Wicked Bruins Fan

April 2009 Archives

It was nice while it lasted

The Bruins' break between the first and second rounds was a nice thing. Since they swept the Canadiens last Wednesday, I could enjoy watching Grey's Anatomy when the new episode airs instead of watching it online. I got to get some odds and ends done around the house. I got to save some money by not attending games with the addition of hanging out before/after them.

So this nine day layoff really didn't affect me and I even got to stop by a practice on Saturday to get my Bruins fix.

I will admit that my week was semi screwed up because I kept thinking it was a day ahead of what it was. Tomorrow's game will probably feel like a Saturday game. Then Sunday's game will just throw me for a loop completely.

The Hurricanes are most likely in town already, gearing up for the next couple of games in Boston. The Canucks were off for roughly the same amount of time as the Bruins and they're currently tied 3-3 late in the 3rd. It's expected the Bruins might start tomorrow's game 1 a little slow and have to shake some rust off, but it's not like they haven't had slow starts throughout the regular season and even in the first round.

Besides, fans were entertained by the Celtics while the Bruins were idle. The Bulls/Celtics series has been nothing short of unbelievable and their overtimes might lead to my future heart problems down the road. (Canucks just scored with 1:13 left in regulation.)

But there's nothing like Bruins hockey and it's back at the TDBanknorth Garden tomorrow night. Thank God!

(Note: Canucks won 5-3. They scored an empty netter.)

Bruins meet Hurricanes in second round

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It's been a week since the Bruins played their last playoff game when they swept the series against the Canadiens. The Bruins took a few days off, there were some players in attendance for the Yankees/Red Sox series, a couple of birthdays (Mark Stuart and David Krejci), and captain Zdeno Chara became a first time father to a baby girl. A lot can change in a week.

The Bruins waited along with the Penguins to see who would get who in the second round. The Hurricanes and Capitals both forced game 7 in their series and sent the Devils and Rangers golfing, respectively. The Hurricanes scored two goals in the last 1:20 of their game with Eric Staal getting the game-winner at 19:28. So much for playing the Rangers.

The schedule has been finalized. A note about May 10th, it's Mother's Day.

Game 1 Friday, May 1 at Boston, 7:30 p.m. NESN, VERSUS, TSN
Game 2 Sunday, May 3 at Boston, 7:30 p.m. VERSUS, TSN
Game 3 Wednesday, May 6 at Carolina, 7:30 p.m. NESN, VERSUS, TSN
Game 4 Friday, May 8 at Carolina, 7:30 p.m. NESN, VERSUS, TSN

*Game 5 Sunday, May 10 at Boston, 7:30 p.m. VERSUS, TSN
*Game 6 Tuesday, May 12 at Carolina, 7:00 p.m. VERSUS, TSN
*Game 7 Thursday, May 14 at Boston, TBD NESN, TSN

*if necessary

I like the 7:30 starts for the games, and also like how there are currently no conflicts with the Celtics. The Celtics have a scheduled game 7 for Saturday, so it's good the Bruins didn't get scheduled for that day. The only conflict is Northeastern University's graduation that is at the TD Banknorth Garden at 10:30 on Friday. Ice won't be available for the game-day skate, but as with the conference quarterfinals series against Montreal, the Bruins might just have team meetings again and opt not to skate.

It should be a fun and exciting series. The NHL probably wouldn't have wanted it any other way since they got the Alexander Ovechkin vs. Sidney Crosby match-up.

Second round opponent getting set

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The Rangers lost to the Capitals tonight so that's one opponent Bruins' fans can cross off their lists. The Bruins second round opponent depends on the outcome of the Hurricanes/ Devils game. If the Devils win, the Bruins would face the Penguins. If the Hurricanes win, they would get the Bruins.

As of this very moment, the Hurricanes tied the game with a minute left. But I'm typing this on my iPhone without any connection to the outside world. (I'm riding home on the MBTA.)

So now that I have a connection, I heard the Hurricanes won in regulation. They will play the Bruins. Schedule should be set soon.

-- Post From Mobile

How sweep it is

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The title of this post is probably going to be seen about a hundred times from the end of game 4 until Friday, but the Bruins win was the best thing to happen to me today.

The Bruins won game 4 by a score 4-1. They trailed the Canadiens within 40 seconds of the game, were out shot by a crazy amount in the first but came out with the lead going into the 2nd period.

Michael Ryder (who I'm sure Canadiens fans remember) scored two goals tonight. David Krejci and Phil Kessel scored the other goals. I was lucky to see one goal live.

Overall with the Bruins win and advancing to the second round for the first time since 1999, I can overlook how much my day sucked. (The biggest blow was losing a white gold earring at some point during work. It can't be replaced.)

But for right now, I'll take the Bruins' series win over the Canadiens. That made my night a whole lot better.

-- Post From Mobile

Game 3: In progress (live-blog)

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The Bruins gave up the lead first in the game when Christopher Higgins scored. Then Phil Kessel tied it up in the first. Shawn Thornton added a goal in the second period, then the Canadiens tied it up (don't ask me who, I only heard on the radio).

Then ex-Canadiens player Michael Ryder scored to give the Bruins the lead at the end of the second period. Jeremy Jacobs, Charlie Jacobs and Andrew Ference were shown in a luxury box type thing.

There's currently over nine minutes left in the game. Chuck Kobasew just went off for goaltender interference.

Great play by P.J. Axelsson to glove the puck out of the zone. That was a huge penalty kill.

Nice play by Thomas to chip the puck towards the boards which was eventually led out by Blake Wheeler. Three minutes to go.

Steve Montador blocks a shot. Brief odd-man rush to the other end of the ice for the Bruins. Kobasew keeps the puck down in the Canadiens' zone. Patrice Bergeron holding the puck up behind the Canadiens' net.

Canadiens cannot get anything started in the Bruins' zone which is great to see, especially after the way the game started. Carey Price is pulled. Zdeno Chara blocked a Alex Kovalev shot and Chuck Kobasew goes down the other end to score an empty net goal.

Score is 4-2 Bruins right now in case you needed a recap.

Bruins lead the series 3-0. And Milan Lucic is coming back in game 4. I don't need to say anything more.

Lucic will miss Game 3

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Milan Lucic was suspended by the NHL today after receiving a match penalty for cross-checking/high-sticking in Game 2 of the series against the Montreal Canadiens. At the time of the penalty call, Lucic received a five minute major that was later switched to a match penalty.

After the game, coach Claude Julien said: "But you have to remember that he got elbowed in the head, then high-sticked by Schneider. Then Lapierre comes in -- Lapierre who's been an instigator throughout the whole series, and even during the regular season -- and what Looch did was react at him coming at him. It wasn't premeditated. In reviewing it, he hit him with his glove. He had his stick in his hands, but his glove hit his helmet. Had his stick hit him in the head, I think Lapierre would have been down. But Lapierre stayed up and kept going at Looch. If there's one thing, I know it certainly wasn't premeditated."

The league said it wasn't conclusive whether Lucic did hit Lapierre with the glove or his stick, but it was the reckless blow to the head that earned him the suspension... in so many words.

"While it is unclear whether Lucic's glove or stick makes contact with Lapierre, what is clear is that he delivered a reckless and forceful blow to the head of his opponent," said NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell.

I find it amazing how there weren't any suspensions from game 1.

Byron Bitz is the extra forward for the Bruins and will probably be in the line-up on the fourth line, possibly bumping Wheeler up to fill Lucic's spot.

Playoff Preview

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After not making it to any playoff games last year, I'm going to any and all of them this season. It's weird when you miss a playoff series. I've gone to every one since the Bruins made it in 1997-1998. Then last year, I decided making money was more important than spending it. (Sometimes I wish I had that same mindset this year.)

I am anxious for Game 1 tonight. I'm excited, nervous, psyched and many more emotions for the game. I missed only one game during the regular season. That's 40 games, the most I've gone to in any season before. When I was sick at the beginning of the year, I didn't let it stop me from attending games, even if I did miss a first period on a Saturday afternoon. I made a commitment to this team.

I do wish the Bruins had a different opponent other than the Canadiens. Battling them in 2002, 2004, 2008 and again this season gets redundant, especially when the only other opponent since 2002 were the Devils. But if there's three things certain in life, it's death, taxes and the Canadiens/Bruins rivalry.

The Bruins are entering this year's playoffs with a better regular season record against the Canadiens than last season. The Bruins went 5-0-1 against the Canadiens during the regular season, winning all three games at home. It was the first time the Bruins have taken a season series from Montreal since they went 3-0-1-2 in 2003-04. Last season, the Bruins only won games against the Canadiens in the playoffs.

Many Bruins will be playing their first NHL playoff games in this series, including Blake Wheeler, Matt Hunwick, and Byron Bitz. Defenseman Andrew Ference looks like the only player out for tonight's game other than winger Marco Sturm.

Other Playoff Facts

- The Bruins have three players who scored their first career playoff goals in overtime - Steve Montador with Calgary on May 9, 2004 at San Jose; Patrice Bergeron with Boston on April 24, 2004 vs. Montreal; and Marc Savard with Boston on April 13, 2008 vs. Montreal.

-The Bruins have four current players with eight Stanley Cup rings between them - Aaron Ward (3 - 1997, 1998 with Detroit; 2006 with Carolina); Stephane Yelle (2 - 1996, 2001 with Colorado); Mark Recchi (2 - 1991 with Pittsburgh; 2006 with Carolina); and Shawn Thornton (2007 with Anaheim).

- The Bruins and Canadiens are meeting for the 32nd time in post-season play, the most series of any two NHL opponents ... Toronto vs. Detroit is the second-most popular matchup, as the Leafs and Wings have met on 23 occasions.

- The Canadiens have won 24 of the previous series ... The teams split the first four meetings, Montreal won the next 18, the Bruins then took five of the next six and the Canadiens have won the last three meetings between these clubs including Boston's last three playoff appearances in 2002, 2004 and 2008.

- The 159 playoff games played by the Bruins and Canadiens heading into this post-season are also the most between opponents in NHL playoff history (Detroit vs. Toronto, 117 games).

The Bruins have generated talk in Boston again. Last night, I met a guy who openly admitted he was a bandwagon fan. I corrected two older gentlemen in their Tim Thomas/Sean Avery story that I overheard, giving them more details than they asked for. I heard another trio of guys talking about how Patrice Bergeron should win the Bill Masterton trophy. It's almost surreal because I have never heard this much talk about the Bruins not initiated by myself or somebody that I know. But the Bruins are the best team in Boston at the moment and they deserve all the recognition they get, even if it's from someone who can't name more than three players on the team.

The one thing I'm not looking forward to is hearing about the poor treatment of any visiting Canadiens fans during the series. Bruins fans need to represent their team well. The incidents last year were ugly, disgusting and completely uncalled for. I don't want some knuckleheads giving the rest of Bruins fans a bad name.

The referees for tonight's game might have their whistles a little busier than usual if the last regular season home game was any indication of how the series might be. The referees are Kevin Pollock and Dennis LaRue.

Rene Rancourt will be singing the national anthems, and honestly, would you want anybody else to kick off this series?

I've seen some predictions out there and while it makes me excited that people are serious about the Bruins, anything can happen in the playoffs.

If you're going to tonight's game and looking for some drinks, good food and knowledgeable Bruins fans before or after the game, the Sports Grille (next to Hurricane O'Reilly's and before Boston Beer Works) on Canal Street is a safe bet. There might be some promotions happening tonight too. So if you stop by, be sure to tell them Wicked Bruins Fan sent you.

Lastly, I'll leave saying two things. Go Bruins! And Bruins in 6.

(Blog note: Since I won't be around to monitor the website during the game, comments are going under moderation. They will be approved when I get back to a computer.)

Playoff Causes

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The Bruins will open the 2009 playoffs on Thursday, and there are some cool things fans can get involved in.

The first is league-wide and is known as the Beard-A-Thon. The Bruins Beard-A-Thon supports the Boston Bruins Foundation. You can support the cause two ways, ditching your razor and growing a beard for the playoffs or pledging a friend who is.

If beards are too hairy for you or you're like me and can't grown one, get involved by pledging donations or donating to Right to Play, the charity supported by Bruin players Zdeno Chara, Andrew Ference and Steve Montador.

A Bruins fan, Coni, came up with the Bruins Chase for the Cup and has set the wheels in motion gathering attention on the HF Boards and the Globe Bruins Blog, as well as other outlets.

Fans can create their own pledges ($2 for every Phil Kessel goal, $5 for every Milan Lucic hit, $6 for every Dennis Wideman shot wide - just kidding) throughout the playoffs. It's a great concept that would add extra incentive to raise money for a great cause.

If fans don't want to get complicated with pledges or go bankrupt during the playoff run, you can also make a one time donation for any amount you want. Any donation is welcomed!

Note: Right to Play can't accept pledges, but you can make a pledge commitment (either on the HF Boards or in the comments below) and donate the total amount at the end of the playoffs.

Wicked Bruins Fan will be pledging $3 for every Chuck Kobasew goal.

Bruins and Canadiens playoff schedule

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Here is the playoff schedule for the Conference Quarterfinals between the Bruins and Canadiens. The series will open on Thursday, April 16th. The Bruins couldn't open their series on Wednesday when the NHL playoffs begin because the Celtics are playing their last regular season game that night.

I think Saturday is going to be a doubleheader at the Garden with the Celtics playing in the afternoon. The Bruins game will start at 8 on Saturday night. I'm sure many factors went into that decision, and the major one probably being you just never know when overtime is going to end in playoff hockey.

The schedule breaks down like this:

Thursday, April 16 7 p.m. at Boston (CBC, RDS)
Saturday, April 18 8 p.m. at Boston (VERSUS, CBC, RDS)
Monday, April 20 7 p.m. at Montreal (CBC, RDS)
Wednesday, April 22 7 p.m. at Montreal (CBC, RDS)

*Saturday, April 25 7 p.m. at Boston (CBC, RDS)
*Monday, April 27 TBD at Montreal (CBC, RDS)
*Wednesday, April 29 TBD at Boston (CBC, RDS)
* if necessary

I found the schedule through the Capitals website on Twitter, which is pretty funny. But then again, I've been stalking the NHL for the last half hour.

Also note (that other than the VERSUS game) NESN should be the local channel broadcasting the playoff games.

Addendum: Saturday's game will be on NESN. The Sox game will be on NESN+.

Closing out the 2008-2009 regular season

The Bruins visited the Islanders earlier today to close out the NHL regular season. The outcome of today's game was better than yesterday's game in Buffalo (6-1 loss) with the Bruins posting a 6-2 win. Phil Kessel led the Bruins scoring a hat trick, with Michael Ryder, Chuck Kobasew and Marc Savard all tallying one goal. Tim Thomas was in net and made 32 saves. David Krejci got his 100th NHL/Bruin point assisting on Ryder's goal.

Some Bruins were rested during the weekend series, including Zdeno Chara, P.J. Axelsson and Patrice Bergeron who did not make the trip.

It was announced after the game that the Bruins won the William Jennings Trophy for allowing the fewest goals in the league this season. Thomas and Manny Fernandez had a little to do with that. It was the first Jennings trophy for Thomas and the second for Fernandez, who won it in 2006-2007 with the Wild. The Bruins allowed 196 goals, four goals less than the Wild, to clinch the trophy.

The playoff match-ups have been determined. We're all just waiting for the schedule. The Bruins will undoubtedly open the playoffs on Thursday, hosting the Canadiens. They should also play on Saturday, but the Celtics' playoffs are going to start this weekend too, so the TDBanknorth Garden might be a happenin' place this weekend. When the schedule is announced, I will post it here because I'm not planning on leaving the computer much tonight.

Home Game 41

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The Bruins host the Montreal Canadiens tonight in their last home game of the regular season. Playoffs start next week on the 16th. The Canadiens need these two points tonight because the Rangers are one behind and the Panthers, on the outside looking in at the moment, are two points out. Let's hope the Bruins can get the two points and not give the Canadiens any.

The Bruins didn't have their morning skate, so it's a guess that Tim Thomas will be starting. Carey Price is in goal on the other side.

The Bruins recalled Vladimir Sobotka on emergency basis. Chuck Kobasew wasn't at practice yesterday so he could be out tonight. Dennis Wideman and P.J. Axelsson, both with undisclosed injuries, are probably out since they're still listed on the injured list. Defenseman Andrew Ference is out for the remainder of the regular season.

Milestones: Claude Julien will be coaching his 400th NHL game tonight. He coached 159 behind the Canadiens' bench and 162 games behind the better bench, the Bruins. Julien also coached 72 Devils' games... David Krejci needs one point for his 100th NHL/Bruin point.

High Attendance: Tonight's sellout attendance of 17,565 gives the Bruins a total home attendance figure of 699,073 this season (average 17,051). This gives the Bruins the second-highest single regular season attendance mark in their history behind only the 716,443 total (average 17,474) in 1995-96. The 1999-2000, 1998-1999 and 2005-2006 seasons fall behind this season in the top five.

Cuts All Around: Yesterday, Aaron Ward hosted the 2nd annual Cuts for a Cause benefiting the Boston Bruins Foundation and MassGeneral Hospital for Children’s Pediatric Oncology Unit. Fourteen Bruins donated their time and their hair to get it shaved off. The event was held at The Harp from 3-5. The shaven were: Ward, Michael Ryder, Chuck Kobasew, Matt Hunwick, Byron Bitz, Dennis Wideman, Stephane Yelle, Tim Thomas, Patrice Bergeron, Phil Kessel, Mark Stuart, Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Blake Wheeler. I got there a little late and had to leave early to get to work. I was mostly standing on my tip-toes in the back, and attempted some (dark) photos, as well as some for TwitPic. So check out some great photos by Cameron Frye who was in attendance.

Winter Classic News: There have been some confirmed reports floating around (Herald, Globe Blog, WEEI) that the Bruins will be hosting the next Winter Classic at Fenway on January 1st, 2010. The opponent has not been mentioned.

Back to tonight's game and the playoff implications. This could be a first round playoff preview. The Rangers (91 points) hold the 8th spot at the moment and host the Flyers tonight. The Panthers (89 points) are in Atlanta and nothing short of the two points can help them right now. In a perfect world, the Bruins will beat the Canadiens and the Rangers will win, bumping the Canadiens down to 8th and the Panthers will win to make it all more interesting over the weekend. If the Canadiens manage to get a point against the Bruins, they clinch a spot, and I don't see that happening in Boston.

As for the President's Trophy, the Sharks have a five point lead over the Bruins and can clinch it with a win against the Coyotes tonight.

The Bruins will close out the 2008-2009 regular season over the weekend when they visit Buffalo on Saturday and the Islanders on Sunday.

Report: Thomas contract extension

On the heels of the Bruins 2-1 win over the Senators on Thursday night, I saw a report (link in Twitter) that goaltender Tim Thomas signed a contract extension. It will be formally announced on Saturday, according to ESPN.

My phone battery is down to 10% so I should post this before it craps out. Back to NHL on the Fly.

Will post more when details become available.

The Bruins also got their 50th win on Thursday.

-- Post From Mobile

Update: The Thomas extension was leaked, but not announced by the team yet. Thomas will make on average $5 million per season.