Mark Your ’19-’20 Bruins Calendar: Part V

Picture 1 of 12(Photo Credit: Bruins Pinterest)

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

Since we just celebrated Friday the 13th on the calendar here in the States, it’s only fitting to remind everyone what “Part V” of that seminal series was called: A New Beginning. Well, that’s exactly what the month of February could be for the Boston Bruins depending on how the team handles a January against some quality dual opponents (as I outlined in the previous installment of our Black N’ Gold Mark Your ’19-’20 Bruins Calendar series).

Also, like the hockey-masked killer character in the aforementioned film franchise, the B’s hockey franchise won’t be able to mask any of their faults in February–especially on every weekend–because of the 14-game workload lined up for them, including a historic five Saturday games. They even get to play on LEAP YEAR day! How’s that for superstitious scheduling since Friday the 13th references will be a recurring theme throughout this piece. So, let’s drop the puck (and perhaps the machete) on what specific games are worthy of highlighting on your B’s calendar this fabulously frightening & frozen February!

 

Weekend One: Crystal Lake, Minnesota

Okay, okay. We all know that Camp Crystal Lake is not in Minnesota, but rather in New Jersey (as far as fake movie location names go). But, if the B’s can open the month of February with a “road W” over former friend Ryan Donato at the Xcel Energy Center on the 1st, then they can celebrate its first Sunday by visiting a famous underwater Jason Voorhees statue just up the road. In fact, the Wild will be a fitting first opponent to begin a busy hockey stretch at an important time of the year for the Bruins. Since 2015, the B’s have won four of their last five road games in Minny, including the last two, so keeping that streak alive would be advantageous considering the former city of North Stars always plays spirited hockey against Boston.

Weekend Two: Jason Takes Boston

The B’s will be lucky it’s only Jason Demers coming to town with the Coyotes on February 8th and not that other titular Jason from the woods. Then again, if the team doesn’t want to end up out in the woods, the players should take care of business against an Arizona squad that will most likely be out of the playoff race by then. Also, they’ll need to get on a plane to fly off to Detroit for a Motor City matinee on the 9th immediately following their howling hockey versus the Coyotes. I would call this back-to-back home/road split versus two beatable teams a must-win weekend for the B’s if they want to build momentum during a month where all eyes will be on playoff positioning.

Weekend Three: Origin(al Six) Stories

More matinee marquee match-ups are in store for February 15th & 16th against Original Six rivals the Red Wings again, followed by the New York Rangers (and all of this coming hot on the heels/skates of the B’s having recently played the Blackhawks & Canadiens a few games earlier). And like any good horror movie’s origin story, the B’s will need to look to their successful history against these teams in order to “make them history” at a time when both the division & conference races will be tightening up. All of these contests offer national audience eyes as well, so you can best “B”-lieve the hockey world will be talking them up since many broadcasters, like fans from these cities, champion themselves as Original Six supporters & supposed soothsayers (this is also similar for Friday film fanatics).

Speaking of making bold predictions, if the B’s aren’t careful — i.e. they let the Wings take them to a shootout then get gassed at Madison Square Garden less than 24 hours later — then they could end up looking just like this upon leaving New York… an expression well-known to a familiar-faced character who enjoyed romping around Manhattan back in his heyday. (Eastern Hockey League be damned!)

 

Weekend Four: Canadien Cutthroats

When it comes to the Bruins traveling across country for their annual “West Coast Canadien Kick,” the schedule always seems to fall in February for these three games — two of which will be back-to-backers on February 21st (Calgary) and 22nd (Vancouver), respectively. One needn’t guess which other city the B’s will be visiting just days prior unless you’ve been living under Plymouth Rock for the past decade and not paying attention to this always-highlighted stretch of hockey (it’s Edmonton in case you have been and my apologies).

And if previous seasons are any indicator, then we all know just how important taking AT LEAST four out of six points will be for the B’s against the Oilers, Flames & Canucks. This will be cutthroat hockey at its finest–with no machete needed–proving just how fun, competitive & memorable these games can be. The B’s also like to use this road trip as a memory-making team bonding experience so let’s hope they make the most of what the calendar has lined up for them yet again this upcoming season.

Weekend Five: The Final Chapter

This weekend, or to be more specific this Saturday matinee, only comes around once in a blue–strike that, Black N’ Gold, moon; definitely once every four years, but rarely does that infamous day fall on a game day. That’s right, I’m talking about February 29th — LEAP DAY! And the Bruins throughout their 23-Leap-Year history (sorry, the franchise Inaugural Year of 1924 doesn’t count on the Leap-season statistics since it began in December long after February celebrated an additional day of aging) have had nine games on that calendar extension mark, if you will.

Plainly, to put a mark on it, the B’s are a mediocre 4-4-1 on LEAP DAY dating back to the Roosevelt administration (that’s FDR not TR for you Presidential historians out there). To get even more detailed, the team’s 4-1-1 at home in Boston and 0-3 on the road in Toronto, Chicago and New York. If you’d like to see it in list form, look no further than below:

BOSTON BRUINS LEAP YEAR HISTORY:

1940 – W, 4-2 over Montreal

1944 – L, 7-3 @ Toronto

1948 – L, 5-1 @ Chicago

1956 – L, 4-2 @ New York

1964 – W, 2-1 over Detroit

1968 – W, 4-1 over Toronto

1976 – W, 5-3 over Vancouver

1992 – T, 5-5 with Washington

2000 – L, 5-1 to Ottawa

If the Bruins would like to win their first ever LEAP DAY tilt on the road and, dare I type, tilt the ice in their favor, they’ll have the perfectly slanted opportunity to do so against the insalubrious Islanders at Nassau Coliseum in 2020. Now, that’s a game I’d like to see — be it in person, on television or on the NHL-TV recap ap! It’s obviously the final day of February (and for those celebrating an “Over The Hill” occasion, their 10th official Birthday), but I’m rooting for the B’s franchise to be exactly like the Friday the 13th franchise on this day — not only will it NOT be the final chapter, but many successful sequels will follow!

Image result for boston bruins season schedule 2020(Photo Credit: Boston Bruins)

With the month of March looking scarily similar to February — both in terms of the number of games and number of tough teams to play against for Boston — the B’s could find themselves successfully skating towards the playoffs or falling through the ice and flailing for help just like that poor young boy whom the camp counselors ignored much to his maligned mother’s chagrin & sharp knives. Thankfully, there’s no Friday the 13th in February of 2020… and now you don’t have to mark your calendar to know it!

Check out the Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 145 that we recorded on 9-15-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!

Coach’s Corner Squared: Bruins, Celts, Pats, Sox Edition!

(Photo Credit: Boston Bruins via 13 Photography)

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

I think Bruins bench boss Bruce Cassidy is living his Boston Wonder Years right now.

And it doesn’t take a wunderkind to realize he enjoys “getting by with a little help” from his friends! Just two weeks after visiting legendary Patriots coach Bill Belichick and striking up quite the bond (as this Black N’ Gold blogger noticed), Cassidy was at it again. This time talking shop — and Jimmy Fund philanthropy — with not only a phoned-in Belichick of the Pats (that’s a literal meaning as it could never happen figuratively to the GOAT of the sidelines) but also fellow NESN studio guests Alex Cora & Brad Stevens of the Red Sox and Celtics, respectively.

Sure, this was a brilliant way to raise awareness and money for a cause as connected to Boston sports and New England charity as clam chowder and candlepin bowling. But it was also a once-in-a-blue-moon glimpse into the minds of perhaps the best known (and respected) foursome of coaching talent this city by the Charles has ever seen — no disrespect to the Auerbach/Holovak/Sinden/Williams years of the 60’s and early 70’s! And to quote the man who represents the B’s with plenty of aplomb and on-air honesty:

“It’s great to have some banter [between the coaches, media & fanbase]. Let’s just keep it to the performance on the ice.”

That certainly sounds a bit Belichick-ian don’t you think!? And with on-ice performance for the B’s only a month away now, Cassidy was sure to make the most of this opportunity and lean on both Cora & Stevens for further insight into how the Bruins can best bounce back in ’19-’20:

“You coach discipline, you can hold people accountable with their discipline. Talent levels change from team to team…(but) we’re very lucky. I’m one of the most fortunate guys in the National Hockey League to coach true pros like [Patrice] Bergeron and [Zdeno] Chara.”

I’m confident they’d echo those same sentiments back on “Butch”… the coach who took them from a playoff outsider just two-and-a-half years ago all the way to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals this past Spring and who plans to take it even further (JUST ONE MORE WIN), ideally as soon as this upcoming season:

We learned a lot going into our playoffs last year from all three coaches in town. Hopefully down the road as the Bruins we can pay them back.”

Boston Coaches(Photo Credit: NESN)

Payback would certainly be sweet for the B’s, there’s no doubt about that. And as a certain TV theme song laments, “do you need anybody” for that to happen? Well, I think Bruce Cassidy now has the answer in a familiar Boston Coach’s Corner that certainly doesn’t lack expert insight, advice… or wonder.

 Check out the Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 142 that we recorded on 8-25-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

 

Mark Your ’19-’20 Bruins Calendar: Part IV

Image result for bruins 2020 season(Photo Credit: Calendars.com)

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

Happy New Year, Bruins fans!  Well, not yet. But it COULD be a “Happy New Year” in 2020 if the B’s take advantage of their lightest load of games on the season in a month’s time — 11 in total, six on the road and five at home (sorry, April, your two contests in week one don’t count as a “month”).

And there’s considerably less fanfare for the B’s to start the “hindsight year” (2020 aka 20/20… get it?) compared to playing in the historic Winter Classic at Notre Dame against their Original Six rivals the Chicago Blackhawks in 2019. Now, that was a memorable game:

 

Speaking of hindsight, a laid-back January may be EXACTLY what next season’s Bruins need in order to set themselves up for a Spring playoff push. As you may recall from Parts I, II & III of this spirited Black N’ Gold series, the B’s begin 2019 with three months of heavy hockey that will almost feel like an entire season in and of itself — multiple home stretches followed by road trips, back-to-backs against Stanley Cup contenders (perhaps even favorites for ’19-’20) and few “rest weeks.” In fact, three days off is the LONGEST amount of downtime the team will have until this early Winter stretch. They’ll also, “ain’t no lie,” have their Bye Bye Bye! week and All-Star break vacation to add to this less busy bundle of games.

So, let’s take a look at the key match-ups in January that deserve a mark on your Bruins calendar. To make it easy for you, it’s three spread out home-and-home contests versus tough teams the B’s could very well see come April, May and hopefully even June:

January 2nd & 14th: Columbus Connections

Unless the B’s want to end up cannon fodder, it would behoove them to silence Columbus first at TD Garden on the 2nd and then take the sting out of the Blue Jackets on the road on the 14th, just like their riveting Game 6 Eastern Conference Semi-Finals series which featured a Tuukka Rask shutout (oh, the memories) and timely goals from the non top-liners (perhaps we should’ve seen this coming).  Either way, the BOS & CBJ head-to-head battle has truly been abuzz for the past year+ so it will undoubtedly make for some entertaining early ’20 hockey!

Image result for bruins blue jackets(Photo Credit: Sports Illustrated)

January 9th & 31st: Winnipegged

If only this Manitoban team played like the New York JETS, then you could already chalk up two easy wins for the B’s (actually… maybe not as Bruce Cassidy could’ve found out from Bill Belichick recently)! All similar sporting names aside, the 99-point Western Conference pucksters from the ‘PEG have been used to WINNIng lately — and in ’18-’19 they beat the Bruins both times they faced off, fittingly once at home and once on the road. So, the 9th (TD Garden) & 31st (Bell MTS Place) would be the perfect time for the B’s to take off with a few victories against a talented team that will once again contend in the opposing conference.

Image result for bruins jets(Photo Credit: WBUR)

January 16th & 19th: Mr. Popper’s Penguins

Hey, at least these two games against Pittsburgh will be more entertaining than that truly flightless movie (still love ya Jim Carrey — not to be confused with your once Bruin’ netminding namesake…yes, I know he spelled it differently)! However, if the B’s don’t want to end up face-planting on the ice against a team that can skate & score circles around most opponents, then they best lace up their HAPPY FEET and come ready to play next level hockey versus Pittsburgh. Going all the way back to the “Super Mario” years where the B’s got bested by the Pens almost every regular season and playoff series (2011 exceptions to be celebrated), this true-to-form home-and-home series will be a back-to-back must-watch and perhaps even a playoff preview if both teams are lucky…and healthy…and consistent(ly lucky and healthy)!

Image result for bruins penguins(Photo Credit: NBC Sports)

 Check out the Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 141 that we recorded on 8-18-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

AND…

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel!  We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE For Link To Our YouTube Channel!

 

Providence Bruins AHLTV Home Broadcasts To Feature New Voice

Image result for dunkin donuts center providence bruins(Photo Credit: Dunkin’ Donuts Center)

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

It appears the Providence Bruins may have a new voice for their home game broadcasts on AHLTV for the 2019-2020 season. According to RinkSide Rhode Island correspondent and regular P-Bruins insider/Twitter reporter Mark Divver, Austin Rooke will soon be the man behind the mic at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center:

As Divver mentions, Rooke is the son of long-time Providence College basketball broadcaster John Rooke, something the Providence Journal proudly points out in this featured story about both talented announcers.

The younger Rooke, 24, is a communications graduate of Marquette and previously worked as the public address announcer for the New England Patriots and Revolution at Gillette Stadium, according to the ProJo. He will now have the chance to sit in the same broadcast booth as his Dad, a seat filled by many great announcer voices over the years — some of whom even went on to do play-by-play in Boston for the Bruins (as featured here on the Black N’ Gold Hockey Blog last Summer).

This is not only a win for Rooke, his family and the entire Providence Bruins family, but also AHLTV fans & aficionados who have been clamoring for more access to their local teams via streaming or internet platforms.

Make sure to stay updated on all your P-Bruins news, prospects and developments right here with the talented BNG writing team, and also check out the Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 140 that we recorded on 8-11-19 below!

You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Sticher.

AND…

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel!  We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE For Link To Our YouTube Channel!

 

 

Coach’s Corner: B’s Cassidy & Pat’s Belichick Bond

Image(Photo Credit: Mike Reiss – ESPNBoston.com)

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

Cassidy and Belichick. Not a bad Coach’s Corner to be in, no disrespect to B’s alum Don Cherry and his North-of-the-border broadcast bud Ron MacLean.

And as many members of the Boston media reported Monday, the Bruins’ bench boss attended his second consecutive #PatsCamp and took it all in with his family by his side.

Now, Cassidy’s son Cole may have a career in football on his hands (hands that Kraftly caught this pigskin on camera earlier)…

…but if there’s any football career to be clamoring about in Foxboro it’s that of Cassidy’s cross-town coach Bill Belichick — a coach that he hopes to learn from even more ahead of his team’s Stanley Cup runner-up follow-up season. As Cassidy mentioned back in May to our friends at NESN before his black n’ gold squad suited up for the Cup Finals, he reached out to Belichick for advice on how to handle not only the long layoff between the ECF and SCF, but also the pressure of playing for it all in Boston:

“[The Patriots] share whatever they can — very supportive. It’s been great for me. I’ve gotta tell you — [Belichick’s a] terrific guy. Very insightful, and it was great. I really appreciate it.” — Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy, May 2019

Well, as we all know by now (and perhaps are still trying to forget), the B’s came up short while playing for it all this Spring & early Summer. One game short. One shift short. Perhaps even one play short if you like to factor in momentum in do-or-die postseason games — all scenarios Coach Belichick has been through, learned from and overcame while leading the Super Bowl Champion Patriots to two dynastic runs over the last 19 New England years. And as we learned from NESN again, Cassidy couldn’t resist checking back in with Belichick on Monday — this time about how to bounce back when your team comes oh so close to winning it all:

“A little bit about his team, a little bit about situational stuff that happens. For example, coming off a loss at the end of the season, [the Pats] did it two years ago to Philly, rebounded to win a championship last year. So, what kind of preparation goes into that, or do you just put it all behind you and move on? So, try to steal a few things here and there in that area [from Belichick].” — Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy, August 2019

Sage advice from a man who’s become a legend in our sports-crazed community. Can we also get Tom Brady & Patrice Bergeron together to talk championship fodder & folderol? Kidding aside, Cassidy’s comments definitely create good karma & buzz ahead of a B’s season bound to be under the microscope from September to hopefully May and June again. And if his team can rebound a la the Patriots after a championship loss, then I think this Cassidy/Belichick bond blossoming before our eyes could become the new Coach’s Corner!

 Check out the Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 140 that we recorded on 8-11-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Sticher.

AND…

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel!  We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE For Link To Our YouTube Channel!

 

 

Mark Your ’19-’20 Bruins Calendar: Part III

Image result for boston bruins 2019-20 schedule(Photo Credit: Boston Bruins)

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

In Part I… we made you fear the start of the season (and just in time for Halloween)!

In Part II… we showed you unless the Bruins stuff themselves with wins, it could be a Thankskilling in the standings!

Now, for their busiest month yet–December, comes Part III of the B’s calendar series. And like all “threequels”… there are bound to be surprises around every curve of the rink! So, let’s start at the top and cruise through the holiday season right up until NYE.

December 1st – 7th: “Livin’ On A Prayer”

The Boston Bruins at TD Garden are always a challenge, no matter the opponent. Especially when the fans get into the game (like they did in the above clip). Well, the B’s will have four consecutive games in front of those Bon Jovial fans to start December — one of their longest home stretches of the season. They’ll match-up for a Sunday funday fight on the 1st against their most historic & hated rivals: the Montreal Canadiens. Then they’ll play every other day through Saturday the 7th versus some “C-League” teams — Carolina, Chicago & Colorado. However, they’ll have to bring their “A-game” because outside of the ECF series sweep against the Canes this past season, the B’s have always struggled at home against the Blackhawks & Avalanche.  That’s why this first week is very important for the team (and perhaps the eyes of management). It would behoove the B’s to stockpile as many points as possible while playing in front of their friendlies (who perhaps came from Friendly’s) because right after all this TD Garden time, it’ll be time to take this show on the road!

December 9th – 14th: “On The Road Again”

Just like the Willie Nelson song suggests, the B’s are no strangers to being on the road again for an extended period. For week number two of December, it’ll be a lot of North/South travel. The Bruins begin that stretch on Monday the 9th in Canada’s capital against the sorry Sens–a game they should definitely capitalize on. Why? Because next up, just down the street from our own Capitol, are the Washington Capitals in D.C. That city, and arena, have never been nice to the Bruins–politics aside. So, let’s vote for a win as opposed to lobbying for a loss, especially with the Lightning on the schedule the very next night. That’s right, a midweek back-to-back versus two of the top teams in the NHL–and on enemy ice. This will be as difficult of a 48-hour period the B’s will face all season long. And, as most road games against Tampa go, it’s on to Sunrise next for a post-Luongo-era match-up versus the Florida Panthers to end this four-gamer away from Boston.

As for December 15th – 31st, the B’s play five of those seven games at home–making the holiday season, at least schedule wise, the home stretch of ’19-’20. The most notable match-ups are not marquee but still worth watching/following as the Preds claw into town followed by the Caps just before Christmas. The B’s will round out 2019 with a matinee game in New Jersey, just in time for some bedeviled New Year’s celebrations we hope!

In short, the eight games to start December could be very telling as the B’s approach the midway point of their season. Will they look like the Eastern Conference Champs and Stanley Cup Runners-Up that they are? Or will the newly blended veteran/youth mixes be mixed up & already worn out? As we like to say, Mark Your ’19-’20 Bruins Calendar now… for all those “I Told You So” moments later!

Check out the Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 139 that we recorded on 8-2-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Sticher.

AND…

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel!  We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE For Link To Our YouTube Channel!

 

Chris Kelly Rejoins Bruins Organization

Image result for chris kelly boston bruins(Photo Credit: CBS Boston)

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

“The Bruins are looking to bring back Chris Kelly…”

That statement caused a Causeway panic and made #BruinsTwitter go atwitter this week. And I would’ve probably jumped on the bash-the-B’s-brass bandwagon were it not for a skill I learned long before the age of social media clickbating and hackneyed headlines: read more than just the first sentence. 

“…in a player development role.”

Deep breath in. Deep breath out. Now, that makes a lot more sense. In fact, I think it makes all the sense in the world, and so does the Bruins organization after officially announcing the move on–you guessed it, Twitter–just twenty four hours ago.

The press release didn’t include any of the reasoning behind the new hire, but it did wondrously remind us of Kelly’s resume, especially while wearing the spoked-B:

Kelly, 38, spent the 2018-19 campaign as the Development Coach for the Ottawa Senators. Prior to serving in that role with Ottawa, Kelly played 14 seasons as a center and left wing in the NHL, including six seasons with the Boston Bruins. Kelly appeared in 288 contests with the Bruins, scoring 43 goals and notching 58 assists for 101 points. Kelly was a member of the 2011 Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins. Over 25 playoff games in 2011, Kelly recorded five goals and eight assists for 13 points.http://www.bostonbruins.com

Image result for chris kelly boston bruins(Photo Credit: Bleacher Report)

Of the five 2011 playoff goals mentioned in the article excerpted above, perhaps none was more clutch than Kelly’s Game 7 third period tally against the Montreal Canadiens at the roof-blown TD Garden. Without that beloved backhand breaking through Carey Price, the B’s might not have experienced such overtime heroics later in the game—or during the rest of the Stanley Cup (winning) playoffs for that matter, if you like to play the “what if” game.

 

As for the former No. 23’s game, it was all about the intangibles — working hard, skating hard, going to the dirty areas of the ice, banging around in the corners and in front of the net, and always being responsible in the defensive end.  Kelly, like Patrice Bergeron, led by example on the ice while he wore the Black N’ Gold, something that certainly wasn’t lost on Don Sweeney or Cam Neely when they were checking off attributes for a good Player Development Coordinator candidate. Now that he’s set to fill the shoes & skates of fellow NHL alumnus Jamie Langenbrunner, his predecessor in the PDC role in Boston since 2015, Kelly will no doubt bring his valuable expertise, leadership, accountability and hockey IQ to a system stocked with young prospects eager to impact the B’s depth chart. If they’re wise, these up-and-coming players will take a page out of the Kelly playbook and learn that you don’t always need to be a superstar or 50-goal scorer to positively impact your team.

After all, we know what happened the last time the B’s went after Chris Kelly in 2011. Wouldn’t it be nice to “bring back” that feeling again?

 

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE For Link To Our YouTube Channel!

 

Mark Your ’19-’20 Bruins Calendar: Part II

Bruins Schedule 2(Photo Credit: Boston Bruins)

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

ICYMI (aka Part I of this ongoing Summer series for the Black N’ Gold Blog)… the Bruins start the season with a grueling October schedule, including two stretches of hockey that could set them up for Fall success or put them behind the proverbial 8-Ball early. That being said/written, if the B’s can hold their own through Halloween, then a lighter and more playable lineup of games will arrive by Turkey Day celebrations in the states, including a marquee NHL Thanksgiving Showdown matinee versus the Rangers on NBC (a rematch from 2013 that featured a Rockwellian pie-off between Cam Neely & Mike Richter, as seen below).

 

November 4th & 5th: “Back-To-Back!”

The Bruins play their first “Back-To-Back” series of the season starting at home versus the always pesky Pittsburgh Penguins followed by a trip across the border to face off against their hated arch-rivals the Montreal Canadiens. It’ll be the first time Boston plays either of these competitive opponents on the year and will no doubt include plenty of penalties, power plays & pugilism, if history is any indicator. These are the kind of games that show, on full display, just how your team “measures up” to very similar competition, both in terms of skill & talent and strategy & coaching. If the B’s can make a statement in Boston versus the Pens, then perhaps the usual tired legs of next-day hockey versus the Habs will turn into two big Eastern Conference victories (and four big points).

November 15th & 16th: “Back-To-Back 2: Back At It!”

This Friday-Saturday sequel in the “Back To Back” series (within a series) features a rip-roaring road match-up with the Maple Leafs in Toronto followed by the Washington Capitals coming to TD Garden twenty four hours later. These two talented teams have played the Bruins up to and at their best almost every time on the ice over the last decade, particularly during the regular season. W’s are never guaranteed versus the Leafs & Caps and are as hard-fought as you can get in the East, especially when playing on consecutive nights. This weekend will either set the B’s up for a very fulfilling Thanksgiving holiday week or prove they need to give out the thanks to their hungry opponents.

November 26th & 27th: “Back-to-Back 3: Backed Up!”

And for your viewing & repetitive pleasure, Boston goes “Back-To-Back” for the third time in November just before the aforementioned Gobble Game on the 29th at home. This time, it’s a roadie twofer in the Great White North against those hated Habs again followed by the (most likely 4-16-2) inauspicious Ottawa Senators. Since the B’s will only have one off day after these two games (all holiday travel) before they’re served up on the national TV menu versus the Rangers, taking as many positives & points out of this quick Canadian kick would be highly beneficial and satisfying to all–especially against the senseless Sens.  It will also make it easier for everyone to digest what could be an uncomfortable post-Turkey-Day matinee, as the schedule over this short stretch for Boston is definitely stuffed.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel!  We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE For Link To Our YouTube Channel!

 

Report: Bruins Add RW Ritchie For Depth

Image result for brett ritchie nhl(Photo Credit: NHL.com)

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

The Boston Bruins reportedly have added some grit, depth & potential goal scoring to their bottom six forward group.

According to reports from the Stars camp and TVA sports up in Canada, the Bruins wrestled rough Right Wing Brett Ritchie away from Dallas — and at good value.

 

The early Twitter returns are saying Ritchie will not only be a solid replacement for the recently departed Noel Acciari, but also brings an “intriguing skill set” that includes the major ability to… well… earn majors (but in that Big Bad Bruins way as seen above).

As the above tweet says, this could be a “smart move” by Bruins GM Don Sweeney, especially considering the B’s have always liked their 4th line wingers to have a little pugilistic pluck & puck personality.  It also comes on the heels of another solid signing — the locking up of Connor “Cliffy Hockey” Clifton for four more years — and at that always affordable in today’s NHL $1M AAV.

Make sure to follow the Black N’ Gold Hockey team for more Bruins & NHL Free Agency updates in the days ahead. And of course be sure to listen to and support our podcast below:

Check out last weeks Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 133 below!

Mark Your ’19-’20 Bruins Calendar: Part I

Bruins Schedule(Photo Credit: Boston Bruins)

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

With the Boston Bruins 2019-2020 regular season schedule recently released by the league and team, it’s that time of the off-season again to mark your B’s calendar! In this six-part series, I’ll be taking a look at what I think are the key scheduling stretches for the Black N’Gold this upcoming year. Some will be home stands, others long road trips; we’ll preview some back-to-backs and some historic (and heated) rivalries; and of course we’ll look at the big divisional match-ups and Stanley Cup rematches that all of the hockey world will be eager to see.  So, without further ado, let’s start with the B’s grueling Fall schedule — a tough test for any team, let alone one that played until June and will have a limited Summer.

OCTOBER 3rd – 10th: “Road Warriors”

The Bruins open next season on the road and stay on the road for another three games in what could be called a mini Western Conference kick (as opposed to the annual “West Coast Kick” in California later next Spring). The team first plays the always formidable and fight-filled Dallas Stars on Opening Night, Thursday, October 3rd before taking on the Arizona Coyotes, Vegas Golden Knights and Colorado Avalanche over the next seven nights, respectively. This will be a pretty solid litmus test for the almost Stanley Cup Champs (who also pride themselves in being “Road Warriors”) as three of their four competitors also had solid playoff runs and will be wanting to make a statement against the Eastern Conference Champs on home ice. I expect Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak to split these four games, however I wouldn’t be surprised if Head Coach Bruce Cassidy rode the early hot (glove) hand on the road if either could get on a streak right out of the gates.

If the B’s can secure at least five-out-of-eight points during this opening stretch of hockey, that would be ideal — especially when you consider the team will be without stalwart defensemen Kevan Miller & John Moore to start the year and will most likely be featuring a new top-six set-up with Butch Cassidy juggling “the Sundance kids” to see who exactly is the best fit alongside Patrice Bergeron & Brad Marchand (line one) and David Krejci & Jake DeBrusk (line two).  All in all, there’s a lot to pay attention to and take note of as the B’s travel West for a week to start the ’19 season.

OCTOBER 17th – 29th: “Test Your Might!”

I’m likening this next portion of the Bruins’ schedule to the opening part in the original Mortal Kombat theme song: Test Your Might. And coming off what will hopefully be a successful TD Garden Home Opener on October 12th against New Jersey (that’ll be a good one now that P.K. Subban brings his devilish “D” to the Devils) followed by a visit from the once mighty Ducks of Anaheim two days later, the B’s will need every bit of focus, fortitude & follow-through to contend with what could be the most challenging two weeks of hockey all year (and for any NHL team).

To wit: Boston welcomes the reigning Presidents’ Trophy winners from Tampa to town on the 17th and ends the month with the near-Cup-contending Sharks swimming by on the 29th. Sandwiched in between what will undoubtedly be two great games of exciting hockey to bookend this stretch, you see a home-and-home versus a revenge-motivated Toronto team, followed by a Game 7 rematch versus St. Louis’ surly squad that gave everyone in Boston “the Blues.” Then, it’s off to New York to battle the rebuilding Rangers on the road.  These six consecutive games will show beyond a shadow of a doubt if the B’s are still Cup-trending or are in need of a boost/spark before Thanksgiving. To paraphrase a different Mortal Kombat line from the still-catchy tune of yesteryear, the B’s will need stand-out performances from, indeed, their mightiest of stars who will be put the test early and often:

EXCELLENT!

Krejci (Kano)

Big Z (Liu Kang)

Marchand (Raiden)

Tuukka Rask (Johnny Cage)

Bergeron (Scorpion)

Sub Jaro (Sub Zero)

Pasta (Sonya)

BOSTON KOMBAT!!!

Coming up in Part II of my Mark Your Bruins Calendar series, I’ll preview what’s on the November docket and how the B’s can take advantage of some important divisional match-ups to make the most of their early season schedule. In the meantime, stay tuned in and tuned up with all things Black N’ Gold by checking out our podcast below: