Bruins Face Quite The 2nd-Half Fight For Playoffs!

Related image(Photo Credit: CBS Sports)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @00EvanMichael

To say the Boston Bruins are going to need a lot of punch to their game during the second half of the season (which started this weekend with a big W over Buffalo), well… that would be an understatement. A punch to the gut, if you will (or to the head if you’re throwing down like Kevan Miller, as pictured above). That’s because in order to avoid being punched out of the playoffs come ticket-punching time in April, the team will need to fight, finagle & finish and skate, scrap & score up until the very last second of every game between now & then. Look no further than their last four games, and no, I’m not pulling any punches like a “frightened Frolik” would:

The Eastern Conference playoff picture right now, especially the B’s own Atlantic Division, is as tightly framed as an on-loan Picasso to Mass MoCA. It’s something you can keep looking at, yet you’ll come away with a different perspective after each viewing. In other words, it’s artfully maddening — just like the B’s oh-so-skilled scorers who all-too-often would rather razzle/dazzle us than shoot the puck (I’m looking at you, Brad Marchand). At least, that’s my interpretation…you know, because “art” can be subjective.

While on that subject, an almost-in-contention-for-the-ART-Ross-trophy David Pastrnak will need to –just like his top line mates– have zero “off games” down the stretch if the B’s are going to seriously stay in the hunt for either the third seed or a wild card berth. The B’s have been fortunate enough to make the most of secondary scoring during their recent 4-game winning streak (hats off to the spirited 4th line play of Wagner, Kuraly & Acciari), but as anyone who watches this team with even one eye open knows, Boston lives & dies by the play of the 1st line 88% of the time (that number was intentional). That doesn’t mean they won’t steal a few games 2-1 or 3-2 like they deservedly did against Buffalo both before & after the New Year (“4-point games” as we like to call them), but the B’s have THE BEST chance at going on a 2017-’18-esque run here in the second half of the season by the likes of Bergy, March & Pasta serving up their best play.

You know who’s also playing at his very best right now?

***WARNING: all members of the THC (Tuukka Haters Club), please log off your browser!

Mr. One-win-shy-of-250 Rask, who looks as calm, confident & composed between the pipes since that aforementioned epic run of games-with-points last season. If he can keep the good goalie vibes going AKA keep the B’s “in the game” up until the 3rd period, then you can expect the team to respond accordingly and tack on a few more historic wins for Tuukka.

The same can be said for Jaroslav Halak who despite letting in a few more goals than he’s used to in his last few starts has consistently been as dynamic of a netminder as you’ll see in the NHL this year. Look no further than my favorite but oft-forgotten goalie stat (GSAA) to see just how impactful he’s been between the pipes:

No matter who head coach Bruce Cassidy decides to start, he’s got the best 1-2, or perhaps better put 1A-1B, punch in the league right now. So quit your bashing, bemoaning & b!tching B’s social media (not all of you… just some), because the team needs both Rask AND Halak to stay where they are in the standings… and maybe even gain a bit of ground on Toronto.

Shifting gears to some on-ice shifts we’ll need to see more of here in the second half, the B’s must allow the “Kid Line” to develop, prosper & produce. Outside of the scenario where one or two of these guys may be traded, along with a pick, for a Brayden Schenn or someone similar, the trio of Donato-JFK-Heinen looked as solid as they have all season in the win over the Sabres. The line produced multiple chances, had some skillful puck movement & management, and even saw some PK time (well at least JFK did).

I thought for sure they’d eventually score, but if they are allowed to stick together and further develop that exciting, youthful chemistry, then more goals will be exactly what’s in store (and in the net) for all of them. After all, when you mix together hockey smarts & IQ (JFK), lethal sniping and goal-scoring ability (Donato) and solid two-way play (Heinen), you have a combo that’s destined to deliver (sound/look familiar?)!

So, what will the rest of the season’s second half deliver? Well, here are the guarantees: a tough-as-nails schedule where the B’s will spend a lot of time playing non-divisional opponents, a big West Coast kick (as featured in my Mark Your Bruins Calendar series), and 6 back-to-backs (3 of which feature teams who will also be playing for their playoff lives). Outside of those guarantees, here’s what you should expect: must-see hockey nearly every time the Black N’ Gold take the ice. Because, “B”-lieve me, there’s plenty to fight for ahead of everyone’s favorite season: the postseason — no punching-up needed!

*For more insight into the B’s second-half, check out this week’s puck-perfect podcast:

Check out the available tickets from our advertising partner SeatGiant for your next Boston Bruins game. Click the link below, and when purchasing any event ticket — from the NHL, NBA, MLB, NFL to concerts and shows — please use discount code BNGP to save a little money. Thank You!

Click Here For 2018-19 Boston Bruins Regular Season Games and Ticket Info From SeatGiant.com

Bruins Game 42 Preview: Buffalo Sabres

Image result for bruins sabres(Photo Credit: The Boston Globe)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @00EvanMichael

The Bruins enter tonight’s tilt against division rival Buffalo on a nice little 2019 winning streak, starting of course with their Winter Classic victory over the beleaguered Blackhawks on New Year’s Day and recently a grind-it-out “W” over a fittingly on-fire Flames team.

The Sabres have also been playing well as of late and are currently tied with the B’s in points (50) after the official midway mark of the season. Since the Bruins have more ROW, they currently occupy the No. 3 seed — an all-important playoff seed — in the Atlantic Division. So, you can rightfully assume this match-up has a lot riding on it for both the Black N’ Gold and Gold N’ Blue.

Who’s Hot:

For the Bruins, their top line of top players has truly been “the tops” as Mel Torme used to sing. And lots of people have been singing their praises since the B’s last beat Buffalo to cap off the final game of 2018 in style… with a thrilling 3-2 OT win. But outside of the multiple-point games from Bergy, March & Pasta since then, another B’s player making the most of his minutes has been Sean Kuraly, as evidenced by his consecutive GWG goals during this recent streak of solid winning play:

For the Sabres, look no further than left-winger Jeff Skinner, currently second to the now-injured Jack Eichel with 41 points in 41 games while also leading the team with 28 goals, two of which came during his previous game against Florida.

Who’s Not:

To say David Backes has been cold as ice would be unfair since he’s missed the last three games due to a suspension. But it’s because of that suspension that he’s made this list, putting the B’s second & third line pairings (heck, even the 4th line) into a bit of a flux. However, the team has won all three games since he’s been out of the line-up so will his return against the Sabres scuttle the B’s momentum? We’ll have to wait and see (at least linemate Jake Debrusk is excited to have him back).

In Buffalo, the team’s role players (the Sobotka’s, Sheary’s & Pominville’s) really need to pick up the pace against big conference & divisional teams like the Bruins. The Sabres secondary scoring — much like the B’s — has been inconsistent at best, resulting in Buffalo losing a pair of tight contests to the Rangers & B’s recently. These are 4-point games when you’re fighting for your playoff positioning so expect these Sabres to come out strong and with purpose.

How will the final match-up of the season between the B’s and Sabres play out, with the Bruins currently owning a 2-1 record? I’m predicting another down-to-the-wire finish with timely saves (Rask vs. Ullmark in net), some skillful PP goals and perhaps even another clutch OT performance. As mentioned above, with “4 points” on the line, 3rd place in the Atlantic on the line, and a playoff seed on the line, there’s a lot to play for at TG Garden tonight!

Check out the available tickets from our advertising partner SeatGiant for your next Boston Bruins game. Click the link below, and when purchasing any event ticket — from the NHL, NBA, MLB, NFL to concerts and shows — please use discount code BNGP to save a little money. Thank You!

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Milestone Moment for Bruins’ Tuukka Rask!

(Photo Credit: NHL Bruins)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @00EvanMichael

The 2019 Winter Classic truly was “a classic” in every sense of the word, from the B’s timely goals & saves to their timeless outfits & jerseys (more on that later). Speaking of time, Boston’s much-maligned keeper of the crease Tuukka Rask made the most of it, first after getting the nod from Coach Cassidy he’d be starting in net over Jaroslav Halak, then after stopping 36-out-of-38 shots and leading the B’s to their second straight come-from-behind victory AND second ever Winter Classic win.

 

But, as you’ll note from the team tweet above (and the NHL’s PR department below), Rask also accomplished quite a fitting FIRST. With the start, he became the Bruins’ all-time leader for a goalie when it comes to “Games Played,” surpassing longtime legend and Hockey Hall of Famer Tiny Thompson in the process.

And he did so in style, literally & figuratively, by wearing that aforementioned timeless throwback jersey from the B’s circa 1932 wardrobe case which, and this is certainly not a coincidence, was from the era of Tiny Thompson! You don’t say? I do say… and did say… over the Summer in my “Best Bruins Logos” article for the Black N’ Gold Blog.

Additionally, here’s a fun fact that deserves a little Paul McCartney/Michael Jackson magic that I’d like to “Say, Say, Say” again & again: Rask needs only 5 more wins to break another huge Tiny record (I’ve always wanted to write that): Most Franchise Victories! As The Hockey News previewed before this season began:

When Tiny Thompson suited up in his final game for Boston all the way back in 1939, he was the franchise’s all-time leader in games played, and Thompson’s 468 games remain the most ever played by a Bruins netminder. Sometime around December, though, Rask, who has played 19 fewer games in Boston, should be set to surpass Thompson and break the nearly 80-year-old mark. And if all goes well, he could also break Thompson’s other record, too: no Bruins goaltender has won more than 252 games for the franchise, but Rask is only 15 victories away from taking that team record, as well. — Jared Clinton, The Hockey News

Rask’s Winter Classic “W” was his tenth of the season so before the month is out, he could be achieving yet another milestone moment in a B’s sweater (253 career wins), and again making history & taking history from “one of the game’s early innovators” as The Hockey News also highlighted below in their informative & engaging Tiny Thompson Top 100 Goalies of All-Time profile:

I don’t think I’d be going out on a limb (a limb that in full disclosure I have gone out on before) in predicting ALL of the above won’t sit well with the Tuukka Haters Club, a club that regrettably gains membership all too easily & all too frequently without the slightest bit of logic or hockey sense. Sure, his personality & play sometimes opens the door for criticism & complaints, especially this season. But, even the blackest Black N’ Gold thoughts can show a bit of gold on the historic feats being featured in this eponymous blog, and elsewhere throughout the Internets.

I mean, it takes a helluva career — one that I personally think still has enough in the tank to take the B’s to The Cup (and WIN) — to accomplish what Rask has, and will, this season alone. And to now be in the same company as Tiny Thompson, whose first name was Cecil… well, that’s nothing to scoff at for the finely-finishing Fin or his fans (which I’m predicting won’t be growing despite the accolades, unfortunately).

So, to paraphrase a quote about another famous Cecil (B. DeMille), I think Tuukka Rask is ready for his close-up. He’s definitely deserving of it. I can think of 469 reasons why (with another 253 on hold).

Check out the available tickets from our advertising partner SeatGiant for your next Boston Bruins game. Click the link below and when purchasing any event ticket, from the NHL, NBA, MLB, NFL to concerts and shows, please use discount code BNGP to save a little money. Thank You & Happy New Year!

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Bruins Won’t Call Up Bjork…Yet

Image result for anders bjork bruins(Photo Credit: NBC Sports)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @00EvanMichael

It’s only Human Behavior (especially in Reykjavik) to wonder what’s up with the B’s and Anders Bjork this season. What’s not “up” at the moment? His Winter Classic call from Providence.

According to Bruins’ bench boss Bruce Cassidy, the talented 22-year-old winger just isn’t ready to consistently compete at the NHL level right now. And to thrust him into such a big game, well, that just wouldn’t be fair (even with him playing his entire collegiate career for the Fighting Irish).

“I think that’s too much pressure. We all know the deal with Anders… he was a terrific player for Notre Dame, but our roster is what it is. So if he comes in, what about the guys that have helped us get here?” — NESN interview excerpt from Conor Ryan, Boston Sports Journal

Most likely, It’s Oh So Quiet in the Bjork household currently (maybe even in Iceland as well). But certainly not on social media, where fans, bloggers, wildly speculative hockey heretics, and passionate insiders are all chiming in on the breaking Bjork news:

So, what does this all mean in the big B’s picture? Should Bjork just quit & Play Dead now? I certainly hope not. But, I do agree with “Bruins Arsenal” from Twitter who’s timely take on the situation may be the most realistic given the circumstances:

I’m more of the position… I’m not [left] winging it just yet… that the latter is the more likely long-term scenario since the B’s brass knows, and has invested in, No. 10’s game, fundamentals & skill-set–and for quite some time now. The organization also wants to ensure Bjork succeeds both now AND later, even if it means missing out on an opportunity near and dear to him, his Alma Mater and his family and friends, thus leaving him in a Violently Happy mood if I had to guess (I’m also thinking of another “moody” Bjork if you can’t tell by now).

Image result for anders bjork bruins(Photo Credit: WEEI)

But, enough with all the guess work and would’ve/should’ve prognostications, I say. I couldn’t even convince an Army of Me to vote for sentimentality over common sense. Remember, Bjork DID lace up the skates for 20 games recording only 1 goal for the Black N’ Gold in Boston before being sent down to Providence to work on his game, build up his confidence and prepare for a big return to the B’s (with Big Time Sensuality no doubt).

So that return won’t be in time for the Winter Classic, which does kinda suck as the aforementioned “Bruins Arsenal” tweeted. However, I’m confident Bjork will return — just like his entertaining namesake did for her epic Vulnicura album — and with plenty to prove in the process. As we learned from another notable Notre Dame alum of sporting significance, Mr. Rudy Ruettiger, NOT getting into “the big game” maybe the best form of motivation ever.

 

If you don’t think so, that’s OK. All is Full of Love for me right now with the B’s winning big against Buffalo and gaining ground on that coveted number three playoff seed in the Atlantic. And all will be good with Anders soon, too. I just hope the parts of Bruins Nation that think It’s In Our Hands when it comes to this kid’s future maybe trust in the process just a bit more before ripping the team, management & current players apart. Because Possibly…Maybe what’s going on behind the scenes right now is what we’ll all be celebrating later.

Now, wouldn’t that be (Winter) classic, indeed?

Check out the available tickets from our advertising partner SeatGaint for your next Boston Bruins game. Click the link below, and when purchasing any event ticket, from the NHL, NBA, MLB, NFL to concerts and shows, please use discount code BNGP to save a little money. Thank You and have a Happy New Year! 

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New Year’s Resolution List For Bruins!

Related image(Photo Credit: Boston Bruins)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @00EvanMichael

“Happy New Year!”

It’s a phrase we all say and have heard of and will continue to share at this time of year. But what constitutes “happy”? That’s always the big question mark/gray area for many of us individually. And it’s how we end up defining our annual resolutions list and IF we can stick to it for longer than a hot second.

For your Boston Bruins… here’s my hot take on what will make them “happy” heading into the New Year and how, as a team and organization, they can make a run at the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs. So, without further ado, here is your Bruins New Year’s Resolution List:

1. GOOD HEALTH

Improved health should indeed lead to improved performance as the above story indicates, but as we’ve seen all season for the B’s, staying healthy has been as difficult as finding scoring from the 4th line (except for that last game versus the Sabres I’ll get to in a moment). It seems every time there’s a bit of good news on the health front for one player, another player gets put on the DL. When Bergeron finally comes back, Marchand gets hurt. When Big Z returns, Charlie Mac goes down. It seems every time Coach Bruce Cassidy takes to a podium, he always has to report on someone needing to sit or not being able to suit up for the B’s or how he needs to re-juggle his lines… again… to make it work. Case in point:

It doesn’t take an Einstein-level IQ, no matter what level you’re watching the B’s from, to realize that if/when this team can actually play a game at FULL HEALTH, then the team could go on a run similar to their 18-game point streak from ’17 into ’18 last year. It was this stretch of hockey that catapulted the B’s into not only a playoff contender, but a legitimate Eastern Conference threat. Sure, the same level of talent from that team isn’t skating for the Black N’ Gold this season, but the B’s have enough youthful skill and veteran savvy to make up for it… especially if you can field two top lines at 100% health playing at peak performance levels. Oh yes, the New Year will be happy indeed if this resolution comes true!

2. SCORING CONSISTENCY

As this recent article in the Boston Globe suggests, “the Bruins are struggling to score, and some of the onus falls on their young players.” Thankfully, a few of those youngsters may be finding their groove at just the right time (namely Ryan Donato), while others may be getting a second chance in Boston thanks to the recent suspension of one David Backes (Anders Bjork we’re all speculating). No matter who is on the ice, the aforementioned “upswing” is one-thousand percent needed if the B’s are to pick up points and stay in the playoff picture in 2019.

The same goes for the experienced core of the team. The B’s can ill afford to have nights where No.s’ 37, 46, 63 & 88 put up zero points, not with there unmatched skill, speed & scoring prowess. You could argue that Cassidy plays a role in this by how he pairs his lines, but I’m a firm believer that no matter who’s added as a “third winger” to any pair from above, they should be able to raise their game (and abilities and talents) to match those of Bergy, Krec, Marchy & Pasta.

Image result for marchand bergeron pastrnak krejci(Photo Credit: SportsNet)

As we know, the problem is no matter the combination Cassidy chooses, it hasn’t been able to last. Constant health promulgates consistent scoring. So if the B’s hope to have a Happy New Year, then we’ll need both of the above to take effect — and stay in effect — so it doesn’t affect the team’s ability to win and put up points!

3. SOLID GOALTENDING

You know what won’t melt the ice? The freezing cold Tuukka takes that have truly taken over social media this year. What’s the easiest way to shut it out (and shut others up)? Solid goaltending all throughout the remainder of the 2019 schedule. For Rask AND Jaro Halak. The B’s final game of 2018 will hopefully be the start of exactly that kind of stretch as [for what felt like the first time in a while] the team celebrated “Two U’s, Two K’s, Two Points” from Tuukka in a big save-filled performance between the pipes:

 

More importantly, it sets up Rask for a nice little run of starts where he can keep the momentum going and get on one of his famous “point streaks” that have been known to catapult the B’s in the standings. After all, he lost his 21-gamer to the Sabres so it would only “B” fitting to start a new one at the expense of Buffalo, am I right?

Image result for rask halak(Photo Credit: The Boston Globe)

I’d also love to be right when it comes to the continued strong performance of Halak that even Rask has tipped his cap to so far this season. Yes, Jaro has built up a more impressive pedigree of stats and W’s to start the year when compared to his crease counterpart. But if the B’s want to truly be a contender and be competing for multiple points every game, they’ll need BOTH goalies to keep them in it for 60 minutes, if not more. Too many games, especially recently, have resulted in Boston being blown out midway through the 3rd with little chance to mount a comeback. If Rask & Halak can make their New Year’s Resolution to just “keep the team in it,” which we all know they possess the raw ability to, then I think more celebrations could be in order for the boys in Black N’ Gold in 2019!

4. WIN THE WINTER CLASSIC

Why not literally and figuratively start the New Year off on the right foot / skate than by winning the Winter Classic “on the road” at Notre Dame against a hated original six rival the Chicago Blackhawks!? That sounds like the PERFECT way to begin 2019 — and to officially start a “winning streak” with two W’s in a row (one to end a year and one to start a year… not too shabby, if it happens)!

Image result for boston bruins winter classic(Photo Credit: Sports Illustrated)

Of course, a lot of things will need to go right for that to happen, namely the B’s actually showing up to the game unlike a few years ago at Gillette Stadium against Montreal. Just the sight of my jersey from that game makes me want to puke at how bad it was (and in case you need a reminder of the joke of a team the B’s put on the ice, look no further than Matt Kalman’s tweet below):

It can’t get any worse, right? I’m confident it can’t and won’t this year. The B’s will be coming off one of their best road W’s of the season (and comebacks) and catching Chicago during what some may call a rebuilding phase. It’s a game Boston CAN win, SHOULD win and WILL win, even if we all have to “will” it to happen. It could also mark quite the milestone game for Tuukka Rask if he indeed gets the nod between the pipes:

A Tiny Thompson takeover for Tuukka? Talk about some New Year’s history! I’ll resolve to see that on January 1st and beyond. Wouldn’t that make us all a bit HAPPY?

Check out the available tickets from our advertising partner SeatGaint for your next Boston Bruins game. Click the link below, and when purchasing any event ticket, from the NHL, NBA, MLB, NFL to concerts and shows, please use discount code BNGP to save a little money. Thank You and have a Happy New Year! 

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Timing May Be Right For Bruins

Image result for bruins canadiens(Photo Credit: AP Canada/The Day)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @Evan007onTV

They say timing is everything.

In life, most definitely and in sports, most assuredly. This holiday season, the gift of timing may be ticking in the Bruins favor for a change, as the team’s most recent spirited play against the “keystone cop Canadiens” and the celebrated return of co-captain Patrice Bergeron are coinciding at, figuratively and literally, just the right time!

 

First, you have the above highlights which for all intents & purposes entertainingly highlight just how solid of a road game the B’s played at the Bell Centre in Montreal. Especially coming off consecutive losses to Buffalo & Pittsburgh that were not only winnable well into each 3rd period for Boston, but also filled to the brim (like a Christmas Eve stocking) with scoring chances. Second, and perhaps most important, you have the tweet below which reads as gloriously and miraculously as a “Night Before Christmas” storytime yarn beside the fireplace:

Hold onto your Santa hats, indeed! Because with the Ducks, Preds & Whalers (yes, I’m refusing to call that team by that other name since players will be sporting my favorite non-B’s jersey ever for the captivating contest in Carolina) all set to skate against the Bruins leading up the 25th of December, NOW is exactly “the time” for the team to be playing successful hockey with a passion & purpose. Personally, there’s no one better to help that trend continue than the perennially point prolific Patrice B. Sure, Boston bench boss Bruce Cassidy will have some important, and dare I say timely, decisions to make when it comes to the roster…

…But I’m confident players, fans, media, bloggers and everyone else will be a-ok with the updated look if the B’s keep up the good timing and rekindle some chemistry on more than just the top line or two. Anyone who thinks the return of No. 37 will hinder that instead of help it along is in need of a good help-ing of holiday coal. The rest of us cheerful chirpers will gladly enjoy the “through the glass” view of healthier Bruins hockey as if we were frozen in time in a Norman Rockwell painting.

Speaking of, let me paint you a picture of what the “Bergy’s back” Bruins could look like, if you have the time (and factor in the young Mr. DeBrusk is still recovering and that the coaches don’t want to break up the current 1st line):

MARCHAND – KRECJI – PASTRNAK

DONATO – BERGERON – HEINEN

NORDSTROM – JFK – BACKES

KURALY – CAVE – WAGNER

Of course, there are a multitude of other line combos that can be arranged, and rearranged, between lines 2-4. But I’m most intrigued by the blending of youth, skill, veteran savvy and toughness from the above — at least for now when using my projected imagination. While on that topic, imagine Bergy getting the best out of both Donato & Heinen: two legitimate scoring threats who were starting to show their skill consistently when aligned as a line with Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson aka JFK, but who now have the smartest player in modern-day hockey centering their abilities with his own uncanny ability & talent. Oh, the possibilities!

Image result for bruins donato heinen bergeron(Photo Credit: NBC Sports)

I also think it’s promisingly possible for JFK to center the likes of Joakim Nordstrom and David Backes. You’d have a younger, confident playmaker providing opportunities for a now confident-as-can-be Backes who is playing his best hockey of the season. Add in the fact that the skillful Nordstrom just got off the scoring schneid (shnide?) and onto the score sheet versus the hated Habs and you have a spoked-B bunch on the 3rd line who are all eager to keep the momentum going time after time, as Cyndi Lauper once sang.

And who wouldn’t sing the praises of a 4th line featuring a hungry-for-more-goals Colby Cave in-between an energetic Sean Kuraly and tough as nails Chris Wagner (sorry Noel Acciari for the untimely scratch at the moment)? For what it’s worth, this is a creative combo that could be filled with more holiday “hits” than a Bing Crosby collection!

Related image(Photo Credit: USA Today Sports)

But this is all speculation, with a side of curiosity and wishful thinking. It’s a fun game to play at the moment because the B’s, for the time being, are finally having some fun playing THEIR game. At least it feels that way in the wake of a big bounce back performance for the Black N’ Gold against the Bleu, Blanc et Rouge. Will it continue, and what will it look like with Bergy coming back? Well, those are the big, bold questions all wearing a spoked-B right now.

If any of it can turn out to be as timeless as the B’s logo from the video above, then I think all of Bruins Nation will be grateful this holiday season.

Then again, timing is everything.

Check out the available tickets from our advertising partner SeatGiant for your next Boston Bruins game. Click the link below, and when purchasing any event ticket — from the NHL, NBA, MLB, NFL to concerts and shows — please use discount code BNGP to save a little money. Thank You & Happy Holidays!

Click here For 2018-19 Boston Bruins Regular Season Games and Ticket Info From SeatGiant.com 

Bruins Game 30 Preview: Ottawa Senators

Image result for bruins senators(Photo Credit: The Boston Globe)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @Evan007onTV

Hot on the heels (skates) of the B’s big win over division and could-be playoff rival the Toronto Maple Leafs at home, the Bruins hit the road for Ottawa to take on a middling Senators team also charged up after a big win over Pittsburgh.

The Bruins are hoping to keep the momentum moving in the right direction as they currently are bouncing around the playoff bubble (15-10-4 for 34 points), with the Sens almost as far back as you can go (13-14-3 for 29 points).

WHO’S HOT?

For the Bruins, their new look first line featuring the creative combo of Krejci, Marchand & Pastrnak led the way in points against the Leafs, while youngster JFK added the 3rd goal of his brief, but bright, NHL career — the all important FIRST goal, mind you. If the B’s can repeat this kind of production, or even half of it, they should have no problem against an equally injured Sens team (no Matt Duchene, no Bobby Ryan) that usually wilts when pressure, and the puck, gets placed around their net. In fact, The Bruins have already beat Ottawa twice this season–by the recently familiar score of 6-3 at home and 4-1 on the road in October.

For the Sens, you could argue Craig Anderson and Ryan Dzingel after they both played huge roles in Ottawa’s OT victory versus the Pens, but it appears Anderson, like Halak, will get the night off so the B’s may have a bit of advantage with Mike McKenna in the crease (going up against Tuukka Rask, who is eager to get a W under his jersey again).

WHO’S NOT?

While the Bruins 4th line had newcomer Gemel Smith added to it, the lack of “tangible” production (not counting energy, grit, physicality or what have you) is still as cold as Foreigner’s ice. And it definitely “feels like the first time” anybody on the ice not wearing 63, 88 or 46 scores. But hopefully, the 6-different-goal-scorers effort against the Leafs will lead to the likes of Heinen, Donato, Krug, Backes and more consistently finding that elusive scoring touch — or at least pointing in the right direction.

Speaking of the lineup, here’s a bit of good news concerning Charlie McAvoy from head coach Bruce Cassidy:

As for the B’s opponent, anyone playing on the PK for the Sens is freakin frigid. Ottawa ranks last in the league, 31st for you number hunters out there, on the penalty kill. And the team is also last in the all-important Goals Against category. This means the B’s should have plenty of chances to put the puck in the net during 5-on-5 play and on the Power Play. So, look for the B’s to bring their skating game to the Canadian Tire Centre in the hopes they blow a few tires on the Sens and send them to the sin bin.

BRUINS VS SENS OUTLOOK:

I like the B’s chances of keeping their winning ways going against the Sens after just how well they played versus the Leafs. They got everything they needed, for the first time in a while, from their players: timely scoring, stout goalkeeping, smart breakouts, and solid defense (not counting the few “garbage goals” Toronto scored). Sure, Ottawa is feeling the same way after taking down Sid the Kid and company, but the B’s have had the Sens’ number so far this season and I don’t see that stopping, even on a back-to-backer, because there is a lot at stake — both in the standings and for team confidence & morale.

Check out the available tickets from our advertising partner SeatGiant for your next Boston Bruins game. Click the link below, and when purchasing any event ticket — from the NHL, NBA, MLB, NFL to concerts and shows — please use discount code BNGP to save a little money. Thank You & Happy Holidays!

Click Here For 2018-19 Boston Bruins Regular Season Games and Ticket Info From SeatGiant.com

Bruins Feeling Scrooged In December So Far

Image result for boston bruins shut out(Photo Credit: NBC Sports Boston)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @Evan007onTV

For the 5th time this season, the Bruins gave to me: FIVE SHUTOUT GAMES!

The only thing that makes the above even remotely tolerable is if you say it/sing it to the tune of “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” But, that’s a small consolation for the Grinch-like woes we’re witnessing on the ice for Boston right now. The B’s lack of scoring — ANY scoring lately — has been the most broke of “broken records” that I’m sure we’d all rather hear a Chipmunks holiday song on loop. (Don’t worry, that won’t happen but I do have another song ready to rock for you at the bottom!)

And speaking of record-breaking (and not in a fun or festive way), the B’s have ALREADY surpassed their “getting shut out” totals from the previous two seasons and it’s not even mid-December, let alone the 25th or the New Year. All I want for Christmas is Bergeron back, Miller moving, Chara chirping & SOMEONE SCORING. Literally, anyone at this point.

Just like the above tweet from fellow BnG blogger @courtlalonde, “Anybody home?” is the exact next thought for everyone from Biff to Butch and McFly to McAvoy right about now. And if the B’s want to return home to Garden ice this weekend and still be in a playoff position, then they’re going need to sort out the coal in their Black N’ Gold stockings against a top Tampa team that’s been anything but “nice” to them in recent memory.

Image result for boston bruins bergeron hit(Photo Credit: Boston Herald)

Anybody who’s been watching of late the line-juggling of Coach Cassidy and the subsequent ineffective play of nearly every line save for a few finishing touches from Pasta, Marchy & Donato… well, those people most likely look like all of the fans pictured above: shocked, angered, in awe and flat out depressed. In other words, not how you want to feel during the “tis the season to be jolly” phase of the year.

Thankfully, previous B’s history has shown mid-December to be when the Bruins finally phase-in on a winning streak (18 consecutive games with points from ’17 into ’18 if I remember correctly) so now seems like the perfect time for a visit from The Ghost of Christmas Past. Can this role please be played by Orr, Espo or Neely? Not to sound like a (Tomenezer) Scrooge, but Bah Humbug!

What needs to happen here in the present is the return to good health of Nos. 33, 37 & 73 and the return to good cheer of everybody else on the roster–all of whom are currently feeling the pressure of being without the team’s top players & leaders. And like a Dickens stuffed goose on Christmas morning, man oh man does it ever show!

So, to finish the aforementioned yuletide yarn at the top of this ostentatious (not to be confused with Austen Matthews) article, may I present the remainder of the lyrics in emphatic future form, just like our final Christmas Ghost, and all of us here in Bruins nation, would have wanted for the team:

“THE TWELVE DAYS OF BRUINS”

For the 1st time this season, the Bruins gave to me: a lineup filled & healthy!

For the 2nd time this season, the Bruins gave to me: two shootout wins and a lineup filled & healthy!

For the 3rd time this season, the Bruins gave to me: three stick saves, two shootout wins and a lineup filled & healthy!

For the 4th time this season, the Bruins gave to me: four scoring lines, three stick saves, two shootout wins and a lineup filled & healthy!

For the 5th time this season, the Bruins gave to me: FIVE SHUTOUT GAMES…four scoring lines, three stick saves, two shootout wins and a lineup filled & healthy!

For the 6th time this season, the Bruins gave to me: six D defending, FIVE SHUTOUT GAMES… four scoring lines, three stick saves, two shootout wins and a lineup filled & healthy!

For the 7th time this season, the Bruins gave to me: seven stars a-skating, six D defending, FIVE SHUTOUT GAMES… four scoring lines, three stick saves, two shootout wins and a lineup filled & healthy!

For the 8th time this season, the Bruins gave to me: eight players pointing, seven stars a-skating, six D defending, FIVE SHUTOUT GAMES… four scoring lines, three stick saves, two shootout wins and a lineup filled & healthy!

For the 9th time this season, the Bruins gave to me: nine sections cheering, eight players pointing, seven stars a-skating, six D defending, FIVE SHUTOUT GAMES…four scoring lines, three stick saves, two shootout wins and a lineup filled & healthy!

For the 10th time this season, the Bruins gave to me: ten Lords like Stanley, nine sections cheering, eight players pointing, seven stars a-skating, six D defending, FIVE SHUTOUT GAMES… four scoring lines, three stick saves, two shootout wins and a lineup filled & healthy!

For the 11th time this season, the Bruins gave to me: eleven posts avoiding, ten Lords like Stanley, nine sections cheering, eight players pointing, seven stars a-skating, six D defending, FIVE SHUTOUT GAMES… four scoring lines, three stick saves, two shootout wins and a lineup filled & healthy!

For the 12th time this season, the Bruins gave to me: twelve shooters shooting, eleven posts avoiding, ten Lords like Stanley, nine sections cheering, eight players pointing, seven stars a-skating, six D defending, FIVE SHUTOUT GAMES… four scoring lines, three stick saves, two shootout wins and:

A LINEUP FILLED & HEALTHY!!!

We can always sing their (upcoming) praises, right!?

Check out the available tickets from our advertising partner SeatGiant for your next Boston Bruins game. Click the link below, and when purchasing any event ticket — from the NHL, NBA, MLB, NFL to concerts and shows — please use discount code BNGP to save a little money. Thank You & Happy Holidays!

Click Here For 2018-19 Boston Bruins Regular Season Games and Ticket Info From SeatGiant.com

Bruins Players & Alums Will Be “Busy B’s” Over Holidays!

Related image(Photo Credit: BostonBruins.com)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @Evan007onTV

‘Tis the season to “B” jolly and you can best believe the Bruins will be “busy B’s” when it comes to spreading joy to area girls & boys (and families & communities as a whole) this year. In fact, the organization just announced its 2018 holiday charitable initiatives, and as expected there’s no shortage of player and alumni involvement for all the festive fun planned.

Holiday Shopping Event

The entire B’s roster will storm the aisles of local stores on December 7th, purchasing toys and other enjoyable knickknacks for area children in need. Started by B’s Hall of Famer and former Captain Ray Bourque, the annual tradition has been a team favorite for years, where “each member of the team makes a donation which goes towards the purchasing of the toys, and the Boston Bruins Foundation matches the total team donation,” according to the recent release celebrating the season.

Image result for ray bourque bruins christmas(Photo Credit: Mass General Hospital)

The announcement goes on to mention that “toys purchased at the holiday toy shopping event will be delivered to over 600 children at hospitals around Boston who are unable to spend the holidays at home. The entire Bruins roster will visit various hospitals on Wednesday, December 12 to deliver the toys and spend time with patients.”

As you can see from previous social media clips, posts & pictures documenting this event in year’s past, there’s certainly no shortage of smiles & gratitude to go around. It perfectly “B”-fits the team (just like Torey Krug’s Christmas tree hat below)!

(Photo Credit: NHL.com)

Festival Of Trees

Speaking of Christmas trees, O’ what a sight it’ll be for the players’ wives & girlfriends who will be organizing this special event for the second straight year. “The Bruins significant others will decorate mini Christmas trees with a variety of items such as autographed memorabilia, gift certificates, and favorite items of Bruins players,” all to benefit the Bruins Foundation as the team’s website mentions.

While David Backes certainly had a mini tree with some major goodies on it last year (as you can see from his tweet above), fellow teammates Zdeno Chara & David Krejci hope to continue the tree tradition triumphantly with some solid celebratory “ornaments” of their own this year!

“The Festival of Trees fundraiser will take place online at www.bruinsauctions.org and in-game at the Boston Bruins Foundation table located at Loge 4 on the TD Garden concourse during the December 16 and 20 Boston Bruins home games,” with more details regarding player specific trees coming soon, according to the foundation’s website.

Image may contain: text(Photo Credit: Boston Bruins Foundation)

Toys For Tots

Widely recognized around the country, and especially in Boston this time of year, is the very successful & meaningful Toys For Tots program, which “will be on hand at TD Garden at the Bruins home games on December 11, 16, and 20 to collect donated toys for children whose parents cannot afford to buy them gifts for the holidays” as prominently noted by the release. Mark your Bruins calendar for these games, as I like to say, because even a small toy donation can make a big difference for a local child and family in need this holiday season (especially if it’s a figurine or ornament of a B’s player)!

Image result for bruins toys for tots(Photo Credit: Wilmington Apple)

And while on the subject of B’s players, Bruins legend and newly inducted team Hall of Famer Rick “Nifty” Middleton recently helped kick off the program’s holiday drive in Wilmington, MA, where he also posed for pics and signed autographs for all those making donations to benefit the local kiddos.

With additional events planned for not only the Boston Bruins Foundation, but also the Cam Neely Foundation all December, even if you can’t participate in any of the above festivities, you’ll still have plenty of opportunities to score when it comes to giving back in honor of the Black N’ Gold this year.

Check out the available tickets from our advertising partner SeatGiant for your next Boston Bruins game. Click the link below, and when purchasing any event ticket — from the NHL, NBA, MLB, NFL to concerts and shows — please use discount code BNGP to save a little money. Thank You & Happy Holidays!

Click Here For 2018-19 Boston Bruins Regular Season Games and Ticket Info From SeatGiant.com

The CHERRY On Top: Former Bruins Coach Honored

Image result for don cherry boston bruins suit

(Photo Credit: Boston Bruins)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @Evan007onTV

The Sports Museum honored former Boston Bruins coach (and one-time player as you may recall from an earlier article I wrote for the Black N’ Gold Blog) Don Cherry at the TD Garden on Wednesday, November 28th amid a crowd of other sports legends connected to the city and the region. Still fashionably flamboyant & crazily charismatic as ever, Cherry arrived truly “well-suited” for the celebration as you can see from the B’s Twitter account below:

The Tradition event is an annual ticketed gala that raises money (and awareness) for The Sports Museum, one of the “hidden gems” inside the home of the B’s that many fans forget is a must-see stop in my humble hockey opinion (IMHHO, as you may recall). As described by its website:

The Sports Museum is a non-profit educational institution that has served Boston and New England for the past 40 years.

Founded in 1977 and housed on Levels 5 & 6 of the TD Garden, The Sports Museum features a half-mile of exhibits celebrating the history and character of Boston sports.

Through its educational programs Boston vs. Bullies (www.bostonvsbullies.org) and Stand Strong, The Sports Museum leads the way in using the power of sports to help kids build character and prevent and stop bullying. All told, more than 25,000 upper elementary and middle school students each year experience a character building Sports Museum educational program.

Delaware North Companies, Inc. – Boston (the company that owns the TD Garden and the Boston Bruins) provides The Sports Museum with office space, exhibit space, and management support. The presenting sponsor of The Sports Museum is New Balance Athletics, Inc.

That’s right… it features a HALF-MILE of exhibits celebrating the historycharacter of Boston sports, especially the Bruins. And when it comes to the team’s history, there may be no bigger character than Don Cherry. To wit:

And this was from earlier this year, mind you. Do yourself an entertaining favor and just google his “Coach’s Corner” broadcasts for Hockey Night in Canada with Ron McLean, in particular the older ones. You’ll BEAR witness to one of the most colorful, kooky, critical and at times uncensored personalities the game has ever known (which is old news for many spoked-B followers who are in their 40’s and above but required viewing for anyone within and around the millennial age bracket).

Speaking of brackets, when the B’s unceremoniously bowed out of their 1979 playoff one against their arch rivals–the Montreal Canadiens–in game 7 due to a historic too-many-men-on-the-ice blunder with the lead and only minutes to go, a less than cherubic Coach Cherry fielded what may be the best post-game presser in the annals of hockey history… or at least Bruins history:

I’ve never been able to look at any of my Aunts in the same way ever again. If this sentence and sentiment doesn’t make sense… please take the time to watch the above clip from :25 seconds to :30 seconds (or skip it if you don’t want to be offended, which in this day & age seems to happen no matter what someone says so just watch it and laugh already will ya).

Image result for don cherry winter classic(Photo Credit: SportsNet)

What’s no laughing matter (perhaps, outside of his suits)? The legacy that Cherry has left behind for the entire Bruins organization and fan base, like him or hate him. He led the B’s to four straight Adams Division titles (as it was called back in the 70’s, named for the founder of the Boston Bruins, in fact, Charles Francis Adams), two Stanley Cup Finals (it should’ve been three, I know), and a Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s “Coach of the Year” in 1976.

(Photo Credits: Coach’s Corner & HHOF)

Which is why, among many other coaching & commentating accomplishments, Cherry was the hockey man of the hour at The Tradition gala in Boston this holiday season — and no doubt the center of attention after being introduced by one of his “Big Bad Bruins” Terry O’Reilly. You didn’t need to be a professional or aficionado of the game to appreciate what a special night this must have been for all involved.

And as Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe recently wrote of Cherry, he was indeed “an original behind the Bruins’ bench” and will continue to be on broadcast airways across Canada (and occasionally the United States) for years to come.

(Photo Credit: The Sports Museum)

Congratulations, Coach! Talk about an evening & event of stars… with a CHERRY on top!!!

Check out the available tickets from our advertising partner SeatGiant for your next Boston Bruins game. Click the link below, and when purchasing any event ticket — from the NHL, NBA, MLB, NFL to concerts and shows — please use discount code BNGP to save a little money. Thank You & Happy Holidays!

Click Here For 2018-19 Boston Bruins Regular Season Games and Ticket Info From SeatGiant.com