By: Cam McCusker | Follow Me On Twitter: @CSthinks
I don’t want to tell anyone how to spend their money. I am still just a few years removed from having a Velcro wallet (don’t make fun of it unless you’ve experienced its convenience and practicality first-hand). I’m the last person anyone should listen to for advice on what actions they might want to consider financially.
With that being said, here’s some financial advice for anyone who might be trying to make some money, and is willing to gamble to do so: put some money on the Bruins as soon as possible. Not on the next game, or the game after that, but on the outcome that they win the Stanley Cup.
The Bruins put away Toronto in the first round of last year’s playoffs, and were undermanned and too banged up to compete with a healthier and yes, more skilled Tampa Bay squad. At first glance, the road to the Stanley Cup Finals from the Eastern Conference again runs through Tampa Bay, a team that the Bruins would be slated to play in the second round of the postseason.
Certainly, Tampa Bay is a better team this year. Go ahead and glance at the standings. It’s obnoxious how successful they have been. But with their success, comes serious opportunity not only for the Bruins but for those who might want a strong Stanley Cup pick with high value and serious capabilities of knocking off the Cup favorites.
Lost in the tomfoolery that has been the months-long highlight reel of a season the Lightning (Bolts? What do we call them these days?), is the fact that the Bruins have strung together an immensely impressive season. Like, “the next best record in the league” impressive.
A lot of people will look at the disparity between the point totals of Tampa and Boston (the next closest team), and fill in their Stanley Cup brackets early, in pen, with Tampa as the champs (I tried to think of a Tamp/Champ pun here…don’t try, there isn’t one).
But I am not a lot of people. In fact, like most individuals, I am only one person. So as someone who has been able to track the successes of the Black and Gold this season, I’ve been able to note that they’ve been thriving despite ridiculous amounts of adversity.
Their top eight scorers have missed a combined 93 man-games. That comes out to more than 11 games per man, and this number would be even higher if not for the iron-man season that David Krejci has put together. Their top defensemen have missed a total of 136 man-games, which comes out to closely 20 missed games per defenseman. Their prized goaltender went down with a concussion midway through the season, and the Bruins needed to rely on the play of Jaroslav Halak (though it should be noted that he has been stellar this season).
The Bruins’ lineup has been constantly in flux, with more than a dozen call-ups from Providence having joined the Bruins to serve as wads of gum plugging any proverbial holes in the lineup, while a more permanent fix had yet to be discovered.
Kevan Miller has been unable to stay healthy, which has forced a solid depth defenseman who brings toughness, leadership, and reliability to remain sidelined at times where the Bruins could have greatly benefitted from his play.
All this to say that the Boston Bruins have outperformed, in my opinion, all other teams, including Tampa, in the NHL. When taking into account the absurd amount of instability in their lineup, unparalleled susceptibility to the injury bug, and total man-games lost (not to mention how many of those man-games lost are those of key players), the B’s have rallied at the right times.
The Bruins are 31-3-0 (.918) in regular season games where @JDebrusk scores a goal, taking 62 out of 67 available points – plus more news and notes in the latest #NHLBruins Week Ahead: https://t.co/4HRYpZoC2Y
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) March 22, 2019
As things stand now, the Bruins appear to have outlasted most of their toughest times and are well on the road to total recovery in health in the next week or two. This leaves enough time for a completely healthy Bruins roster to find chemistry and togetherness just as the postseason rolls around. Not to mention, many of the players coming back from energy have saved themselves from the fatigue that accompanies the latter stages of each season. Fresh legs heading into the playoffs? Please and thank you.
While, yes, Tampa is a better team than they were last year, you are a fool if you don’t see the significant improvements in the Bruins’ team from last season. Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and David Pastrnak are all having career years in terms of points per game. For those who hate stats and don’t believe in numbers, these same players that make up the best line in hockey are also all one year hungrier.
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) March 22, 2019
Jake DeBrusk is hitting his stride at the right time of the season and has already significantly outscored his goal total from last year. We all remember what a hot DeBrusk looked like in the postseason last year. I could go for another helping.
Jake DeBrusk skates out of the box and scores.
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) March 20, 2019
The Bruins defensive unit and goaltending tandem, as a whole, are significantly deeper. The B’s no longer have to rely solely on the play of Tuukka Rask, as they have found themselves a safety net (who safeguards the net…anything?) in Halak’s play. If Rask falters, Bruce Cassidy has shown no issues with putting Halak between the pipes and letting him compete, something that has brought the best out of the bona fide NHL starter. Matt Grzelcyk’s play is head and shoulders ahead of where it was last year at this time, while a healthy Brandon Carlo improves a unit that has been rock-solid for the most part with his +17 rating, tops amongst Bruins defenseman.
If you want to see a healthy Bruins squad facing off against a healthy Tampa team looks like, then might I interest you in the 4-1 beatdown the B’s put on the Bolts on February 28th?
Final: Bruins take down the Lightning, 4-1.
Dominant stuff from the Bruins, who end the game with a 41-21 edge in shots on goal.
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) March 1, 2019
The B’s are slated to play the Lightning again in a few days. I would say it is a good measuring-stick game for them, but there’s no way to know if they will be fully healthy, especially given the horrible luck they’ve endured this season. Although it is worth noting that the Bruins have not lost a game in which Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson have both been on the ice.
Pregame updates per Bruce Cassidy:
No lineup changes tonight. Tuukka Rask starts in goal.
Torey Krug will skate on his own this morning.
Marcus Johansson, Matt Grzelcyk, and Kevan Miller still on schedule to join team in Florida. pic.twitter.com/YhJd08gRdu
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) March 21, 2019
So if you like money, making money, having money, or enduring ridiculously high-stress levels to maybe make some money, then put a few bucks on Butch’s boys. They are underestimated, hungry, and ripe with talent.
And to close, I will now make a horrible joke about lightning never striking in the same place twice, despite that expression’s total irrelevance to the National Hockey League. Congratulations on making it through that.