Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Michael Hurley of NESN,
With the puck ready to drop on Thursday evening, here are the top 10 reasons to watch the Bruins this season.
10. Fists will be flying
If the preseason is any indication, gloves will be dropping all over the ice this year. Peter Chiarelli added Steve Begin to the mix, joining Milan Lucic and Shawn Thornton as the resident tough guys. Byron Bitz won’t be afraid to join in from time to time as well.
In eight preseason games, Bruins players engaged in 14 fights….
1. These guys have playoff experience
Having a strong season in the regular season is all well and good, but the playoffs are when the games really matter. Having the best record in the conference didn’t win the Bruins anything last season, but their 11 games in the postseason provided valuable bits of learning that will prove to be invaluable this year….
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
Up front, Julien is coaching a four-line group that general manager Peter Chiarelli considers some of the NHL’s best backchecking forwards.
“You build from the back end out,’’ Chiarelli said.
This season, at least to start, “defense first’’ will be the mantra because it is the known commodity. In goal, Thomas and Rask give the Bruins an effective 1-2 punch of veteran savvy and youthful excitement. Chara, counted on to mask some of Ward’s shortcomings, could become even more effective as a shutdown defenseman and offensive threat. Julien will deploy the veteran threesome of Mark Recchi, Patrice Bergeron, and Chuck Kobasew against dangerous forwards - look for the No. 3 line, along with Chara and Morris, to see plenty of reps against Alex Ovechkin tomorrow - in hopes that their close-quarters checking will stifle opposing attacks.
Defense is what Julien and assistant coach Craig Ramsay, who supervises the defensemen, know best.
“There is an expectation on my part and I think in the community at large that we share the same goal. My ambition is to win a Stanley Cup. I think we’ve got the personalities in place from management, coaching and players, so I look for a great season.
“I’ll be disappointed in anything less than that.”
-Bruins Owner Jeremy Jacobs via Rich Thompson of the Boston Herald.
from Rocky Bonanno of NHL.com,
In “Field of Dreams,” the iconic 1989 film, ghosts of famous baseball players appear to Ray Kinsella, played by actor Kevin Costner, in an Iowa corn field. Boston Red Sox outfielder Jason Bay had a similar experience with a famous hockey player earlier this year.
Jogging out to his spot in left field to start the top of the seventh inning, Boston Bruins legend Bobby Orr suddenly appeared in front of Bay, a native of Trail, British Columbia, on the warning track. Orr hadn’t actually appeared out of nowhere—he was hiding inside the fabled Green Monster left field wall, waiting for Bay. The scene of No. 4 meeting No. 44 played out before a crowd of 38,196 on hand at Fenway Park to see the Red Sox defeat the Florida Marlins, 6-1, on June 17.
“In happened in the middle of the game, actually. He was in the Green Monster and stepped out when I went back into the field. I don’t think it was his idea, he was kind of forced out there,” Bay recalled. “He said hi to me, but there was no real chit chat because of the situation, but very cool nonetheless.
from Joe Haggerty of WEEI,
Kovalchuk’s agent Jay Grossman and Atlanta general manager Don Waddell are actively discussing a potential contract extension for the player who is the NHL’s leading scorer since the beginning of the 2001 season, but it wouldn’t be shocking if the Russian takes a wait-and-see approach before signing on the dotted line.
If the 26-year-old rugged scoring machine isn’t locked up by the Thrashers, then pay close attention to the Bruins’ interest level throughout the season after they stockpiled draft picks in the Phil Kessel deal. B’s GM Peter Chiarelli now has seven picks in the first two rounds of the next two drafts, and he owns five of the first 60 picks in next summer’s well-stocked draft rife with blue-chip talent.
Pierre LeBrun and Scott Burnside of ESPN sit down with Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins.
from Naoko Funayama of NESN,
Just telling hockey people you’re going to Quebec City triggers a delightful reaction. But even better was the reaction the people of QC had to us.
“You come for hockey game?” asked our waiter at a quaint corner bistro in Old Quebec City.
“Claude Julien?” he continued in his broken English, asking us about Boston’s head coach and the former Quebec Nordiques defenseman….
Inside Le Colisee, the aura of the old NHL team still remained. Its NHL banners were proudly displayed, with wooden seats high in the “endzones” that were so vertically lined they looked like a wall.
from Damian Cox of the Spin at the Toronto Star,
Kessel, says Chiarelli, demanded a trade and wouldn’t negotiate a contract, so that was that. Indications are that was indeed the situation, and Kessel’s statement that he “never once” demanded a trade was really just semantics. Whether his agent made the demand or whether his unwillingness to talk contract was a passive aggressive strategy, it really doesn’t matter now.
Clearly, Julien’s coaching style was part of the issue, and so the most fascinating part of Kessel’s career as a Leaf when it begins in two months or so will be how he and Ron Wilson are able to forge a working relationship. Wilson’s a demanding coach, and he can be caustic and pointed in his public and private remarks when he feels it is warranted. San Jose officials make no bones about the fact they believe Wilson’s riding of Patrick Marleau retarded Marleau’s development.
Understand this. While Wilson and Burke are friends from years back, Burke now has more personal prestige invested in Kessel being successful than in Wilson, a coach Burke didn’t hire. The Leaf GM will hope Wilson and Kessel get along very well, but it’s a great deal more difficult to find top six forwards than head coaches.
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
According to team principal Charlie Jacobs, the Bruins still hope to include members of the club’s triumphant 1970 Stanley Cup team in a charity event, perhaps a game, while the ice is in place at Fenway Park for the Jan. 1 Winter Classic….
A couple of issues here: 1. Given other civic and charity plans, possibly even public skating, the base paths could be a bit crowded to work in an event of this scale. 2. If it’s not a charity gig, the NHL could raise an objection to a large-scale pay event being staged on its sheet prior to the Winter Classic.
All that said, it would be one fine sight to see Bobby Orr, now 61 years old, take a skate through the Back Bay. Imagine the memorabilia shots of No. 4 cruising through open ice, with the Green Monster in the background.
more topics including Boston GM had no choice but to move Kessel…
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