Can B’s D-men Improve Any “Moore” In SCF?

Image result for john moore boston bruins(Photo Credit: Boston Globe)

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

“Next man up.”

This phrase should probably be printed on all 2018-19 Bruins gear, emblazoned above the B’s locker room door, bannered onto the forefront of the TD Garden and artistically etched onto the ice right below Stanley Cup Finals. It’s literally the motto — and mantra — for a bruised Black N’ Gold team that’s taken pride in players truly stepping up when called upon. Now, it appears, yet another member of your three-wins-away-from-winning-it-all Bruins will have one “Moore” chance to make his teammates and the city proud.

That’s right, it’s likely John Moore’s turn to take the place in game three for an untimely injured Matt Grzelcyk (who, if you reluctantly remember, was boarded by the now-suspended Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist in game two). Moore, who hasn’t played since he slotted in for an injured Zdeno Chara in the B’s series-clinching win against Carolina two weeks ago, is without a doubt eager to make an impact in a pivotal road contest that could easily change the course and momentum of the series.

Much in the same way Steve Kampfer injected some energy and, if you can believe it, timely goal scoring when he “next-man-upped” himself into action for game one of the ECF against the Hurricanes, Moore hopes to help his team both on the blue line and on the score sheet if he can. Head Coach Bruce Cassidy will take either, but his primary thinking of choosing Moore over Kampfer, to most likely pair with Connor Clifton, is the versatile veteran’s left leaning (blue)lining.

As for the rest of his squad, Moore certainly has the support and confidence from his teammates, all of whom expected him to be a more permanent fixture on the back end all season long until injuries and depth chart-jumping forced him out of the lineup for extended stretches this year. However, NOW is the most important time of the year for the Bruins and that’s all that matters — to the team, to management, to the fans and to Moore. He knows opportunities like this don’t come around that often and making the most of them could result in the ultimate prize: hoisting the Stanley Cup high over his head for the first time in his career.

Image result for john moore boston bruins(Photo Credit: Spokesman-Review)

If he helps the B’s to a game three victory, then guess what? The new next man up will only have two “Moore” wins to go!

For Bruins, The “Best” Is Yet To Come… Maybe?

Image result for boston bruins stanley cup(Photo Credit: Boston Herald)

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

For the Bruins’ best, is the best yet to come, as the old adage goes?

At the start of this series against the Western Conference Champion St. Louis Blues, many who follow this talented team — myself included — definitely thought YES. After all, the B’s were coming off a sweep of the high-flying Hurricanes, one in which their top line topped the entire score sheet in a clinching game four victory. But with game three of the Stanley Cup Final on the horizon (and on the road), now many of us are not so sure — again, myself included.

Now, I wouldn’t call the Blues an “inferior” team by any means, but there may be a bit of truth to the Black N’ Gold’s perfection line showing perfectly obvious signs of rust after not only the week plus layoff, but also the layman-like play these first two games of the series. It’s fair to ask this (Paula Cole cowboyless) question: where have Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand & David Pastrnak gone? Regrettably, not to the net enough or to the bench enough celebrating those big, timely goals — you know, the kind your best players tend to score?!?

So, how exactly do the Bruins’ best intend to “clean up” those aforementioned details in time for a pivotal game 3 in St. Louis? Will Head Coach Bruce Cassidy tweak his top line — as he’s done in every previous playoff series at one point — to spark his struggling stars? Even in his most somber of post game press postures following game two’s gut-wrenching OT loss, he still pointed out an important solution to the most noticeable problem No.’s 63-37-88 seem to be suffering from (…again):

Yet, for all the criticism he and his team have faced in the last few days (coming off a more than impressive 8-game playoff winning streak, mind you), I think the man affectionately known as Butch was butcheringly blunt: the B’s need to remind themselves of how they’ve been successful in every round, and against every opponent, during these extremely favorable Stanley Cup Playoffs:

“Rebounding pucks, getting second chances, forcing [the other team] to defend. Usually, ya know, [it] results in penalties as well so that’ll be a point of emphasis.” — Bruce Cassidy

And speaking of penalties earned and thus power plays given… here’s a given: the B’s will not be hoisting Lord Stanley’s coveted silver chalice in the next week or so unless they can consistently make the most of the PP minutes they’re drawing from the sometimes beleaguered and belligerent Blues. And that especially goes for the top unit which includes, at times, all of the illustrious players alluded to earlier and pictured below.

Related image(Photo Credit: Zimbio)

Sure, the Bruins have scored a goal with the man advantage in a near record-setting six consecutive playoff games, but it’s no exaggeration to state they easily could’ve scored multiple PP goals in every game dating back to the Carolina series. You may get away with a missed “one up” opportunity here or there during the regular season and during the early rounds of the playoffs, but certainly not in the SCF where every shift, change, shot, point & goal matters. I mean, how many teams wish for a penalty to be called in a tie game in the third period with under ten minutes to go in the finals (and to take a stranglehold 2-0 lead in the series)!?!? EVERY ONE–if they’re lucky to get there. The B’s most certainly were in game two and yet…

I guess we were all singing the blues (sorry, Blues [capitalized]) after that. But, if there’s anything this wonderfully watchable run of hometown hockey has taught us this year, it’s that the B’s know how to respond to adversity. Especially on the road. And fittingly, their best players are all on the same page when it comes to the respective response.

That certainly sounds like someone who “B”lieves the best really is yet to come in this now best-of-five game Stanley Cup series.

Bruins & Canes Share A “Whale” Of A Playoff History!

Image result for bruins canes whalers(Photo Credit: WGME)

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

Call them the Canes. Call them the Whalers. Call them the Jerks! But, whatever you do, don’t call them inexperienced when it comes to battling the B’s in pivotal playoff match-ups. Hartford-turned-Carolina and Boston have had a healthy history of clashing for the Cup (even regional recognition if you want to really surge up a storm). Let’s take a look back at all the times these two talented teams have met up in the postseason aka the NHL’s most exciting season:

Bruins vs Whalers: 1990

 

Almost ten years after the Hartford Whalers officially became an NHL franchise in 1979 (they were originally the New England Whalers of the defunct WHA), the team finally met the Bruins in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs — or as it was called at the time the Adams Division Semifinals. The series went the distance with the Bruins overcoming what could have been a devastating 3OT game six loss to emerge victorious in game seven. Craig Janney scored what would become the series-clinching GWG in a 3-1 win, with Andy Moog outdueling the inimitable Peter “El Sid” Sidorkiewicz in net.

Image result for bruins whalers 1990(Photo Credit: Pinterest)

Bruins vs Whalers: 1991

 

In a rematch of the 1990 Adams Division Semifinal, the B’s and Whalers again played a hard-fought series. This time, the Bruins’ offense proved just too much to handle for Hartford with the Black N’Gold taking down the White, Green N’Blue in six games. Cam Neely, Ray Bourque and Craig Janney led the way for Boston while Andy Moog proved to be the ultimate puckstopper again between the pipes. These two meetings really showcased how the Bruins’ best players, when playing at their best, could change the course of a game and a series — exactly what will need to happen NOW for Boston to continue its playoff success.

Image result for bruins whalers 1991(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Bruins vs Hurricanes: 1999

 

When the franchises met for the third time in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, a lot had changed: Hartford had moved to Carolina and became the Hurricanes (the team was playing in Greensboro then before moving to Raleigh); and the NHL had changed its division & conference structure, as well as playoff seeding, so the number three ranked Canes who won the Southeast Division wound up playing the sixth-seeded Bruins from the Northeast Division in the Conference Quarterfinals aka Round One.

Image result for bruins hurricanes 1999The B’s dispatched Carolina in six games with none being as memorable as the 2OT game five affair. Anson Carter scored the game-winner on a beautiful feed from Jumbo Joe Thornton after the B’s rallied from two down in the third period (see above).

Boston would close it out at home (another change as it was The FleetCenter in ’99) for the third consecutive playoff series win between their once-local now coastal rivals.

(Photo Credit: Ebay)

Hurricanes vs Bruins: 2009

 

It’s been exactly a decade since the B’s and Canes last faced off in puckdom’s perennial postseason. And it was a painful one so apologies for the ’09 reminder. Coming off a near President’s Trophy-winning season with 116 points and a Northeast Division Championship, the B’s made quick work of the hated Habs in Round One before moving on to face Carolina in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The Canes had narrowly defeated the New Jersey Devils in seven games so the match-up heavily favored Boston. It showed in game one but it was all Carolina after that. With the B’s facing a 3-1 series deficit, they routed the Canes at home (now TD Banknorth Garden) before winning game six on the road. That set up a winner-take-all game seven back on home ice before a raucous Gahhhhden crowd (I remember it well). The B’s were trailing 2-1 in the third when old friend Milan Lucic tied things up and sent the game to OT. But that’s when the flukiest of Carolina players scored the flukiest of goals — Scott Walker’s whiffer off a rolling rebound that eluded a tired Tim Thomas — to send the Canes onto the ECF. This was their first playoff series win against Boston in franchise history… and it still stings today!

Image result for bruins hurricanes 2009(Photo Credit: NBC Sports)

Bruins vs Hurricanes: 2019

As I alluded to earlier, in order for the B’s to best the Canes and continue their winning ways this year, their best players — namely Bergeron, Marchand, Krejci, Pastrnak & Rask — will need to keep the momentum going from the Columbus series and produce, produce, produce. If there’s one thing the 2019 Carolina Hurricanes / Hartford Whalers are good at, it’s playing UP to their opponent and, as we’ve seen from recent playoff history, better than their opponent (to wit: the defending Cup Champ Capitals and the energetic Islanders of Brooklyn). BN’G colleague @tkdmaxbjj will have more on what this series could mean for both teams right here so check back in with your Black N’ Gold squad soon — after all, it’s #InOurBlood!

*Bonus B’s/Canes History:

Image result for bruins whalers(Photo Credit: Canes Country)

There are some moments in hockey that even if they’re not from the playoffs, they still belong in a team’s shared history/story together. These are a few of those unforgettable moments!

The Boston Brawl of ’90

Don’t mess with Cam Neely. Or Craig Janney. Or Glen Wesley. Or Chris Nilan. Or Jim Wiemer. Or Lyndon “off the bench” Byers for that matter (yes, stay watching until that moment — don’t let Byers pass you by, dare I say).

The Czerkawski Crosscheck of ’96

Much the same way Bobby Orr got trailblazed after scoring (although this incident was not on nearly as grand or momentous of a stage), one time B’s legend Marius Czerkawski got Czer-cross-checked after his timely tally back in ’96. The B’s didn’t have a lot to fight for during those years so at least they stuck up for each other when the Whale wanted to wallop!

The Shorty Shellacking of ’10

 

I don’t think this will ever happen again in the NHL. And man oh man was it a pleasure to watch (especially after what had happened the year previous): three shorthanded goals in just over a minute on the same Hurricanes powerplay. Talk about being swept away!

Feel free to let us know what YOUR favorite Bruins/Canes/Whalers memories are by commenting below or sharing on social media using the #BruinsFam hashtag!

No Better Time Than “Now” For Bruins

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

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

The Black N’ Gold should heed the lyrical advice of Tina Turner’s Goldeneye:

“But now my time has come and time, time is not on your side!”

Not perhaps for Zdeno Chara, 42, who is using EVERYTHING left in the tank to compete for the Cup in what could be his penultimate NHL season.

Not perhaps for the Davids — Krecji, 33, and Backes, 35, who know their mid-30’s are the period in a professional hockey player’s career where talents & abilities begin to fade and the skates don’t move as quickly as they used to, despite their impressive leadership qualities.

And perhaps not for, I hate to write it, Patrice Bergeron, 33, who continues to play through what many are speculating has to be a painful injury ala the way he has played in multiple previous injury-plagued playoff campaigns (one can only imagine the consistent & constant toll that takes on the no-longer-in-your-20’s body).

Yet, for all the worry & concern leading up to game four of the Columbus series — a game that many experts/bloggers/pundits/broadcasters/etc. were saying was a “must win” for the Bruins including this guy — all of the above players raised their games to match the already raised stakes. And did they ever lay it all out on the ice to get that “must win” — a rough & tumble 4-1 affair that saw Tuukka Rask play his most inspired netminding while not minding the fact that he was often left out to dry… especially on the B’s PP.

The series, as we all know, is now tied 2-2 and heading back to Boston where the barn will no doubt be burnin’ (proverbially speaking) after the B’s, and their social media supporters, stirred up plenty of puck-citement.

And needing now only 2-out-of-3 wins to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals (with two of those games potentially coming on home ice), to match up against either the “Jerks” from Hartford, North Carolina or the Tavares-less Islanders from Brooklyn is it?, the Bruins find themselves in an enviable playoff position. After all, no one expected this series to be happening (Tampa’s bolt from the 1st round was indeed an eye-bulging surprise) nor the Caps & Pens to no longer be competing. The same can be said for the match-ups out West. Truly, there is no better opportunity for the B’s to gas up the engines and make a serious drive to the Stanley Cup Finals.

As most who follow the game recognize, the road to hoisting Lord Stanley’s coveted cup is the longest, bumpiest and at times most dangerous in all of professional sports. The B’s have overcame a mountain of impediments this season — injuries & aging among the most aggravating. Yet, here they are… poised for a run at a championship despite all of the above. And with a path to “the Cup” more passable (and attainable) than any recent playoff setup.

There’s another golden Goldeneye nugget that will behoove the Black N’ Gold:

“…how it feels to get so close and be denied.”

All of those valuable veterans who are fighting for each other (and perhaps even Father Time as well) know this feeling. And outside of the momentous Cup run that was 2011, they know it all too well. So, why not make the most of what’s in front of them? Why not realize there may be no better time than NOW to bring yet another championship back to Boston?

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

Well, with age there also comes wisdom. And the B’s would certainly be wise to take advantage of where they are and where they want to go before this season ends.

Bruins “Pucked” by Puck Luck & More

Image result for bruins blue jackets game 3(Photo Credit: NBC Sports)

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

The score was 2-1. The series is now 2-1. But the Bruins’ chances of erasing that deficit to the stingy (and sting-y) Columbus Blue Jackets are more like 100-1. Maybe even higher barring some miracle of health, happenstance or holy intervention for the “top line” of Patrice “we all know he’s injured” Bergeron; Brad “shoot the fricken puck” Marchand; and David “just bench him already” Pastrnak.

I think Lynne from Methuen hit the nail on the [exploding] head with the above tweet: the beaten Bruins are truly beating themselves so far in this series, which–if they don’t turn things around immediately in game four ala the Toronto matchup–will amount to nothing more than cannon fodder for a fanbase already sick of cannons, fodder & forwards who refuse to score.

One thing they can do, right along with their intrepid dinged-up D-men is ding pucks off posts at a rate more consistent & expected than a Bruce Cassidy lineup shuffle. To say the Bruins missed the mark on most of their scoring opportunities would be akin to Hans telling a young Gordon Bombay that clinking one off the iron is only “an inch” away from missing the net altogether. Which, to be honest, has also happened at an alarming rate both in this game and the previous two at TD Garden.

Oh, did I mention the B’s also took turns ringing the crossbar as well? All of this, of course, being sandwiched between Sergei Bobrovsky serving the Black N’ Gold a nice helping of glove, blocker, stick, pad & mask. I mean… I know the guy’s good, but is he really THIS good? Or are Boston’s best squeezing their collective sticks so hard they’re making it look a lot worse than it really is?

I think it’s a combination of both. Especially when you consider for the FIRST time in NHL history the B’s actually got a bit of proverbial puck luck when “the call on the ice” was overturned and Jake DeBrusk was rightfully credited with Boston’s lone goal of the game at the end of the second period — a goal that should have energized the bungled Bruins and led to a third period comeback of memorable praise & momentum-shifting glory.

Alas, it all was for naught. And so too will this entire series, second season & playoff run be unless the Bruins actually show up and play like we all know this team is capable of. After all, aren’t the playoffs all about playing through injuries, manning up or having “the next man up,” and most poignant & prominent of all — making your own puck luck?

Maybe that’s what the B’s should start doing. Or else, they’re all pucked.

Bruins, Boston Bask in Rask

Image result for tuukka rask game 7(Photo Credit: NESN.com)

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

While the beleaguered “beLEAFers” belabor their Bieber, the Bruins and Boston are basking in Rask who was up to the masked task in a riveting Game 7 at TD Garden. And for what feels like the first time (dare I say, only a Foreigner of hockey would not know this), the praise is finally universal for “Tuukks.” Here’s a collection of commentary backing up the B’s backstop who, with his team’s back against the wall, led them into the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs!

The Media:

Image result for tuukka rask game 7(Photo Credit: 98.5 The Sports Hub)

The Team:

Image(Photo Credit: The Boston Globe)

The Fans/Internet:

The BeLeafers:

So, what comes next in net for the fortuitous Fin whose fighting finish finally finished the loser Leafs? Obviously, it’s Columbus. And then perhaps the Islanders. Then maybe the Sharks. Then hopefully THE CUP! I can guarantee one thing… if –actually WHEN– that happens, Tuukka Rask will never have to worry about criticism or praise again. He’ll truly be able to bask in it all…just like we should be doing right now!

Get “Hyped” Bruins Fans!

Image result for bruins hype(Photo Credit: Boston Bruins)

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

Playoff hockey. In Boston. Is there anything better? In case you think there is… here’s a collection of clips, links & social media shares to help change your mind just in time for the best time of the year for the NHL. Break out your Black N’ Gold, put on your favorite jersey and crank up the volume… it’s time to GET HYPED, BRUINS FANS!

BRUINS TWITTER:

BRUINS YOUTUBE:

BRUINS LINKS:

“The Boston Bruins Playoff Hype Video Will Be Responsible For Walls Being Destroyed Around the City”

“The Bruins’ playoff hype video features team legends, artillery fire, and an actual bear”

“Watch Conor McGregor Give The BOSTON BRUINS An Epic Hype Speech”

(Photo Credit: Boston Bruins)

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Bruins’ Senyshyn Seny-shines in NHL Debut!

NHL: Boston Bruins at Minnesota Wild(Photo Credit: USA Today Sports)

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

And so it began… an NHL career on one hand and cell phones constantly posting to Twitter on the other — two separate and disparate occurrences coyly (and perhaps even Coyle-ly) connected thanks to the new No. 19 in Boston, Zach Senyshyn:

So, what SHOULD folks know about the B’s prized prospect both lauded & lamented simultaneously for what he’s never done yet and still yet to do in a Black N’ Gold sweater?

  • He was the 15th Overall Pick in 2015 NHL Draft
  • He was a scoring stud in the OHL
  • He was constantly scrutinized in the AHL
  • He was never given a chance in the NHL… until now

And in the hallowed hockey history of memorable Bruins’ debuts, I’d call Senyshyn’s nothing to shun. In fact, he shined in the limited but productive ice time he was given by head coach Bruce Cassidy.

What does “played pretty well” translate to, especially when paired with fellow newbie B’s Charlie Coyle & Marcus Johannson for most of the night? Well, outside of solid stick handling, puck possession & body positioning… how’s about scoring your first career NHL goal in game number numero uno in front of your fanning-out folks! Here’s a look from multiple angles from multiple tweets:

You down with ENG? Yeah, you know me! Or, at least him now. Him being Zach Senyshyn, all Seny-suited up following his memorable Minnesota debut, proudly profiling a picturesque puck of perfectly positioned portraiture seen below:

So, what does the future hold for a young man who now holds a more impressive one-game statistical resume than a certain other notable ’15 draftee, sarcasm set aside so we can slyly celebrate before reality sets in?

I bet we’re all hoping for something surreal… something that reminds us of other talented & promising B’s prospects who matured late and blossomed in the spoked-B despite the hate, hype & hyperbole directed their way before they even played an NHL game. I know Senyshyn’s teammates are already tickled pink for their baby-faced brother, as you can see from their smiles & sentiments on the ice & off (himself included)!

It’s reassuring to know he, too, is taking it all in stride, with laughter, graciousness & gratitude at the forefront of a hockey skillset and mindset just waiting for even more chances to Seny-shine in Boston.

(Photo Credit: Boston Bruins)

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Point(s) Taken: New Way To Look At Bruins Recent Draft History

Image result for boston bruins draft(Photo Credit: USA Today Sports)

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

With all the recent hubbub in the Hub of Hockey on how the Bruins’ youth movement is moving forward (or backward?), especially considering the season-long influx of Providence talent being showcased in Beantown, I thought the timing of a recent article from The Athletic concerning Boston’s recent draft history was quite interesting, fortuitous, and even eye-opening. Here’s the tweet that proved to be a head-turner/knee-jerker upon seeing it — then reading it:

So, the Bruins’ draft picks in the 21st century thus far have produced the most points out of every NHL franchise? Let me cue a universal Black N’ Gold reaction:

Image result for bruins gif really?(GIF: NHL.com)

“Huh?” is exactly right. But, then I started thinking about it… or more accurately more astute journalistic minds starting thinking about it, and commenting on my social media about it, which in turn turned my thoughts about it to have an about face.

A valid point, indeed! Sure, the B’s have seen some of their top draft picks since 2003 — the first year of this draft study — score the majority of their NHL points for another franchise, namely Phil we’re-no-longer-thrilled Kessel & Tyler traded-too-soon Seguin. But, it’s still pretty impressive when you actually sit back and reflect on it, especially considering just how mercilessly the city, the media and the fans scrutinized Boston’s 21st-century GM’s for their lack of “draft success” on the whole (yes, we’re referring to you Mike O’Connell and Peter Chiarelli — and to more recent effect Dealin’ Donny Sweeney).

 

Yet, for all the “misses” over the last sixteen years for the Bruins (let’s not even bring up one name from 2007, where a combined 6 draftees combined for 5 career NHL points), there are some names that will forever make the aforementioned points breakdown truly worthwhile. And here they are, ranked in descending order, based on how many points they’ve banked for the B’s (and still CONTINUE to produce for them):

David Pastrnak – 280 Points (2014)

Image result for bruins draft david pastrnak (Photo Credit: FanSided)

To order up a serving of “Pasta” every time No. 88 scores a goal or notches an assist would be akin to heart failure. Thankfully, the deliciously nicknamed David Pastrnak impacts our ticker in many other ways — specifically, making it race with excitement & adrenaline whenever he touches the puck or skillfully skates around a deft defender. To wit: the B’s most recent “W” against the Rangers in which he had as many points as the number one star credit he was given postgame. Love or hate the recently unemployed “Chia” pet up in Edmonton, but you’ve got to give him credit (or at least his scouting team) for Pasta. Let’s keep those 5-point games on the menu!

Brad Marchand – 556 Points (2006)

He’s the most productive pest in modern-day NHL history and he’s as big of a character as you’ll ever find in B’s history — and that’s saying something! He’s Brad Marchand and he’s only just begun, to paraphrase a Carpenter’s classic (not to be confused with former Bruin Bobby Carpenter–another point-filled pugilist). And to think both Kessel and Milan Lucic preceded him in 2006 when interim GM Jeff Gorton was doing his damnedest to pry Nicklas Backstrom away from the Caps for every pick the B’s had! Would “Marchy” have been on that potential list? Who bleepin’ cares now is what I say. And to think… Twitter and Instagram weren’t even a part of Marchand’s life yet!!!

David Krejci – 637 Points (2004)

The above video says it all: when you have a highlight reel gone viral because you had the most points in the postseason for your Stanley Cup-winning team, then you deserve plenty an accolade. Ironically, all David Krejci deserves right now is a 2nd-line winger who can consistently score ala David Pastrnak! Or, did we just see that recently? I digress. But, while on the subject of scoring, let’s not overlook just how invaluable the Czech center has been for the B’s since he was drafted more than a decade ago — ironman status included starting last season. Just think: if he keeps producing and playing alongside another popular B’s draft pick (Jake DeBrusk), then this point-filled list is going to need an update real soon!

Patrice Bergeron – 811 Points (2003)

Image result for patrice bergeron bruins draft(Photo Credit: Barstool Sports)

Trying to describe just how much Patrice Bergeron means to the Bruins organization, the franchise, the fandom… well, it’s an impossible task because you literally can’t say enough about him as a player and as a person. Thankfully, BN’G colleague @phonymahoney did that for us shortly after “Bergy” celebrated his 1,000th game in a Bruins’ jersey:

There’s a quiet grace about Patrice Bergeron that makes people forget exactly how good a player he is, and it’s unbelievable how long he’s been an important fixture in the Bruins’ lineup. One of the best players in the world, Bergeron is a member of the Triple Gold Club (World Junior Championship, Olympics, and Stanley Cup), and a four-time Selke Trophy winner, as the National Hockey League’s best defensive forward. This is a player who is so consistently effective night in and night out, that the only reason any of the milestones he’s achieved as a Bruin have been remotely surprising is because it’s so easy to forget he’s been with the team for 15 years.

Not bad for a second round pick sandwiched between Mark Stuart (93 career NHL points) and Masi Marjamaki (goose egg) way back in ’03! And as we just discovered all but a game ago, No. 37 in his 15th season with the B’s just eclipsed yet another earmarked milestone alongside his inspired linemate on this list:

Talk about a solid three years of drafting in the early oughts for the B’s! So, do you now measure the success of the Bruins’ modern draft machine a bit differently considering all of the above? Do also believe the team is only going to add to these impressive totals what with all the young scoring talent yet to emerge (aka on the cusp)? You do! Well, good.

Point taken!

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Bruins, Chara Answer The Bell

Image result for bruins islanders chara fight(Photo Credit: NBS Sports)

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

“For Whom The Bell Tolls…”

Well, according to heady British poet & author John Donne, “it tolls for thee.” But if you ask punched-in-the-head(y) pugilist & Islander Matt Martin, it tolls for Zee. As in Big Z. As in Bruins Captain and former NYI wunderkind Zdeno Chara. And boy did he, and the Bruins, ever answer the bell — in a BIG way — against their 1st-place pals in the Metro Division to kickoff their Spring season.

As the B’s fearless leader recapped in his post-game interview, “we made some strong plays… and our specialty teams were also strong.” Very well said for arguably the strongest guy on the ice on a nightly basis (definitely, at least, this knuckled-up night). However, putting brute physicality & force aside, it’s a different kind of strength displayed by both Chara and his teammates that I found impressive. One that even the aforementioned Mr. Donne would equally tip his cornered hat to, hence why I’ll be waxing poetic with his eponymous words about it for the remainder of this postured post of puck prose.

“No Man Is An Island…”

Definitely not on this Bruins team. And definitely not against the Islanders (even though they were playing for an “island”). Because Boston’s strength, as I just alluded to, is truly in their numbers — i.e. EVERYONE is buying into what B’s management and the coaching staff, particularly head coach Bruce Cassidy, have been preaching since key players went down with untimely injuries earlier in the season: “be the next man up.”

And even as the injury bug piled up over the last month and a half, the next man did step up — individual statistics aside. Sometimes that came in the form of versatile veterans spelling some struggling youngsters for a game or two (namely Lee Stempniak and Paul Carey, like them or hate them). Other times it was the exact opposite, with eager Baby B’s jumping back into the mix (your Trent Frederics and Connor Cliftons) to relieve the pressure of the recognizable names still needing recovery time. Thankfully, as we’re finding out, almost all are ready to return to the line-up soon, with an order of Pasta finally seen on the Bruins’ menu (with a side of splint)!

No matter who was wearing the Black N’ Gold proudly over that injury-riddled time span, though, the result was the same: the Bruins were always competing, always fighting, always exhibiting a team strength & unity where no man truly felt like “an island” having to do it all (unless of course you were Matt Martin and you had fisticuffs with Zdeno Chara).

“Each Is… A Part Of The Main”

Mainly, I can’t think of a better way to accurately describe how the B’s are accomplishing all that they are right now. To quote NESN’s Jack Edwards, who ever-so-eloquently performs a form of poetic lyricism every time he calls a game, “if you would have told me the Bruins would be where they are in the standings [after Patrice Bergeron & Zdeno Chara went down on back to back days earlier this season]… I’d have been dead wrong!” Wouldn’t we all have been.

Yet, thanks to the every part is a valuable part mentality with which the B’s operate, there’s more than enough room on Edwards’ bandwagon for new friends & old returnees, as he likes to tweet, to get behind what’s currently (and Kuraly) happening in Boston. One needs to look no further than No. 52’s constructive comments following his 2-goal performance on Long Island, in particular: “I think we just try to stick to our game… our leadership, we just wanted to keep comin’ and keep playing hard.” Wise words, indeed!

“It Tolls For Thee.”

In conclusion, it all comes full circle back to that leadership Kuraly talked about. Be it Big Z’s big fight or Bergy’s big goal or the big shift from the Backes/Acciari/Nordstrom line that showcased not only toughness & talent, but also skill & skate savvy — aspects of every players’ game, in fact, that featured in this statement victory.

Speaking of statements, the whole point of Donne’s poem was to illustrate the interconnectedness of mankind — that if we’re all in it together, it doesn’t matter in the end who answers the proverbial bell, because (in the end) it will eventually toll for all of us. If we apply that same prescient & poetic philosophy to the 2018-2019 Bruins–a team very much interconnected in all the right ways–then here’s what you can expect: an exTOLLing of praise come playoff time.

That’s one bell well worth answering!

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