Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
The Bruins’ front office doesn’t seek this space for advice, but if I were general manager of the hottest hockey team on Causeway in 15 years, I’d try to tie down Tim Thomas and Manny Fernandez today for three-year extensions worth an average $3 million a year. I could be wrong, but I think each of the 34-year-olds might bite (key stat: age 34). That wouldn’t be music to the ears of wunderkind Tuukka Rask, eager to launch his NHL career, but Thomas and Fernandez are proven NHL commodities.
more NHL notes including MacTavish and Hartsburg on the hot seat…
from Kevin Paul Dupont of Bruins Blog,
Frightening sight at 8:37 of the second period when Patrice Bergeron ran straight into an onrushing Dennis Seidenberg and took the blow directly to the left side of his face, leaving the Boston center facedown on the ice for some three minutes.
Bergeron, who missed most of last season with a Grade 3 concussion suffered Oct. 27, 2007, did not appear to lose consciousness. However, he was obviously stunned by the hit and lay motionless on the ice for about a minute before finally moving his legs.
After some three minutes on the ice, Bergeron was helped to his feet by teammates Chuck Kobasew and Marc Savard, who also then aided him toward the Boston bench. Some 15 feet from the bench, Bergeron skated on his own toward the bench door and exited under his own power down the runway toward the dressing room.
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
In the Bruins’ plan for 2008-09, one likely scenario was to have Manny Fernandez reclaim his game, then swap the free agent-to-be before the trade deadline, replacing the veteran with rookie Tuukka Rask to back up Tim Thomas.
But with the Bruins merrily steamrolling opponents and both goalies combining to form the stoutest puck-stopping tandem in the league, general manager Peter Chiarelli may find that trading Fernandez brings more harm than benefit.
Today’s guest on the NHL’s conference call was Boston Bruins right wing Phil Kessel, who answered questions from numerous members of the hockey media.
Earlier today Phil was named NHL ‘First Star’ for the week that ended yesterday after leading the National Hockey League in scoring with three goals and five assists for eight points. The Bruins won three of four games for the week. Phil has the NHL’s longest active point streak, which is currently at 15 games, and the longest streak for a Bruin since Adam Oates had a 20-game streak in January and February of 1997. The Madison, Wisconsin native ranks second on the Bruins in scoring with 31 points and his 19 goals are third in the League behind Thomas Vanek of Buffalo, who has 24, and Jeff Carter of Philadelphia with 21.
Q & A
Q. Are you still playing mostly with Marc Savard at center and Milan Lucic on the left wing?
PHIL KESSEL: Yeah, that’s who I’m playing with right now. I enjoy playing with both those guys. They’re both great hockey players.
from Lynn Zinser of the New York Times,
Vaulting to a 21-5-4 record, with a roster filled with young, fresh faces who play a fun style of hockey, the Bruins have finally softened the heart of their city.
“In Boston, it’s a tough crowd,” General Manager Peter Chiarelli said. “People are now critiquing how we win. You know what? This is a good sign.”
The Bruins have lost only three games since the beginning of November, one of them in a shootout to the Rangers. They have won 16 times in that span, including a 5-3 victory last Monday against the Lightning. And they ended up lamenting having given up the three goals to Tampa Bay.
But the fans loved every minute. They watched one of their young stars, 21-year-old Phil Kessel, score at least a point for his 12th straight game, a streak he has stretched to 15 games. They howled at every hit and shot taken by Milan Lucic, who at 20 is fast becoming a folk hero for his scrappy play. Lucic is constantly serenaded by chants of “Luuuuu,” from an increasingly boisterous crowd.
from Bud Barth of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette,
Defenseman Dennis Wideman, a relative graybeard by comparison at age 25, was talking about the explosive development this season of the Bruins’ Baby Bombers — Phil Kessel, David Krejci, Milan Lucic, Matt Hunwick, Blake Wheeler and even Wideman himself.
“Those guys are all 100 times better than they were last year,” Wideman said, ignoring the fact that his improvement curve is just as steep. “If they keep going like this, and keep getting better and keep working, it’s scary what they could accomplish.”
It’s already frightening to see how far they’ve come just up till now. You can throw Patrice Bergeron into this bunch, too, considering he’s only 23 years old and is showing such remarkable progress in rebounding from that awful concussion of last year.
Without going up and down every roster, it’s clear that there’s not another NHL team that (a) has such a wide array of young talent, and (b) has seen such a drastic improvement in that many players in such a short period of time.
Boston Bruins VP Cam Neely will be the guest on today’s edition of NHL Hour with Commissioner Gary Bettman. The show is on now, from 4-5 p.m. ET on XM Satellite Radio (204) and Sirius (208).
You can also listen live online at the NHL Network Online once the show starts.
* While on the air, listeners can call into the show at 1-877-645-6696, or send questions/comments via this email address: email@example.com
**Archived shows available for download via podcast on NHL.com.
From Mike Milbury, blogging on CBC.ca:
So what gives?
Every GM looks for strength down the middle. It starts with a good goalie, then a key pair of defencemen and a top-10 scoring/playmaking centre.
In the backend, goalie Tim Thomas has to be a candidate for a couple of major NHL awards at this point in the season including MVP. He has been outstanding. Zdeno Chara has overcome a tentative start and is back on his game while Dennis Wideman has become an elite NHL defenceman this year.
And up front? The much-maligned Marc Savard has found the full measure of his game with help from head coach Claude Julien and looks like a much more committed player. And speaking of the coach, there is no doubt that he has to be given much of the credit for the continued rise of the franchise.
from Shira Springer of the Boston Globe,
Something strange is happening in Boston. The Bruins matter. A proud, old hockey town has rediscovered its pulse. When was the last time anyone could say that?
This young and feisty team has vaulted to unexpected relevance with 18 wins in its first 26 games, and to first place in the National Hockey League’s Eastern Conference. Built from the ground up by a revitalized front-office team, the new Bruins aren’t exactly big or bad, but they have so far showcased the essential elements of success on ice: shifty scorers, a fists-up enforcer, a towering defenseman, a rock in goal. And not one household name in the bunch. Not yet.
Average attendance is up 10 percent; pro shop sales, 30 percent. Home game sellouts are no longer a dream but a growing expectation. Even the team’s flatline TV ratings, rivaled only by the New England Revolution for local sports broadcast oblivion, have begun to perk up.
It’s enough to make Cam Neely jump out of his seat.
from Mike Milbury of Blogs and Columns at CBC,
Today marks the official start of the Montreal Canadiens’ 100th anniversary.
Pardon me if I don’t feel like joining the party.
For the Habs fans, this begins a few months strolling down memory lane. For me, it’s like bringing out the skeletons in the closet.
For three straight years from 1977-1979, my Boston Bruins squared off against the Montreal Canadiens in the Stanley Cup playoffs. And three times, we were sent home a little too early.
If the two teams were cars, the Montreal Canadiens were the Porsches of the NHL. Sleek, fast, streamlined. The top of the line….
And the Bruins? We were just an old, rusty Dodge pick-up truck. Hey, nothing wrong with dependability.
read on for some memories from Mike…
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org