said, “Apologize now or I’m gonna drag you out in front of your fans and kick the %#&@& out of you!”
White said he was sorry." -Rob Simpson
- The Bruins are less then 24 hours away from crushing the Montreal Canadiens in the quarterfinals of the "Center Ice Tournament" over at Icethetics. Make sure if you haven't voted yet, that you do so and just add a little more insult to injury (Remember if we win, I will be posting our banner here).
- The Most Valuable Network (MVN) recently posted the bottom half of its list for hockey's worst fans. No surprise to anyone, the Bruins are at the bottom placing at No. 22. I know that's low but they do make some great points and even take a shot at local Bruins coverage. I do however disagree with the fact we scored only a 3 out of 10 on the "Observation of fan activity online & blogs" category. Bruins rank top 3 in every hockey message board basically and have one of the strongest online followings.
(Nothing else going on so we are checking out for the weekend here at Hub Hockey. So have a good weekend (weather looks perfect) and we will be back bright and early Monday morning with any new news.)
Rob Murray has been named the new head coach of the Providence Bruins after serving the team as the assistant coach for the last five seasons (who did you think I meant?). Murray sports a 16 year professional hockey playing career and is only the second player in Springfield Falcon history to have their number retired (Eddie Shore was the first). Murray has been with the Bruins organization since 2003 and has helped with the Bruins coaching staff during preseason training camps and Development Camp for the past two seasons. This decision comes after Scott Gordon, the coach of the P-Bruins for the last five seasons, was chosen as the new head coach of the New York Islanders replacing Ted Nolan.
"Rob's passion coupled with the knowledge that he has gained from the past five years with Providence makes him a good fit for us," said Chiarelli. "We believe strongly in cultivating talent within the Bruins family, and Rob is a good example of someone who deserved a promotion given his commitment to the organization." -Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli
I think this was a great move by the Bruins and I can't really think of anyone else that deserves this more than Murray does. With his well noted leadership skills and familiarity with the team, I can see only good things happening. It also helps when you are handed one of the most talented core's of players in AHL. Also, in the end it's just good to see the name "Murray" in Bruins news again.
The Bruins first game of the season is in the distant future, which means there still is plenty of time to start adjusting your schedules and make sure you don't miss: "Hub Hockey's Top 10 Games of the 2008-2009 Season". With this list we could have simply just listed every divisional match-up or even every Montreal game and that probably would have satisfied most fans. But for us, that would have been too easy and wouldn't cut it. So we hope you like what we've come up with.
10. November 12th @ Chicago
Young talent will be on display in this one as the Blackhawks Kane, Toews, Campbell and the undisputed "Bruins Killer" Cristobal Huet face off against the B's. I want to see how the Bruins keep up with such a young team that is very offense oriented. Hopefully Claude will let the B's young legs loose in this one.
9. January 27th vs. Washington
Welcome Ovechkin! Last years point and goal leader, as well as the league MVP, visits Boston in the B's first game after the All-Star break.
8. January 21st @ Toronto
This is the last game before the All-Star break which sometimes can either make or break a team going into the second half of a season. The Bruins will be looking for a win here on the road and gain any type of lead/momentum on this divisional opponent. Also, this is a great time to review the season thus far and start to truly evaluate further expectations.
7. October 9th @ Colorado
This will be the first time we will see the Bruins of 2008-2009 play together as a team. Look for interesting line combination's and game strategy that will set the tone for the upcoming season.
6. February 10th vs. San Jose
Will Jumbo Joe get booted during his second visit back to Hub? This is Joe Thornton's second game at the Garden since being traded away back in November of 2005. During his last visit, Thornton received a game misconduct for hitting Hal Gill from behind and left the game on only his second shift. Will Joe make it three shifts this year? And how will the Boston fans react to Big Joe's introduction?
5. November 29th vs. Detroit
The Wings will be the Bruins best test to see where they currently are when compared to the rest of the league. Look for this explosively powerful possession team to not hold back on the defensively motivated Bruins. Also, this game takes place on birthday so it had to at least make an appearance in the top five.
4. April 9th vs. Montreal
The last meeting between the two rivals during the season may mean more than just bragging rights. This is the last home game for the Bruins followed by two road games, to wrap up the season, which could mean a playoff position or even a spot is at stake. This is also "Shirts Off Our Back Night" at the Garden in which the Bruins players give their jerseys to fans.
3. February 7th vs. Philadelphia
Exactly sixteen months since Randy Jones ended Bergeron's season with an illegal hit the two teams will meet for the first time since No. 37's return. The Flyers also took out Andrew Alberts last season adding even more baggage to this old school grudge match between the two teams. Hopefully the Bruins still have a point to prove this year because I have never seen a team come out to play as hard as the B's did the first time these two teams met after Bergy went down.
2. October 20th vs. Pittsburgh
Bergeron Returns! Fernandez Returns! Ryder Arrives! The Bruins Come Home! This is the first game at the Garden since Game 6 of the playoffs and its aganist the reigning Eastern Conference Champions. I expect the Bruins to receive a huge reception from their hometown fans after a rough four game road trip to start the season. Monday Night Football or not, I think Boston is starting to wake up and realize the Black & Gold is still here, and they will show up in numbers making it a game to remember.
1. October 15th @ Montreal
This is the first meeting between the Canadiens and the Bruins since Game 7 of the playoffs last year. That series saw the return of a rivalry and a franchise when the Bruins (and their fans) proved they are back. This night is also the first meeting between Micheal Ryder and his former team, in which Ryder will undoubtedly be trying to shut up his naysayers and prove them wrong. But mostly importantly, a question needs to be answered. Can the B's end the Habs regular season head-to-head win streak?
Well I hope you enjoyed our list of the games we are most looking forward too. I know some games were left off such as Anaheim, Vancouver and St. Louis and you might disagree with some of the other choices too. But hey, that's why this is our list. Remember single-game tickets go on sale September 13th.
The quarter-finals of the 'Center Ice Logo Tournament' started today over at Icethetics. The Bruins are facing off against none other than the diving dames of Montreal, the Canadiens. So far the B's have cruised through the first two rounds with victories over Nashville and Vancouver. And I personally do not see how this round could be any different, if not worse, than the others due to the sheer fact that the Bell Centre typography and logo are fucking hideous. But stranger things have happened. But go cast your vote (voting ends in 4 days).
In other news, The Hockey News has listed Zdeno Chara as No. 20 on their annual 'Top 50 Players' list. Chara made a great leap compared to last years list, which had him at No. 39 (dropping from No. 19 the previous year). Big Z definitely deserves this honor especially after his career year last season which will most likely carry over into the upcoming season (can anybody say Norris Trophy?). Even more so, Chara has been nothing less than a natural leader since being named the teams captain. No other Bruins player was named to the list this year.
Finally, I came across this video (above) featuring some Bruins players (Lucic, Stuart, Thornton & Reich) that aired during last nights NESN broadcast of the Red Sox game. Not sure what the commercial was meant for exactly, but I can always take a guess. So, I originally thought it could simply just be a quick commercial to play during a Red Sox broadcast to advertise the upcoming Bruins season (mainly due to the fact the commercial ends with the phrase "Stay Tuned"). But then I started really thinking and came to conclusion that this is no innocent advertisement but instead inside information of next years Winter Classic that was accidentally leaked by NESN to raise Bruins season ticket purchases. That's right, a CONSPIRACY! The bottom line is that I am bored and its still only August. Also, the moon landing was fake and 9/11 was planned by the U.S. Government.
Have a good day Hub!
News has been slow, too slow, and its been hard to find stuff to discuss/post so we apologize for the lack of posts lately. Expect 3-4 posts per week going forward until training camp begins, then we will kick it back up to full gear and post everyday. We also decided we take too much time preparing posts, so we will slowly start to bring a more "random" and "laid back" style to our blog.
For starters, Shop.NHL.com decided the Bruins needed a new look for the new season and assigned them a new primary logo (as seen below). So make sure you order yours now before they sell out, because it looks like they are on sale.
Anyways, KPD returned this weekend and caught up fans with whats going on with the Bruins lately. Here are some the of the more important subjects he hit:
- Carl Soderberg has informed the Bruins that he will be staying in Sweden for another season and will not attend training camp. I'm sure this will bring tears to his Bruins fan boy fans but in actuality this is his best option and will show up next year near the top of his game.
- Nate Thompson, Martins Karsums, Blake Wheeler, Matt Lashoff and Matt Hunwick are mentioned as favorites to battle for the limited open roster spots this year.
- The newest Bruin, Michael Ryder, will be wearing No. 73 during the upcoming season so start ordering your jerseys now.
- Home away from home for the Bruins, the Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington, MA, needs to either step it up or if not then except that they could loose their favorite residents.
- B's had a chance at Bryan McCabe but I don't care.And Mats Sundin still hasn't decided on what he will be doing for this upcoming season and guess what... I also don't care.
- The Montreal Canadiens made news today over at THN.com, as Most Underachieving Team of the 2009 season.
"I think anyone who is already handing the East’s regular season title to Montreal needs to take off their blinders, because this is a team that played way over its head last season." - Rory Boylen
- The Bruins, by beating the Vancouver Canucks, advanced this week into the third round of the Icethetics "Center Ice Tournament". The B's next opponent will either be the L.A. Kings or divisional rivals, Montreal Canadiens. I will keep you posted on when voting starts.
- The Most Valuable Network posted their off season analysis/season preview yesterday for the B's, predicting them to finish 2nd in their division and 5th in the Eastern Conference. The teams young talent is also discussed, which I think has been overlooked recently and will soon surprise a lot of teams.
- The Hockey Herald has finally gave us a picture to despise as much as his predictions and rumors, none other than Eklund. He looks like he is going to play me a song on his keyboard then do a magic trick as he bring me to his Chocolate Factory.
- The major networks, NBC & Versus in the US and TSN & CBC in Canada, released their NHL broadcast schedules this week for the upcoming season. It looks like NBC and the CBC will both be covering the Winter Classic this year while Versus and the CBC will cover the 57th All-Star Game. The Bruins will have 7 games featured on Versus this season which is basically like watching them on NESN since their whole staff basically works for both.
- Bruins Ice Girls battle the Celtic Dancers in a Overtime with Pat kind of way, for the title of Boston Gardens favorite eye candy. (and that's pretty much all I'm going to say on that)
- Finally, HockeyBuzz is currently covering some old Hub Hockey news if you want to check it out for a second time.
- Bruins prospect Jeff LoVecchio says hes ready for the big show. After three years at Western Michigan University, the 6' 2" winger will attend camp this year in hopes to prove he will be an asset to the team during the season. LoVecchio has only played 14 games professional in his career, all with Providence last year, but his impressive numbers and natural defensive forward presence during that time showed that he can definitely hang with the big boys.
- The Goggin Brothers, Connor and Mark, check in with some updates on their future plans and time at the Bruins Development Camp. Mark was drafted in the 7th round (197th overall) of this years draft.
- The spotlight was on Bruins goaltending prospect, not Rask, but third round draft pick Michael Hutchinson during his impressive performance at Bruins Development Camp this summer. "Hutch" is coming off of a standout year in the OHL with the Barrie Bolts.
Hey Hub! I found this great look at the Bruins upcoming season in the Bruins section on the HFBoards and wanted to share it with everyone. This post is written by John Mangones and is titled "5 Reasons We Won't Have to Worry About Making". Thanks John for letting us share your view with the rest of the Hub of Hockey.
"With time on my hands, and no hockey news on the horizon, I thought this was a good time to weigh in with my outlook for the 2008-2009 season. I try to stay positive, and this year it is easier than years past because we really do have a good team headed in the right direction. Here's what I see as the most important factors in the coming season.
1. Patrice Bergeron: Adding Bergeron is like adding a top notch unrestricted free agent. But the question remains, how much of an impact will he have? I think we are going to see a completely revitalized player. The truth is, Bergeron hit a rut in his 3rd NHL season. A lot of this could be explained by the system Dave Lewis implemented, but Bergy also lost a bit of the fire in his game. I think he was playing too much like a veteran, and concentrating too much on not making mistakes. He had become the de facto leader of the team, and perhaps he was trying to hard to fill the role. Now he comes back in the ideal situation. He does not have to save the franchise, he just has to fit in and contribute. This lack of pressure, combined with his renewed drive and passion for the game, might be just what it takes to get him back on track to being a major star. I think the pinnacle of his career, to this point, was the 2006 World Championships when he ran over the competition alongside Sidney Crosby. He was playing with fire and creativity. Here's hoping we see that in 2008-2009!
2. No Adjustment Period: Last year it obviously took a while for the team to get rolling under Julien's system. This was to be expected. This year, they can hit the ground running. Even the new addition, Ryder, is already in sync with Julien's style and system. I'm also hoping that the team finds ways to open up offensively while still playing the tight D. Obviously, the team had to learn the defensive side first, but now that we have that down, we can work on the fore check and such.
3a. Chemistry Changes: I'm a big proponent of changing your team every year. Even teams that win the Stanley Cup can benefit from making minor to significant roster changes. It keeps the buzz up in the locker room, and sends the message that it is never okay to be satisfied. Chiarelli understands this. When he bought out Murray, he made a statement that went along the lines of "It was hard because we essentially told him we did not want him anymore." I thought this was the perfect approach. No offense to Murray, who has, by all accounts been a fantastic Bruin, both as a player and a person. However, he was declining, and fast. It's a nightmare for team chemistry when veteran players are struggling and bringing the team down. Naturally, the young players want to look up to them, and don't want to step on their toes, but then the vets are not fulfilling their role as leaders. It's an awkward situation. This is why the Pens let go of Recchi. Instead, we bring in Ryder, who, if nothing else, is younger, not expected to be a leader, and brings a more three dimensional game than Murray. It was a great move all around.
3b. Budding Stars: I'm going to throw out a few names off the bat here: Jason Spezza, Erik Staal, Zach Parise, Paul Statsny, Mike Richards, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Thomas Vanek, Alex Hemsky, Patrice Bergeron. These are all players who took giant leaps forward around the ages of 20-22 and after a year or two of professional experience. We have, at minimum, 3 forwards who are entering this territory: Phil Kessel, David Krejci, and Milan Lucic. I would almost guarantee that one of them will take a giant leap forward like the guys I listed off. I'm partial to Kessel because the only components he is missing are strength and comfort level, but really it could be any of the three. Or all of the three! We also have Soderberg and Wheeler to think about. I mentioned in another thread that Wheeler probably had a better season in NCAA than Kyle Okposo and Kyle Turris, two players who are expected to have an impact next season. Soderberg, as we all know, has stats that compare well to Zetterberg and Backstrom in the SEL, so really anything is possible for him.
4. Depth: Depth is HUGE for this team. Two years ago, we had a third line of Mowers/Primeau/Donovan. Now, I don't think any one of those players could even make our team. Taking the lineup that his being constructed presently through polls, here is a couple lines of players who will not even be on the opening day roster:
Reich/ St. Pierre/Hoggan
An argument could be made that the first two lines (our 5th and 6th) all deserve to be in the NHL (maybe minus Marchand). We also have good defensive depth in Hnidy, Hunwick, Lashoff, and Bodnarchuk. The major point is that injuries will not drag down this team this year. We have too much depth. And if a player is not performing, it is easy to take him out of the lineup, and put a highly motivated guy in his place. Our goaltending depth also improves significantly with the return of Manny Fernandez, the improvement of Tukka Rask, and the addition of Kevin Regan.
5.Offense: The achilles heal of last year's team was the inability to score goals. Replacing Ryder with Murray helps. Adding Bergeron really helps. I think Soderberg will score significantly more than Axelsson would in his place. I think Lucic, Kessel, and Krejci could all conceivably double their output. Lashoff might make the team, and if he does, he will add to the offense. And if players go down, they can be replaced with guys who can score at the NHL level. I'm not saying our guys will light up the league, but I expect us to be in the middle of the pack when it comes to goals scored.
Alright, so time for my final prediction. I can only see improvement out of our team, but I do not see enough high end firepower to put us in the top three. Thus, I predict we will land 4th in the Eastern Conference, securing home ice advantage. I also predict the B's will see the second round of the playoffs. I also see big years for Savard, Ryder, Bergeron, and Kessel.
One month to go guys. Lets get this started already, right!"
by: John Mangones (HFBoards: Beesfan)
Thanks to B-Real and the rest of the T&R crew, here is the audio from Aaron Ward's interview on Toucher &
Rich Crash yesterday (Rich is out of town for a few days for a funeral).
Now that "Ward Wednesdays" is official, we have decided to cover it every Wednesday here at Hub Hockey all season long. We will posting the audio from the interview about an hour after it takes place every Wednesay. But don't forget, you can always catch the interview live on 104.1FM WBCN or via the WBCN live online stream.
- The biggest news of the week so far is that Providence Bruins coach, Scott Gordon, has been named the new head coach of the New York Islanders. Gordon seemed to be the top choice in the eyes of Islanders GM Garth Snow the whole time, but it is finally official. Time will still tell who will replace Gordon on the P-Bruins bench this year, but most signs are pointing to current assistant coach, Rob Murray.
- The Pensblog hates Wayne Gretzky so much that they have created the "The Wayne Gretzky Sucks Photoshop Expo", in which submissions must either make fun of or show the "The Great One" in a negative light. We have entered so wish us luck.
- Ryan, a friend of Hub Hockey, over at Boston Bruins Die Hards recently brought up the question of who could replace Glen Murray as the assistant captain this year. He throws out a few names such as Aaron Ward and Marc Savard, but left off Tim Thomas. I personally think Thomas and Ward are the two most deserving of the "A" on the team since both show all the aspects of a leader and have the veteran touch.
- ESPN.com chimed in again this week, as Terry Frei ranked the coaches in the NHL. Claude Julien showed up in the "suspect" category with a reasonable explanation:
"Yes, he got a raw deal in New Jersey and was a bona fide Adams candidate last season at Boston. But for a mixed bag of reasons, he has only been a head coach for a full NHL season twice in his five separate seasons behind the Canadiens', Devils' and Bruins' benches." - Terry Freri of ESPN
- Erik Erlendsson over at the Bolts Report has listed Boston in the top five road stops in the NHL. Don't ask how Montreal made the number two spot, I mean if you love strippers, getting jumped and rioting for no reason then I won't judge but seriously?
- Scotty Hockey featured the Bruins in this weeks "Four-cast", in which he asks and answers four questions about an NHL team. I disagree on question two and four though, as I see the team being a lot better this year by cutting ties with Murray and the addition of Ryder (addition by subtraction). Also getting back Fernandez and Bergeron is another huge advantage for the B's (both missed most of last year with injuries). Finally, no one who wears black & gold fears anyone, let alone the Habs so bring it.
- ATTENTION GAMERS! The NHL '09 player rankings were released this week by IGN. Once again, the Bruins seemed to be overlooked by developers as having no stand out players. And once again Tim Thomas was robbed as he even scored lower than Fernandez, who didn't play all season? (Xbox Live Gametag: HubHockey)
- There are two days left to cast your vote for the Bruins over at Icethetics for the "Center Ice Tournament". Currently the B's hold a 500+ vote lead over the Vancouver Canucks.
- Finally, are you looking to have the Bruins schedule no matter where you are? Well the Bruins website now offers a schedule download for Microsoft Outlook and even your phone.
Bruins defenseman, Aaron Ward, will be calling into 'The Toucher & Rich Show' on WBCN around 5:30pm today. Last year, Ward was good enough to call into T&R almost every Wednesday during the season creating what many came to know as, "Ward Wednesdays". The result was some of the funniest interviews I personally have ever heard. The discussions ranged between Ward's life as a veteran in the NHL to Phil Kessel's hair.
Hopefully this is a sign that Aaron "Lord of the Rings" Ward will be continuing his great relationship with WBCN and T&R this year. I mean T&R were basically the only media outlet in Boston covering the B's all season long last year until everyone else jumped on the playoff bandwagon. Not to mention their cross promotions with the Bruins organization itself, in effort to try and raise interest in the B's. They even sponsored the "Cuts for a Cause" benefit, which raised money for the MassGeneral Hospital for Children back in late March. So with Ward being such a good guy I couldn't even think of seeing him not to return to "Ward Wednesdays" this year.
But he has been confirmed for today so hopefully that question will be answered. But if I get the chance to call in today, I will have two additional question for Aaron Ward though. I want to know with Glen Murray gone, what he thinks his chances are this year in being named the new assistant captain?
Anyways, I will try to post the audio from the interview as soon as it happens but you can also check it out live for yourself via your radio (if you are local) or the WBCN live online stream.
Also, seeing that today is "Ward Wednesday" (even though it is Tuesday), we are happy to unveil the artwork for our new "Psycho Ward" shirt in honor of Aaron Ward. This is just the concept design and not the actual finished product. But keep an eye out because they should be available by the end of the week.
The B's advanced into the second round of the 'Center Ice Tournament' over at Icethetics by smashed the Nashville Predators. They will now be facing off against the Vancouver Canucks who received a bye in the first round. If the Bruins win this week it could possibly setup a Bruins versus Canadiens match up in the third round so make sure you help out the black & gold. And since there are only four days remaining to send the B's into the top eight, vote often. Icethetics also now has a new "poll bar" on the left side of their website which will make it easier to locate the polls and cast your vote.
- Coca-Cola gives you the chance to attend the 'Bruins Fantasy Camp Experience'. Simply put, there is currently a contest going on were all you have to do is just submit an entry form before August 30th and you have the chance to win any B's fans dream. Among the prizes you win a guest slot to participate in the Bruins hockey skill clinic, special event suite tickets to a preseason game, dinner with Bruins alumni, tickets to the home opener and a free jersey.
- There is a great story about Bruins prospects, Matt Marquardt and Jamie Arniel, revolving around their trip to the Great North Wellness Group’s camp in northern Quebec. It was for a great cause and its always good to see our young players trying to help others while still growing themselves. Marquardt also wrote about his personal experiences too in which is a good read, especially when his last line is "Stay Classy Beantown!".
- The B's second round (47th overall) pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, Maxime Sauve, wants to join the dark side. Not really, but Sauve recently talked to the NE Hockey Journal about his childhood dream of being able to play for Team Canada.
- The Bruins Foundation recently completed the Pan Mass Challenge, raising over $200,000 for the Dana Farber Cancer institute. It's good to see the guys sobered up after the booze cruise.
- Want to meet Lyndon Byers, Chris Nilan, Jay Miller and Cam Neely? Well you can at Sportsworld in Saugus, MA on September 12, 2008 for an autograph signing.
- Icethetics (such a great name) released the Bruins new word mark, which looks to utilize the new text style applied to the Bruins signature "B" in their logo. Icethetics also are currently holding a logo competition for the IHA (International Hockey League), which is some readers online fantasy-hockey league. Go check out the concept designs for the "Boston Royals".
- "On Point with Peter" has returned and the B's GM gets right to buisness and talks about US Hockey future, the Michael Ryder signing (mainly his salary) and even Brett Farve. It's good to see PC chime in on this with all the criticism being thrown his way on how much money was actually spent on the young forwards contract.
- Fluto, at Boston.com, catches up on some recent happenings within the Bruins organization and the NHL before heading on a much needed two-week vacation. Check out though his thoughts on the possibility of re-signing Tim Thomas to an extension after this year. I have been saying this all along and completely agree 100%.
- Three's a crowd. Looks like Scott Gordon, current Providence Bruins coach, is one of the three finialist for the NY Islanders head coaching job that is currently racent after the firing of Ted Nolan. Gordon, who was the AHL Coach of the Year, is the only coach of the three without NHL expereience.
Well it looks like Rob Simpson has finally been officially replaced as the Bruins rink-side reporter for NESN in the upcoming season. Now as much as I hated Simpson during his tenure, for really just being awkward and creepy, I will still greatly miss him. The guy actually knew his stuff when it came to the game and in the piss poor world of NESN analysts, he was underrated. I guess when I think back on it, Rob and I shared a long love/hate relationship that simply ended well before it's time. But just like any bad relationship, I must move on. So now I move from the age of Simpson, to the era of Funayama? No, that's not a joke. Robs replacement will be none other than Naoko Funayama, whom was originally hired in April of 2007 as a freelance reporter for the Red Sox, specifically to cover Daisuke Matsuzaka.
I really don't like this move because I've seen Naoko do some reporting during a few college hockey games last year and it was nothing special. She doesn't really have any enthusiasm when talking about the game and just seems to not care what sport or team she is talking about (if you don't know what I mean then watch Kathryn Tappen). Also, this just looks like another move by the NESN brass to hire an "attractive" female over someone (male or female) that is more knowledgeable. But I'm sorry NESN, I don't really think Naoko is that attractive either, so it looks like you dropped the ball twice already.
But there is one promising point here, and that comes in the form of Naoko's hockey background. She has been involved, in one way or another, with the broadcasts of the Hockey East, NCAA College Hockey and AHL. Along with this she also volunteers as a youth hockey coach for the SCORE program, which provides inner-city youth with an opportunity to play hockey in Boston. Hopefully with this she will bring something that I might have missed during her time reporting at UNH games.
I mean we already have a K-Tapp and don't need another. While on the subject of Kathryn Tappen, does anyone else find it even harder to listen to her talk during the pre/mid/post-game reports since she started wearing those colonial style turtle necks. Loosen up K-Tapp! I mean even Zdeno Chara doesn't like her. The only reason that I have now not to mute my TV during her reports is because of Rick "Nifty" Middleton, who is always there to smack some sense into her when need be. Every time she opens her mouth I can just see Nifty shaking his head and getting ready to shoot her down. But since there is only one Nifty, who will be there to "smack" Naoko? I guess NESN is basically leaving that to us. Seriously though, in the end I just hope that Naoko does a great job and that one day I will come to love/hate her as much as Rob Simpson. But I just don't see that happening.
Onto the other half of the NESN broadcast. Now for all you people out there talking about replacing Jack Edwards, your retarded. Edwards is the best thing to happen to the Bruins/NESN relationship since they announced there HIT realty show 'Be a Bruin'. Without his catch phrases, excitement for the most minuscule plays and constant referencing back to his playing days as a soccer stud, I would be lost during a Bruins broadcast. Just hearing Edwards scream "SAVE BY THOMAS!" makes me smile. The man is a genius and I hope he never leaves. His call alone when the Bruins clinched the playoffs this year basically dominated the "Do you believe in miracles?" call from when the US beat the Russians in the 1980 Olympics. I mean and thats not even 100% of Edwards, he even said it himself ("Mooing the emotional needle"???). Just imagine if he brought everything to the playing field. If that happened I think all other announcers would just retire because how can you top him? Come on! He even is a ESPN alumni, staring in Sportscenter commercials. So how can you top that? Answer me that...
(Did I really just write this much about a rink-side reporter? Is it September yet?)
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