( Above Photo Credit:  Pintrest )

By: Bob Mand                             Follow Me On Twitter @HockeyMand 

The Westgate Las Vegas sportsbook released it’s over/under win totals earlier today, and surprise, surprise the venerated opening line of opening lines had the Boston Bruins on the outside looking in when the 2018 postseason kicks off next April.

This can’t really be surprising, right? The Bruins lost key contributors Dominic Moore, Jimmy Hayes and Colin Miller (Miller will hurt the most, but he played in just over two-thirds of the team’s games – so draw conclusions as you will)… While gaining Paul Postma and access to a slew of young, untapped talent from the farm. Of course one would predict them to fall beneath the Mendoza-line of playoff entry as the fourth-best team in the Atlantic Division.

Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins holds the Frank J. Selke Trophy after winning the award during the NHL Awards, Wednesday, June 21, 2017, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)


Now, now. Calm down your self-righteous indignation: The greater part of this misguided placement is the consideration that several key opponents will be even stronger this year – notably Tampa Bay (division winners at an over/under of 102.5 points) and Buffalo (closing in on contention in the Atlantic and jumping to 87.5 points).

And there’s plenty of regression elsewhere in the Eastern Conference. Pittsburgh, Columbus, and Washington all manage to see their game breaking chokeholds on the East suffer by between six and fourteen points in the offseason. And low-standing teams like Colorado, Arizona, and Dallas on the West all made dramatic moves up the ladder.

( Above Photo Credit:  Sports Rant )

So perhaps we shouldn’t freak out.

Then again, Montreal is still ranked above Boston (at an over/under of 100.5 which is second in the Atlantic), and no matter how many playoff series’ they lose, that will always sting. Especially given a summer which could be seen as – if not dismal – certainly disappointing by Habs’ standards. Sure, they gained Jonathan Drouin (a skater I’ve long prized) in a huge trade… But it cost them top defensive prospect Mikhail Sergachev (and maybe a pick). They lost UFA Alex Radulov to Dallas in a move that surprised no one… And shockingly low-balled Andrei Markov with a one-year offer, sending him scuttling to the KHL, surprising everyone.

Perhaps it’s a bit passé to bemoan the preseason positioning of our longtime rivals especially in this post-1993 era where we’re winning (One to nothing!), but I can’t seem to shake the sour taste in my mouth from this opening line. Carey Price or not, this is still a club with some significant identity issues up-front and one which will rely even more heavily on the aging Shea Weber to defend Ser Price’s crease.

So I guess I’ll have to wait for this season to kick off to smite my opponents in visceral, holy glory. I’ll wait to unleash the awesome power of my ire until the ink is dry on the first set of power rankings, when I’ll blast the authors for not considering this, that or the other thing.

BOSTON, MA – FEBRUARY 12: Andrew Shaw #65 of the Montreal Canadiens and Torey Krug #47 of the Boston Bruins fight during the first period at TD Garden on February 12, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Yeah, I’m feeling better already. Cooler. Calmer. More ‘In the Moment.’

Anyone wanna make a bet?