A Step In The Right Direction

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(Photo credit: Kim Klement-USA Today Sports)

By Court Lalonde  @courtlalonde

With the 2-1 win over the New York Islanders last night, the Boston Bruins find themselves back in a playoff spot. Both of Boston’s goals didn’t come from one of the usual contributors; they came from Riley Nash. It was his sixth and seventh goal of the season, but they couldn’t have come at a better time. The Bruins have been on the outside looking in for a couple of days when it comes to the playoffs. They had lost four in a row up until last night and three of those teams they’re currently fighting for a playoff spot. To say that last night was a must win game is an understatement.

After the loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night, some fans were ready to stick a fork in this team and write off the season. It was probably the worst game we had seen the Bruins play under intern coach Bruce Cassidy. It looked to me in that game the team decided not to play defense and just hope that Tuukka could bail them out with no help. Every time the Bruins scored the Lightning would answer in a matter of seconds. I will admit that the goal by Anton Stralman on Tuukka wasn’t the nicest looking goal and he should have had that one. It didn’t help that the team once again just let Tampa skate up the ice, but he needed to make that save.

 

The games earlier in the week against the Ottawa Senators and the Toronto Maples Leafs were different stories. We all know by now of the terrible call at the end of the game in Toronto, which is when the ref decided he wanted to control the outcome of the game and call interference on Dominic Moore when it was just a hockey play. The biggest concern I had from that game was when Patrice Bergeron was run from behind by Nikita Soshnikov. Not only should that have been a significant penalty but why is the world was Bergeron sticking up for himself. His teammates should be doing that for him, the last thing we need is him in the box.

In the past couple of games, the team had looked like they had lost their identity and were running around like a chicken with their head cut off on the ice. Torey Krug decided to try and be the voice of reason after the loss to Ottawa and made some comments to the media.
“I mean, you’ve seen the way we’ve been playing the last 15 games or so, and it looks like a completely different team,” Krug said. “Frankly, we’re a team that the fans should love to support. I think we work hard.
“It’s not like years past where we’re disappearing. I think right now we’re in every game, and we’re battling and fighting, and we’re sacrificing. I know we haven’t gotten the results the past couple of games, but it’s just a different group. I know we’ve added some young guys that haven’t been around it. But the core group, the leaders are working hard to make sure that we right the ship. And we will do that.” It nice to say things like this but I would like to see the action on the ice from the players.

The win last night was a step in the right direction obviously, but the Bruins don’t have an easy schedule in front of them. After Tuukka had missed last night game, some fans wanted to burn him at stake. What they need to realize is the team needs Tuukka to be at his best to win, and he needs the players in front of him to play better as well. If this team can action the words of Krug, we will make the playoffs but if we’re just going to scoreboard watch to make it, then its just not good enough.

David Backes, Leaving It All On The Ice

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(Above Photo Credit: NHL.com)

By Court Lalonde    @courtlalonde

Last night the biggest offseason signing by the Boston Bruins gave us all a scare as he fell awkwardly into the boards in the first period after catching an edge. David Backes was helped off the ice by teammates, walked down the tunnel to the dressing room and it seemed our luck had changed from good to bad. He channeled his inner Patrice Bergeron by coming back in the second period and scored the eventual game-winner with a wrist shot over the shoulder of Calgary Flames goaltender Chad Johnson, former Bruins back-up.

His signing over the summer wasn’t met with great fan fair with all Bruins fans; some will still say they like the player but don’t like the term. I for one was skeptical of the signing and wasn’t sure the reasoning behind it at first. We all knew the biggest need the Bruins had in the offseason was defense, scoring winger, not another centerman. I have come to realize the reasoning behind the Backes deal: his grit and leadership.

He has never really been known as a scorer by any means during his career in the National Hockey League. He has scored over 30 goals twice in his 11-year career so far and had over 60 points once. Currently, he has 15 goals, 19 assists, for 34 points, with a plus-one rating. He has been up and down the lineup and played center and winger this year on different lines. He has seemed to find his home on the right-side on the line with Bergeron and MVP candidate Brad Marchand.

His impact wasn’t felt right away on the score sheet when he moved onto the top line. However, he brought an intangible that was missing from this line which is not being afraid to take the body and plopping his butt in front of the net. The past two games on this western road trip, he has scored two goals and recorded one assist, he has also made his physical presence felt. Backes is leading the Bruins in hits this year with 190. The next closest to him on the team is Adam McQuaid with 134. He has also been known to drop the gloves from time to time to make a statement to his teammates.

 

We can all debate the term on his contract and what value he will have to this team at the end of it. What he brings in leadership currently out weights it to me. He has been sacrificing his body for his teammates all year while being a vocal leader on the bench. The Bruins currently are in a playoff spot, with his experience and new found chemistry with his line mates my optimism for a long playoff run becomes greater after every game. We always say we want them to play like the “Big Bad Bruins” again, well David Backes has been doing it all season.

Tuukka Rask, Always Having To Prove Himself To The Fans

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(Above Photo Credit: NHL.com)

By Court Lalonde  @courtlalonde

I did a mini-social experiment the other day in a Facebook group I frequent. I asked them if they hated Tuukka Rask, could they please tell me why. I did ask them to give me reasons why and not just say he can’t win big games and what would be a solution in net. I did receive a lot of responses, along with he can’t win big games, but not one provided a solution.

June 24, 2006, the Boston Bruins traded Andrew Raycroft to the Toronto Maple Leafs for their 21st overall 2005 draft pick Tuukka Rask. Being a first round pick and a goalie, it was surprising at the time that the Leafs traded him. It is still talked about in the Toronto media as one of the worst trades in franchise history. The Bruins had soon to be Vezina Trophy-winning goalie Tim Thomas as their starter when Rask finally made his way over to North America to play. Thomas made it hard for Rask to crack the lineup with his outstanding play between the pipes for the Bruins.

In the 09-10 NHL season, Rask broke into the league and played 45 games with a 22-12 record and 1.97 goals against average. He wasn’t even nominated for the Calder trophy that year, even though he was the only goalie in the league that had goals against average below 2.00. 2011 he would win the Stanley Cup as the back-up to goalie Tim Thomas, but would become the starter the next season after Thomas was traded after a bad contract negotiation.

During the second round of the 2013 Playoffs, Rask faced 136 shots in four games and only allowed two goals against one of the highest scoring teams in the National Hockey League, the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Bruins would go on to the Stanley Cup finals and lose in six games to the Chicago Blackhawks. I think this is where it all started with some fans thinking that he wasn’t an elite goalie and the Bruins should trade him. Fuel was added to the fire when the Bruins signed Rask to an eight-year, 56 million dollar contract following the finals loss. I would like to say that I can never understand when fans get mad at a player for his contract. The player didn’t force the team to sign him to that deal, and the management is the only one to blame if you don’t like a contract. Not one of you reading this would say no to 56 million dollars or even say that it’s too much and that you have been over-valued.  During the 2013-14 season, Tuukka would go on to win the Vezina Trophy himself with a 36-16-6 record and 2.04 GAA.

This season he has a record of 32-16-4 with 2.23 GAA and his first all-star game appearance. Fans continue to say that he can’t win big games or that he always lets in soft goals. He has beaten the hated Montreal Canadiens twice a year on the road and at home with a shutout in one of those games. If you look at the career numbers of Carey Price, Braden Holtby, and Henrik Lundquist, it is Rask that has the better career goals against average. These goalies are considered to be the elite goalies in the National Hockey League, and he has better GAA career wise than all of them and has better GAA then Carey Price this year.

 

Goalies can steal a game for you and keep you in the game, he did that last night against the Philadelphia Flyers in a must-win game. Yes, he hasn’t been great every night this year, but neither has the team in front of him. The game of hockey is a team sport, and they win and lose as a team. Some fans seem to blame him when we lose and say he was lucky when we win. You can hate Tuukka if you like because that is your right as a fan but just think about where this team would be without him next time.

Future Looks Bright With Brandon Carlo

NHL: NOV 05 Rangers at Bruins

(Fred Kfoury III/Icon sportswire)

By Court Lalonde

When Peter Chiarelli traded Johnny Boychuk on October 4th, 2014, all of Causeway Street was up in arms. He traded the defensemen for two second-round picks in 2015 and 2016, and it looked like Chiarelli gave him away to the New York Islanders. We can’t say that Chiarelli knew what he was doing and at the end of that season was relieved of his duties. Don Sweeney took over the GM duties of the Boston Bruins after the departure of Chiarelli and selected Brandon Carlo with the 37th pick of the 2015 National Hockey League entry draft. That was one of the picks the Bruins obtained in the Boychuk trade from the Islanders. The 6’5′ Carlo was projected at the time to be a top four defensemen in the NHL but would be a project and wouldn’t be NHL ready until at least 2018 according to most scouts. He wasn’t even the highest rated defensemen that drafted that year on their depth charts, which was first-round pick Jakub Zboril, who Bruins selected with their 13th overall pick.

Carlo would surprise us all and make the Bruins at the beginning of the 2016 season, right out of training camp. He didn’t just make the team but also earn a spot on the top pairing alongside team captain Zdeno Chara. Being paired with Chara has been a learning experience, and couldn’t have lucked out with a better teacher. Bruins fans started to like Carlo early because he registered an assist in his first game and scored in his second. He was able to move the opposing player away from the front of the net with his size and was able to move the puck the ice quickly to create scoring chances.

Carlo’s November showed us the potential we had with this rookie defensemen, and it became apparent that he was our future on the backend. If you look at his stats from the 15 games in November, the Bruins played you would never second guess his top pair status. During the 15 game period, he registered three points with a plus-five rating. The next couple month we have a different story because the play from the Bruins became very inconsistent, showing Carlo’s flaws which every rookie has. We started to see Carlo second guess himself and get caught out of position, and his lack of confidence with the puck caused he to dump it or give it away. It didn’t help that the media was speculating that he would trade him to the Colorado Avalanche for Gabriel Landeskog.

To Sweeney’s credit, he pushed those rumors aside and let the media know that he wasn’t trading Carlo. Sweeney said. “We want to be a team that believes it has internal fixes, which you are growing those players.” The trade deadline came and went, and so did Carlo’s first head coach Claude Julien, who was fired a couple weeks before. Julien was replaced by Bruce Cassidy, and that hasn’t change Carlo’s status as part of the top pairing beside Chara.
Carlo is having a great rookie campaign and people need to realize that he is going to make some mistakes from time to time, it’s what rookie do. I think he is going to be one of the cornerstones on the Bruins backend for years to come. Not every good defenseman shoots the lights out in his rookie year. Victor Hedman, who I feel Carlo plays a lot like only scored 20 points and was a minus-three in his rookie year. Carlo is part of the future for the Bruins, and that a good thing.

Bruce Cassidy, The Best Thing To Happen To Ryan Spooner

NHL: Winnipeg Jets at Boston Bruins

(Gregory Fisher – USA Today Sports)

By Court Lalonde  (@courtlalonde)

Ryan Spooner has had his ups and down as a Boston Bruin and this year has been no exception. After being selected 45th overall by the Bruins in the 2010 National Hockey League entry draft, he remained in the Ontario Hockey League until his final year of eligibility. Spooner started his pro career with the Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League, lead the team in scoring as a rookie with 17 goals, 40 assists, for 57 points in 59 games. He would get a crack at the Bruins lineup that year and play in four games but held off the score sheet.

He would continue to split his time with the Bruins and their farm team until the 2015-16 NHL season. It would be Spooner’s first full season in the NHL, and he would go on to score 13 goals, 36 assists, for 49 points. The Bruins saw promise in the young center and showed it by giving him time on the power play. When they drafted him, he was known for his hockey IQ, offensive-mind, but lacked size. Producing they way he did in the 2015-16 NHL season, he was proving those critics of his size wrong by utilizing his speed which would allow him to provide an offensive impact.

This year we saw Spooner struggle at the start of the season and play on the wing instead of his natural position of center. In the offseason, the Bruins signed three centermen. They signed David Backes, Riley Nash, Dominic Moore, and you can’t help but wonder what went through Spooner’s head when he saw the news this past summer. I’m sure it had him second guessing himself and if the Bruins had a long-term plan for him. He was still the skilled puck carrier with speed and creativity to make plays happen. He just wasn’t being used that way anymore except on the powerplay. Rumored that he could be a potential trade candidate late into the first month of the regular season but nothing came of it.

Spooner had played for interim head coach Bruce Cassidy before when he was in the minors, so you would assume he saw Cassidy replacing Claude Julien as coach of the Bruins to be a new chance. In 54 games under Julien this year, he had 27 points with points per game average of .50. He was on pace to have a 41 point season, which would have been a setback for his progression. In the seven games under Cassidy, he has two goals and four assists with a plus 1 rating. He is now averaging .86 points per game, which is a considerable improvement in the small sample size.

He seems perfect for this new system that Cassidy has implemented since taking over the duties as coach for the interim and possibly for good. It has allowed Spooner to use his speed and puck-moving skills to his advantage, by making scoring chances happen. Cassidy has put him back in his natural position of center, and we have all seen the constancy from the newly formed VHS line. By allowing our skilled players to skate with the puck and be more aggressive the future looks bright for Spooner in a Bruins jersey.

 

 

Peter Cehlarik, Making A Name For Himself

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(Photo by AP)

By Court Lalonde (follow @courtlalonde)

When the Boston Bruins drafted Peter Cehlarik in the third round of the 2013 entry draft, we all probably thought nothing of it. The scouting report on him was high offensive potential, can score but not a sniper, makes his linemates better, and hockey sense was above average. We see scouting reports on players that look very similar that never crack an NHL line-up. Cehlarik made his National Hockey League debut on February 11th, 2017 against the Vancouver Canucks. He was on a line with David Krejci, David Pastrnak and right from the drop of the puck looked like he had played with them all year. Krejci finished that game with two assists, Pastrnak with a goal but Cehlarik was held pointless on the scoresheet.

Cehlarik started the season with the Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League and was a key component to his hockey club’s success. In 40 games with Providence, he has 18 goals, 15 assists, 33 points, and a plus-nine rating. Any Providence fan would tell you they’re happy he is up with the big club but misses watching him in Providence. That’s the grind of being a fan of a farm team, you start to connect with a player and then he is gone. If he continues to play well with the big club, the odds are they have seen the last of him in Providence.
He broke out against the hated Montreal Canadiens with two assists, one of those coming on the power play. That was a huge statement game for the Bruins and Cehlarik; he let his team know that he deserved to be in the NHL with his play on the ice. The Bruins made a statement by shutting out the Canadiens, a bitter division rival and coming together as a team to win a hard game at home. That game we got to see his confidence grow every time he had the puck on his stick by not just dumping the puck but skating with it. He was making the players around him better and was complementing both Krejci and Pastrnak by creating scoring chances.

His defensive game could be improved upon, but he is getting better every game. It was painfully obvious against the Anaheim Ducks when he gave away the puck a couple of times. We also could tell by the fact that he lost some ice time. He has averaged about 13:58 minutes a game so far but only played 11:35 against the Ducks. It’s a learning curve for him, but I believe he will get better because he has the intangibles to do so. Bruce Cassidy played him less when the game got tight last night, which is ok because he is learning. He is only 21 and has a lot of growing and maturing to do with his NHL game.

Last night we all thought he had scored his first NHL goal, only to have it called back because the play was ruled offside. It must have been a disappointment to believe you have scored your first goal and then have it taken away from you. It didn’t seem to faze him, he continued to make crisp passes and almost completed a great play over to Pastrnak, but Peter Budaj just got is leg out in time. We all have the feeling that he will score any game now but it sure is nice to watch him play.

The Surprise Of The VHS Line

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By Court Lalonde (follow @courtlalonde)

So far in the Bruce Cassidy era, we have seen a four-game win streak, high tempo offense, Tuukka Rask standing on his head, and chemistry between Jimmy Hayes, Ryan Spooner, and Frank Vatrano. They have only played together for four games, but it has Boston Bruins fans talking all over Causeway Street. It takes a lot for a Bruin’s fan this year to admit that Hayes is playing well and I’ve seen people stick up for him on the internet lately, instead of bashing him; it’s crazy I know. The line has garnered a nickname, which is the VHS line; great name by the way.

Cassidy changed up the first three forward lines as soon as he took over the coaching duties of the Bruins. He moved David Pastrnak to the second line with David Krejci and Peter Cehlarik, forming the Central Europe line, no one has been able to come up with a clever name yet. David Backes has moved up to the first line with Patrice Bergeron, and Brad Marchand, fitting in well with their chemistry. The big surprise is when he brought Hayes down from the ninth floor and stuck him on a line with Spooner and Vatrano.

NHL: Ottawa Senators at Boston Bruins

(Winslow Townson – USA Today Sports)

We all saw the lineup card before the game and were scratching our heads. Why is Hayes back in the lineup? We all asked. Apparently, Cassidy saw something we didn’t, the line has played better with every game they play together, and the familiarity builds between them. Spooner has struggled at times this year, and it seemed like no one could find where he fit in, besides the powerplay. In the three games since forming the VHS Line, Spooner has had one goal and two assists. He has been able to play center again, use his skating and passing skills to his advantage and scoring a goal to help his club. Vatrano has had two goals and two assists since being put on this line and has looked like one of the fastest skaters on the ice, every game. Hayes had had two assists in those four games and has been able to use his size in front of the net to generate scoring chances.

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(Jeff Chiu – AP)

I feel the line has worked well so far because each player brings a different aspect that compliments the other. Vatrano has a great shot with blinding speed, Spooner has an uncanny vision on the ice with a finishing touch, and Hayes has that body presence we haven’t seen since Florida and the confidence that his line mates will get him the puck. We don’t know what the rest of the season will hold for the Bruins and this line, but one thing is for sure, it’s exciting to watch right now.

The Determination Of Colin Miller

Minnesota Wild v Boston Bruins

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

By Court Lalonde (follow @courtlalonde)

Colin Miller’s determination can be summed up in a quote from the Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper, “I think I can, I think I can.” He has been one of the most improved players under coach Bruce Cassidy’s new system. He looks like a different player on the ice with the green light to skate with the puck, use that cannon of a shot and not just play dump and chase.

Miller has had to have a strong determination to succeed his whole hockey career. His Ontario Hockey League team, the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds didn’t even draft him. He was a walk-on and made the team to play junior hockey. Miller had three goals and nineteen assists, with a plus-two rating on one of the worst teams in the OHL in his first season.

In 2011, his first year of eligibility for the National Hockey League draft he was passed over, but in 2012 he was selected in the fifth round, 151st overall by the Los Angeles Kings. Was known as an excellent puck mover, offensive defensemen, but lacked a physical presence. He would finish out the 2013 season with the Greyhounds and have his most productive year in the OHL. Miller had 20 goals, 35 assists, and a plus 13 rating. That made him the fourth leading scorer among defensemen in the OHL that year.

The next two seasons he would play for the Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League. He had two very successful seasons in the AHL, winning the Calder Cup in 2015 and being selected to play in the AHL all-star game in 2014-15 season. During that all-star game, he won the fastest skater competition as well as the hardest shot competition, registering a 105.5 mph shot.

Miller was traded from the Kings, along with Martin Jones and the 13th overall pick (Jakub Zboril) at the 2015 entry draft for fan favorite Milan Lucic. Walking around Boston being known as the guy they traded Lucic for probably couldn’t have been easy on him. Making the Boston Bruins out of training camp that year was his first big break only to be sent back down to the AHL’s Providence Bruins half-way through the season, to finish out the year. This year is looking like his first full season with the Bruins but still, hasn’t played every game. He has been a healthy scratch some nights but in the last couple of months, has played well enough to keep himself in the lineup.

At the beginning of the year, you might have said we can leave him unprotected for the expansion draft. Recently, the pair of Kevin Miller and Colin Miller have been a great balance of grit and skill. His biggest asset is his offensive ability, along with his vision of the ice and being able to make that first pass. He has worked so hard for everything in his hockey career.  I feel by the end of the year; he will be one of those guys we say we have to keep and can’t afford to lose.

New-Look Boston Bruins

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(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

By Court Lalonde (follow @courtlalonde)

With the Bruins in the first bye week in the history of their franchise, it gives us time to reflect on the last three games, also look to what’s ahead.

With three games under the new coach Bruce Cassidy, the Bruins are 3-0-0. During those games, the Bruins have played a much more high tempo than previously under Claude Julien. The defense has been jumping into the play in the offensive zone, taking high percentage shots, and finishing their checks. We have the same roster they started the season with, but they’re playing a different system, which is taking more chances to move the puck up the ice.

Bruce Cassidy was with the AHL Providence Bruins for nine seasons before being given the assistant job with the Bruins at the beginning go the season. Before being in the Bruins organization, he was the coach of the Washington Capitals from 2002-2004.

Claude had been in Boston for the past ten years, and their system focused on defense first, he has coached that way every team he has coached one. Some fans might say it’s boring hockey to watch, but it worked for a period. In the past couple of years, the NHL has gotten younger and faster, and teams were beginning to outskate the Bruins with the old system. Claude is no longer with us, and maybe it was just time for a change.

Over the past three games, Cassidy has done a little shuffling of the lines with great success. David Pastrnak is back on a line with David Krejci, and both have points in the last three games. Pastrnak has three goals and one assist and Krejci has one goal and three assists. David Backes has been move up to Patrice Bergeron’s line and has been a welcome addition to complement both Bergeron and Brad Marchand. It has allowed the Bruins to balance their attack on opposing clubs and the results have been on the score sheet.

Boston has outscored their opponents by a 14-6 margin during the three games and have recorded wins against San Jose, Vancouver, and Montreal. The win against Montreal at home, was the first win at TD Garden against the Habs since January 12th, 2012.  Two of those teams are in first place in their respected divisions, and the Bruins got a win from the backup goaltender for the second time this year. The Bruins power play has scored four goals in three games and move up to 14th in the league with a percentage of 20.1%, while the penalty kill is the best in the NHL with an 86.3% and scored a short-handed goal.

The scoring has not just come from the forwards; the defense has scored four goals in the last three games. The defense has been jumping into the rush and allowing the Bruins to catch teams off guard and create scoring chances. Colin Miller and Torey Krug have benefited from this new system by moving the puck up faster in transition and taking advantage of our winger’s speed. A big question mark was how veteran Zdeno Chara would play in this faster transition game at his age. Chara didn’t look out of place, jumped into the rush and scored a statement short-handed goal against Montreal in the 4-0 win.

In the game against Montreal, Tuukka Rask passed Frank Brimsek on the all-time list for career shutouts for a Bruins goalies to second on the list. Tiny Thompson is first on the list, with 74 and he has 36.  Rask now has six shutouts this year, with a 2.27 GAA, a .912 SV%, and 27 wins going into the break.

The break hasn’t been friendly to the teams that have had it so far this year. The bye week was an exchange for the 3-on-3 tournament for the all-star game. Players won’t have to report to practice until after 4:00 pm on the fifth day if they have a game on the sixth day. The record for teams coming off the break so far this year is 3-9 which is why this break probably came at the worst time for the Bruins. I’m sure they will poll the players at the end of the year to see if the bye week was a success and it will come back with a no.

Our hope is the Bruins start the four-game road trip with the same intensity that they have had in the previous three games. They will be in tough with games against San Jose, Anaheim, Los Angeles, and Dallas. Their new system will play well against these west-coast teams, and they know they can beat San Jose. They will take it day-by-day and now that Claude has another job that distraction should be behind them. The leaders in the room need to show it on the ice, and the players will follow.

The jury is still out on these new-look Bruins and their intern coach Bruce Cassidy. There is no way that we can say that the coaching change was a success yet, we haven’t had a big enough sample size. We will see how this team performs after the break and where the team is in the standings after as well. If they still have a playoff spot when they play the Sharks on Sunday, they should count their lucky stars. If they don’t, hopefully, they will continue the winning ways and control their destiny moving forward.

Claude, Say It Ain’t So….

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(Gregg Forwerck/Getty images)

 

By Court Lalonde (follow @courtlalonde)

 

The Boston Bruins – Montreal Canadiens rivalry has been the most storied in the NHL since the first game they played each other on Dec 8th, 1924. The 1955 Richard Riot was because of what originally happened between the Bruins and the Canadiens. Bruins defensemen Hal Laycoe slashed Maurice Richard across the shoulder and hit him in the face with his stick. When Richard then retaliated he tried to punch Hal and instead hit the linesman Cliff Thompson in the face knocking him out. The Boston police tried to arrest Richard that night, but the Bruins made nice with the police and allowed Richard to leave the building.

Earlier today the Montreal Canadiens announced that they had hired Claude Julien as their next coach. This has never happened in the history of both franchises that a coach was fired and then hired by the other club within the same year. Pat Burns did coach both clubs, but there were years in between this happening.

Claude Julien has the most wins as a coach for the Boston Bruins in the team’s history. He helped bring the Stanley Cup back to Boston in 2011 and won the team the Presidents Trophy in 2014. In the ten years he coached this franchise, he was one of the faces that anyone would associate with the Boston Bruins.

For the fans of this team, it might feel like a slap in the face because we hate the Canadiens more than any team in the NHL. The news probably came more of a shock than that of the firing of Julien the week before. As a fan of the Bruins, the firing is still a fresh wound, and then you feel like you get wounded all over again.

From the years of 1968 to 1974 the Canadiens won four cups, and the Bruins won two and lost one year in the finals to the Philadelphia Flyers. During those years the Bruins had Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito, and Johnny Bucyk that were stars in the NHL. The Canadiens had Jean Beliveau, Guy Lafleur, and a young Ken Dryden. These two teams were the most dominant teams in the NHL and had to face each other in the playoffs every year. Other teams knew they would have to beat one of them to have a chance at the cup.

In 1979, Guy Lafleur scored the famous power play goal that would tie the game up after the Bruins were called late in the third period with too many men on the ice. Rick Middleton had thought he might have had the game winner moments earlier and series winner. Montreal went on to win that game in overtime and go on to win the Stanley Cup that year.

Feb 9th, 2011 the Bruins beat the Montreal Canadiens 8-6, but they do it not just on the scoreboard. During that game, there were six fights, and a goalie fight between Carey Price and Tim Thomas. March 8th of the same year Zdeno Chara is suspended for a hit on Max Pacioretty that almost ended Pacioretty’s career. It was inevitable that the Bruins would face the Canadiens in the first round of the playoffs that year but would win it in seven games with an overtime winner from Nathan Horton. The Bruins went on to win the Stanley Cup and the modern day rivalry was back on in a big way.

I’m sure we all wanted nothing but the best for Claude after he was fired by Don Sweeney last week. I read that most fans wanted to call from Sweeney’s and Neely job after they did, not for doing it but how they did it. Maybe it makes it easier that Claude is now the coach of the Canadiens because we don’t have to be happy when he comes back to coach against us. I’m sure Claude will understand that the next time we play them, he will be our enemy.

Less than a week ago I wrote an article thanking him for everything he has done for this franchise but now he is the coach of the Montreal Canadiens. I will be forever grateful for what joy he helped bring me over the last ten years, but he is now the coach of a team that I do not like and will not like.

Sorry Claude, any time your behind that bench, you’re dead to me.