Wicked Bruins Fan

November 2006 Archives

Game 23: Lightning preview

| 5 Comments

Tonight the Bruins host the Tampa Bay Lightning (13-11-1) for the last time of the regular season. This makes me sad because I've been a Lightning fan for quite some time. The next game between these two teams will be in Tampa in February. *insert devious little smile here* I know nothing. I do know the Bruins are 2-0 against the Lightning this season.

Did you know Wayne Primeau played parts of two seasons for the Bolts in 2000-2001? And that Milan Jurcina scored his 1st NHL goal against the Lightning last season?

Some line-up changes for tonight's game include P.J. Axelsson returning to the line-up after missing the game on Tuesday. Defenseman Paul Mara is day-to-day with a lower-body injury and it'll be decided if he goes on the road with the team tomorrow. Jason York is healthy enough to take Mara's spot in the line-up.

Tim Thomas (9-5-2, 2.88 GAA, .910 Sv%) will get the start for the Bruins. I'm a little news deprived on the Tampa side, but they have Marc Denis (5-7-1, 3.27 GAA, .877 Sv%) and Johan Holmqvist (8-4-0, 2.66 GAA, .901 Sv%).

Special teams are pretty equal between the teams. The Bruins be proud that the Lightning have the worst penalty kill overall in the league (30th on the road too), while they are two spots above them (28th, 30th at home). The Bruins have the 8th best power play in the league (5th at home), and Tampa is 13th (12th on the road).

Team Leaders
Points: Savard 27, St. Louis 30
Assists: Savard 21, St. Louis 15
PIM: Chara 42, Sarich 27
Shots: Murray 79, Lecavalier 93
+/-: Alberts +7, Alexeev +7

The referees for tonight's game are Kerry Fraser and Mike Hasenfratz. I'll be at the game, and have already been told to not stay out too late. To make up for that, I'm going into Boston 2.5 hours before gametime. I realize I shouldn't stay out too late because I have a mission in Boston tomorrow morning. Of course if I had a place to stay, I could stay in Boston for the night.

Finally, do you remember what happened a year ago today? Ironic, I was watching a Lightning game at the time the news broke.

November Statistics

| 11 Comments

Time for a little monthly recap. I know the Bruins have one more game in November (tomorrow against the Lightning), but I decided to gather some stats. I hope they're accurate.

**Post has been updated to reflect that last game in November**

The Bruins record for November with 14 games was 9-4-1, with 3 wins in overtime and 3 wins in a shootout.

The penalties breakdown like so...

32 Hooking
12 Holding
11 Tripping
6 High-sticking
4 Roughing, Interference, Delay of Game
3 Cross-checking, Slashing, Unsportsmanlike Conduct
2 Holding the Stick, Diving, Too Many Men, 10 Minute Misconduct
1 Goaltender Interference, Delay of Game - Goalie, Boarding, Elbowing, Instigator, Fighting, Closing Hand on Puck

To remind you, 32 hooking penalties in 14 games.

The Bruins special teams weren't bad and improved this month. The Bruins had 73 power play opportunities and scored 17 power play goals. That's good for a 23.3% success rate. On the penalty kill, the Bruins had 85 penalties to kill off and killed 69 of them. That's good for a 81.2% successful penalty kill.

I may come back to this post on Friday and update it with Thursday's stats. I may also go back and do this for October because it'll be nice to have as the season goes on.

Who knows? Maybe the Bruins will stop hooking so damn much.

*Penalties updated as I did a recount. Player breakdown will be after tomorrow's game.

Player Penalty Breakdown

Hooking
5 - Primeau
4 - Murray
3 - Lashoff
2 - Chara, Mara, Dempsey, Axelsson, Jurcina, B. Stuart
1 - Alberts, Mowers, Donovan, Boyes, Tenkrat, York, Savard, Bergeron

Holding
2 - Chara, Savard, Donovan
1 - Sturm, Kessel, Stastny, Alberts, Mara, Primeau

Tripping
3 - M. Stuart
2 - Donovan, Jurcina
1 - Bergeron, Mara, Hoggan, Sturm

High-Sticking
4 - Alberts
1 - B. Stuart, Jurcina

Roughing
2 - Chara
1 - M. Stuart, Sturm

Interference
1 - Primeau, Chistov, Murray, B. Stuart

Delay of Game
3 - Mara
1 - Chistov

Cross-checking
1 - Savard, Alberts, Murray

Slashing
2 - Alberts
1 - Chara

Holding the stick
1 - Kessel, Chistov

Diving
1 - Donovan, Chara

Unsportsmanlike Conduct
1 - Axelsson, Chara, Donovan

10 Minute Misconduct
1 - Mara, Chara

Goaltender Interference
1 - Primeau

Delay of Game - Goalie
1 - Thomas

Boarding
1 - B. Stuart

Elbowing
1 - Chara

Instigator
1 - Mara

Fighting
1 - Mara

Closing Hand on Puck
1 - Chara

A defenseman kind of day

With defenseman Paul Mara being re-evaluated today, the Bruins could summon somebody from Providence. I wonder what the odds are that they'll recall defenseman Nathan Dempsey...

Sticking with the defenseman position, Rob Simpson gives the best quote of what a gamer Brad Stuart really is.

Brad Stuart came out of Toronto with some aches and pains, probably re-aggravated his foot a little bit, but he'll be o.k. He hates sitting out, and until something is amputated, he'll try his darnedest to play.

Bruins practiced at noon today, so there should be some coverage filtering out onto the internet soon. Outside of some cleaning and working out, I'll be around and keep an eye out for any news and updates.

2:03 p.m. Nate Thompson was returned to Providence today.

Bruins vs. Maple Leafs II

| 4 Comments

Starters: Thomas, Chara, Alberts, Primeau, Donovan, Mowers. Scratched are York (knee) and Axelsson (flu). Nate Thompson is in the line-up and Mark Stuart was interviewed on the pre-game show. Thompson has a nice black eye.

First Period: Joining a little late with the live-blog because I was sitting downstairs watching the game on my grandmother’s mini-tv with her. I’m joining in just after the Bruins killed off Mark Stuart’s tripping penalty, which was really Chistov’s penalty. So far I can tell you one thing, I rather see Tenkrat on the top line instead of Chistov. Oh and another thing, Boyes hit the post earlier. Donovan picks up a holding penalty at 10:49 for holding Tucker. I have to say it’ll be a good thing Donovan is in the box and not penalty killing because his last PK shift with Mowers scared me. Bruins get their first power play of the game when Peca got a holding penalty at 13:44. Antropov goes to the box for tripping Brad Stuart at 17:17. Bruins had a great scoring opportunity on the power play, but nobody could put the rebound past Raycroft. The puck hopped over Mara’s stick at the point with a minute to go in the period. Penalty killed off by the Leafs. It’s scoreless after one period.

Thoughts: Not many. Bruins need a better start to the next period and get their game together. I checked out the shift chart and Alberts didn't play any of the last seven minutes of the period. I must have missed something. Fill me in if you saw something. Nevermind.

Second Period: Jack Edwards called Mark Stuart “Alberts.” I know I couldn’t see many numbers on my grandmother’s small tv, so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. By the way, Mark Stuart is having a good game so far. White is in the penalty box for high-sticking Boyes. Holy crackers! Donovan scores! I knew wearing my t-shirt with the #22 might be a little lucky, but wow. Goal was scored at 5:59, assisted by Alberts and Mowers. (+1 Donovan, Mowers, Primeau, Alberts, B. Stuart.) The goal is the first of the season for Donovan and is his 200th NHL point. Nice hit by Alberts on Steen behind Thomas’s net. Jurcina got a high-sticking penalty at 9:09. Bruins killed off the penalty, with Thomas making a point-blank save on a Leafs player in front of the net. I’m not sure exactly how, but Chistov went into the offensive zone before the puck-carrier Savard, and somehow got back onside as Savard skated the puck over the line. Pane of glass popped out probably due to Kilger’s hit on Mara. Mara has a leg injury right now. He’s still on the bench, but he’s in pain. The Leafs get the puck past Thomas and it’s immediately called a no-goal on the ice by the referee. However, it doesn’t look like he made any kicking motion. I didn’t think it was conclusive enough to overturn the referee’s call, but of course the review thought so. Crap. Antropov got the goal at 15:39. (-1 Brad Stuart, Mark Stuart, Bergeron, Boyes, Sturm.) They had a little microphone segment with Coach Lewis and the referee talking and the referee sounded like he did not agree with the video review at all. Mara hasn’t been back on the ice since that hit. The period ends with the score tied at 1.

Third Period: Mara not on the bench to start the period, and is questionable for a return. Primeau got a penalty at 2:07 for hooking. Alberts got a high-sticking penalty at 2:26. I knew Jack Edwards was going to jinx him when he kept praising him at the beginning of the period. Leafs have a 5-on-3 for over a minute. Thomas made one save so far. Leafs hit the post and another save by Thomas. Nice clear by Bergeron as Primeau comes out of the box. Less than 20 seconds remaining on Alberts’s penalty. After the penalty kill, Tenkrat was out there with Savard and Murray (I said I wanted that earlier, remember?) and Tenkrat set up Murray for the go-ahead goal! I never screamed so loud! The other assist went to Mark Stuart. (+1 Murray, Savard, Tenkrat, Mark Stuart, Brad Stuart.) Whenever both Stuarts are on the ice for a goal, I’m just going to call them Stuarts from now on. Leafs iced the puck. There’s about 10 minutes left in the period. Bruins iced the puck now. It’s time to get through the 9 Minute Meltdown now. Thomas has a save. Some close calls there… but none of them went in. Thomas had another save. There’s too much play going on in the Bruins zone right now. They need to attack, not sit back. Raycroft had a save on Savard, and then Savard got a penalty for hooking at 13:56. Tucker with a nice dive over Primeau’s stick. You would think there was a pool waiting for him on the other side. Bruins kill off the penalty. Brad Stuart had a rough shift. Thomas had a save…only his 42nd save of the night. He’s not getting too much work. Raycroft has only seen 19 shots and made 17 saves so far. Bruins should get another one on him. “Tenkrat flattened Tucker in the neutral zone,” play-by-play by Edwards. I didn’t want to be original with that. Raycroft had a save or two on Tenkrat. Donovan wanted to score another goal on Raycroft, but Raycroft saved that. McCabe went to the bench with an injury and Sturm scores to make it 3-1!! There’s that other goal I wanted against Raycroft at 17:07. (+1 Sturm, Primeau, Donovan, B. Stuart, Jurcina.) Bergeron and Sturm had a 2-on-1, but Bergeron didn’t get the entire puck. Less than two minutes left now. Thomas had another save. Leafs pull Raycroft and Thomas makes another save. 1:13 left in the game now. Boyes got the empty-net goal which is awesome even if it is an empty-net. Goal was scored at 19:36, assisted by Bergeron and Chara. (+1 Boyes, Bergeron, Sturm, Chara, Alberts.) Bruins win 4-1! Thomas had 45 saves in the game. Raycroft had 20 saves. Yeah, go Timmy!

More thoughts later.

Game 22: In Toronto again

The Bruins are in Toronto again for tonight's "rematch" against the Maple Leafs (13-8-4). The Bruins defeated the Leafs 3-1 on Saturday night and are looking for two more points against their division rival. In their last five games, the Leafs are 2-3-0 and the Bruins are 3-2-0.

Andrew Raycroft (11-6-2, 2.76 GAA, .908 Sv%) and Tim Thomas (8-5-2, 3.01 GAA, .903 Sv%) will be in their respective nets. Darcy Tucker leads the Leafs in scoring with 25 points (16 goals, 9 assists), while Marc Savard leads the Bruins in scoring with 27 points (6 goals, 21 assists). Tucker and Wade Belak both have 38 PIMs to lead the Leafs. Zdeno Chara has 42 PIMs to lead the Bruins, but Paul Mara has 41 PIMs.

The Leafs' power play ranks 5th overall in the league (18th at home), and the Bruins' penalty kill remains at 29th overall (23rd on the road). The Bruins' power play ranks 7th overall in the league (14th on the road), and the Leafs' penalty kill is 10th overall (17th at home). One key stat is the Leafs have allowed four shorthanded goals. That's something the Bruins should be made aware of.

Forward Nate Thompson was recalled from Providence in case P.J. Axelsson (a.k.a. Zoolander) cannot play tonight. Defenseman Nathan Dempsey cleared waivers and should be assigned to Providence.

The referees tonight are Kevin Pollock and Craig Spada. Gametime is at 7:30.

Monday night chatter

I was starting on some statistics this afternoon that involve the "9 Minute Meltdown" of the third period, but there were only five meltdowns this month. I'm planning on doing some statistics for the month of November, but there are two games left and I can't predict how those games will turn out. If I could, I would say the Bruins win both games and will win one by at least three goals. Why stop at two? So I'll wait until Friday to work on those statistics.

Then I got an idea. What kind of statistics do you want to see? You name them and I'll try and do them. I already have the idea of doing a period-by-period breakdown of +/- with players to see who is on the ice for goals and when. But that's only the tip of the iceberg. So I'll take any suggestions you can give, as long as the information is out there, I will do them.

Onto Bruins things from today, while they are in Toronto tonight. I found the following article through a Google alert for Nick Boynton. (I knew if I started a blog about Boynton, I would eventually talk about him less and less, and it's working. I still watch Phoenix games when I can.) This great article is written by Mick Colageo and it's about the goonery in the NHL. You know who leads that department? Darcy Tucker himself.

In Bettman's perfect world, there would have been no fight, but hockey players are nothing if they don't stick up for one another. If anything, this could have blown over into a brawl of AHL-like proportions because Tucker kept at it. He went for Mara's knees next time both were on the ice — no penalty — and his leg-on-leg hit from behind on Andrew Alberts later in the game was a borderline slewfoot. Again, no call.

Throughout his career, officials have given Tucker — not a goon in the classic sense; that guy can play — a long leash.

----

If the NHL looks the other way at Tucker's brand of goonery, opponents have to respond because, when they don't, they are forfeiting territorial rights to loose pucks and are running scared. No team has ever won a hockey game at any level while running scared.

Mara's response may have saved him for the Bruins because, up until now, he'd done nothing to justify the sacrifice of Nick Boynton in the trade that brought him here from Phoenix. The defenseman went from goat to hero in a span of about 20 seconds; we'll see how long it wears.

However significant the moment for Mara, it may be more so for the NHL.

What's the over/under of Tucker dropping the gloves with somebody tomorrow? I didn't read any of his comments that were in the Toronto paper today, but you can check them out if you really want to. I know I wouldn't be against a Zdeno Chara vs. Tucker match-up, or even a Mara vs. Tucker rematch.

Moving on, and cuing sarcasm... Rob Simpson has the longest blog post in all of hockey history posted tonight. And end sarcasm. It did make me laugh out loud.

Another thing that made me laugh out loud was reading Bish's Blog yesterday and finding out he didn't know practice was cancelled. The irony alone in that is funny in itself, working for the Bruins and not knowing. Of course not to his fault because had I not read neither the Herald or the Globe articles, I wouldn't have known practice was cancelled either. But I knew somebody would say something somewhere about practice.

That's all I have for tonight folks. I think I'm still on a holiday break or something. Back tomorrow with a preview of the rematch between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Bruins.

Dempsey waived

| 1 Comment

I was totally relaxing on the couch and directed my attention online for at least a few minutes.

Reports are saying defenseman Nathan Dempsey is on waivers. If Dempsey clears, he will go to Providence. Defenseman Jason York has a lower-body injury, so the Bruins have six healthy defensemen. The healthy defensemen are Zdeno Chara, Paul Mara, Brad Stuart, Andrew Alberts, Mark Stuart and Milan Jurcina, who all should be in the line-up tomorrow against the Maple Leafs.

Pictures from Friday are in the gallery. Never realized how time consuming it is to upload, edit and upload. I think I'm going to go curl up with a book now. I'll probably have another post coming later.

Hannu recalled

| 3 Comments

The Bruins have recalled goaltender Hannu Toivonen from Providence. Philippe Sauve has been returned to Providence. (Tip from the HF Boards.)

I'll get Toivonen's stats from the AHL later. Right now, I have to get towels out of the dryer.

Updated: A little after 11...

According to the stats on the AHL's website, which I'm not sure if they're up to date with tonight's game, but Toivonen's record was 1-4-0 in Providence with 16 goals against. His GAA was 3.75 and his save percentage was .875. I forgot Toivonen was injured, so they might be the latest.

Hello, if I pay more attention to links and the like, I would find out that yes, they are the latest stats because there is a game-by-game stats page for Toivonen.

So there ya go. Welcome back Hannu. Hope he's more on top of his game than I was on mine right there.

So this is a day off

The Bruins had the day off today. They were scheduled to practice, but the coach gave them the day to relax and do whatever hockey players do on their days off.

I also took the day off. Had practice happened as scheduled, I would have been there, but instead elected to go shopping for some much needed sweaters at the mall. I also took my mother out to dinner at The Grille because it's The Grille (my second home away from home), and outside of football fans, it was pretty low-key which was nice.

I plan on editing the pictures from Friday's game at some point tonight, and then that's really about it. Today was the first day in quite some time I didn't have to think or write about Bruins so let me enjoy it. I'll be back tomorrow with stats and facts and who knows what else.

Bruins vs. Leafs

| 9 Comments

What you need to know: Jason York is in the line-up. Nathan Dempsey and Milan Jurcina are out of the line-up. Tim Thomas is starting. Andrew Raycroft is starting. Mats Sundin is back from his elbow injury. Brad Boyes was interviewed during the pre-game show.

Teams are wearing their Vintage jerseys tonight. I think the Bruins game motto should be, “the best defense is a good offense” because their defensive game wasn’t good yesterday.

Starters: Thomas, Chara, Alberts, Primeau, Mowers, Donovan.

First Period: Less than 90 seconds into the game gives Mark Stuart and York’s first shift of the game together. Brad Stuart was set up for a nice shot from the blueline, that allowed a nice rebound, but Raycroft covered it up. White made a nice defensive play on Kessel to poke-check the puck off of his stick. Bergeron had a nice shift and he hit the post. The puck was loose in the crease, but no Bruins were there to tap it in. Two icing calls in a row against Toronto… three now. Huh, interesting story involving York’s jersey being stolen out of the locker-room. They changed Stastny’s spare jersey and put a “25 York” on it. I wonder where Gill was at the time the jersey went missing. Good shift by the fourth line that rewards Tenkrat with a goal and gives the Bruins a 1-0 lead at 6:04. Assists went to Chistov and Chara. (+1 Tenkrat, Chistov, Kessel, Alberts, Chara.) Bruins now had two icing calls. The play in the Bruins defensive zone is scary tonight. Another icing call against the Bruins. York gets a penalty for hooking at 11:41. Toronto gets a penalty for holding, which gives both teams 39 seconds of 4-on-4 hockey before the Bruins will go on the power play. Savard scored a power play goal while I was on MySpace. Good timing. Assists went to Bergeron and Chara. Tucker went off on a rant at Alberts because his *bleeping* stick was between his *bleeping* legs, but there might have been an extra bleep or two in there. Tucker with a big hit on Chara. Mara goes to the defense of Chara, and drops the gloves before he skated over to him. Both are off for fighting majors at 17:48, and we’ll see if Mara picks up any extra time. It was a great fight and Mara unloaded some serious punches on Tucker. Mara does pick up the instigator penalty and ten minute misconduct. Kessel is serving the instigator penalty while Mara is in the locker-room for the rest of the period. Thomas made a superb save on the penalty kill. There was nice work by the penalty killers, Murray with a nice diving play and Alberts with a blocked shot. Bruins lead 2-0 after the first period.

Tenkrat was interviewed during the first intermission. A weird tidbit is the Garden introductions have his first name spelled wrong. They spelled it “Peter” and it’s “Petr”.

Second Period: With Mara serving his penalty minutes, York is paired with Brad Stuart. Mark Stuart is out there with Alberts. Mark Stuart went off and York is out with Alberts, until Alberts can change, but he iced the puck instead. Chara and Brad Stuart are out now, after Alberts finally got off the ice. Toronto iced the puck, and McCabe was shaken up so he went to the bench. Boyes stripped the puck from a Leafs player and created a turnover, but couldn’t connect with a pass to Bergeron. Another icing call on Toronto. Mark Stuart had a shot on net off the face-off. Raycroft picks up a holding penalty at 5:02 when he held Axelsson. I don’t think I ever saw a goalie get a holding penalty before. Kubina took a puck in the mouth and went off to the locker-room. Alberts made a good play to set up a scoring chance, but Mowers couldn’t finish it off. (In my opinion, Alberts would have more than one point if forwards could finish plays off.) There is penalty on the Bruins coming up on somebody if the Bruins can ever get possession of the puck. Murray goes to the penalty box for hooking at 9:56. Thomas made a save on a Leafs player who was alone in front of the net. The puck slipped by Thomas in the crease and Chara made the save with his right skate. Pohl hit the post. Alberts had a monster shift. Mara is out of the box finally. There’s less than a minute left in the period. Bruins still lead 2-0 after two periods.

Third Period: Toronto ices the puck 50 seconds into the period. And they’re playing a good song at the arena that isn’t supposed to make you feel like dancing, but it does anyway. Sturm had a nice scoring chance, but the defenseman had Raycroft’s back and stood between the net and Raycroft. On his shift this period, Mark Stuart was very aware of where the white jerseys were in the zone. There was a great back-checking play by Chistov to strip the puck from the Leafs player. The play is going end to end during this period, but the Leafs aren’t really getting deep into the Bruins zone. Bruins defense is standing them up, so the Leafs try dumping the puck in. York had a hit on O’Neill. Thomas had a save on Peca. 9:45 left in the period now. Referees miss the penalty on the Leafs player that lost his stick when he tripped Alberts, and then Mara gets a delay of game penalty for dumping the puck into the stands at 11:05. Nooooooooooooo! Sundin scores on the power play after Tucker takes Sturm out of the play. Goal is under review though, but it still stands at 12:04. Mowers hit the outside of the post. About six minutes left in the period now. Leafs fans wanted a penalty, but I don’t think the refs are going to call anything outside of delay of game. Boyes scores!!!! Goal comes at 15:44; assists went to Bergeron and Sturm. (+1 Boyes, Bergeron, Sturm, Alberts, Mara.) The puck slipped through Raycroft’s five-hole. 3:31 left in the period and Thomas made a save. Alberts lost his stick, Boyes gave him his, but it didn’t matter at the Bruins cleared the puck out of the zone. Good heads up play by both Alberts and Boyes. Two minutes left now. One minute left now. Toronto has the puck in the Bruins zone, and Raycroft is pulled. Huge save by Thomas after Alberts got dumped in the corner, and it should have been an interference penalty. 45 seconds left. 20 seconds left. 10 seconds. Brad Stuart had the final clear of the game. Game over! Bruins win 3-1!

Stats and Thoughts: Bruins win their first game of the season by more than one goal. Finally. The three stars were all Bruins, 3 Savard, 2 Chara, 1 Thomas. Chara played 30:13. Alberts finished a +2 and played, quite possibly a season-high, 26:32, which was more ice time than Brad Stuart. The statistician credited the Leafs with 25 hits, while the Bruins only had 13, and that seems a little lop-sided. Thomas had 27 saves. Savard only won 25% of his face-offs. Primeau, Bergeron and Kessel all won over 50% of their face-offs.

That’s all for now. Maybe another thought or two later.

It's Saturday and the Bruins are in Toronto

I am starting this game preview a little differently because I wanted to have something fun at the beginning. Occasionally, I’ll send a comment or two to Rob Simpson’s mailbag, but usually I’ll just talk to him at games as he’s passing by. Well, when I read he was giving up coffee, I had to send him a comment. He posted it as Contributor #1 in his mailbag today.

You gave up coffee?! No more Dunkins in Wilmington? I'll have to make up for it. I wanted to share this little weird fact with you. Not sure what it is really, but the Bruins are 5-0-1 when I go to a game. Coincidence or good luck charm? I haven't figured it out yet. Good luck on giving up coffee. I gave up soda, and did a good job with that. As always, keep up the great work!


You need to get your butt to more games.

Needless to say, I like his reply. But since I sent the comment, my record is 1-2-0. After Thursday’s game against Tampa Bay, I’ll be taking a little Garden hiatus.

And for what it’s worth, Rob left with a cup of coffee in his hand after yesterday’s game. He may have prompted a “Rob! Coffee?” comment from me. But in another post, he said he was going to start drinking coffee again on Thursday.

Looking back to yesterday’s game against Carolina, I have a few thoughts. One was the turnovers. Despite not being credited with more than five giveaways for the team, the Bruins gave up possession of the puck way too often and frequently. It was so frustrating sitting there and watching them do that shift after shift. Players Zdeno Chara, Andrew Alberts, P.J. Axelsson, Glen Murray and Marc Savard finished -2, the worst on the team for the game. The first Carolina goal deflected off what I think was both Paul Mara’s and Mark Stuart’s skates. The puck definitely went in off of Mark Stuart’s skate, which was a very unlucky bounce for the blueliner who played in his second game since coming back up from Providence. Phil Kessel had a hit during the game, which I remember. I also think a timeout might have been the better option rather than a goaltending switch.

Looking ahead to tonight’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs (13-7-4), the Bruins will see if they can bounce back from yesterday’s 5-1 loss. The Leafs played in Washington last night and skated to a 7-1 win over the Capitals. Former Bruin defenseman Hal Gill had a goal and an assist. Andrew Raycroft (11-5-2, 2.75 GAA, .909 Sv%) had 22 saves in the game.

Since the Leafs played seven hours after the Bruins did, and had more miles to travel, the Bruins might have a slight advantage over them. Not sure if Raycroft would start back-to-back games, but if he doesn’t, Jean-Sebastien Aubin (2-1-2, 3.21 GAA, .891 Sv%) would be in net. Tim Thomas (7-5-2, 3.16 GAA, .899 Sv%) will most likely be in net for the Bruins. The referees tonight are Wes McCauley and Michael McGeough.

With lack of information coming out of Toronto right now, that’s about it for the game preview. Should information become available, I will update again.

12:35 p.m. I wasn't sure if the Bruins would have a game-day skate this morning, and I now have my answer. The Bruins didn't skate, but had a team meeting instead. Information came from Kevin Paul Dupont.

Hurricanes vs. Bruins

| 3 Comments

Were the Bruins even awake for this game? I know it took an iced coffee on my way to Boston to wake me up, but the Bruins most certainly fell asleep during the 2nd period. It was some of the worst hockey I've ever seen.

Bruins lost 5-1. John Grahame started for Carolina. Tim Thomas started for Boston, but was replaced by Phillippe Sauve during the 2nd period (after the 3rd goal) to probably spark the team. It worked, kind of. Andrew Alberts hit the post (did you hear me scream during that?) and Patrice Bergeron scored a goal, but there wasn't much to get excited about.

And for the first time ever in going to Bruins games, I spilled some of my beer on my left thigh during the 2nd intermission! I'll blame the Bruins.

Nathan Dempsey was the scratch. Milan Jurcina was paired with Mark Stuart. My bet is Dempsey will be in the line-up tomorrow.

The Bruins bussed out after the game to fly to Toronto, and us Chicas headed to The Sports Grille where we camped out for quite some time.

We camped out there so long that the Celtics were already playing by the time we all left, and we had roughly two meals and a lot of beers. I almost forgot about the game, but since it was so early, I suggest the Bruins play more games at noon so I can hang with the Chicas more and plan road trips. (Oh yes, there is a road trip being planned as you read.)

With that said, I'm going to call it a night because I do not want to remember this game. The Bruins won't have much time to remember it either as they face-off against the Maple Leafs in less than 24 hours. I'll catch ya for the game preview tomorrow at some point. I didn't see my grandmother at all today, and when I got home (she was in bed), promised her breakfast (pancakes) tomorrow morning. I'll check in soon after, unless something newsworthy pops up in the meantime.

Too early

My alarm went off at 8. I literally "got up" about seven minutes ago. I didn't think I would preview today's Carolina Hurricanes vs. Bruins game at noon, but here I am with some information. It won't be a complete preview with stats, but at least you'll know a little more than you did before.

Transactions: Goaltender Philippe Sauve was recalled to back-up Tim Thomas today. Sauve will be wearing #35, which used to be worn by goaltender Robbie Tallas. Forward Yan Stastny was returned to Providence yesterday.

Injuries: Goaltender Brian Finley is listed under injuries with a groin strain, and is listed as "out indefinitely."

The referees today are Mike Leggo and Bill McCreary.

The Bruins will be flying to Toronto after today's game, as they have a game in Toronto tomorrow night and Tuesday. But they'll return home after Saturday's game. I will be back sometime later, most likely tonight (quite possibly late afternoon) with a recap of the game. I hope it's a good one and the Bruins are up for it!

Thanksgiving is not fot turkeys

| 5 Comments

I came up with the idea for this post towards the end of the Penguins vs. Bruins game last night. I wanted to change things up, and take a little timeout from the mundane everyday game/practice/injury/recall things. The schedule doesn’t allow much time for this and I know I have been lacking in original content lately.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I give you... Things to be Thankful for this 2006-2007 Boston Bruins Season.

Rally helmets – Not only are they quite amusing to look at, but they’ve been done two times, and they resulted in two shootout wins. Rallying was started by Marc Savard.

Fluto Shinzawa – His blog coverage cannot be beat and without it, Bruins fans would have a lot less access to information. (And this blogger would have a lot less content.)

WBZ Audio Clips – Many times I’ll be bored in the afternoon and want to hear Bruins players talk, and I head over to their RSS feed to see what new clips they have, and check out the old ones.

The location of Providence – With the Bruins AHL affiliate in Providence, roughly 50 miles away, it allows Boston to have game-day recalls whenever they need them. Prime examples are Yan Stastny and Mark Stuart.

P.J. Axelsson’s hair – Seriously, his hair is something to be thankful for.

Wilmington practices – The Bruins have the great open-door policy, following along the lines of other NHL teams. Now, if only practices are the Garden were open…

Brad Stuart – A tough gamer who is playing while his broken pinky heals. Imagine the defense without him.

HD – I always watch games I’m not at in HD, but last night caught some of the rebroadcast on regular television and I could not see half of the things I saw during the game. That right there made me very thankful for HD.

Happy Thanksgiving all! (Read about some of the Bruins' plans from Bish.)

No game preview on Friday morning because I'm going to the game. But at least the game report should be up before midnight. Enjoy the game!

Banged up goalies

Perhaps I should have made an "injuries" category at the beginning of the season because they are certainly getting talked about an awful lot around here. They're a hot topic in some posts.

As expected, goaltender Brian Finley pulled his groin in the game tonight. Fluto says he'll be re-evaluated tomorrow (which is really today at time of posting). Tim Thomas is also a little injured, with some of the injury coming from the collision on Monday night, but also on another play during the game. On a side note, I love Thomas's quote regarding Evgeni Malkin's shot in overtime, "There was no way I was going to let this kid ruin my whole day."

With Hannu Toivonen scheduled to start all three games for Providence this weekend *knock on wood*, the Bruins could recall recently acquired Phillippe Sauve from the Providence Bruins. But if they just need a body to sit on the bench, they might look to Jordan Sigalet for the duty.

Perhaps there should be a "goalie drama" category also.

One thing I forgot to mention earlier, not that it made any difference in the outcome, but just one of those things I observe, defenseman Mark Stuart was sans visor in his debut tonight, leaving the AHL mandatory visor rule behind. And while I'm talking about Mark-Stu, he played 8:45, was a -1 and picked up two penalties. Not bad for his first game back in the NHL after knee surgery, considering his tripping penalty consisted of him sticking his stick near the Penguins player's feet around the same time the player fell.

1:41 a.m. One other thing I forgot at the time of Andrew Alberts's penalty late in the third period. (Can you tell I watched some of the rebroadcast?) The referee in the corner, in front of both Alberts and Malkin didn't make the penalty call, it was the referee behind them outside of the zone. I remember seeing it and being too mad to obviously write about it.

Bruins vs. Penguins

| 9 Comments

I took a quick shower because I had 20 minutes to spare and after cooking deviled eggs, chocolate/peanut butter brownies, and dinner (mac & cheese), I needed a break that didn’t involve the kitchen or washing dishes. I am in my pajamas at 7 o’clock, and I beat my grandmother for once. (Before anybody asks, they’re comfy flannel pants and the most comfortable XL t-shirt in the world.)

Pre-Game Show: I didn’t miss a second of the pre-game show and saw Malkin walking in with Gonchar. Then they showed the Bruins coming off the bus, one of my favorite parts, with Chara, Stastny, Alberts and Boyes. King Kessel will be interviewed in his first pre-game interview of the season, and probably his career. Axelsson will decide if he can go. Tom Fitzgerald is solo tonight with Eric Frede.

I will be doing some serious live-blogging tonight. Period recaps posted after each period, so let’s get the game started already!

Starters: Finley, Savard, Axelsson, Murray, Chara, Alberts. Axelsson is a go with an extra piece of protection on the skate. Scratches are Jurcina and Stastny. They showed Crosby standing for the anthem. Fleury is in net for the Penguins.

I have to remember there are two Stuarts playing for the Bruins tonight. I have to specify which one it is.

First Period: Brad Stuart received a big hit on his first shift of the game. Penguins had their first couple of shots on net, and Finley made the saves. Brad Stuart had a hit. Mark Stuart has his first shift less than 3 minutes into the game. Chistov picks up a penalty at 2:11 for delay of game (shooting puck into the stands). Not a great way to start the game. Chara had a couple of hits on the penalty killing shift. Alberts made a nice play to knock the puck away from a Penguins player in mid-air, and Chara cleared the puck out of the zone. Brad Stuart blocked a shot. Finley covered the puck after it bounced off of a couple of Bruins and into the crease. Savard blocked a shot, and the penalty is up. Sturm had a bit of bad luck when his stick broke at the butt-end when he was handling the puck. The Donovan-Mowers-Primeau line spent the most amount of time in the offensive zone. Dempsey and Mark Stuart need a little bit better communication because there have been a couple of times when Dempsey will reverse the puck, and Mark isn’t there. Finley with a nice pad save on a Penguins shot. Bruins get a too many men on the ice penalty (shocker) at 9:59, and Kessel is in the box serving the penalty. Christensen got a penalty for diving at 10:33 to even things up for some 4-on-4 hockey. Bruins had some nice chances on their abbreviated power play, with Chara and Alberts (seriously) at the points. Alberts had a shot, and Murray was there for the rebound but couldn’t get the puck by Fleury, despite my screaming, “Get it in!” Christensen had a breakaway coming out of the box, and Mark Stuart got a tripping penalty on the play at 12:42. Bruins killed off the penalty. Chara had a giveaway in the defensive zone, but the forwards back-checked and had a 2-on-1 going the other way, where nothing happened. Recchi scores on an innocent play and shot, and the puck beat Finley glove-side. (-1 Dempsey, M. Stuart, Primeau, Donovan, Mowers.) Mara picks up a penalty for delay of game at 19:10. Penguins have 1:10 of power play time to start the second period. Penguins have the 1-0 lead after one. Bruins had 11 shots while the Penguins had 7.

Stats/Thoughts: According to the scoresheet, Alberts had two hits and leads the Bruins right now. I swear I saw Brad Stuart with at least two hits. Murray is leading the team in shots with 3. Chara played 9:50. Mowers, Chara and Alberts each blocked two shots. Even Tom Fitzgerald knew what to do on that Penguins goal. He probably could have defended better than Dempsey, who was playing it like a 2-on-1. I’m still looking for where Mark Stuart tripped Christensen.

Second Period: Well, Finley is out of the game now (most likely injury as he spoke with the trainer), and Thomas is now in net. Penguins thought they had a power play goal, but the referee blew the whistle before the puck went in the net. The Bruins looked like they were killing a penalty while it was 5-on-5. I actually had to count the Bruins on the ice to make sure I didn’t miss a penalty when I was on the phone. (I have a Cam Neely story to be posted later.) Thomas got a delay of game penalty for touching the puck outside of the trapezoid. Are you kidding me, Bruins? They go from hooking players to taking foolish penalties. The arena announcers said it was Finley. They didn’t realize there was a new goalie in net. Boyes served the penalty. While on the penalty kill, I heard Jack Edwards say something about Alberts getting hit and his neck snapping back. Hopefully it’s nothing, but it looked like he was hurting a bit after. Bruins killed off the penalty. Bruins get a power play after Savard was tripped up, but Petrovicky got a hooking penalty. Savard makes a perfect pass to Chistov who was camped out at the side of the net, and Chistov slips the puck past Fleury at 10:20. A power play goal scored by Chistov, with assists going to Savard and Mara. After a brief blackout by NESN, Sturm scored off a nice pass from Bergeron, and Boyes picks up the other assist. (+1 Sturm, Bergeron, Boyes, Alberts, Chara.) Ruutu picks up a double-minor (roughing and unsportsmanlike conduct) for picking on Donovan at 13:18. Donovan’s jersey got some major rips near the collar, which would be a great game-worn jersey to own. Bruins get a four minute power play and can do some damage. Which Chara does with a goal at 14:24, puck hit the inside of the post. The assists went to Bergeron and Savard. Power play goal, and they have another power play left. NESN had me and everybody else going “What the hell!” when Savard had the puck in front of the net because the picture froze. You cannot do that NESN. It’s not nice! (My mother said it kept doing this on Monday night.) So NESN viewers missed the rest of the power play. And Brad Stuart picked up a boarding penalty at 16:25. Thomas made a glove save on Malkin on the penalty kill. Bruins killed off the Stuart penalty and have a Chara penalty (elbowing) to kill off next at 18:45. Penguins go offside on the power play. Bruins have the lead 3-1 after two periods.

Stats/Thoughts: It was definitely Chistov I saw yesterday and not Mark Stuart because Chistov has a lot more hair. I want to type less during the next period, which means less penalties, please. Chara has played 18:29. Mark Stuart now has 2 hits to tie Alberts’s 2 hits. Murray is still leading the team in shots with 4 now. Mowers and Alberts lead the team in blocked shots with 3 apiece.

Third Period: Bruins killed off the remaining time on Chara’s penalty. Axelsson showed off his good hockey sense when he read a defensive play perfectly and proceeded to break it up. Thomas made a couple of saves so far. Bruins go offside when Mowers took his time tagging up. Crosby is hanging out with some kids, which pretty much fits. Some play going on in the Bruins defensive zone after a few attempts to clear the puck failed. Malkin picked up a penalty in the offensive zone when he wrapped both arms around Alberts, getting a holding penalty at 7:56. Fleury made an awesome save on Murray after he was set up from Savard. Murray had another chance that looked like it was on the goal line, but ended up hitting both posts. Going back the other way, Malkin scores after he comes out of the penalty box at 10:02. The power play unit was still on the ice. (-1 B. Stuart, Savard, Murray, Axelsson, Bergeron.) Bruins still up 3-2 with less than 9 minutes left now. Edwards is calling Mara “Chara” because there’s a 3 in the number. Huge saves by Thomas on Malkin and Recchi. Donovan could have made it a two-goal lead again when he had Fleury lying in the crease, but Fleury got his blocker hand on the puck. Primeau and Mowers had a 2-on-1, but couldn’t cash in. Mark Stuart gets a penalty for roughing at 13:26. Axelsson made a great shorthanded play and got a shot on net, and a face-off in the Penguins zone. Bruins killed off the penalty, which was a huge kill for the Bruins. Then the Bruins had a 3-on-1 going down to the Penguins zone, with Mark Stuart carrying the puck. Mark Stuart took the shot, and there was a rebound, but no Bruin could get it. Penguins got a too many men on the ice penalty. The Bruins are using two defensemen at the points, which is wise because the Penguins are pretty good shorthanded and there is less than four minutes left in the game. Chara lost an edge while the unit was changing and almost had a turnover in the defensive zone. Brad Stuart and Mara are on the points for the second unit. Penguins killed off the penalty. What looked like a great defensive play by Alberts on Malkin got Alberts a hooking penalty at 17:56. Alberts didn’t even touch him, let alone get his stick in there for a hooking penalty. That’s despicable. Gonchar could have gotten an interference penalty when he interfered with Bergeron at the blue line, but the refs ignored that. Recchi scores while the Penguins have an extra attacker out for the power play with 30 seconds left.

Overtime: Murray had the first shot in overtime. Bruins are going with three forwards and one defenseman in overtime. Thomas made a huge save with less than two minutes left in overtime. After Chara coughs up the puck in the defensive zone, Thomas made an even bigger save on Malkin. Bruins take a timeout. 1:35 left in overtime. Brad Stuart and Chara out there now. Now it’s only Mara and three forwards. Mara had a shot and Fleury made the save.

Shootout: So much for a nice relaxing game in my pajamas. Rally helmets!!! Let’s go Bruins! Boyes was having a little trouble with his rally helmet because of the visor. Kessel wears his like a pro. Bergeron has his rally helmet on, so Boyes shouldn’t have a problem. Penguins are shooting first. Ouellett is up first, and he missed the net. Sturm shooting first for the Bruins, scores five hole!! Malkin next, save by Thomas! Bergeron next, save by Fleury. Gonchar next, save by Thomas!! Rally helmets work again! Bruins win 4-3.

Post-Game: Tom Fitzgerald had me laughing like a fool when he was describing Malkin’s penalty for holding Alberts, paraphrasing would be “maybe he likes Alberts.” I also had a comment in my head regarding the penalty when it happened, but I can’t type it. Murray led the Bruins with 6 shots on net. Alberts and Mark Stuart still hold the lead in hits with 2 apiece. Alberts led the team in blocked shots with 4. Primeau won 70% of his face-offs. Thomas had 16 saves in the win. Bruins had 31 shots on net. Thomas says the rally helmets are the key to the shootout. Fitzgerald just called Finley a “bugger” because of his bad luck with injuries. Finley's injury is being described as a lower body injury.

Bruins will have a late skate tomorrow and a short one and then can go do their Thanksgiving plans. My house will have a 17½ pound turkey for dinner, so if anybody doesn’t have a place to go, consider that your open invitation.

Preview in Pittsburgh

The Boston Bruins are in Pittsburgh tonight to play the Penguins (10-7-2). It is the first meeting of the season between these two teams. All-time, the Bruins have a 93-47-21-1 record against the Penguins.

The Penguins’ last game was a 5-3 win on Monday against the Philadelphia Flyers. Leading scorer Sidney Crosby (30 points) suffered a groin injury during that game, and will not play in tonight’s game. Evgeni Malkin will most likely be moved up to the first line and be Zdeno Chara’s assignment for the night. I haven’t heard who the potential starter is for the Penguins, and I’m not really in the mood to look. It’ll either be Marc-Andre Fleury (10-5-1, 2.82 GAA, .913 Sv%) or Jocelyn Thibault (0-2-1, 3.73 GAA, .890 Sv%). By looking at those records and stats, I bet it will be Fleury.

The Bruins recalled forward Yan Stastny (as expected) in case P.J. Axelsson can’t play tonight. Axelsson is a game-time decision with a sore foot. Brian Finley (0-1-0, 3.08 GAA, .923 Sv%) will get the start for the Boston Bruins, as Tim Thomas isn’t feeling 100% after his collision on Monday night. Defenseman Mark Stuart will take the place of Milan Jurcina (healthy scratch) in the line-up. There is more information from Fluto, as always.

Two interesting things… One is Glen Murray has two hat tricks against the Penguins in his career, and he has five total hat tricks. Two is the Bruins have taken points out of their last 11 games in Pittsburgh at 8-0-2-1 with their last regulation loss in Pittsburgh a 4-2 loss on Dec. 14, 1999.

A little bit of stats to pass some time. Murray leads the Bruins being a +8, while Paul Mara and Wayne Primeau are both the team worst at -9. Talk about different sides of the spectrum. Marc Savard is the team’s leading scorer with 23 points. Shean Donovan still remains one point shy of his 200th NHL point milestone, but he’s been one point shy for quite some time now. Primeau is two assists shy of his 100th NHL assists milestone, but like Donovan, has been two assists shy for quite a while.

Mark Mowers is playing his 200th NHL game tonight. The referees tonight are Greg Kimmerly and Chris Lee.

NHL Insider

| 3 Comments

Came across the following feature on Nick Boynton tonight in the NHL Insider section at NHL.com.

Boynton didn't play on Sunday night because his bruised foot is still bothering him. He did play on Saturday night, and while I check his statistics every game, I need to focus on the Bruins for now.

So he was the short one

I went into Boston this afternoon to do a little shopping at the Pro Shop for some new Bruins apparel. I also had to go to Mike's Pastry to pick up some things for Thanksgiving. A few rum cakes, and a pound and a half of cookies later, I made my way back to North Station for the subway.

My only Bruins sightings were split, with one coming after my Pro Shop shopping spree, when I saw P.J. Axelsson who was limping. Then after my trip to the North End, I saw a defenseman, a goalie and another Bruin. I couldn't place the unnamed Bruin and when I text messaged the Wing-Chica, she informed me Mark Stuart was back. My reply, "So he was the short one!" (But Mark is listed at 6'2" so maybe it wasn't him, unless that 6'2" is generous. Hmm. My first guess was Stan Chistov, as he's the only one I haven't seen off-ice and he should be shorter than the goalie and the defenseman.)

If Axelsson is hurt, the Bruins would need to recall another forward, unless they can dress seven defensemen, but since Mark Stuart is already recalled and playing tomorrow night (according to Kevin Paul Dupont), then they're going to need somebody else. Of course, Axelsson could still play tomorrow. (More information on the Globe blog.)

I'll check back in a bit and add more links and news when it becomes available because I feel a little out of the loop. But for now, I'm editing the photos from last night. Look at me, all go-go-go today.

Updated sometime before 9 p.m. From Bish's blog, there is a quote from Coach Dave Lewis about Mark Stuart.

"He's back and he's going to get himself in the lineup," said Coach. "We did it the other day for a precautionary reason. And now we are doing it…to put him in the lineup."

So I guess it's for sure that Mark Stuart will be making his season debut tomorrow in Pittsburgh. I have more Bruins thoughts, and maybe I'll get them typed up at some point tonight. If not, I'll catch ya tomorrow for the game preview.

Panthers vs. Bruins

| 2 Comments

My first regulation loss of the season left me feeling so sad. The Bruins lost 3-2 to the Panthers, and the score doesn’t really tell what the game was like. The game, pretty much was the worst one I’ve gone to this season. The Bruins were not playing like they have been the past four games. So here’s a different type of recap because I’m tired and cold.

(I got home earlier tonight, but it’s just I didn’t see my mother except for about 10 minutes before I left because I had an unexpected visitor for an hour when I was planning on eating, making signs and getting ready. Talk about a delay. So I had to catch up with my mother when I got home… and my grandmother who was still awake at midnight waiting for me.)

The Good/Funny:
- When Andrew Alberts took a chunk out of the top of glass with his “dump-in.” I knew his shot was hard, but dude.
- The security guard whistling “Three Blind Mice” as the officials left after the game.
- Andy Brickley agreeing with us girls about many things from tonight’s game, most notably the penalties.
- Having a lot of fun during the 3rd period because the Bruins were playing that bad.
- Glen Murray’s two goals.
- When I called my mother during the 2nd period, I mentioned something about Alberts and her reply was, “so that’s why he sucks tonight.”
- The arena being empty. This makes things a lot less annoying, like dealing with people who walk slowly around the concourse.

The Bad/Annoying:
- Buying a bottle of water and having the cap removed. I didn’t buy a beer at first because I was paranoid of spilling it on my new sweater, but then I was paranoid about spilling the water all over my purse. Thanks Garden’s new rules because caps are “weapons.”
- Not eating all day forced me to buy popcorn during the 1st intermission, which is something I’ve been craving, but my cash flow certainly disappeared a lot faster tonight.
- The Bruins forcing me to buy a beer during the 2nd intermission. I needed something happy.
- Paul Mara’s “goal”.
- Tim Thomas almost getting injured.
- The Bruins out-shooting the Panthers but not really feeling like they did.
- Honestly, I would have preferred Mark Stuart to play in the game rather than Milan Jurcina.
- Murray’s penalty in the 3rd period when there should have been a diving penalty called.
- Alberts’s penalty in the 3rd period, where the ref didn’t immediately put his arm up until at least 5 seconds later, only after the Panthers player whined about it. I was not happy when I saw that.
- The Garden was absolutely freezing.

I’ll probably add more at a later time. My mind is slowing down.

One other thing before I go for real

I found this before my grandmother-sitting duty called and couldn't post. I'm currently sneaking some time away to gather some things for the game before I head back downstairs and spend time with her.

But I noticed that the website got mentioned in The Bruins Report's latest podcast. I haven't had time to listen to it yet, obviously, but will do so when I get back from the game. I hope it's all good things. Check out the rest of the blog too.

And right now, I have a phone ringing that is in my pocket.

Don't get too excited

| 3 Comments

Tonight the Boston Bruins host the Florida Panthers (7-10-4) in a rare Monday night match-up. Both teams are currently tied in the Eastern Conference with 18 points, so obviously there’s a little extra incentive for whoever comes out with a win tonight. It will be the 22nd game of the season for the Panthers, while only the 18th game for the Bruins.

Both Ed Belfour (4-4-2, 2.80 GAA, .903 Sv%) and Alex Auld (3-6-2, 3.34 GAA, .892 Sv%) have played in 12 games this season, so I consider it a toss-up about the goalie that will start tonight. (Auld is actually really starting for the Panthers.) Olli Jokinen leads the team with 19 points. In their last 5 games, the Panthers are 1-3-1, while the Bruins are 4-1-0 with a four-game winning streak. The last meeting between these two teams was at the beginning of the season when the Panthers beat the Bruins 8-3. The Bruins have gotten better since that game.

The Bruins’ home power play ranks 2nd in the league (7th overall), and the Panthers’ road power play also ranks 2nd in the league (4th overall). The Bruins’ home penalty killing ranks 27th in the league (28th overall), and the Panthers’ road penalty killing ranks 23rd in the league (23rd overall).

It was for sure, defenseman Mark Stuart had been recalled because he skated with the team. But after waiting for updates (Bish has the scoop first), it appears that M. Stuart has been sent back to Providence now. Sounds like they had a question about a defenseman, and if he could play (anybody willing to bet it was Brad Stuart?), but the defenseman is fine. So Mark Stuart had the shortest recall in history. It will be the same line-up for the Bruins that played on Saturday night against Washington.

Adding at 1:45 p.m. At least Mark Stuart had one task to complete while up in Boston. He got Yan Stastny's sticks to bring back to Providence, and I hope he does charge for the service. I will not be checking in any more this afternoon as I will be grandmother-sitting at 3:30 until I leave for the game. I plan to be home earlier than I was on Saturday night. Another tidbit, I can tell you that Patrice Bergeron will be the guest on Overtime tonight.

The referees tonight are Dennis LaRue and Tim Peel. It looks like the game is a go for Aly and myself still, because we most certainly love the Bruins.

For my wing-chica

| 5 Comments

This post is dedicated to my wing-girl because it was what we talked about at the bar on Saturday night. Girls who talk hockey at bars rock.

Supposedly, defenseman Mark Stuart is coming back to Boston (tip from Heather's post). I may have predicted he would be back up here this week, but most of the time, I have no idea what the Bruins will really do.

I'm going to assume he'll be up here for the game-day skate today (as it's currently after midnight), and that means there's a chance he might play tonight!

You know, I wasn't going to go to the game, but.... I'll have to see how the day plays out.

Capitals vs. Bruins

It looks like a game report, but at 2 a.m., it will not be a great one.

Wow, I can't even remember the score. I know Glen Murray scored the game-winner in overtime on the power play.

I know Ovechkin had a goal tonight, and a leg-kicking celebration. He scored when the Bruins were killing off a penalty. It was a 5-on-3 when Wayne Primeau got a hooking penalty after Andrew Alberts got a slashing penalty. I saw both the slash and the hook. The Bruins had three defensemen out there because from my view, Paul Mara came on the ice when a forward went off and it was Alberts with Mara, Brad Stuart and P.J. Axelsson. (That might not be accurate, but that's what I think I saw.)

I know Stuart took a beating tonight. I don't think having your head squished against the boards by roughly three players coming in on ya feels any good.

I know Zdeno Chara scored a power play goal right after I said "get it on net!"

Ah, Axelsson scored the first goal. And Marco Sturm had an unsuccessful penalty shot. He was not very happy when his attempt was saved and he slammed his stick over the boards at the bench.

Bruins won 3-2. 6-0-1 now. Everything (sidebar) will be updated at a decent hour on Sunday. Bruins have the day off.

10:01 p.m. Update I watched the game replay earlier to refresh my memory on some things I forgot. Murray hit the post early in the first period, after Axelsson's goal, and of course the play was started by a nice breakout pass from Alberts. Stuart had the hit of the night in the 2nd period. I did not like Ovechkin's boarding penalty. It looked like a lot of the hooking penalties were marginal at best.

Looks like I better get to captioning the photos from last night's game. I took probably a season-low 180-something during warm-ups because there was just too much going on. I came up with the nickname the other night of "King Kessel" for Phil Kessel (don't ask) and made a little mini-sign for him. My sign was hijacked later in warm-ups by a kid who was a big Paul Mara fan. He was standing next to me and Aly, screaming "Paul! Paul! Paul!" and banging on the glass, which in turn made Mara look at us while we were pointing to the kid. (This is why my picture count is low.) So Aly flipped the "King Kessel" over and tried to get Mara's attention with it, but he didn't notice. Then the kid wanted to keep the sign, so my "King Kessel" sign made a brief appearance. Warm-ups was actually fun!

Another warm-ups note: Brian Finley had his new mask. I didn't really pay much attention to the details and snapped some pictures of it, but it looks like there are two Pooh Bears on either side playing forward, and Yogi Bear is on the front of it playing goalie. I think the mask is cute.

It looks like a preview, but it's not

| 9 Comments

I spent the day around the house and ignored the internet for the most part. So here's a brief preview before I'm off to get ready for the game. (Oh yes, I am going to the game tonight.) I am not going to find links or stats or anything that will take me off this page, so you'll be on your own.

The Bruins host the Washington Capitals tonight. The Bruins beat them in a shootout on Wednesday (game report is below). Tim Thomas will be starting in net for the Bruins, and it'll be the same Bruins line-up that took the ice on Thursday night.

Some Providence news too, which is from the Globe blog (link in the sidebar on the right), is Hannu Toivonen will not make any starts this weekend. I guess they don't want to rush him back too soon.

That's about all I have. Enjoy the game! It's a Saturday night so the game report will probably come sometime after midnight. I need to go get my camera together. Catch ya later.

Ah, dinner with the family

| 11 Comments

Tonight was a relaxing and productive night. I had a nice family dinner with my mother and grandmother. We had some laughs. We watched some television. My mother got some freedom to go shopping while I stayed home with the grandmother. I caught up on laundry and Grey's Anatomy. The entire night was mellow. I did catch a little hockey, just enough to see the Lightning win in a shootout, but I was hockey-ed out.

I wanted to share some chatter from dinner because it was funny, and when it happened, I said, "I'm blogging this!" to warn them.

My Friday

| 7 Comments

Even though I was tired at midnight for one of the rare times recently, I watched the entire replay of the game, and then I watched the taped pre-game show (fast-forwarding to Rob Simpson’s interview), made myself a French bread pizza because I was starving, and made it through half of the taped Grey’s Anatomy before my tired self called it a night sometime after 4 a.m. How’s that for a run-on sentence? Did it make you tired?

I knew today’s Bruins practice was at noon, but I also thought there was a chance it was cancelled because two games in two nights is a bit much. I thought about going, but I slept for eight hours. My mother said to me later in the afternoon, “I thought you were going to practice.” Yeah well, turns out it was optional on-ice anyway. The following from Bish

The Bruins had an optional practice today at Wilmington with Brian Finley, Tim Thomas, Phil Kessel, Stan Chistov, Petr Tenkrat, Nathan Dempsey, Milan Jurcina, Mark Mowers, Zdeno Chara, Shean Donovan and Andrew Alberts skating with coaches Marc Habscheid, Doug Houda and Bob Essensa. All of the other guys were present, but were doing off-ice workouts.

Can you imagine how many pictures I would have of each player had I gone? There would have been some excessiveness going on.

Bish also reports that Finley has his new mask. Now, that might have been worth going to practice for. The mask has both Yogi Bear and Pooh Bear on it. That’s awesome.

Yan Stastny was sent back to Providence. When I saw him last night, I said it was too bad he didn’t play, not that I’m wishing Brad Boyes was out, but it would’ve been nice for Stastny to be part of the win. Stastny in return said, “There will be other games.” I have too many favorites now.

I spent the last couple of hours editing photos and they’re uploading to the site right now. There’s about nine minutes left. Now they’re done and captioned and that took way too much time to do.

Leafs vs. Bruins

| 14 Comments

Well, I extended my regulation undefeated record to 5-0-1. I think I was more excited about that fact when Patrice Bergeron scored the overtime winner than anything else. Whatever gets me through the night I guess?

I didn’t jot down any notes, but made some mental ones. I only had a pre-game beer, so let’s see how this goes.

Pre-Game: The one night there was actual traffic on Storrow Drive is the same night we leave later than usual. I thought I was going to miss the beginning of warm-ups and hauled my butt through the Garden to the usual warm-ups section. I got there 7 minutes early. It was just one of those nights where everything would annoy me too. Alberts was interviewed by Rob Simpson and how excited was I that I actually remembered to record the pre-game show?! Very, to say the least and I didn’t hide that fact. I guess that’s what happens when you have a lot of free time before a game. The Vintage jerseys were a nice change too, and I took almost 300 photos in 15 minutes.

Starters: Thomas, Bergeron, Boyes, Sturm, Alberts, Chara. Stastny was scratched. Boyes spoke with trainer Don DelNegro during warm-ups and could play. You could see the pain on his face during the game.

First Period: The Bruins didn’t really miss a beat coming off of last night’s game. They were flying in the first period. The Maple Leaf (Ponikarovsky) who’s broken stick I have above a doorway in the hallway that I got last season got the first penalty of the game. Kessel, who is easily becoming my favorite player this season, scored six seconds into the power play. Assists went to Mara and Boyes. Bruins had a 1-0 lead at the end of the period. (Totally not related to the Bruins game, but Wayne Gretzky got a haircut. Yeah, I’m watching the Coyotes right now.) Alberts had a brutal giveaway in the first period. He went to pass it to a teammate behind him, but the puck landed on a Leafs player’s stick. He had some nice hits throughout the game to make up for it and led the team with 4. I have solved the mystery that is the lack of ice time for Jurcina. During the first period, Mara was out there, and while Stuart went off and Dempsey came on, Mara didn’t go off for Jurcina. That took at least one shift away from Jurcina who was set to hop on the ice.

Second Period: Not much happened during the second. Primeau picked up a hooking penalty when the defense pair of Chara and Alberts were out there too long. The entire shift was in the Bruins zone, so the penalty wasn’t too bad to take at the time. I just remember the play was at the end I was sitting at a whole heck of a lot, where the Bruins net was for the period. Some of the players had their worst periods during this time.

Third Period: There were a couple of Leafs penalties, but the Bruins power play looked awful. They could not connect on passes for the life of them, and their shots were missed or blocked or never got off the stick. It was very frustrating. They did have great scoring chances, where the puck came close to going in, but Aubin wasn’t letting anything by him. Savard got a holding penalty, which I still haven’t seen. I only saw him complaining about it. With the face-off in the Bruins zone, I had a feeling of dread. I hate when I get these feelings. Off the face-off, the Leafs tied the game at 1 only three seconds into the power play at 13:18. From that moment on, every time the puck went in the direction of Thomas, I was holding my breath or freaking out. No offense to Timmy, but my goodness, it was a shaky period, at least to me. I said it was his game to lose now. But he didn’t. Somebody had an awesome scoring chance late in the game, the name escapes me right now, but the puck just missed the inside of the post. Bergeron also had a chance as the seconds ticked off the clock. And I screamed my lungs out going into overtime, which had my mother blocking her ears. I did a lot of cheering for Kessel and Boyes, and I really wanted the BBS line to get a goal. I should’ve bet on it.

Overtime: I’m starting to get tired, and the Coyotes game is in overtime, and watching double hockey always gets me confused. But anyway! Somebody had an awesome scoring chance, the name escapes me right now, but the puck just missed the inside of the post. (Replay showed me it was Axelsson and it came in overtime. Whoops.) Bergeron scored the game-winner 34 seconds into overtime, which was great because we didn’t need anymore extra hockey after last night. I really don’t remember how he scored it, but that’s okay. It was assisted by Sturm and Boyes. Savard tossed the game-winning puck in the stands to the fans. I thought he was grabbing it for Bergeron, until I saw him chuck it over the glass.

Post-Game: I saw Gill after the game, and I have to admit, I do miss him a little bit. He wears a size 15 shoe, which is an interesting fact, and don’t ask me how I found that out. It was a little odd to be standing between Gill and Mara at the time too, because Gill made me miss Boynton and Mara was traded for Boynton and it was like a weird defensemen-triangle. My mother wanted to see Raycroft after the game, but I broke the news to her earlier in the afternoon that he wasn’t on the road trip. Peca had an ugly cut above his lip. I saw the Bruins staffer I saw earlier in the morning, which was a nice bookend to my Bruins day. I also saw Stastny in the infamous stairwell after the game. It was raining when I got outside, but then it stopped, and then it rained, and then it stopped, and it was annoying to say the least. I went in Dunkin Donuts to see my usual guys and get out of the rain. It stopped raining by the time I got back outside, but then it started again a few minutes later.

Coyotes are in a shootout. I’ll be back in a bit. Coyotes won in a shootout.

I have the Bruins replay on right now... and how funny is it that Bergeron not only scored in the shootout on Wednesday night, but also scored the game-winner in overtime tonight? Couldn't script that any better. I am actually tired at midnight, so I'm not sure how much of the replay I'll see, but I'll add to the game post if need be.

1:41 a.m. You can tell I'm tired when I forget one of the season's highlights! Kessel recorded his first hit of the season in the game. I'm pretty sure it happened in the third period, and I know I said, "there's Phil's hit!" It wasn't against the boards or anything, but was definitely a hit.

Leafs preview, Stastny recalled

| 2 Comments

I got home from Boston a little while ago, where I was caught by a Bruins staffer. “What are you doing here so early?” was his question. One would think I could be in the city in the morning and not see anybody related to the Bruins. I may have also seen Stanislav Chistov, but I wouldn’t recognize him if I did.

I was picking up a ticket for my mother for tonight’s game because she can finally go, as well as tickets to Saturday’s game because she can go to that one too. People who started reading this site this season may not know about the family circumstances in my household, so I’ll be brief. My grandmother suffered a brain injury last year, and we made the family decision to bring her home. She recovered for the most part, miraculously, but she requires 24/7 care. It’s pretty rare that my mother can actually go to a hockey game, especially this season, and I’m looking forward to going with her. The last game she went to was opening night, which seems like forever ago.

As for the Bruins, they had an optional game-day skate this morning, and judging by the players’ lot, there weren’t many inside. Kevin Paul Dupont reports that Brad Boyes suffered back spasms in last night’s game. Boyes will be a game time decision. If Boyes can’t go, that kind of leaves the Bruins a forward short. I wonder if they’ll recall somebody just in case. That would be the sensible thing to do.

My vote is for Yan Stastny. (And with a quick check of the game notes, my vote is confirmed. Stastny has indeed been recalled for tonight’s game.)

Tim Thomas (4-3-2, 3.43 GAA, .893 Sv%) will get the start in net again tonight. Jean-Sebastian Aubin (2-1-1, 3.47 GAA, .877 Sv%) will go for the Maple Leafs.

The referees tonight are Dave Jackson and Chris Lee.

I don’t have any predictions or stats for the game tonight. I don’t even have any thoughts of wisdom right now. I would have a few but I had to spend the past half hour reading and editing comments.

I can say Phil Kessel still doesn't have a hit.

As of 2:30, I am off the site. I plan on bringing a little notebook with me to the game that I can jot notes in and possibly get the game report up a lot earlier tonight, which should happen regardless of how many notes I jot down.

Again, feel free to use these comments to talk about the game, and play nice.

Post-game news

| 11 Comments

They just said on the Bruins post-game show that Andrew Raycroft won't be in net tomorrow. Jean-Sebastien Aubin will play instead. I had to confirm this, and now I can look forward to seeing Hal Gill.

More post-game thoughts coming in a bit. Maybe. Just enjoy the win, will ya?

11:32 p.m. After a tip from Casey in the comments, Fluto says Brad Boyes has an undisclosed injury and didn't finish the game. I guess I don't notice many things in a tied game. There could probably be an elephant sitting in my living room, and I wouldn't have noticed.

One positive post-game thought I have is Brad Stuart had a tremendous game. He was all over the place and led the team with 5 hits. I'm glad he got a goal tonight too, to make up for the Ottawa game. Stuart, Glen Murray and Marc Savard all finished a team high +2.

Bruins @ Capitals

| 20 Comments

Pre-Game: The beginning of the pre-game show had a clip of the Bruins getting off the bus. For some reason, stuff like that is so cool to see. Chara was the first one, followed by Boyes with his iPod earplugs, Alberts was after him, Bergeron and then another player I didn’t recognize, which I think was Tenkrat. Mowers was interviewed by Rob Simpson. Mowers has two new linemates in Chistov and Tenkrat.

Starters: Thomas, Bergeron, Boyes, Sturm, Chara, Alberts. But Chara and Alberts made a quick change because Mara and Stuart were on the ice. It was because Lewis is trying to match Chara and Ovechkin.

First Period: Thomas lost his mage after a sprawling save, and could not get a whistle, or the referee’s attention. So Thomas came way out of his net to challenge the Capitals shooter and got a whistle. The Capitals got the first penalty of the game when Morrisonn went to the penalty box for slashing. The Bruins then got a too many men on the ice penalty while on the power play. Kessel served the bench minor and came out of the penalty box to score a goal on a partial breakaway at 6:38. It was a pretty play set up by Savard and Murray. (+1 Kessel, Savard, Murray, Chara, Stuart.) Kessel was then centering Chistov and Tenkrat at this point. Boyes got his first penalty of the season for hooking at 8:07, which I knew I would jinx him. Semin hit the post. Stuart got a penalty for hooking at 11:49. It seems like Mara’s signature defensive move on the penalty kill is laying down on the ice. Stuart scored at 14:06, assisted by Savard and Chistov. (+1 Stuart, Savard, Chistov, Alberts, Murray.) Bruins then had a 2-0 lead. The Capitals would cut the lead in half while killing Brashear’s penalty and Pettinger scored shorthanded after a Mara giveaway at 16:00. This is the first shorthanded goal allowed by the Bruins this season. (-1 Mara, Chistov, Kessel, Boyes, Sturm.) Alberts had a tough couple of shifts where one turnover led to a shot on net and then in the offensive zone, he didn’t keep the puck in at the blue line. Tenkrat hit the post with less than a minute to go in the period. Stuart was interviewed when he finally came off the ice, after gabbing tape out of the penalty box. Washington outshot the Bruins 11-7, but the Bruins had the lead 2-1.

Second Period: Commissioner Gary Bettman joined Edwards and Brickley in the booth. Alberts got a penalty 28 seconds into the period, which wasn’t announced from what I heard (penalty was holding). The Bruins never cleared the puck on the penalty kill, and Thomas got a whistle with a save. After the Bruins killed the penalty, the Capitals had two icing calls in a row. Alberts had a sweet hit at center ice where he pushed a Semin down with one hand. Sturm got a penalty at 6:45 for tripping. Bruins killed that penalty off. Ovechkin got a penalty for hooking at 8:15. I joined in live-blogging more than halfway through the period, and I got to say overall, the Bruins are playing a good game. Chistov got his first point as a Bruin, and now he’s getting his first penalty. Chistov went to the box for interference. Zubrus ties the game scoring on the power play with 15 seconds left to go on the kill. Could see that one coming from a mile away. Grr. First shift after the goal, and the Bruins iced the puck. Bruins have a power play at 13:47. Capitals had some scoring chances even-strength and Alberts was out there for way too long again. And the period ends 2-2.

Third Period: Jurcina is playing, although not much ice time. I thought he’d get more ice time when Alberts missed over 9 minutes in the second period. Through two periods, Chara had 4 giveaways. Mara got a penalty just after the period started. Bruins had a power play, and then Capitals got a delay of game penalty giving the Bruins 34 seconds of 5-on-3 power play. Lewis took a timeout. And with 18 seconds left on the 5-on-3, Murray gets an interference penalty. Murray was trying to stay onside, and it was incidental contact, but it looked like interference to one of the referee’s. While 4-on-4, Thomas had a save on Morrisonn’s shot. Jurcina has played a whopping 4:51 so far. Chara has played 22:17. I’m watching the game more than I’m typing about it. Chara made a nice defensive play on Ovechkin. Mara had his stick shot out of his hands, and then hit the Capitals player who did it, which was borderline boarding, but it wasn’t called. Jurcina made a Capitals player’s stick go flying, so they’re even now. With 4:32 left in the period, it’s time for my famous, “I’ll do anything if the Bruins win.” Tenkrat had a nice shot, which was saved by Kolzig. There’s 1:40 to go in the period. Good pressure by the Bruins and the Capitals ice the puck. Clark was hurt on the shift, and Ovechkin was shaken up by a shot off Chara’s stick. Capitals take a timeout. 43 seconds left, and the Capitals ice it again. 34 seconds now. Overtime is coming up.

Overtime: Lewis has three forwards and one defenseman out there. Bergeron had a nice scoring chance. Tenkrat had a shot deflected wide. Mowers had a shot, and Kolzig made a save and got the whistle. Donovan almost produced a great chance for Kessel, but nothing came out of it. Thomas made a save at the other end, and then proceeded to lie in the crease. At the other end, Mara had a shot on net. Second whistle of the extra session allows for some breathing. 1:52 left now. Stuart hit Sutherby in the Bruins zone. There was another Bruins shot at the other end. Less than a minute left now. Capitals shot the puck high and missed the net. Savard had one last shot on Kolzig… and we’re going to a shootout.

Can’t say I liked the three forwards and one defenseman unit. At the beginning of the overtime, it was working, but by the fourth minute, the players were getting too tired.

Donovan and Primeau have their helmets on backwards. Rally helmets? Alberts also has it on backwards. Hilarious stuff by the Bruins. (Apparently, Savard started that trend in Atlanta.) There were a lot of players with their helmets on backwards, basically anybody without a visor had it on like that.

Shootout: Semin first shooter and the save by Thomas. Sturm shooting, and save by Kolzig. Ovechkin shooting and save by Thomas. Bergeron next and he SCOOORES! (I yelled, “score!” as he was skating down the ice.) Pettinger was next and Thomas saved it.

The rally helmets worked!!!

Bruins won 3-2 in the shootout and are coming home!

Game 15: Bruins @ Caps preview

| 2 Comments

The Bruins will be playing the Washington Capitals (8-5-4) tonight on the road. The Capitals are coming off a 4-1 win in Florida on Monday, while the Bruins are coming off a 4-3 win against Ottawa on Saturday night. Alexander Ovechkin leads the Capitals with 21 points (12 goals, 9 assists). Former Bruin defenseman Shaone Morrisonn has 4 points and is a +2 with 15 penalty minutes. Richard Zednik is day-to-day with an upper-body injury, and has missed five games so far.

I was going to say there wasn't much news coming out of Washington today, but Fluto proved me wrong with one last check of his blog.

Tim Thomas (3-3-2, 3.64 GAA, .887 Sv%) will start in net tonight. I'm thinking the Capitals will start Olie Kolzig (6-3-2, 3.02 GAA, .919 Sv%) but that's my uneducated guess.

Fluto also confirms that once newly acquired goaltender Phillippe Sauve arrives in Providence, goaltender Mike Brown will be returned to the Long Beach Ice Dogs in the ECHL. Fluto also mentions more about Hannu Toivonen's injury and his agent said he could play this weekend.

Fluto mentions one funny thing that I noticed sometime last week, but didn't post. Phil Kessel has played in every Bruins game so far, and has yet to register a hit in the stats. Coach Dave Lewis posted it on the bulletin-board today. I bet we'll see Kessel with at least one hit tonight.

Another interesting fact I discovered last night in my player penalty breakdown is that Brad Boyes has played in all 14 Bruins games too, and has not been in the penalty box. I probably jinxed him by typing that, but that's okay. The Bruin that has the most minor penalties is Wayne Primeau with 12, with 7 of those for hooking.

Game Facts: Commissioner Gary Bettman will be in attendance at tonight's game. The referees tonight are Tom Kowal and Kelly Sutherland. Stanislav Chistov will make his Bruins debut tonight wearing #13.

Another trade

| 9 Comments

I had most of today off from all things Bruins, and then when I decide to acknowledge that the internet does exist during Gilmore Girls, I see yet another trade was made.

The Bruins dealt forward Tyler Redenbach to the Phoenix Coyotes and acquired goaltender Philippe Sauve. This is a minor deal for both teams. I say minor because I've seen both teams play a considerable amount of hockey and know Sauve was the third-string goalie in Phoenix, after Mike Morrisson was put on waivers anyway.

So we're pretty stacked in the crease now, aren't we? More thoughts later. I'll be watching the Coyotes game tonight (it's Mullet Night!) and maybe they will give me some more insight because I am currently hockey-thoughtless.

9:12 p.m. I'll be paying a little less attention to the Coyotes game, and instead cleaning my living room. Sauve was assigned to Providence, which most likely means Mike Brown will be going back to the ECHL, unless there is another deal brewing. There are announcements on the Bruins website, the Coyotes website and the Providence Bruins website. Providence has 26 players on their roster which is too many. Sidebar will be again updated with the transactions.

Trade and transactions

| 1 Comment

The Bruins won't let me take a day off. Ever. Maybe next week.

There was a minor trade that broke a few minutes ago. The Bruins acquired forward Stanislav Chistov from the Anaheim Ducks. Reportedly the Bruins sent the Ducks a third-round draft pick in the exchange.

There are some other roster moves going on, mostly demotions, and defenseman Matt Lashoff and forward Yan Stastny were assigned to Providence. Lashoff I could see coming a mile away, but Stastny bums me out. But it makes sense for Stastny to see more ice time. And with Lashoff back in the AHL, defenseman Milan Jurcina should be a regular in the line-up again.

No mention of any goalie moves, but I'm sure there will be later. 3:14 p.m. Fluto says Brian Finley is back with Boston and Mike Brown is with Providence. He also gives a rundown of the transactions of the past week. As you can see, I have eight of ten listed in the sidebar. I will be adding the Finley/Brown swap now, which will then make it ten of twelve.

Seriously, a day off.

The Wicked Bruins Fan

| 8 Comments

Jaci Ottawa Game Over the years of being a Bruins fan, I have had the pleasure of meeting a lot of awesome people, and they seem to get more awesome as the years go by. Sometimes knowing such people costs me, but at the same time, rewards me an awful lot. Or does a little of both and I do not take any one of them for granted. I said in the game report from Saturday's game the photographer caught me during warm-ups. I know when he catches me and I played a game of cat and mouse with him, thinking he wouldn't be able to focus. Well, he did and I ended up with three pictures in my inbox tonight. One of the Triple Trouble gang that I will not post without their permission, one of me by myself because I had to show off my spoked-B that I decided to finally wear to a game (seen on the left), and one of my favorite Bruins player, which I will apparently owe him for because the picture is by far the best I ever did see. I did see some previews of pictures of me sitting in the first row, but haven't had any arrive. I know I wasn't posing for any of them, that's for sure.

I never get any pictures taken of me and do all of the picture taking of others, so this is a real treat for me, who wanted some pictures of me taken at the Garden at some point. And I'm camera-shy anyway, so this was one way to go.

With that said, I am taking Monday off. At least the first half of Monday. Sunday was supposed to be my day off, but editing pictures and breaking down the penalties was Bruins related. I'll still check in late Monday afternoon.

A day for goalies

Hannu Toivonen sprained his left ankle in last night's game and is day-to-day. This meant Brian Finley had to go back to Providence so they would have two goalies for today's game. (Providence won 4-3 in overtime and Finley got the start with Jordan Sigalet backing up.)

In the meantime, Boston recalled goaltender Mike Brown from the ECHL because of the two goalie rule, and Fluto reports it's most likely Finley will be up for Boston's practice tomorrow and Brown will be in Providence.

Just a little goalie switching going on.

Hooked on penalties

| 3 Comments

I was browsing the game summary from last night's game, and realized there was a lot of "hooking" staring back at me.

Six out of seven Bruins penalties were for hooking.

You know what this means? Something statistical comes this way... later.

Bruins Penalty Breakdown

28 Hooking
13 Holding
11 Tripping
9 Roughing
8 Interference
5 Unsportsmanlike Conduct
3 Slashing
3 Cross-checking
3 Fighting majors
3 Ten minute misconduct
3 Bench (Too many men)
2 Goaltender Interference
2 Holding the stick
2 Diving
2 High-sticking
1 Kneeing
1 Delay of Game
1 Boarding

100 Total.

I may do a player penalty breakdown eventually because that should be fun.

Senators vs. Bruins

| 1 Comment

I know I said tonight's game report would be earlier, but for somebody who was going to "eat more, drink less," I drank more and ate less. Whoops.

Warm-ups Story: I took a picture of a friend with Hazel Mae during warm-ups because she was sitting two seats away from me (guys, seriously!), so that earned me a free beer. (I bet there are about 10 guys reading this going, "No way!" Yes, way. I didn't even know it was her, but my buddy was freaking out and I offered to take not one, but two pictures of them together. Who rocks?)

Alberts from the front rowI was sitting in the first row near the Senators bench for the game, by way of a free voucher and Tracy joined me for the 2nd and 3rd periods. I can tell you that while I was cheering for a Bruin during the starting line-ups, Jason Spezza stared at me. I've liked Spezza since the lockout season when he was in Binghamton, but dude, the Bruin (Andrew Alberts) won that competition when he knocked Spezza to the locker room during the 2nd period with a shoulder ailment. (Spezza returned after a quick massage from the trainer on the bench.) My favorite Senator is Mike Fisher anyway.

Sitting in the first row is awesome. I needed that perspective tonight because I do not appreciate how hard these players work on the ice and how quick their decisions are. When Marco Sturm made a pass back to the blue line during the 1st period that Brad Stuart missed, both players had this look on their faces. Stuart was mad he wasn't in the right position, and Sturm was disappointed he didn't look back to see if somebody was there. The little things like that are great to see.

Petr Tenkrat scored his first NHL goal during the game, which was impressive. He was calling for the puck when he knew he had a supreme chance. Alberts grabbed the puck for him before the next face-off, but I didn't notice that. Tracy did. Glen Murray had two goals during the game, the second was his 300th of his career. He was first star of the game. Patrice Bergeron got the other goal as the shot from Stuart hit him somewhere in the pants. I was disappointed the goal was taken away from Stuart, but on the replay, my guess was correct. The Bruins won 4-3, and that's awesome.

When I saw Brian Finley leaving with his equipment after the game, my first thought was Hannu Toivonen was hurt. My instinct was right. I hate when I'm right about such things. Apparently Toivonen suffered a left leg injury. Finley is definitely heading back to Providence. What this means for the Boston Bruins, I have no idea.

I owe the biggest apology to Jason York because I was beyond dumb after the game. And I still feel bad about it. Milan Jurcina was the healthy scratch which was odd to me because the Bruins had seven defensemen warm up and I thought Stuart wouldn't be playing, but I guess because Nathan Dempsey sat last game, it was Jurcina's turn. I was caught again by the Bruins photographer not only during warm-ups, but also during the game. After he sends me the pictures, if he ever does, I'll be sure to post at least one of them.

I'll revisit this post later in the morning... or Sunday afternoon.

Photos are up from the game. I did not take out my camera at all while sitting in the first row, which is why the only photo from the first row is from my cell phone up above.

Game Preview: Senators vs. Bruins

| 3 Comments

The Boston Bruins host the Ottawa Senators tonight at the TD Banknorth Garden for the second time in two weeks. The Bruins won the first meeting when they scored two goals in the third period and won the game 2-1. The Senators are coming off a road win in Pittsburgh last night. Dany Heatley scored two goals in the 6-3 win and Martin Gerber had 14 saves.

Tim Thomas (2-3-2, 3.72 GAA, .886 Sv%) will get the start in goal for the Bruins. Gerber (3-6-1, 3.23 GAA, .898 Sv%) is expected to start for Ottawa. Defenseman Brad Stuart has a 50% chance of being in the line-up. According to Fluto, he was limping in Wilmington yesterday. Petr Tenkrat will be sporting #17 tonight if he cleared waivers at noon (which he did).

Jason Spezza leads the Ottawa Senators in scoring with 20 points. The Senators power play ranks 29th in the league overall, but on the road their power play ranks 18th. As for penalty killing, the Senators rank 10th overall in the league. The referees for tonight’s game are Marc Joannette and Dan O'Rourke.

I will be attending tonight’s game with the Triple Trouble gang. I think our intentions post-game are to hang out at the Grille and catch whatever is left of the Sharks vs. Coyotes game, at least that’s what I’m hoping they agree to. Actually, if Nick Boynton's bruised foot keeps him out of the line-up, then I don't have to be as attentive to the game.

Hopefully, a game report post will be coming a little earlier tonight. I plan on eating more and drinking less. Feel free to use the comments here to talk about the game while I'm gone.

Be a Bruins coach

| 16 Comments

I was thinking about this late Friday night. I came online to check up on some things, and something set my brain to go off on the coaching tangent. Casey’s comment also got me thinking about summarizing, not the season, but the team.

Watching the past few games, we know this team is capable of scoring more than two goals a game. Looking at the roster on paper, we all knew they had some decent depth to not only provide some consistent offense, but also an effective checking line. But lately, I hate the fact that Phil Kessel is on a line with Shean Donovan and Wayne Primeau. The line was more efficient with P.J. Axelsson on a wing, and will continue to be a grinder line who could probably pot a goal every few games. I would rather see Kessel with Marc Savard and Glen Murray. I think Kessel would be more of an offensive threat on that line. The reuniting of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Boyes and Marco Sturm has made plenty of people happy, including the players themselves. The way they were reunited, thrown together for a game without any practices, was foolish. It took them a few games to get going, and in those games, the team suffered two losses because they found their rhythm too late. The fourth line got a bit of a shakeup with the demotion of Jeff Hoggan and Wade Brookbank, and right now only Mark Mowers and Yan Stastny are left. I thought Hoggan didn’t play all that badly, but the Bruins thought they had to make some changes. Albeit minor changes, but still changes nonetheless. Stastny has shown great defensive flashes, and as he develops a bit more, he should be a great penalty killer with Mowers.

How I would like the lines to shake out, eventually…
Boyes – Bergeron – Sturm
Murray – Savard – Kessel
Axelsson – Primeau – Donovan
Stastny – Mowers – fill in the blank from Providence

On defense, the Bruins have plenty of depth there, and the only thing that matters is sticking with the same defense pairs after finding out what works. Jason York had knee surgery, which leaves him out, but that doesn’t affect the others. Zdeno Chara is still logging insane amounts of ice time, and while he’s being asked to do too much, his play still needs to be brought up another level. Paul Mara should see more power play minutes, and limited minutes on the penalty kill. He’s more of an offensive defenseman, and that’s no secret. Brad Stuart’s pinky still isn’t 100% but even a Stuart pinky at 75% is still enough to help the blue line. As long as Stuart is on top of his game, and paired with somebody who can handle clearing the puck, he should be fine. Stuart should see additional time on the penalty kill if Mara’s minutes are cut back. Andrew Alberts still has some struggles, but overall has been one of the team’s steady defenseman. When he was paired with Mara last week, the two had some of their best games. I don’t understand why the pairs keep getting switched up, unless the coaching staff is trying to help management find out which defensemen are most valuable to the team. Matt Lashoff when first recalled from Providence played some great games. Now he’s starting to look like a rookie, which isn’t a bad thing. I fully expect him to see some playing time back in Providence once Stuart’s pinky is 100% or Mark Stuart is recalled. Nathan Dempsey hasn’t been as bad as fans are making him seem, at least to me. He’s made some blunders, but defensemen make them every game. If there weren’t defensive gaffes, there wouldn’t be scoring chances or shots on goals. Milan Jurcina has been the most confusing defenseman on the blueline. I don’t understand what the coaching staff has against him, even if they keep saying he needs to work on things and he’s not playing up to his size. Jurcina needs a chance to show what he has, and playing nine minutes a game isn’t going to show much of anything.

If I was coach, I would try the following set of pairs for a game...
Chara – Jurcina
Stuart – Alberts
Mara – Lashoff/Dempsey

We know once the power play got clicking, they would be more effective. I think Mara should see the most power play time out of everybody simply for the fact that he can quarterback it. Chara needs to save his energy for defense and penalty killing. Overusing him on the power play isn’t going to help over a sixty minute game. Boyes needs to see more time on the power play with Bergeron and Sturm. Boyes shouldn’t be limited to the second power play unit, but that’s my personal opinion. I can understand splitting up the offensive weapons, but if you put the most potent offensive players out there on the first unit, there might be more power play goals scored and in shorter time.

The penalty killing is so atrocious that the only things that are going to fix it would be to send out different personnel and maybe use a different method of defense. The penalty killers need to work as a unit, and not as individuals. You can see the defense doesn’t trust the forwards enough to help them clear the puck, and sometimes rightfully so as the puck gets turned over just inside the blueline more often than not. But when there is a lack of trust between the defense and forwards, that lack of trust most likely trickles down to the goaltending and then you end up with the league’s worst penalty killing. Bergeron has been on the ice for eleven penalty killing goals in twelve games, which should result in less time on ice shorthanded for him. Primeau, Donovan, Axelsson, Murray, Mowers and Stastny should handle the load of killing penalties. As for the defense, that’s where it gets tricky, but Lashoff and Jurcina could help kill the penalties, if they’re not in the penalty box. Chara with either one would work, and Stuart with Alberts would be good. It should be noted that Lashoff wasn’t out there for any goals while penalty killing until the Atlanta game on Monday.

I don’t mean to leave the goaltending out, but until Hannu Toivonen is back and Tim Thomas can stay in the net, I would be happy to see Brian Finley get a start for a change. The team needs to be better no matter who is in the net, whether it be Thomas, Toivonen, Finley or Gerry Cheevers. Until the defense starts clearing bodies from the crease, it won’t matter who can’t stop the puck. Trading for a goalie would be considered a band-aid fix because, as I said, the players in front of the goaltender need to be better.

With all of that said, I’m not the coach, and don’t have any coaching experience. While these might not be the brightest ideas, it is something different and you never know what could work. And sometimes being unattached from the game and keeping an eye on the little things, it’s easier to see what may work better and what doesn’t work.

If you read this entire thing, major props to you. And if you have any ideas of what the team could do, share your insights.

Boynton bruised foot

I was half expecting to come online and find out that Boynton was traded. Instead, I see he got injured last night. From the Coyotes website.

The Coyotes also announced today that defenseman Nick Boynton has a bruised foot and is listed day-to-day. Boynton suffered the injury in the third period of last night’s game versus the Dallas Stars when he blocked a shot.

I know what shot they are talking about because it was a "save" and I noticed Boynton was limping a little and favoring a foot, but I didn't think much of it. Hope it feels fast for him.

Sometimes I just know

It's weird, but even with all the signs - the late practice, the nice weather, a flip of the coin - telling me to get my butt to the Bruins practice, I had a gut feeling that it wouldn't be worth it. Don't get me wrong, I love going to practices and was a little excited to go today. But I remember coach Dave Lewis saying practices the day after games last 30-45 minutes on average, and even though I was up early enough (I was awake before 9) to make it to a noon practice, something was holding me back, and I had no idea what it was.

So I hung around the house for a bit, fixing the error on the blog so it would look pretty again in Internet Explorer (if you still see problems, please let me know, since the majority of visitors use IE), and cleaning the computer room. The news broke about Wade Brookbank and Jeff Hoggan, but there hasn't been any announcement from the Bruins.

There is a practice recap from Matt Kalman, and I found the reason why my gut was telling me to skip practice.

There are plenty of choices the current members of the Bruins have to make. Today, some decided not to partake in the optional on-ice practice after an hour-long video session and meeting in Wilmington.

Yeah, that would be the reason. I would have been very bored. I'm wondering how many players didn't participate in the optional on-ice practice too.

Update: Bish delivers that list, and also mentions they didn't take the ice until 12:41. So I would've been very, very bored. The list of players are...

Coaches Lewis, Habscheid and Houda hit the ice along with Brad Boyes, Patrice Bergeron, Milan Jurcina, Yan Stastny, Brian Finley, Jeff Hoggan, Matt Lashoff, Wade Brookbank, Andrew Alberts, Phil Kessel, Tim Thomas, Mark Mowers, Shean Donovan, Nathan Dempsey and Marco Sturm.

End update.

Other notes: Jason York had exploratory arthroscopic surgery on his right knee today. Brad Boyes, Yan Stastny and Matt Lashoff prove they enjoy being on the ice.

Hannu Toivonen and Mark Stuart will be playing in Providence tonight. Matt will have coverage on their performance after the game.

9:18 p.m. Stuart has scored a goal in tonight's game. Ya think he's in game-shape? Providence is currently leading 4-3. And a half hour later, Stuart finishes a +4 in his debut. Toivonen made 29 saves in the 6-3 win.

Roster moves forthcoming

Reported by Kevin Paul Dupont on the HF Boards, all I know right now are two players were waived and one is recalled from Providence.

Update: Forwards Wade Brookbank and Jeff Hoggan were placed on waivers. When both clear waivers, they will report to Providence.

Petr Tenkrat is on "recall waivers" and if no other team claims him, will be up in Boston.

Depending on Tenkrat passing through waivers unclaimed, the Bruins could be down a forward tomorrow if he doesn't.

Okay, what?

I made the mistake of checking for articles before calling it a night. Big mistake.

On the same day [Brad] Stuart returned, the word on the NHL grapevine was that the Bruins may be trying to trade him.

A veteran player agent said he has heard the B’s have been talking to the New York Islanders, with either Stuart - who is set for unrestricted free agency at season’s end, and whom the club thinks would be difficult to re-sign - or Paul Mara on the block.

A guy coming back, perhaps: defenseman Alexei Zhitnik.

If Mara is on the block... I have no words. I do, but they would be a little censored and it would turn into a rant.

That and the title, "Okay, what?" and even "Say what?" sum it up. It would be completely ludicrous if Mara is traded.

Now I'm too wound up. I'm not tired anymore. I knew I shouldn't have checked for articles.

Three games later, post-game thoughts

| 3 Comments

I was going to stay away from the blog tonight, and not post again, but I have time and fuel from media blogs around the internet. Besides, my fourth game of the night (Sharks vs. Kings) is coming to an end and I made the mistake of eating some Mike and Ike candies a while ago.

First up, we have the following quote:

"We have to stop the bleeding," said Dave Lewis. "We can't give up five goals a night. That's totally unacceptable. We don't have a good enough team to score six or seven."

I agree with the stopping the bleeding part, and the not giving up five goals a night part. It's the not having a “good enough team” part that bothers me. I might be taking this out of context, but if somebody in authority tells you that you're not good enough, you eventually start to believe it. Lewis really could have just said the Bruins need to be a lot better.

Secondly, Matt Kalman, I heart you a little bit for the following:

Those still yearning for the days of Nick Boynton have to feel particularly ill after Paul Mara posted a minus-4 rating. He missed coverage on two goals and coughed up the puck in the corner to lead to another goal.

I don't feel all that ill because Boynton actually posted a -5 one game this season, so Mara’s -4 is nothing. But I'm just happy somebody else brought up Boynton's name besides me. I told a friend tonight that, while I probably miss Boynton more than anybody, I've let it go and moved on from the trade. For the record, I'm not rooting against Mara. He's a Bruin. I support every player who ever puts on a Bruins jersey. I know he's a better defenseman on the power play than he is even-strength. Besides, back when I was just falling in love with hockey, I met Mara at a sports card shop in my hometown. I was this shy high school girl who never really met any hockey players back then, and all I remember is looking up and thinking, “Damn, he’s tall!” I probably didn’t say more than two words to him and I believe it was after he was drafted by the Lightning. So from that moment, I always liked him.

Third, Doug Flynn offers up this gem:

The Garden is half full at best, and that might be generous. There are even empty seats in “Z’s Zone”, the section where Chara gives away tickets for charity. Has it reached the point where the Bruins can’t even give away tickets?

It has reached the point of the Bruins offering a “buy one ticket, get one free” type of deal for the game. In reality, you bought two half-priced tickets, and there were three different price ranges, two in the balcony and the $90 seats. I was very tempted, but one of my non-hockey friends didn’t take my offer. So yes, it has reached that point where the Bruins can't even give tickets away.

Stars vs. Coyotes

| 7 Comments

Currently watching the Coyotes game. Well, I've had it on since 10, but I haven't been watching it really, until the third period. I hate how after the time change, which Arizona doesn't recognize, it makes Phoenix games start at 9 instead of 10. I liked the full hockey double-headers.

Stars are leading 1-0 in the 3rd. Jovanovski hit the post though. Inches away from being tied up.

Haven't noticed Boynton much, but on a broken defensive play after a turnover, a Stars player shot the puck and Boynton blocked it with his left leg. Darren Pang said, "Oh! What a save by Boynton!" which made me laugh because it's coming from a former goaltender and because the "save" was just inside the blueline.

Boynton did well on a penalty kill, blocking a pass and then clearing the puck a few seconds later.

Coyotes lost 1-0.

Maple Leafs vs. Bruins

| 2 Comments

Starters: Thomas, Chara, Alberts, Bergeron, Boyes, Sturm. Scratched are Brookbank and Dempsey. York is out with a knee injury. Gill was interviewed during warm-ups.

First Period: Jurcina got a tripping penalty at 2:18 and Toronto scored (Tucker) 6 seconds into the power play. That’s what happens when you have the league-worst penalty kill. Stajan got a penalty later, and the Bruins had 4 shots on the power play. It looked decent. Then Jurcina got another tripping penalty at 10:17. Antropov got a penalty for high-sticking Hoggan at 11:40. Bruins only had one shot on that power play. Alberts had a hit on Tucker at some point. Peca scored at 17:03. (-1 Mara, Alberts, Donovan, Stastny, Primeau.) Toronto added a late goal at 19:04 when McCabe scored. (-1 Stuart, Mara, Savard, Murray, Axelsson.) At the end of the period, the Leafs led 3-0. Thomas stopped only 7 shots. Bruins had 19 shots on net.

Secord Period: Brian Finley takes over the Bruins net for Thomas. Funny because towards the end of the first period, I said to my family that the only way we’d see Finley in net was if Thomas got pulled. Sure enough. Gill got a diving penalty at the beginning of the period, and Donovan went off for the trip. Bruins had a really crappy power play that had too many passes and everybody seemed to wanted to pass back instead of passing forward. Toronto added to their lead when Antropov scored after Finley made the initial save. (-1 Jurcina, Lashoff, Sturm, Boyes, Kessel.) But the Bruins break Raycroft’s shutout when Sturm scored, assisted by Bergeron and Boyes at 5:40. (+1 Sturm, Bergeron, Boyes, Alberts, Chara.) And just like that, it’s 5-1. (-1 Stuart, Bergeron, Mara, Sturm, Boyes.) Nice hit by Alberts on Tucker a while later. Savard scores on a breakaway at 12:07, assisted by Chara. (+1 Savard, Chara, Alberts, Murray, Kessel.) Murray got a penalty for cross-checking at 13:34. Tonight could not get any weirder. Raycroft hurt himself on a save and is now out of the game, with just under 5 minutes remaining in the period. Aubin is in net for Toronto now. I feel like I’m in the twilight zone. Alberts got a double minor for high-sticking Tucker at 18:54. Toronto will have the majority of the power play time leftover to start the third period. The score at the end of two periods is Leafs 5, Bruins 2.

Third Period: Axelsson is mic’d for the game. He does quite a bit of yapping to the refs. Raycroft has a “lower body injury.” I am watching Grey’s Anatomy because the score was 5-2. But Axelsson scored to make it 5-3 in the first three minutes of Grey’s. Figures. Primeau scored on the power play to make it 5-4. Both Axelsson and Primeau scored on the power play. This game is crazy. Over three minutes left in the period, so I might have to miss a few minutes of Grey’s now. Alberts apparently had another hit on Tucker and a great defensive play, which I got to see on the replay. 2:30 left now. Lewis called a timeout. I watched 36 seconds before Toronto scored an empty net goal with 11 seconds left. Chara was dumped in the offensive zone, which should have been an interference call, but wasn’t. Chara picks up a few penalties at 19:49. Bruins lose 6-4.

Back to Grey’s and then I’ll try and get some stats or something later. Boyes was the guest on overtime.

Mara finished the team worst in +/- with -4, so how does he end up playing over 25 minutes? The only players who finished on the plus side were Chara and Alberts at +1. Jurcina played 6:49. Lashoff played 9:48. Stuart played 20:40 and finished a -2. Not bad for a defenseman with a broken pinky.

And not to brag, but the Bruins are 0-3-0 when I am not in attendance. Do you think I could get Jeremy Jacobs to get me some free tickets?

The return of old faces

| 5 Comments

The Toronto Maple Leafs are in town tonight to play against the Boston Bruins. Tonight’s match-up has a little more significance as former Bruins goaltender Andrew Raycroft and defenseman Hal Gill make their first return to Boston since Raycroft’s trade and Gill’s unrestricted free agency signing. There is a lot of media attention focusing on Raycroft, but the real focus is going to be whether or not the Bruins can get a W in tonight’s game.

We’ll stick with Raycroft for the moment. Apparently, he asked for a trade he says in January, the Bruins say before the draft, because he didn’t want to be in a situation where there were three goalies. The Bruins Brass says they never gave up on him.

Quotes

Hal Gill - "I saw (my departure from the Bruins) coming a long way away. I thought it would come sooner. You don't see many guys that stay in the same place for nine years. Not role players anyway. I went through a lot of trades including Joe Thornton. I didn't think I'd be around after Joe."

Brad Boyes - "I want to shoot against the best goaltenders and Razor is one of them. Hopefully I get a couple of goals on him. That would be great."

Andrew Raycroft - "I'm looking forward to going out and doing it, getting this first one out of the way, so the next time it's just a matchup between two teams in the same division, you know? And, hey, it's not like I'm Ray Bourque, coming back for my first game after being here for 25 years. It was only a few years and I don't think it will be that emotional for me -- different but not emotional."

Dave Lewis - "If you can't kill penalties, then don't take penalties. It's the message I sent two days ago."

The Leafs are 4-1-0 in their last five games. Raycroft (2.73 GAA, .911 Sv%) currently has an 8-4-2 record, matching last season’s wins total with Boston. Leafs Captain Mats Sundin (torn elbow ligament) will not play tonight. Brad Stuart will be back in the line-up for the Bruins and Tim Thomas (2-3-2, 3.47 GAA, .894 Sv%) will be starting. Stuart will take Nathan Dempsey’s spot in the line-up. Glen Murray is playing his 900th NHL game tonight. The referees tonight are Marc Joannette and Francois St-Laurent.

I will be enjoying tonight’s game from the comfort of my own couch, and probably live-blogging a bit. My wallet has been depressed lately because I’ve been spending so much money on not only tickets, but also beer. I thought I should give my wallet a night off. No worries though, as I’ll be back at the Garden for Saturday’s game. Catch ya right back here at gametime.

12 Games - Goals Breakdown

It's that time again, the who's on the ice for what types of goals... time.

It took me a couple of days to complete this one due to my own frustrations. I was trying to continue from the last goals breakdown statistics, but adding proved to be way too annoying. So during the Sharks game on Tuesday night, I manually went through the twelve games and counted numbers, remembering to switch over to numbers 21 and 91 for Nathan Dempsey and Marc Savard, respectively, after their number changes. I was a little peeved when Brad Boyes scored shorthanded on Monday night because that added a new column and additional arithmetic for me.

Key:
GP = games played
GA = goals against (allowed even strength) | GF = goals for (scored even strength)
PK = goals allowed on penalty kill | PP = goals scored on power play
SHG = goals scored shorthanded (damn you Boyes)
Total = total amount of goals (GA + PK + GF + PP + SHG) = Total
+/- includes PK, PP and SHG | True +/- excludes PK and PP, but includes SHG

Defense GP GA GF PK PP SHG Total +/- True +/-
Chara 12 13 7 10 12 0 42 -4 -6
Mara 12 10 4 7 5 1 27 -7 -5
Dempsey 11 6 5 0 0 0 11 -1 -1
York 10 6 2 3 0 0 11 -7 -4
Alberts 9 6 7 5 0 1 19 -3 +2
Stuart 7 6 6 8 1 0 21 -7 E
Jurcina 6 2 3 0 0 0 5 +1 +1
Lashoff 5 4 2 3 0 0 9 -5 -2
Forwards GP GA GF PK PP SHG Total +/- True +/-
Bergeron 12 9 6 11 13 1 40 E -2
Boyes 12 9 6 2 2 1 20 -2 -2
Kessel 12 10 6 0 1 0 17 -3 -4
Murray 12 6 9 6 10 0 31 +7 +3
Savard 12 6 8 0 12 0 26 +14 +2
Axelsson 12 6 6 6 7 0 25 +1 E
Primeau 12 10 3 5 1 0 19 -11 -7
Donovan 12 8 3 2 0 0 13 -7 -5
Hoggan 12 6 2 0 0 0 8 -4 -4
Mowers 10 1 1 1 0 0 3 -1 E
Stastny 9 2 1 0 0 0 3 -1 -1
Sturm 8 4 1 1 2 0 8 -2 -3
Brookbank 7 2 1 0 0 0 3 -1 -1
Thompson 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 E E
TEAM 12 46 32 19 13 1 111 -19 -14


I left the goalies off the statistics for my own sanity. The stats really speak for themselves. And I think the most surprising ones are Savard and Wayne Primeau.

I believe my math is right, but if you find any discrepancies, definitely let me know. I am off to watch one episode of Gilmore Girls on DVD, and call it an early night. I might come back to this post sometime in the afternoon if I have more thoughts.

B. Stuart cleared

| 3 Comments

The practice report is coming from Kevin Paul Dupont today.

Defenseman Brad Stuart will be in the line-up for tomorrow night's game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The pinky still isn't 100% and he won't be able to play in some situations. But having him back in the line-up is still a good thing.

The decision about the Bruins starting goalie will be decided tomorrow morning. Will coach Dave Lewis stick with Tim Thomas, or will he throw Brian Finley into the fire?

Defenseman Jason York is hoping rest, ice and time off of skates will help his knee. If not, surgery will still be an option.

Double the fun?

Before I called it a night, sometime around 3 this morning which is "early" for me, I skimmed over the Bruins articles in the Herald. When I saw the following quote, I was almost too wide awake to go to sleep.

The B’s practiced for almost two hours, nearly twice as long as usual. One of the more taxing drills was a game of 2-on-2 (a player plus goalie on each team) over the full length of the ice. A player wasn’t allowed to bail out until he scored or five minutes were up.

I went to go brush my teeth and I kept thinking, "two hours? two hours?" because my tired brain couldn't wrap around the thought. I think one of the last thoughts I had before I went to sleep was, "imagine all the pictures I could take in two hours."

The Globe article has some stuff about Andrew Raycroft. Defenseman Jason York is waiting to see if the swelling in his knee goes down before he decides if he wants surgery. Winger P.J. Axelsson apparently needed the aid of an inhaler after yesterday's grueling practice. Defenseman Brad Stuart was set to have x-rays yesterday to hopefully gain medical clearance for tomorrow's game. The only thing he would have to do if he gets it is convince coach Dave Lewis. Goaltender Hannu Toivonen is slated to start all three games for Providence this weekend.

The Bruins practiced this morning in Wilmington, and I'm hoping it was a little easier than yesterday's.

Toivonen to Providence

| 13 Comments

Mark Stuart has a travel buddy!

The Boston Bruins have assigned goaltender Hannu Toivonen to Providence today. News broke by Kevin Paul Dupont, and more details will be in the Globe Blog after practice.

Shocked? I am too.

1:36 p.m. Allowing this to sink in for twenty minutes, I have to say the shock has worn off. After watching Toivonen in practice on Sunday, he wasn't himself. The confidence he has (or had) wasn't there. He was allowing goals that he would never give up otherwise. He just looked "out there" and everybody knows that is not like Hannu. An assignment in Providence will allow Toivonen to gain his confidence back and get him away from Milan Jurcina's deadly shots. It might be possible that Toivonen suffered a mild concussion after taking the slap shot to the mask that cracked it last week.

But I won't speculate. The facts are Toivonen is going to Providence. The reasons should be available soon.

1:43 p.m. It appears that Brian Finley (5-3-0 3.08 GAA .898 Sv%) has been recalled from Providence.

M. Stuart ready to play

| 5 Comments

Good news for defenseman Mark Stuart.

The Boston Herald reports the 22 year old defenseman, who has been sporting a visor in practice since last week, is ready to play. The Boston Bruins assigned him to Providence yesterday today for conditioning and he will play this weekend. Providence has three games this weekend, hosting the Norfolk Admirals on Friday and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Sunday, and traveling to Worcester on Saturday.

Hopefully, if all goes well, Bruins fans will see Stuart back in Boston next week.

Bruins @ Thrashers

| 6 Comments

Hey Versus, You know what would be grand? Seeing the opening face-off! Now that I got that off my chest, Marc Savard was interviewed by Christine Simpson. The starting line-up was Thomas, Bergeron, Primeau, Donovan, Alberts, Mara. Stastny is a healthy scratch.

First Period: Didn’t take the Bruins long to get their first penalty of the game. Mara went off for hooking at 2:48 and Kozlov scored on the power play 11 seconds later. Kovalchuk snuck by Mara and Alberts on a breakaway that Thomas stopped. Murray had two shots that were saved by Hedberg, the second being a glove save. Mara got his second hooking penalty of the period and Kovalchuk scored on the power play. It should be mentioned that Chara and Lashoff were out there for both power play goals. Chara got a holding penalty at 9:10. Alberts and Mara were the defense pair on the first penalty killing unit, and Jurcina and Lashoff were the second pair. Bergeron got a tripping penalty at 10:41, giving the Thrashers a 5-on-3 power play for 30 seconds. Axelsson, Primeau and Mara killed off the 5-on-3. Bergeron’s best scoring chance came when he missed the net. There was a 2-on-1 on Alberts, after Jurcina misread the play, and I think the Thrashers player shot it wide. The Thrashers got a penalty at 15:38, and the best scoring chance came from Axelsson. He had a wide open side of the net to put the puck into, but misfired and the puck went wide. Chara iced the puck on the power play which was the worst thing you can do while on the power play. Boyes and Sturm didn’t see any power play time as Donovan, Primeau, Kessel, Alberts and Mara were the second unit. Dempsey got a hooking penalty at 19:08. The Bruins had 8 shots and gave up 21 shots. Thomas has 19 saves.

First Period Thoughts: Every time I turned to my grandmother and said, “Nana, the Bruins suck,” she would make a face. When I said it at the end of the first period, she nodded and agreed.

Second Period: This period was much better for the Bruins as they only gave up 7 shots to Atlanta and had 8 of their own. Bruins got a power play goal from Bergeron when he tipped a shot from Mara. The other assist went to Savard. There were a few more penalties (Primeau – goaltender interference, Chara – diving, Kessel – holding) and it looked like the Thrashers extended their lead to two goals. The initial play looked like the puck bounced off Thomas’s back and into the net. But the officials went to review and Hossa batted it with a couple of fingers, so the goal didn’t count. That was huge for the Bruins momentum. Alberts made a huge block, and Mara had a huge save on a rebound chance, clearing the puck from the open net behind Thomas. The refs missed a boarding penalty on the Thrashers when Boyes was boarded in a corner. Atlanta got a penalty that left 1:16 for the third period, but the Bruins didn’t cash in on the power play. Score after two periods was 2-1 Atlanta.

Third Period: I am joining about 5 minutes into the period. Hoggan took an offensive zone penalty for tripping at 5:15. Hate to see offensive zone penalties. Kovalchuk grabs a power play goal, scoring from the blue line. When I saw Chara and Mara standing absolutely still on the penalty kill, I knew bad things were going to happen. They needed to be a little more aggressive and they weren’t. It’s 3-1 Thrashers now. First even-strength goal of the game comes from Hossa. Alberts made a pretty poor defensive play at the blue line, and Thomas didn’t stop the puck. I’ve been waiting for that game-breaking save, and had Thomas made that save, that would’ve been it. Now the score is 4-1 Thrashers. Axelsson got a double minor, one penalty for hooking and one for unsportsmanlike conduct. Kovalchuk gets a “triple” as the broadcasters from Versus say. Funny, I thought it was called a hat trick in hockey. 5-1 Thrashers. I swear the announcers said Kessel was in the penalty box, but apparently it was Kozlov who picked up an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. It doesn’t matter much. Jurcina got a penalty later and now there’s 5 minutes left in the game. Hossa had an almost breakaway, and Jurcina took a hooking penalty at 17:55, but it wasn’t even hooking. It was a good defensive play by Jurcina. Boyes scores an unassisted shorthanded goal at 18:52. Atlanta got a penalty and Bergeron scored on the power play to make the game score a little more respectable at 5-3.

Here’s who I thought were the best Bruins tonight: Birthday Boy Brad Stuart, Yan Stastny, Mark Stuart and Jason York. Oh, you thought I meant Bruins who played? That list would be even shorter. The few that had a decent game that come to my mind were Alberts until the defensive goof, Jurcina until his third period penalties but the second one doesn’t count because it should have never been a penalty, and Boyes who seemed to be flying all night and was rewarded with a shorthanded goal.

Bruins will fly back home tonight and most likely will be back at practice tomorrow.

Taking on the Thrashers

| 1 Comment

Tonight the Bruins will face the Atlanta Thrashers in their first telecast on Versus. The Thrashers are 10-3-3 on the season, with a 6-1-2 record at home.

Johan Hedberg (1.71 GAA, .930 Sv %) will get the start in goal for the Thrashers, while the Bruins will go with Tim Thomas (3.21 GAA, .899 Sv%). The leading scorers on the Thrashers are Marian Hossa (21 points) and Ilya Kovalchuk (19 points). The last time these two teams met, the Thrashers had a 4-1 victory. The referees tonight are Dan O'Rourke and Brad Watson.

In Bruins news from Fluto, Patrice Bergeron will be moving down low on the power play and Glen Murray will move to the point. Hannu Toivonen took another shot to the noggin in the game-day skate, with the shot coming from defenseman Milan Jurcina again. You may remember last week, Jurcina’s shot hit Toivonen in the head and cracked his Slap Shot tribute mask.

Wishing a happy birthday to defenseman Brad Stuart who turns 27 today.

Checking in because I have things to do

I wanted to check in real quick before I start getting ready for an appointment.

The pictures from this weekend (game and practice) are up, but not captioned at the moment. I got them up to the site just before 3 this morning. They’ll most likely be captioned when I get back from my appointment. You might notice you can no longer add comments to photos. This is because one certain IP address kept “talking” to the players, and while I don’t mind rooting players on through the albums, I do mind when the person doesn’t include a name, comments more about how cute the players are, and it becomes so constant that I have to spend a half hour deleting comments. It was easier to close them for now. If I can find a better solution to the problem, comments will be open again or maybe open for a certain amount of time.

After I caption the photos, I will be working on the following: a game preview for tonight’s game against the Atlanta Thrashers on Versus, a game recap from Saturday with things that got overlooked, the goal statistics like these again, and catching up on Bruins news like defenseman Jason York suddenly needing knee surgery.

While I’m off getting my shoulder checked out, a good way to spend some time would be to read Rob Simpson’s blog especially his post from yesterday. I think his blog is one of the most entertaining and underrated Bruins blogs on the internet. Be back later.

"Private" practice

Today’s practice was one of the lightest practices I’ve been to this season. Considering the Bruins had a game last night, traveled today and will play tomorrow, it wasn’t shocking. The practice was at the TD Banknorth Garden and open for season ticket holders, which I am not, but thanks to a great friend, I got to bring my mother out to see the Bruins, who she doesn’t get to see in person too often lately.

Coach Dave Lewis ran a loose practice, with a warm-up drill that worked on passing, and then an odd-man rush drill, and probably another drill I can’t remember, and the last drill was a “breakaway competition” where it put two teams against each other, the gray and defensemen against the gold, teal and white lines. Whichever team scored nine goals first, won the competition. The defense team was a little lagging until defenseman Mark Stuart scored four goals in a row. Then it came down to the last two pucks, one per side, and Phil Kessel came through to win it for the defense team and the other team had to do a lap.

Some comments from Dave Lewis during practice that made fans laugh was when Marc Savard messed up on one drill and they had to do it over. The other line was a “wake up defense!” line when I think somebody was missing for the drill. Lewis did a good job explaining the drills and answered some questions that fans asked.

Practice lasted a little over a half hour, but there were a lot of players who stayed after and worked on things. The defense worked on shooting again, and some forwards had their own old fashion game of pond hockey going on. Glen Murray and P.J. Axelsson, (I believe Mark Mowers was also in on it) were some big pranksters shooting most of the pucks from center ice down to the pond hockey game end of the ice while they were playing. Murray and Axelsson couldn’t get off the ice fast enough, hopping over the boards and running to the locker-room like the guilty players they were.

As more players went off the ice, Yan Stastny and a group that consisted of Kessel, M. Stuart, Matt Lashoff and Brad Boyes had a little competition of their own. They all shot the puck from different spots on the ice, first close from the net at the face-off dot, then moving to the blue line, then the opposite blue line, then the goal line at the other end, and then onto the other side from the goal line, to blue line, to blue line, and then from center ice. They were out there for the longest time doing this, while giving some pucks away to kids along the way.

Pictures might be posted tonight (game and practice), and I want to do a real recap of the Lightning/Bruins game from last night. A two hour nap has helped me find some more energy, so I hope to be productive tonight. I will also catch up on all of the Bruins news I have missed here lately.

Wilderness Nick

I didn't get to see last night's Coyotes game because well, it started at 9 and ended sometime when I was still dancing in a bar. I did see the score and we cheered the 6-4 win! Go Coyotes!

Boynton stats: Boynton finished the game even, playing 21:35 which might be his season high. He also had 1 hit, 4 blocked shots and a penalty for holding.

I finally got around to checking my e-mail today, and saw the following article that mentions sending Nick Boynton to the wilderness based on his performance against the Rangers.

For some reason I find this funny this morning. It must be the lack of sleep I got.

Each week, we select a player or team whose performance is poor is merits demotion to the nether regions of the game.

This week's winner? Nick Boynton of the Phoenix Coyotes.

Last Saturday, the 'Yotes finally had a decent crowd to watch them take on the Rangers, but they fell flat, losing 7-3.

Mr. Boynton distinguished himself by going -5 in the game, managing to be on the ice for the first three Ranger goals.

Minus five is nice at the Phoenix Open, but doesn't cut it in the NHL. For that, Mr. B. is off to the Ft. McMurray Oil Barons of the Alberta Junior Hockey League.

The Coyotes are off until Thursday, when they'll host the Dallas Stars.

Lightning vs. Bruins

| 5 Comments

The Real Recap:

So Saturday’s Lighting vs. Bruins game started innocent enough. The Bruins got a 1-0 lead from Marc Savard at 4:08 of the first period. Tampa tied it later on the power play and the teams would go into the first intermission tied 1-1. Not a bad way to start the game.

The second period would be more dramatic as seven goals were scored between the two teams. The scoring got started when the Lightning were on an extended power play. Paul Mara got a delay of game penalty for shooting the puck into the stands behind the Lightning bench. Defenseman Andrew Alberts was his defense partner out there, and remained out there to kill off the penalty with Zdeno Chara. Then 46 seconds after Mara went into the penalty box, Chara followed after being called for a hooking penalty. Alberts remained out there to kill off the 5-on-3 with Patrice Bergeron and P.J. Axelsson. Knowing Alberts had been on the ice for what seemed like forever was actually one long shift that lasted almost FOUR minutes. The Lightning scored a power play goal three seconds after Mara got out of the penalty box.

Less than two minutes later, Savard scored again to tie it at 2-2. Then less than two minutes after that, Phil Kessel scored his third goal of the season to give the Bruins a 3-2 lead. The lead lasted just ten seconds as Nikita Alexeev scored off of the face-off to tie it at 3-3. Over four minutes later, Martin St. Louis gave the Lightning the 4-3 lead. Then a little over two minutes after that, P.J. Axelsson scored on the power play to tie it at 4-4. But that would be short-lived yet again as Dimitry Afanasenkov scored an unassisted goal at 18:14. That was the most insane goal-scoring period I have ever seen live.

The third period was a little less exciting. Hannu Toivonen was pulled during intermission and Tim Thomas came in for relief duty. Glen Murray got a high-stick to the face late in the game. With Cory Sarich in the penalty box serving a double minor for the high-stick, the Bruins went to work on the power play. Murray tried to stay on the ice, but the officials sent him off because he was bleeding. With 47 ticks left in the game, Chara scored on the power play to tie the game at 5-5! Filip Kuba picked up a penalty when the goal was scored, so the Bruins went into overtime with a 5-on-3 power play.

It took only 17 seconds for the Bruins to score to clinch the win. Mara set up Murray for a one-timer that beat Marc Denis sending both the Bruins team and their fans into frenzy.

Vincent Lecavalier almost stole the show with his four assists, but Savard ended up with five points (2 goals, 3 assists). Both Chara and Matt Lashoff didn’t have their best game as a defense pair with both finishing a –2. There were many reviews during the game, first to see if a goal had actually happened, and then ending with a lengthy review to make sure Chara’s goal counted.

Definitely one of the best games I have been to.

The Slacker Recap from Saturday:

Another late night for moi. That's what happens when you have Triple Trouble out and about. I made the decision to go to the game sometime after I text messaged Aly during my day of shopping to see if she wanted to go. I was at the mall at the time, and still had grocery shopping to do. Bad influence that Aly is, did, and I am ever thankful for that, because it was by far one of the most awesome comeback games I've ever been to. Needless to say, this is why I'm just posting now as I was shopping from 11-4 and then getting ready for the game 4-5 and then on my way to Boston from 5-6, getting there just in time for a beer at the Sports Grille before the game. And yes, I had to deal with a diversion on the Red Line and take a shuttle bus to connect to the Green Line.

First, skipping the first and second periods, may I say that when I put myself and everything I have on the line, the Bruins will prove me wrong every single time. I said, "I will do anything if the Bruins tie it" and you know what happened? They tied it 5-5 late in the game! Yeah. Thank you Bruins. There were some suggestions of what I could do later.

Following that, and hoping to be proven wrong, I said before overtime, "if the Bruins win it, I will do anything!" and yeah.... They won it in overtime 6-5 on a power play goal. I have three witnesses who can mark my words that's what I said. And two "anythings" still on the table.

So thank you Bruins for making me have to do anything, but I didn't have to cash in on them tonight. It was a fun night hanging with my chicas at The Greatest Bar, being recognized from Thursday night by the bartender, who reminded me a lot of Tom Cruise in Cocktail, and dancing up a storm with Aly. (They played my most favorite dance song in the world and I could not contain myself, and the beers helped a lot.)

I took some pictures during warm-ups but was more in a watching mode. You know, actually being a fan for the most part.

Pictures will be posted sometime on Sunday after the Bruins noon practice, which I will be attending. Four straight days of Bruins. Am I a Wicked Bruins Fan yet?

Adios.

3 a.m. Hola, I'm still awake because there was a Dunkin Donuts open 24 hours on Causeway Street and I hit that after I walked Aly to the T. I also may have saw a Bruin, but I cannot disclose who it was, because well... you had to be there, and frankly, you weren't, because only cab drivers were around at the time, and the cabs kept trying to offer me rides to wherever I was going. I did not need a cab and was being stalked by them, so I know if I needed a cab, I wouldn't have been able to find one.

I'm writing to say I realize there is an issue with the "newest photo album" feature because there's a Nick Boynton there. I do not know what happened with the code that generates it or whatever possessed it to go back in time, other than things that I typed in a conversation to somebody that would be too surreal to even figure out. So ignore it for the time being and if you want to see the latest albums, click here for Thursday's game and here for Friday's practice. It should fix itself when I upload new albums from Saturday's game and Sunday's practice. I really should try and get some sleep now.

Coyotes @ Ducks

I had the game on the television and paid attention only when a goal was scored. Bad fan. The Coyotes lost 6-2, with the two goals coming in the 3rd period.

Boynton Stats: Boynton finished +2 to lead the team (he was out for both Coyotes goals, and two power play goals against) and played 17:56 with two takeaways. The statisticians didn't credit him with a hit, but he had a half-hit at one point. He also got a hooking penalty that I missed.

No rest for the Coyotes. They play today against the Kings, with game time starting at 9. I am debating if I want to stay home and watch a doubleheader, or head to the Bruins game and then go to the Sports Grille after to watch the rest of the Coyotes game. Decisions, decisions.

Short practice and a team meeting

| 3 Comments

The Bruins had a “late” practice today that started at noon. It didn’t allow me much extra time to sleep in and after a late night last night, I was dragging. The first one on the ice was Yan Stastny, followed by Hannu Toivonen and Zdeno Chara. The rest of the players filtered onto the ice in timely fashion.

One of the assistant coaches met with the gold line of Marc Savard, Glen Murray and P.J. Axelsson prior to the practice start.

The Two Stuarts participated in the entire practice, with Mark now sporting a visor probably to prepare himself for the AHL mandatory visor rule. Brad had his pinky taped to his ring finger to get through practice, and could make passes and take some shots. The shots were a little on the weak side, but the accuracy was good.

It seems practice emphasized on passing and conditioning, i.e. not getting gassed out. There was a drill where three forwards and two defensemen stayed out there to defend while the rest of the lines and defense pairs went against them taking turns, but that was pretty much the length of a shift, or a really long shift. The most impressive defensemen on that drill, in my mind, were Mark Stuart and Matt Lashoff. On one of the drills, Mark positioned himself perfectly to break up the pass on a two-on-one. The only other defenseman to break up a play was Andrew Alberts, that I saw.

Milan Jurcina was fine for practice. No blunders that really stuck out. Maybe his practice got himself into tomorrow’s line-up, as he'll be a game-day decision. He also did some skating stuff after the team practice was over.

An assistant coach worked with the defense (except Chara I think) on shooting above "traffic". They stuck this black thing that was about a foot high (probably less than a foot actually), in the shooting lane and the defensemen had to get the shot off the ice. The only one who struggled there (hitting the black thing more times than not) was Mark Stuart. I'm assuming from not being able to push off effectively. Jason York, Jurcina and Alberts hit it at least once, maybe twice. Brad Stuart might've hit it once, but he had some good accuracy considering he has a broken digit. Nathan Dempsey and Paul Mara didn’t stand out.

It was a short practice, 45 minutes on ice before the players bolted for a team meeting. Meeting seemed to last over an hour with the coaches leaving first. I would guess they definitely went over some video.

Oh, some players also had one-on-one meetings with the coaches (coach Dave Lewis or an assistant coach) on ice. The players I saw go one-on-one were Alberts, Phil Kessel, Mara, Wayne Primeau, Shean Donovan and Savard. There were probably more but the defense started working on their shooting at the time.

GM Peter Chiarelli watched from the little heated luxury box and then went to the bench to talk to Lewis. Assistant GM Jeff Gorton was not there. The photo album is now up. Photos from last night's game will be up later tonight.

Sabres vs. Bruins

| 5 Comments

Here's my post-game recap, which I might come back to sometime on Friday (think late afternoon) or quite possibly never. But I should do some stats at some point, because stats are fun and scoring two power plays is huge. Right now, I'm tired and cranky and do not want to even look at anything that resembles a statistic.

So to summarize...

The third period SUCKED.

That's all.

Bruins lost in a shootout 5-4 (thanks Tracy) after having a 4-1 lead midway through the third period. Of course, the shootout loss comes against the best team in the league, the Buffalo Sabres, but still.

Bruins? Third period breakdowns with the tying goal coming with roughly 90 seconds left is unacceptable.

I'm done. My bed is calling me. (Photos are up.)

Oh, one last happy thing. Former Bruins defenseman Ian Moran was at the game. Anaheim sent him down to Portland sometime this week and when he walked out after the game, he had three girls cheering for him. Glen Murray was walking beside him and we ignored him, and Mrs. Murray got a kick out of us. You know, I'm all for seeing old familiar faces around this season.

Preview vs. Buffalo

| 2 Comments

Yesterday's speculation about defenseman Jason York sitting out tonight against the Buffalo Sabres was premature. After today's game-day skate, the healthy scratches tonight will be defenseman Milan Jurcina and forward Yan Stastny. When I saw Stastny's name, I was a little upset. Jurcina, not so much because it's not the first time. Matt Lashoff will stay in the line-up.

Coach Dave Lewis is finally reuniting the top line from last season, putting Marco Sturm with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Boyes. The reason, from the Boston Globe Blog: "I asked them about last year," said Lewis of his top line. "I asked them why they were successful. They said, 'We had fun.' "

Well, as long as they're going to have fun. The other lines and defensive pairings shake out like this:

Axelsson-Savard-Murray
Primeau-Kessel-Donovan
Hoggan-Mowers-Brookbank

Lashoff-Chara
Alberts-Mara
York-Dempsey

Defenseman Andrew Alberts returns to the line-up after missing three games, and two weeks to the day since he was injured in the home opener. It sounds like watching the game from the press level has helped him and he will be focused on staying up more to close off big gaps.

Some Bruins statistics that need to be shared. Alberts still leads the team in +/- (+3) despite missing three games. Glen Murray is a +2, and Lashoff and Marc Savard are +1. The rest of the Bruins players are even or on the minus side. The worst in +/- are shared by Zdeno Chara, Paul Mara and Wayne Primeau all with a -5. The Herald says Primeau has been a -6 in his last seven games. Murray, Bergeron and Chara have had the game-winning goals on the Bruins.

The starting goalies are Tim Thomas (3.33 GAA and .889 sv%) and Ryan Miller (2.36 GAA and .921 sv%) [source].

As for the opponent, the Buffalo Sabres are still undefeated in regulation (10-0-1) with six wins on the road. Maxim Afinogenov leads the team with 13 points (4 G 9 A). Jaroslav Spacek and Jason Pominville lead the team with two game-winning goals. The last meeting between these two teams saw the Bruins on the losing side of a 6-2 loss.

The referees for tonight's game will be Stephane Auger and Don VanMassenhoven. Remember to look for numbers 91 (Savard) and 21 (Nathan Dempsey) now. One last fun fact, the next victory by the Bruins will be the 100th of Coach Lewis' NHL coaching career.

Coyotes Growing Pains

| 1 Comment

Growing Pains for Gretzky's Coyotes

But the new additions haven't worked out thus far, and time is rapidly running out for Wayne Gretzky's struggling club. In Saturday night's ugly 7-3 loss to the Rangers, blueliner Nick Boynton stood out with a particularly atrocious performance. In only 13:57 of ice time (sixth-least amongst the Coyotes), Boynton managed to rack up a ridiculous minus-five rating.

The struggles of Boynton, acquired from the Boston Bruins in exchange for Paul Mara, an offensive-minded blueliner who is much better suited to the modern NHL, mirror those of his team. Put bluntly, the Coyotes are playing pre-lockout hockey, their prehistoric playing style translating to only six standings points (out of a possible 24). Until they start playing a more disciplined brand of hockey (they have been shorthanded 89 times, most in the NHL), Phoenix cannot be expected to turn things around.

Maybe they should work on the bolded part.

October Statistics

| 2 Comments

I came up with the following idea for a statistics thing when I recapped the month of October in the sidebar this afternoon. I thought, what would be some interesting statistics to look at to recap the month, and the first nine games of the season? The table below is your answer.

But before you look down, here's one ranking that the Bruins must improve on. The Bruins rank 27th in the NHL with a 2.1 GF average. That ties them with Columbus and Los Angeles. Philadelphia ranks last with a 2.0 GF average.

Now for table references, the Bruins have played 4 games at home and 5 games on the road. PP Opp is power play opportunities and TS is times shorthanded. The rest should be self-explanatory.

POWER PLAY PP Opp PPG PP % RANK
Home 20 3 15.0% 17th
Road 30 3 10.0% 22nd
PENALTY KILL TS PPGA PK % RANK
Home 23 6 73.9% 28th
Road 27 7 74.1% 28th
GOALS BY PERIOD 1st 2nd 3rd TOTAL
Goals For 9 5 5 19
Goals Against 6 13 13 32
SHOTS BY PERIOD 1st 2nd 3rd TOTAL
Shots For 83 93 82 (+1 OT)  259
Shots Against 95 106 90 (+4 OT)  295

The power play is slightly better at home than it is on the road, with 10 less power play opportunities coming at home, but the same amount of power play goals as the road.

The penalty kill on the other hand, is ever so slightly better on the road than it is at home, but both rank the same at home and on the road.

The Bruins outscored the opposition only in the first period, and got outscored in both the second and third periods. Sounds similar to last season, doesn't it? The Bruins seem to sit back more in the last two periods, so that should be something they need to work on and change in November.

The shots by period are interesting and quite telling. I had to go game-by-game to add up the period totals, and it was surprising to see the number of shots difference. The total shots for and against are shocking enough, with a difference of 36. That's usually a game total.

I did want to spend a little more time on ways to make the power play and penalty kill better, but a phone call took up some of that time. I didn't let the conversation stop me from crunching numbers for the shots by period, until I got scolded for my one word responses. But he got my full attention when I was done with the number-crunching.

Hopefully when I do the statistics at the end of November, everything will improve and I'll have more to write. I am looking forward to sitting on my couch right now and doing nothing. Catch ya tomorrow with a game preview.

Number changes and happy news

| 5 Comments

Some notes from today's practice on the Globe Blog. I did not go, so I have nothing to report.

Marc Savard is no longer #71. Savard will be wearing #91 tomorrow. Nathan Dempsey is no longer #29. Dempsey will be wearing #21 tomorrow.

As expected, defenseman Andrew Alberts will be in the line-up tomorrow night. As a surprise, winger Marco Sturm will return to the line-up and coach Dave Lewis will monitor his minutes. Defenseman Matt Lashoff is still here and will most likely play tomorrow, leaving possibly Jason York the odd man out on defense. Brad Stuart will not play tomorrow, and a return on Saturday is premature.

24 minutes later

I remembered that NHL Digest is hosting the First Carnival of Hockey today, and hopped over to see if my submission made the cut. It did make the cut, was listed second, and has the following with it:

Jaci gives us Untold stories from the past week posted at WickedBruinsFan - The Wicked Blog. She recaps the week that was for the Bruins and also has a ton of photos from the Bruins first home game. Be sure to cruise around her blog, she is a great photographer!

I think that is the first time I've been called a "great photographer" so let me have my moment. Okay, moment is gone. Be sure to check out the other blogs in the Carnival, as they are all great.