Friday, February 12, 2010

Plenty of Room on This Bandwagon

Come on back everyone, there’s plenty of room on the bandwagon…

So the Bruins have put the last three games down in the WIN column and have one more before the Olympic break.  I think I’m going to hold back my thoughts on NBC bumping the Feb. 21st USA v. Canada game for ICE DANCING for a later blog…

Over the past three games we’ve seen a lot of good things come out of this team, but still a few things that could use some work.  First the good…

Tuukka Rask seems to be back on the ball and playing like he was at the beginning of the season.  I’m not taking credit by any means, but I’ve been telling people for about two years that this kid is the future of our team and I think most of you are finally starting to believe it.  I also have supported the management’s decision, last season, to keep him down in Providence and fine tune his game instead of rushing him up.  When I make reference to Carey Price most of the people I know in Montreal immediately go on the defense of their young prince between the pipes.  But I do believe he’s a prime example of young goalie rushed into the #1 spot a bit too soon, and the current goalie situation in Montreal is also why the Bruins fans need to relax with the “Trade Thomas” noise.  We have two damn good goalies that can easily fit into a #1 role.  Do you have any idea how many teams would love to be able to say that?  Besides, there’s something almost every single person that’s running with this “Thomas being traded” rumor keeps forgetting…  Timmy has a No Trade Clause in his contract, and I highly doubt he’s looking to waive that in his first year of a very lucrative multi-year deal.  Another thing to keep in mind is, as good as he’s performing in Providence do you all think Dany Sabourin is ready to replace Tim Thomas?

Another huge plus to come out of the 5-4 win over the Lightning was that it seems Michael Ryder has found his shot.  He was all over the ice and that give-and-go play with Blake Wheeler that lead to his first (of two) goals was possibly the best play I’ve seen a Bruins line make all season.

Lucic seems to be getting more and more of his confidence back each game that goes by.  Put two goals up in the Tampa Bay game and had himself a pretty good fight in the one against the Sabres.  Even after getting his sweater pulled over his face Looch kept swinging those haymakers and managed to get a few squirts of blood out of Buffalo’s Adam Mair.  But it was the fire in his eye as he went to the box that I haven’t seen this season.  That’s the type of intensity we need more of from this team.

I don’t even want to call it a fight, but Zdeno Chara pounding on Steve Downie last night looked like a PSA for why you don’t poke a bear.

If I can point to a negative in the last two games, not so much the one in Montreal but definitely the last two… it would be that they’re not playing with that aggressive intensity for a full 60 minutes.  They’ve been coming out on fire and staying that way for about a period-and-a-half, and then they seem to just slow down, relax a bit, and try to protect the lead instead of increase it.  This would be the main area I’d be stressing if I were in Claude Julien’s shoes right now.

But as I stated in the beginning, there is plenty of room in here so now that we’re back in the Playoff picture you can all feel free to climb back on the Bruins Bandwagon.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

It Always Starts in Montreal!

As I was leaving the Bell Centre on Sunday evening I got a text from a friend saying, “It always starts in Montreal!”  The Bruins have such an emotional rivalry with the Canadiens and you can feel it everywhere you go when walking the streets of Montreal.  The walk from my hotel to the bar, and then to the Bell Centre, was filled with spirited “boos!” and they weren’t just coming from the fans sporting the bleu, blanc, et rouge… old ladies crossing the street were giving me the business for wearing the Spoked B through Habs Country.  Truth be told, I loved it…  The city lives and dies by their hockey team, and as a life long supporter of the Bruins I know exactly how they feel when they look at me heading down rue Ste-Catherine in head-to-toe black & gold… because it’s the same way I feel when I see them walking down Causeway with a CH on.  There always seems to be a little more emotion and excitement in the buildings when the B’s are playing the Habs… whether it’s a pre-season, regular season, or playoff game the fans energy levels seem just a bit more amped up in comparison to when they’re facing another team.  That’s what makes our rivalry so great.

Sunday’s game was no different.  Although the Bruins fans were scattered into smaller black & gold clusters throughout the Bell when the Bruins scored, Tuukka shutdown one of the Habs rushes, or even when Blake Wheeler squared off for his first career fight we let our support be known loud and clear.

Oh and of course, the most important moment to come out of the game… The Bruins finally broke their losing streak!  And the sweetest sound of the day had to be the silencing of the 21,000+ Montreal faithful that had marched into the arena before the game acting like they had a “sure thing” on their hands.

In closing I would just like to suggest to the Bruins fans out there that haven’t yet made the trip up to see the B’s play in Montreal, mark it on your calendar as a MUST SEE.  You should even make a weekend out of it, like I do, and I guarantee you won’t regret it.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Number 17 Train

One of the guys I’ve been keeping a closer eye on, since returning from injury, is Milan Lucic.  Looch was one of the Bruins major tone setters last season...a physical tuning fork, if you will, for the team and the crowd he was in front of.  Whether his hits, fights, or goals were bringing the 17,565 Garden faithful to deafening roar… or his mere presence on the ice was making the entire city of Montreal’s blood boil… He was definitely our impact player in ’08-‘09.  But this year due to two bouts with injuries the #17 train has had a bit of trouble getting up to full speed.  However, you can tell the desire is there.  He was the player that said in an interview a little over a week ago, “We need to start playing pissed off hockey.”  That is exactly the type of attitude this team needs.  They’ve always seemed to have better games when they’re playing with a little grit and nastiness.  Milan had the lone goal in the 2-1 loss to the Sabres last Friday night and on Saturday, against the Kings, he seemed to be skating faster and even hitting harder then he’s been since coming back from his latest injury.  That tells me he’s regaining a lot of his confidence on the ice and could possibly be back to playing at 100% in the very near future.  Personally I think it might take getting one more knock down, drag out, heavy hitting tilt under his belt with one of the league’s fellow bruisers to get that fire burning good and hot in the engine.