NHL Rankings?

July 31, 2011

The doldrums of summer… a hockey waste land where hockey fans pull out hair and taking up smoking. It’s a time when hockey news slows and speculation run rampant. But for fans of the game, there’s always something to keep us entertained. Recently, Sam McCaig, who has written for Hockey News, TSN and Yahoo!, posted his rankings for each position in the NHL.

The link is here if you’d like to check it out.

This may not be significant to most of you, but for me, and my Bruins pride, I like to peruse these lists and bitch and moan about how this player or that player got overlooked or underrated. I can’t really do that with this list.

Quickly, here’s how the Bruins ranked.

Tim Thomas, who had to overcome being benched last season, was ranked #1 overall among NHL goalies. It’s decidedly satisfying to see a guy who at some points didn’t even have the support of his home fans finish the season so strongly that he would be ranked this highly. As Bruins fans, we see it, but it’s nice that the opinion runs wider than just us.

Zdeno Chara, after failing to overcome Niklas Lindstroms monstrous star in the Norris Trophy voting, nabs the top spot among D-men. This is only surprising because for a long time, Chara has had to deal with the weight of his potential. He may still have some detractors, but there’s very few, and the argument for him not being the best in the league is a thin one.  And if it wasn’t enough that he was ranked highest, at least 3 or 4 times players were compared to being “hopefully” their teams Chara.

When we get to forwards it gets murky.

Patrice Bergeron was ranked 18th, and far to low for my liking. I understand that the Center position is deep, but for anyone to rank Mikko Koivu or Jeff Carter higher than Bergy is out of their minds.

At Right wing, Nathan Horton gets the nod at 19th among Right Wingers, and a few spots AHEAD of Phil Kessel. This was another satisfying moment reading these rankings.  I had a few points of contention here though, as he was ranked BEHIND Chris Stewart, Claude Giroux, and Ales Hemsky.  They’re great players for sure, but none of those guys are as complete as Horton.

Left Wing was where I was surprised the most. It seems the lore of Milan Lucic has escaped the streets of Boston and worked it’s way into the imagination of the NHL. First, here’s a list of players Lucic was ranked HIGHER than: Taylor Hall, Simon Gagne, Cammalleri, Tomas Vanek, and Brendan Morrow.  Whether you believe one 30 goal season and a disappearing act in the playoffs warrants it or not, Lucic was ranked 6th among Left Wingers.

Now, I implore you to not read too deeply into any of this. It’s just one hockey writers rankings, and we can and will find many faults with lists like these. The reason I visited this was to give us an idea of where the hockey world sees our team and our top players. Every month we tick through into the season, this list would change, but for now, the Bruins look to be at the top of the hockey world again.

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Where Are We Now

July 26, 2011

** HEADS UP ** I just want to let you guys know I’m taking off for vacation for the next five days. So if there are no posts until Sunday, fear not, for I will be back.

Now that that’s out of the way, I’ll toss you guys one last bone until I’m back.

With the offseason creeping slowly towards a close and with camps and preseason seemingly right around the corner, it’s fair to look at how our team progressed or digressed in the offseason.  Assuming that Marchand resigns (and I’m confident he will), this team remains relatively unchanged aside from the departure of Ryder and Kaberle.  I, like many of you, think this team is better off standing pat. Regardless of any moves that may or may not be coming, we can assume this team will compete for glory yet again.

But what about the other teams in the East. There’s been a good amount of movement as teams posture to improve on their 2010-2011 seasons. Buffalo looks very different with Tim Connolly running for the hills and Christian Erhoff and Ville Leino donning the slug jersey. Montreal, as we’ve been accustomed too, made a few moves, losing Halpern, Pouliot and Hamerlick and adding Erik Cole and a few other role players. Toronto doesn’t even look like the same team, and Ottawa… well I don’t think we have too much to worry about there.

I believe this Bruins team will be a better team in all aspects of the game. They’re power play can only continue to improve, their PK and 5 on 5 game will be as good if not better, and in overtime, this team finally has confidence. I full expect them to finish first in the Northeast, and challenge Washington and Pittsburgh for the title in the Eastern Conference.

I’d like to know where we all stand on this though. Did they make the right moves? Would you have liked to see some more action on the front ends parts? Will anyone compete with Boston for the Northeast title? And how will Boston stack up against the other East powerhouses.

Let us know in the comments!

** PS ** I will be on here on my phone, so I can participate somewhat.  See you guys in 5!


“Why they ain’t signed Marchemont”

July 25, 2011

If you’re like me, and you spend more than your fair share of time perusing the major sports sites reporting hockey, then you’ve no doubt read the well circulate quote from Brad Marchand.

“They know I want to be here. I know they want me here.”

The statement as a whole, which he was quoted as saying at the Stanley Cup DVD Premier, smells of confidence, whether genuine or manufactured. But despite this, we’re left wondering what in the world is taking so long? After all, he did have a phenomenal playoffs, outscoring a slew of recognized superstars with 11 goals in 25, including outscoring both Daniel Sedin (9) and Ryan Kesler (7), who both played the same amount of games. When playoff performances are judged at a premium, it’s rather perplexing when a deal is prolonged such as this.

But is it?

It’s difficult for the average fan to put in perspective how much of your time disappears after you win the Stanley Cup. I, like you, have never known the sweet taste of drinking from the glorious challis. Yet, if one were to think on it, the Bruins haven’t stopped going. Since winning the cup, the Boston Bruins players and brass have been spotted everywhere. From local appearances, Foxwoods, and several hometown visits, it’s not hard to imagine a distinct lack of time.

With all of that said, is it any real surprise that the two sides, which both sound confident a deal is forthcoming, haven’t had the time to really sit down and discuss what Brad Marchand’s really worth? I imagine as the furvor around the cup victory continues to dwindle, the amount of time The Bruins and Brad Marchands camps spend on this will increase exponentially.

In the words of Marchand himself, we can probably expect “getting something done in the next week or two.”


Do Bad Trades Still Work?

July 23, 2011

Looking back at the Kaberle deal, it’s easy to say we got the short end of the stick. With what we gave up to get him (1st round pick, 2nd round pick, Joe Colborne) it seems in hindsight we may have been better off keeping our capital and going on without Kaberle. Still, the fact remains that the Bruins went on to finish the season 14-6-4 and in case you’ve been living under a rock, they won the Stanley Cup.

So how much does a trade affect the team mentally?

I’ve always contended that when ownership shows a commitment to winning, the team follows suit. If you’re in the locker room, wondering what you have to do to bring home the trophy, doesn’t a deal like the Kaberle one instill confidence that you’ve got what it takes to make a serious run?

Before the trade, our power play was dismal at best… after? It was a disaster. But you saw how guys like Milan Lucic (30 goals in the regular season), rookie Brad Marchand (21 goals and 41 points in 77 games) and leaders like Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara taking over games, responded.

I also contend that giving up draft picks is a much more sound philosophy than trading away prospects, yet is it worth it to watch those picks and prospects develop in another system for a crack at the cup?  If we’d finished the season and got beat by Montreal or Philly, I may have said yes.  It was a steep price for a player who gave little contribution to the overall success we had. But the fact remains, we persevered through the inept power play and often shoddy defense from a certain “short term solution” to win it all.

I pose a question. How important are trades like this to the team psyche, and can ownership and front offices affect a team merely by making a big trade, even when on paper, it doesn’t work out?


Passing of the Torch

July 16, 2011

Lost in the continued coverage of the Stanley Cup victory is the fact that with the retirement of Mark Recchi, the assistant captaincy remains in limbo. With a team chopped down the middle with veteran leadership and rising stars, it should be interesting to see with whom the “A” lands.

The obvious choice, in my mind, and that of many fans, would be to hand the “A” to a guy like Andrew Ference. Despite nagging injury issues, Ference has managed to endear himself to his fellow teammates, and has made a name for himself as a guy who will stand up for anyone on the ice. His vocal leadership and ability to keep his head in the game will translate well along side the stoic leadership of Captain Zdeno Chara and the other assistant Captain Patrice Bergeron.

The issue is far from over here though. Kelly and Peverley have both been mentioned around internet forums, and guys like Milan Lucic can make a strong case, but it remains to be seen whom this team will look towards for leadership in this coming season.

I know you’re probably sick of polls, so this will be the last one for a while.


McWho?

July 15, 2011

The Bruins have signed up and comer Poopy McGee to an entry level contract….


Finally, some news!

July 14, 2011

It’s been a few days since anything of consiquence has happened in the Bruins world. But today the Bruins announced that Adam McQuaid, or Darth Quaider for you who aren’t fans of brevity (The Dude abides…) to a 3 year contract extension through the 2014-15′ season. McQuaid built up a cult following through solid defensive play, and the ability to personify what the Bruins were about as they marched to the cup.

McQuaid looks to build off his first full NHL season by bettering the 3-12-15 line he put up through 67 games. The Quaider also spent 96 minutes in the box (many of the 5 minute fighting variety) and lead all NHL rookies with a plus 30, also 5th in the league.

The Bruins also signed Craig Cunningham to an entry level contract, and signed Zach McKelvie to a 1 year deal.