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The Puck Stops Here

First Place Team

The Boston Bruins have moved into first place in the NHL.  They have a record of 52-23 with six regulation tie points.  This gives them 110 points and a three point lead over anyone else in the league.  They have been the hottest team in the NHL lately and haven't lost a game in regulation in their last sixteen starts.  The question on my mind is could this be an elite team?  The NHL hasn't seen any elite teams since the 2004 lockout.

I have a set of necessary, but not sufficient conditions for a team to be considered elite.  Basically, it must have elite players.  They must have a top NHL goalie and at least three players who are having Hall of Fame careers.  Without elite players there can be no elite team.  At the same time a collection of elite players is no more an elite team than a collection of bricks is a house.

Boston has one of the best goalies in the NHL in Tuukka Rask.  Rask is my pick for the Vezina Trophy.  Rask is on  Hall of Fame track in his career.  He needs to have a string of top seasons that are on the level he is having so far this year.  That is a possibility, though it is a tough standard to meet.

Zdeno Chara and Jarome Iginla are Boston Bruin players who have cemented themselves as Hall of Fame players regardless of what happens in the remainder of their careers.  There were some who thought Iginla's best days were over before he joined Boston, but he has proven to still be a top player in the league this year.

It is hard to argue that any other Bruin is on a Hall of Fame track.  The best candidate is probably Patrice Bergeron who is the top defensive forward in the game today.  That rarely makes one a Hall of Famer without some solid offensive stats to back it up, but it is possible that a long string of Selke victories might make him a Hall of Famer.

All told, Boston does have the elite players that they could be an elite team.  It will require a top playoff for them to put together elite level play and show themselves to be an elite team.  There is a possible elite team at this point in the season and that is more than could be said for most of the last few years.

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Comments

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2008 Red Wings - Stanley Cup Champions and Presidents’ Trophy winners, and only team to surpass 50 wins in the regular season (54). If that’s not elite, in the salary-cap era, I don’t know what is.

Posted by ZandPasha11 on 03/30/14 at 05:25 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

The qualifier you had to add IN THE SALARY CAP ERA is the disqualifier.  The 2008 Wings didn’t have the goaltending of an elite team.  Chris Osgood by that point in his career was a below average NHL starter.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 03/30/14 at 05:29 PM ET

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The qualifier you had to add IN THE SALARY CAP ERA is the disqualifier.

It disqualifies nothing.  The world we live in is a salary cap world.  If you don’t understand that parameters have to change as the world does then you’re even more useless than I previously believed.

Posted by Garth on 03/30/14 at 05:49 PM ET

IwoCPO's avatar

Chris Osgood by that point in his career was a below average NHL starter.

Let me help you with that.  “Chris Osgood by that point in his career was a below average NHL starter who led the league in GAA that season.”

Nice post though. Riveting.

Posted by IwoCPO from Sunny San Diego, bitches on 03/30/14 at 07:51 PM ET

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“Chris Osgood by that point in his career was a below average NHL starter who led the league in GAA that season.”

Actual facts are not included in the conditions used by Mr. TPSH.

Posted by mc keeper on 03/30/14 at 08:10 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

We have been through this Chris Osgood crap so many times already.  Do we really want to go again?

Read a couple Osgood articles here and here.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 03/30/14 at 08:27 PM ET

IwoCPO's avatar

We have been through this Chris Osgood crap so many times already.  Do we really want to go again?

You brought it up, little fella. Don’t get all upset.  But, hey, I’m betting you consider the Oiler teams of the 80’s to be “elite”.  You might want to check Grant Fuhr’s stats while he played in Edmonton.

http://www.nhl.com/ice/player.htm?id=8446991

Posted by IwoCPO from Sunny San Diego, bitches on 03/30/14 at 09:06 PM ET

IwoCPO's avatar

And why did I mention Fuhr?

Chris Osgood by that point in his career was a below average NHL starter.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 03/30/14 at 05:29 PM ET

Was Fuhr, by your estimation, an upper half of the NHL goaltender? If so, what stats do you intend to massage for your own purposes to prove that?

Posted by IwoCPO from Sunny San Diego, bitches on 03/30/14 at 09:13 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Consider the average saves percentages in the NHL in the 80’s when Fuhr was a top goalie.  You would know that if you actually remembered the many discussions we have had abut Osgood in the past and didn’t just recycle the old arguments that failed last time.

Are you really stupid enough to try to argue that Fuhr was no better than Osgood?

This post isn’t even about Detroit or Osgood.  The trolls like you have to make it that way.  This post was about Boston.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 03/30/14 at 09:17 PM ET

IwoCPO's avatar

You’re the child that said the wings of 2008 aren’t “elite” because Osgood was a lower half of the nhl goaltender.  I’m sorry it makes you sad when your own barely-literate words are used against you.  I wouldn’t have said anything until you made that claim.  You’re an elite writer.

Posted by IwoCPO from Sunny San Diego, bitches on 03/30/14 at 09:20 PM ET

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Well the bruins are about to surpass that 54 win column held by the Wings of 2008. They are at 52… With 7 games remaining. Hard to believe they couldn’t win at least 3 of those games… But who knows, The wings I feel are going to come out strong Wednesday…

Posted by Pasha1277 on 03/30/14 at 11:17 PM ET

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imageThe Puck Stops Here was founded during the 2004/05 lockout as a place to rant about hockey. The original site contains over 1000 posts, some of which were also published on FoxSports.com.

Who am I? A diehard hockey fan.

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Email: y2kfhl@hotmail.com