Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Hey, it's a nice story the Ottawa Senators jumping back into the playoff fray with a cadre of talented young players. And it's been fun to watch the plucky Florida Panthers continue to nip at the heels of the Boston Bruins. And while it's become an interesting storyline, it's highly unlikely to become anything more than that for the Panthers, because we're talking about the Boston Bruins here.
The Bs are 4-0-1 in their last five and have points in seven of their last 10 games after an emphatic 5-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday, a score that flattered Detroit given that Boston was up comfortably 4-1 after the second period.
The Bruins have 17 games left, and if they went a pedestrian 8-8-1 that would give them 93 points and mean that Florida would have to come up with 22 points in their last 16 games (10-4-2?) while Ottawa would need 23 points in their last 18 games (11-6-1?) to jump ahead of the Bruins. In short, unless the Bruins go off the deep end again the notion of a playoff race is really only theoretical, even with a big game looming between Ottawa and Boston on Tuesday.
continue for more from the ESPN hockey bunch including Pierre LeBrun on the Flames...
Then this happened...
Below is the Eastern Conference picture afte the Boston win...
from Joe Haggerty of CSNNE,
“Tomorrow is a huge game for Philadelphia, and it should be a huge game for us,” said Julien. “Those are teams that are obviously gunning for us, and if we want some separation then we obviously need to win those kinds of games. I know we’ve got Detroit the next day, and then Ottawa at the beginning of next week. The month of March is going to be a tough one.”
The B’s coach is, of course, referencing the stretch of 11 games in 18 days, that the team capped off with the shootout loss to the Flames, and 15 total games in 31 days with 13 of those games against Eastern Conference opponents.
The month also has the Bruins in four sets of back-to-back games over the course of March, and that’s an area where the team has withered this season in the second night of those situations.
from Darren Dreger of the Dreger Report,
Strong hockey markets such as Toronto and Boston require experienced, confident and resilient managers and coaches to both survive and thrive.
With Peter Chiarelli and Claude Julien, the Bruins have thrived and until recently, the notion either man was in jeopardy of losing his job would and should have been viewed as absurd.
In Toronto, no one will be surprised if or when Brendan Shanahan lowers the boom on Maple Leafs general manager Dave Nonis. Some see Nonis as 'dead man walking,' convinced Shanahan will bring in one of his own in the offseason to spearhead the departure of Phaneuf, Kessel and others before beginning the laborious task of a multi-year rebuild.
Nonis has three years remaining on his contract after this season and has been around the league long enough to know the job is tough enough without worrying whether or not your days are numbered. And he'll continue to manage the Leafs in consultation with Shanahan and Toronto's management team until told otherwise. Such decisions will be made at the end of the season following a a full and standard organizational review. ...
While change in Toronto remains fodder for daily media speculation, the Bruins' injury-riddled fight for a playoff spot in the East has Boston fans feeling uneasy and putting the likes of Chiarelli and Julien in the crosshairs - especially if they fail to qualify or are knocked out early in the postseason.
Now the Boston market is as passionate as any in the NHL and expectations under Chiarelli's guidance are high given the product he's consistently delivered over the past seven years. But as difficult as it is to win a Stanley Cup, it's incredibly hard to maintain contending status year after year.
BOSTON, MA - Boston Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced today, March 6, that the club has signed defenseman Torey Krug to a one-year contract extension through the 2015-16 season worth a cap figure of $3,400,000 and forward Reilly Smith to a two-year contract extension through the 2016-17 season worth an annual cap figure of $3,425,000.
In 58 games this season with the Bruins, the 23-year-old Krug has potted 11 goals (sixth on the team) and 20 assists (second among team defensemen) for 31 points (second among team defensemen) with a plus-six rating.
Bruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton has been keeping a diary for ESPNBoston.com this season. In his latest installment, he talks about the team’s recent struggles, injuries on the team, and how the trade deadline affected him. (As told to Louise K. Cornetta)
A lot of unlucky things happened to us over the past month. I don’t think our game slipped too much from how well we played in January. I thought we were working hard but just couldn’t get bounces to go our way in games. Hopefully now in March, we can move forward and get back to our winning ways.
One area we’ve worked on is our power play. It’s a little bit different now. We have two different units, same guys but in different positions. It’s improved a lot and we’ve scored a couple of goals with the unit I play on, and the other unit has scored some goals too. We need our power play to do well in order for our team to be successful.
We’re moving in the right direction. There is more of a complete effort in the games. We have to keep working hard. We know there is only a little over 20 games left and there are teams behind us who are pushing us. We have to make sure we are focused on every game.
from Joe Haggerty of CSNNE,
Peter Chiarelli is still looking for a right winger with some physicality, a depth defenseman and potentially a backup goaltender, and wants to acquire any and all these things without dealing away the team’s first round pick, or any of their top young players.
For the players in the B’s clubhouse, it’s a nervous time where they hope to still be in Black and Gold when things have settled on Monday. There were vague, suspicious reports that a deal was imminent for the Bruins on Saturday, but a Bruins source insisted to CSNNE.com that nothing was about to break in the hours following the Saturday night win over Arizona....
Veteran names like Dennis Seidenberg and Loui Eriksson had been mentioned as potential trade targets should the Bruins look to shed some salary, and there are a large number of players the B’s could bring into the fold. Chris Stewart and Erik Cole are at the top of the list as true power forward-types with the ability to generate offense, and Curtis Glencross remains a possible fit if Boston is one of his desired NTC destinations.
There was plenty of chatter in B's circles this weekend about 5-foot-7 Columbus forward Cam Atkinson as a potentially interesting target as a restricted free agent. Given that Atkinson is a young RFA, scored 21 goals last season and is only 25 years old with a price tag that would be rightfully steep, it will be a challenge for the B's to reel in the former Boston College standout.
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.
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