October 5, 2010


Well, to be honest I've only vaguely thought about this blog a few times since...well, the last post. I was so carefree, so happy, so...hopeful. Then everything came crashing down. I didn't think it could happen again, I didn't think it would happen again. You know? The crushing defeat was like a blow to the head or an Exacto knife to the heart. I'm not just being dramatic because that's how it felt. Sitting in section 314, row 9...seats 1 and 2. Bear Hat activated. We were up 3-0. Three to nothing. And then...we weren't. An epic collapse, a choke, whatever the headlines said. The fair-weather, pink-hat, bandwagoners could say whatever they wanted. But that night in the Garden, I truly believe some hearts were broken. Or at the very least, cracked for awhile. That's why I couldn't face this blog. I didn't want to relive that 60 minutes.

Last season was the definition of a rollercoaster ride. The ups and downs provided some shortlived thrills and cheers; but ultimately ended in nausea and sickness. The reason for that was the consistent inconsistency. (Not to mention the inability to score goals) This summer felt long. Too long. I've waited impatiently for the puck to drop on the 2010-2011 season.

I can't make any sort of predictions now..because it's clearly way too early for any of that. All I can say is...I'm excited. I'm ready to put last season's debacle in the past and turn the page.

Lastly, I will ask some questions to be answered later in the season.
-Where will Tyler Seguin fit in?
-Has Tuukka permanently secured the number one spot in net?
-Will Michael Ryder score a goal?
-Will Blake Wheeler not fall everytime he touches the ice?
-Will I miss Dennis Wideman?

April 29, 2010

Stop Numero Dos of Playoff Debauchery

Well, this should be interesting. The faithful fans of the Black & Gold eagerly awaited the second round, expecting to see a matchup between the B's and Pittsburgh. Well, not so fast. Because Montreal pulled off a HUGE upset last night- stunning Team Ovechkin and knocking them into an early summer vacation. So now, the B's are set to take on the gritty, hardnosed (but mostly downright annoying) Flyers. Luckily, we have home advantage- so hopefully the B's can get a big win come Saturday's matinee at 12:30.

The Flyers are missing three important forwards- Jeff Carter, Simon Gagne and Ian Laperriere. The Bruins are welcoming back Savard. Don't get too excited yet folks because I have a feeling its going to take Savvy a bit of time to get back into the swing of things. He said so himself, that he doesn't expect himself to be an immediate hero. However, I think he's been itching to get back into the lineup and when he's motivated, he's successful.

That's all for now; I will add to this later after thoroughly analyzing the Flyers.

See Ya

Can't spell OVECHKIN without CHOKE. Choked by the Habs. Choked in the Olympics. Lucky for Ovie, he'll get another shot with team Russia in the World Championships. haha. Peace out, bro.

April 27, 2010

And after 22 years...

I watch Ray win the Cup at least once a week and get weepy every time, so it's no big shock that this commercial makes me bawl my eyes out.

April 23, 2010

2010 Playoffs: WTF?

Nevermind the Bizarro Bruins- we'll get to them in another post. What the hell is going on in the rest of the playoffs?

I'm not saying that I'm an all-knowing and infallible playoff picker, but in the past I've always been damn good at it. Usually I only get a few series wrong throughout the entire playoffs. Technically I've only gotten one wrong so far, but many series in this first round are on the verge of embarrassing me further.

Let's first look at the series I got dead wrong: Philly and New Jersey. I thought that it would be a close series that could potentially go either way, but in the end said Devils over Flyers in 7 games. This was because I value goaltending over scoring in the playoffs, at least when the matchup is close. Of course, in order for my prediction to be true, New Jersey would have to actually get good goaltending, and that didn't happen. Brodeur allowed 15 goals in 5 games and managed a measley .881 SV%, despite facing the fewest shots against per game in the playoffs. Philadelphia, on the other hand, held up their end of the bargain (despite, I suppose, getting the fewest shots FOR per game in the playoffs). Basically, Brodeur shit the bed. Worse than that, he made me look bad. Worse still than that, he was nominated for the Vezina over Tuukka.

Sidetrack: WTF NHL? I understand not giving Tuukka the Vezina. Ryan Miller should win it. But he had the best goaltending numbers in the league- how could you not nominate him? And how in god's name did you pass him over for the Calder? And why isn't Patrice up for the Selke? Even the Wreck doesn't agree with that last one.

I was confident that Chicago would completely whoop Nashville's ass, potentially even sweeping them. The series is now tied at 2, which isn't a total disaster, but it's not what it should be. Chicago played more like themselves in Game 4, but before that they were genuinely being dominated by the Preds. The only explanation I can offer is that they weren't playing very well, which isn't particularly enlightening. I also sold Nashville short. They defied predictions with relentless effort, likely throwing the Blackhawks off their game. I still believe Chicago will recover, and Nashville may have won its last game, but you have to commend them.

I suppose "WTF?" was an overreaction, as those are really the only two series that have gone strangely (besides the obvious). I'm looking forward to the conclusion of the first round, and the start of the second.

April 22, 2010

Miro the Hero; B's Lead Series 3-1

I am still in shock from the show the B's put on last night. In a good way. After a painful first half of the game, the B's rallied in the 3rd to tie it up to send the game into 2 OT. The Sabres came out hard from the start of the game, and scored a goal within the first 3 minutes. Woops. Then again in the 2nd period. It wasn't until the 3rd period that the Black & Gold started moving their legs. Better late than never, right?

During the overtime period(s), the Garden was ROCKING. At least I think it was. Everything felt like a dream to me. There was this looming cloud over my head the entire time that wouldn't evaporate until Satan scored the game winner. Every time the puck would cross the blue line into the B's zone, I would twist and mangle my rally towel because I was sure that the Sabres would get a lucky bounce, and break my heart. Throughout the game, we kept thinking...the B's can do this- IF this happens, or IF that happens; IF they do this; IF they can do that. They answered all our "ifs". And they answered them with confidence.

Tuukka was nothing short of brilliant. Which doesn't even come to a surprise to me at this point. So resilient; so calm. Although, he did made an epic, diving, mid air save- a la Timmy, to rob Grier. This whole series I have been torn between who has got the better goaltender. I've got to hand it to Miller- he makes it VERY difficult for anyone to score. He makes timely saves and makes it seem like the B's don't stand a chance. Even after being momentarily crippled by a Lucic shot, he continued to make save after save. The goaltending in these series is downright breathtaking- as I have been literally holding my breath. But...what Tuukka has that Miller doesn't, is his calm and cool demeanor. Tuukka is so poised and almost always in position; at least last night he was. He's always ready. He let in two goals; and then turns into the Great Wall..of..Finland. Miller on the other hand, although having his moments of resilience, does get rattled. He was out of position during that penalty, when the B's won the game; and Satan knew it.

Last night was amazing. It showed those who had lost hope that the B's CAN and WILL do what it takes to win. They haven't scored first in this entire series- but with a young, relaxed goaltender; worried, yet redeeming defenseman (And a 6'9 monster wearing a cage), mismatched lines of hungry forwards, and maybe a hint of luck; the B's are now one win away from receiving a ticket to round 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

April 19, 2010

Game 3 Tonight

In a stunning game 2 in Buffalo, the B's managed to tie up the series. Tonight's game is at the Garden; and Me, Tizzle and Bear Hat are sure to be in attendance. Not much more I can say about Game 3- still think its going to be a tight game.

I can't wait to feel that playoff-hockey meets drunk-Bostonians-on-marathon-monday atmoshphere. And its Tizzle's 21st. And Savard is closer to returning as he feels "unbelievable" and has to pass a neuropsych test in order to be cleared to return as soon as later in these series! And, Vanek won't play tonight with a high ankle sprain. So, its fair to say the stars are aligned, my friends. LET'S GO BRUINS.

April 16, 2010

Sabres Lead Series 1-0

Buffalo ended up winning Game 1 with the final score being 2-1. But the B's can take a lot of positives out of the loss. They played a great 2nd period. They figured out that the way to get shots by Miller is to create traffic in front of the net and just (try to) overwhelm him with shots. Miller was on top of his game last night, as expected. He stopped 38 of the B's 39 shots on net. 23 of those saves came in the 2nd period. Not to overshadow Tuukka though- as he stopped 30 of the Sabres 32 shots.
Both goals for the Sabres (scored by Vanek and Rivet) as I saw them, were caused because of mistakes made by B's defensemen. Luckily, those can be corrected. I hope.

Anddddd..That's where my objectivity stops. Now, its time for the rant. Who were those refs last night? I'm not even going to take the time to look it up, because I don't even care. They were ridiculously inconsistent. Whatever. I'd like to personally thank the Sabres star divers- mainely Kaleta. Because you've successfully managed to piss Lucic off. And that only gives us the advantage. So keep on divin' and you'll be swimming in a pool. Of your own blood.


April 15, 2010

First Round Predictions

Here are my 2010 playoff predictions! As I said in my last post, I very rationally picked Buffalo over Boston in 7. Bear Hat, however, picked ACTIVATE. So it all cancels out.

Washington isn't as solid as they appear, as they're dangerously offense-heavy. Can they overcome Jaroslav Halak and his .924 save%? Yes. Montreal appears to be better defensively, but it's all smoke and goaltending. They let up more shots per game than Washington (and most other teams in the league). They can't score at even strength, and while the Caps don't have a very good PK, they're the one team that had a better powerplay than the Habs.
WASHINGTON in 5: The Habs have an advantage in nothing.

Philadelphia isn't all bad. They don't have goaltending (due to injuries and general lack of stopping the puck) and therefore allow more goals, but when it come to the Devils, who doesn't? The Flyers score more, have better special teams, and are much, much more physical (league leading 80 majors this year). New Jersey is a better team, but not insurmountably so, especially given the difference in style of play. Basically it's goaltending vs scoring and being a huge steaming pile of douche, as Briere, Hartnell, Carcillo and Pronger are wont to do.
NEW JERSEY in 7: Never underestimate the importance of goaltending (and classiness) in the playoffs.

After watching the Versus announcers, as Paula put it, "sucking off the Pens" for the whole game last night, I don't even want to preview this. Pittsburgh is not "a top team in the East" as they would have you think, and last night wasn't "a rough night for Fleury". The Pens were 27th in the league in SV% (Fleury had a .905) and 20th in GA. They have offense, but somehow no powerplay. They take more penalties but less majors than Ottawa, which basically means they're a bunch of Savvy-killing punks* that should be knocked out (of the playoffs, but also literally) as soon as possible.
PITTSBURGH in 7: God do I not want to see Pittsburgh win, and therefore the entire Versus studio simultaneously get off. But Ottawa is that bad.
*Jordan Staal is ok.

This is the only series in which one team has the edge in literally everything. San Jose has a better record, WRA, GF, GA, PP%, PK%, SV%, shots for, and shots against. Only one or two of these stats are even close. However, Colorado has something- something intangible, something that gives them the ability to fight and claw their way to victories. You could call it youth, excitement, the desire to forge an identity as post-Joe Sakic Avs, but I think it's best described as "not being San Jose". I mean, seriously, San Jose? You can't win game one at home? The Sharks got three shots in the 2nd period last night. Three.
COLORADO in 6: Let's not ruin Joe Thornton's playoff streak.

As I said in a previous post, Chicago has decent-ish goaltending at best, but they don't need any better than that, at least not against Nashville. The Hawks let up 25 shots/game, enabling a team that's 23rd in SV% to be 5th in GA. They also get an incredible 34 shots/game themselves. Nashville is mediocre to bad in everything. They have a slight edge in goaltending (16th), but that's all. The Preds also aren't feisty enough to overcome any of this.
CHICAGO in 4: If anyone's going to sweep, it's the Blackhawks.

Any team with Ryan Smyth is sure to have some spunk, at the very least when he's on the ice. However, Vancouver is good, and that isn't just the setup to a hilarious joke. They really are good. The Canucks can actually score this year. In fact, their offense has been better than their defense and goaltending, which leads me to believe that they'll be even better in the playoffs. Luongo will improve on his regular season .913 SV%, and if the Sedins keep it up, Vancouver could reasonably be a top contender for the Cup.
VANCOUVER in 6: LA will put up a good fight, but they're no match for Swedish twins and the Italian Stallion.

Phoenix is a bit like the Bruins, in that they can't score and rely very, very heavily on their goaltender. They're bad at everything offensive and good at everything defensive. Detroit, on the other hand, is respectable in every category. This probably gives the edge to the Red Wings, even though they've had the exact same team for 7-8 years now. Phoenix has a bit more spark to them, though not as much youth as one would expect. The only notable young gun I can pick out is Keith Yandle, who, despite being from Boston gave the most Canadian-sounding interview I've ever heard last night. Promising.
DETROIT in 7: I don't believe enough in Bryzgalov to bet the series on his goaltending, especially over that of Jimmy Howard.

Buffalo (3rd) vs. BOSTON (6th)

Buffalo: 45-27-10 (100 points)
Boston: 39-30-13 (91 points)

First thing's first: Will anyone score a powerplay goal in this series? Buffalo and Boston are 17th and 23rd in PP% respectively, while 2nd and 3rd in PK%. They're also tied for first in save percentage. After that stunning display against Carolina this past weekend, I'd almost feel more comfortable shorthanded than up a man.

Penalties themselves are interesting. Buffalo takes fewer overall, but takes more minor penalties than Boston and far fewer majors. The Sabres' relative lack of physicality could be an advantage for the Bruins, if they choose to play with fire. That's always a question mark. They need to attack fast, hard, and get as many shots as possible. Buffalo let up more goals than the Bruins this year because they let up more shots. If we keep pestering him, Ryan Miller will give one up.

Bruins fans or stats freaks out there might be saying, "The Bruins get a lot of shots each game already, and it doesn't help", to which I must reply: yes. This is true. They have the worst shooting percentage in the league. Many of their shots come from the point or out high, especially on the powerplay. They allow themselves to be intimidated by opposing players and doubt themselves, hesitating a second too long. They make one too many passes far too often. To win games in the playoffs, they have to solve this problem.

Players like Blake Wheeler, Milan Lucic, and Michael Ryder need to come up big. Rides and Milan are both at their best in the slot, sniping through the traffic in front. Square Wheels can create offense from the neutral zone, if he can just round out his wheels. The Bruins need him to create more chances, if not to score, than at least to wear down their defense. Krejci, Patrice, Sturm, and Recchi do more than their part driving to the net, crashing, and working it down low. It's these things that make the difference. Without constant pressure low in the zone, we can't possibly expect shooting lanes for our de. Zard, while leading the team in shots, has a 2.9 shooting%, good for 187th among defensemen. Many of his shots don't even make it to the net. If our forwards control the puck deep in the zone, it opens up space at the point.

Goaltending is the highlight of this series. Both Miller and Tuukka will make goals very hard to come by. This could be another advantage for the Bruins- they can't score anyway, so Buffalo might as well not. Low scoring games mean anything can happen. Everyone (read: Versus) will be talking about Tuukka's lack of experience, but Tuukka can handle himself. If we make it past this round, it will be because of him and his leg terror.

A major concern is injuries. Our de is severely crippled, while they have several forwards still listed as day-to-day. Injuries not reported are also interesting. Vanek was out very recently, and could still be hurting. We know Zard and Milan are, but it's hard not to wonder about a player like Mark Recchi. How are his old bones doing? He seemed to be hobbling more than usual in the last few games of the season. At this time of year, nearly everyone is hurt in one way or another, but it could really handicap whichever team is worse off. I believe that injuries are what undid the Bruins against Carolina last year. Maybe this year we'll get lucky.

Prediction: The Bruins can win "if this" or "if that". Yes, that means they can do it, but "ifs" are a red flag when making predictions. My head says Buffalo in 7. My heart says Boston in 7. Bear hat says ACTIVATE.

April 14, 2010

Post Game Reactions

Really, Penguins? (And Versus)

Dear Ottawa Senators,
I extend my deepest apology to you after I was quick to write you off in the previous post. While I still don't know how you managed to get into the 5th playoff spot with your mediocre statistics; but I am grateful that you could manage to (briefly) shut up the fans at the "igloo" as well as the Versus analysts.

Well my other predictions were also wrong- but I'm glad! Flyers upset the Devils. The Coyotes, although ranked higher than the Redwings, also won. I still consider this an 'upset', however, as the NHL and the Versus channel LOVES the Redwings. And last but certainly not least, the Avs beat the Sharks. All in all, it was a great night of hockey.

18 more hours until the B's and Sabres hit the ice.

Paula's Predictions for 4/14

The 2010 NHL post season kicks off this evening and here are my predictions for tonight's matchups.

Pittsburgh Penguins (4)/Ottawa Senators (5): Pens. Do I even need to explain myself? I'm still trying to figure out how the Sens even landed themself in the fifth playoff spot. Maybe I'll eat my words. We'll see.

New Jersey Devils (2)/Philadelphia Flyers (7): Devils. Don't get me wrong- because I think this series is going to be a tough one for the Devils due to the Flyer's physical style of play. I just think that with the opening game of the series being in Jersey, they will have the edge tonight.

Detroit Redwings (5)/Phoenix Coyotes (4): Redwings. The Coyotes have had a standout season and I'm still confused about it. Needless to say, they're somewhat of a Cinderella story. They even had some sell-outs. But I digress. The Redwings had somewhat of a disappointing season but they will start off with a clean slate and use their experience and talented squad of Swedes to steal one in Phoenix tonight.

And finally... the game I'm most excited about,

San Jose Sharks (1) / Colorado Avalanche (8): Well well well. Look what we have here. The Sharks have the number one seed. I say the Avs take this one. And if not this game, the series. I have zero faith in the Sharks. As Mike Millbury so eloquently said, "Hey Thornton, wipe that silly grin off your face. It's playoff time."

April 13, 2010

Look Who's Still Standin'

Wow. The regular season has ended and guess what? The Bruins have managed to finagle their way into the playoffs. I say "finagle" because it hasn't exactly been the season I had initially hoped for. Regardless, I'm happy now. For the most part. The B's will face the Buffalo Sabres in the first round; the day after tomorrow, to be exact. This matchup is sure to be a tightly played series with most of the attention being placed on the goaltenders. So let's take a look.

Tuukka Rask has had a standout rookie season and with 22 wins under his belt has managed to secure his role with the team. Five of those wins happened to be shutouts. His stunning Goals-against-average (1.97) combined with a .931 save percentage, Tuukka has stolen the hearts of Bruins fans, not to mention the No. 1 goaltending spot on the B's. Having the league-leading goaltender ain't bad; especially when you're backup goalie happens to be the reigning Vezina trophy winner.

And then there's Buffalo's Ryan Miller. In case you haven't heard of him, he went 41-18-8 in his 69 games played this season. Impressed yet? Oh and he was the backbone of Team USA at the Vancouver Olympics. Posting a 2.22 GAA and a .929 save%, it is clear how consistent Miller is. The dangerous aspect of Miller's game is his ability to steal games. When he's on, he's on.

Who has the edge? We'll have to see after Game 1. Miller has the experience and has undoubtedly shined time and time again under pressure. However, how much pressure can a goalie take before cracking? Tuukka has carried the (dead) weight of the injury-plagued, offensively-challenged Bruins for the better part of the season. Throughout the turmoil, he's remained calm and delivered win after win. The question is whether or not the intensity of the playoffs will get the best of him.

This one's gonna be good.

April 12, 2010

WRAP: Playoff Team Rankings

To recap: the end of the year statistic I do also incorporates conference rank. So the formula is:

1. San Jose (4.63)
2. Buffalo (6.13)
3. Chicago (7.63)
4. Vancouver (8.38)
5. New Jersey (9.00)
6. Detroit (9.25)
7. Washington (9.38)
8. Philadelphia (10.75)
9. Los Angeles (10.88)
10. Phoenix (11.88)
11. Boston (12.13)
12. Montreal (12.25)
13. Colorado (12.50)
14. Pittsburgh (13.13)
15. Ottawa (15.75)
16. Nashville (17.38)

Thank GOD the Bruins didn't get Washington, right? Yes, they have the best offense in the NHL. They scored 45 more goals than the next highest scoring team (Vancouver). However, they may have gotten some help from their division. The Southeast has such defensive gems as Florida (19th in GA), Atlanta (25th), Carolina (26th), and Tampa Bay (27th). Washington scored 4.17 goals a game against its division and 3.67 against everyone else. That being said, 3.67 goals a game would still lead the league.

There's only one lower seeded team that has a higher score on this than their opponent (Detroit over Phoenix) but that doesn't mean it's that simple. I'll do predictions whenever I finally get around to it!

April 10, 2010


Alright folks. Today could be the day the B's could secure a playoff berth. The B's square off against the Carolina Hurricanes at 1. I don't see it being an easy one either- because the Canes are ridin' high off of two big wins, and they have nothing to lose. I expect it to be a good game. The B's need to come out hungry and physical. We shall see what happens.

*In other news, the Rangers beat the Flyers last night in a great game. Boucher made an absolutely unreal save- but unfortunately (for the Bruins) the Rangers ended up getting the win in regulation so our boys couldn't clinch last night.

*The Habs face the Leafs tonight and with a win could clinch a playoff spot.

I love playoff hockey before the playoffs even begin.

March 30, 2010

March 29, 2010

WRA 3/29 and playoff picture thoughts


1. San Jose (4.71): 1st +49
2. Buffalo (6.86): 3rd +25
3. Vancouver (7.86): 3rd +49
4. Chicago (9.14): 2nd +50
5. Detroit (9.71): 6th +10
6. Washington (10.86): 1st +78
7. Colorado (11.14): 8th +18
7. New Jersey (11.14): 4th +20
9. BOSTON (11.86):8th +2
9. Los Angeles (11.86): 7th +17
11. Philadelphia (12.00): 6th +11
12. Phoenix (12.57): 4th +23
13. Montreal (13.00): 7th -4
14. St. Louis (14.14): 10th -2
15. Pittsburgh (14.29): 2nd +20
16. NY Rangers (14.71): 10th -6
17. Calgary (16.00): 9th +1
18. Anaheim (16.43): 12th -18
19. Minnesota (17.00): 13th -19
20. Atlanta (17.14): 9th -13
21. Nashville (17.57):5th +1
21. Dallas (17.57): 11th -20
23. Ottawa (17.71): 5th -11
24. Tampa Bay (20.43): 12th -40
25. Columbus (20.57): 14th -39
26. Carolina (20.71): 14th -29
27. Florida (21.29): 13th -24
28. NY Islanders (25.14): 11th -36
29. Toronto (27.00): 15th -48
30. Edmonton (27.57): 15th -65

With a few good games under their belt the Bruins have moved up in these stats and solidified their hold on a playoff spot. They have two games in hand on Montreal and Philadelphia, who are both 2 points ahead. If I were them, I'd aim for the 7th seed. In between the somewhat lopsided but still terrifying Washington and the underrated balance of Buffalo is Pittsburgh- glorious, overhyped Pittsburgh. Yes, they're plus-20 and currently hold the second seed in the East, but their numbers don't scare me. They're 5th in goals for and PK, but 20th in goals against, 23rd in SV%, and only 22nd in PP. Sure, Fleury can make a huge difference if he picks up his game in the postseason, but I don't see him saving this team. Despite what NBC might tell you, Pittsburgh won't go very far this year.

Detroit has made a startling turnaround in nearly every category. Their special teams have improved steadily for months, while their offensive production caught on fire in the past few weeks. Additionally, their 26 year old rookie goaltender Jimmy Howard has a .926 SV% (it's been above .920 since January). Suddenly this mediocre team has turned into a well-oiled, well-balanced machine again. As it stands right now they'd face Vancouver, and I'm looking forward to that. I'd love to see a Canucks/Red Wings playoff game that ends after only one or two overtimes.

A few more thoughts and interesting stats:
  • Look out for San Jose! It's their year!!!1!
  • I see a Buffalo/Washington Eastern Conference Final. Buffalo intimidates me with their skill and hippy goaltender, but they're not a very physical team and I'm not sure how their game will translate into the playoffs. Washington is kamikaze. It'll either work or not work, but no matter what it'll be entertaining.
  • How in god's name is Ottawa doing as well as they are?! Only their PK is above average (5th). They're mediocre to bad in literally everything else. Basically, they've won games without the ability to score more goals than their opponent. I don't understand. Whoever gets them in the first round is basically getting a bye. Nashville is similar, though not quite as bad.
  • Chicago is 27th in SV%. Huet has been terrible and Niemi decent-ish. The Blackhawks do a good job of shielding this weakness (fewest shots against/game in the league), and Detroit won the Cup without standout goaltending, but this isn't Chris Osgood-level mediocre goaltending. This is bad goaltending, and I think it could hurt them a lot in the postseason.
  • Colorado and Montreal are the opposite of Chicago- they let up too many shots and rely too heavily on their goalies. However, Colorado can actually score goals, while Montreal can't.
  • Phoenix has 17 OT wins, 12 in the shootout. I'll figure out a way to relate this to my conspiracy theory about the Coyotes. I'm suspicious about a team owned by the NHL doing as well as Phoenix is doing, especially since they haven't had a history of doing particularly well. Sure, it may just be a coincidence, but between my obsession with numbers and my proneness to paranoia, I'm basically the John Nash of Bruins fans. I'll stick with the conspiracy explanation.
  • My god, are Edmonton and Toronto bad.
Let's hope the Bruins put on a good show against Buffalo tonight. They need to.

March 19, 2010

WRA 3/18

The Bruins can't play consistently enough for me to have an opinion about them anymore. It doesn't even seem worth it to hate them right now. Here are some numbers.

1. San Jose (4.43)
2. Chicago (7.29)
3. Vancouver (7.57)
4. Colorado (7.86)
5. Buffalo (9.29)
6. Washington (10.14)
7. Philadelphia (10.57)
8. Detroit (10.86)
9. Los Angeles (11.43)
10. Montreal (11.57)
11. New Jersey (11.71)
12. Phoenix (13.29)
13. BOSTON (13.43)
14. St. Louis (14.14)
15. Pittsburgh (14.86)
16. Calgary (15.14)
17. NY Rangers (16.00)
18. Anaheim (16.71)
19. Nashville (17.14)
20. Minnesota (17.29)
21. Atlanta (19.00)
22. Dallas (19.29)
23. Carolina (19.86)
23. Ottawa (19.86)
25. Tampta Bay (20.29)
26. Florida (21.14)
27. Columbus (21.43)
28. NY Islanders (24.00)
29. Toronto (26.57)
30. Edmonton (27.29)

Despite the large time gap between stats (sorry), there are surprisingly few big changes in the stats. Carolina has continued their ascent from the land of the terrible to the land of the mediocre non-threats. Detroit has shot up 7 slots, due in large part to offense. They went from 24th in goals for to 16th in goals for in about a month. Their special teams play also improved.

None of the Bruins' stats changed dramatically. Their powerplay went from 15th to 20th, which is something, but nothing else changed much for them. The penalty kill is first in the league. Whoop-de-freakin'-doo. They'd better win this weekend.


March 12, 2010

That's More Like It

Last night the Black & Gold took down the Flyers with an end result of 5-1. Not only did this win reward the Bruins with 2 (much needed) points, but the Bruins can rebuild (hopefully) and find themselves within this victory. Here are a few things I took from last night's contest.

1. Mark Stuart impressed me. (For once.) But seriously, Stuart definitely showed what it means to be a Bruin. He was gritty, he was tough, and he stood up for himself as well as his team. He made minimal mistakes and played his game well. (However, I must add one mistake he made was the turnover off his attempt to clear the puck during a penalty kill. This lead to red-hot Jeff Carter's second period goal) Oh well, it happens. All in all, Stuart provided the strength and courage the B's have been lacking since the Winter Classic.

2. Tuukka was incredible. His saves last night were nothing short of magnificent. Having not played since March 2nd, Tuukka shined last night. Before the Olympic break, this 23 year old Finnish wonder showed Bruins fans that they had reason to believe in the team. Last night, Tuukka made 31 saves; some being slightly 'unorthadox' which leads me to believe he's been watching Timmy.

3. Offense. 5 goals. Finally, some pucks made their way into the net. With goals from Wheeler, Krejci, Bergeron, Recchi and Sturm it made me realize that the pieces are all there. I was so angered by Chiarelli's decision to stand pat and not acquire much needed forward. But I'm beginning to realize that we have the talent, we just need the results. And hopefully they come. Not to mention, without Savard, Bergeron is going to have to carry the offense into a playoff berth.

4. Seidenberg. The newest addition to the squad definitely proved his worth last night. He seemed to find some chemistry with his new team, which is definitely a good sign. The defense, with the exception of a certain someone *cough*Wideman*cough*, has looked good all season. Hunwick also made some great plays last night. And as usual, Boychuk continued to prove why he's made the big team.

Tomorrow night the Bruins face their arch nemesis. Behind enemy lines, in Montreal. The Bruins NEED to steal these points from the Habs. Right now, the Canadiens have 74points, so with a win the 8th place Bruins would leapfrog into 6th; having played less games than both the Habs, and also 7th place Flyers. Should be a good weekend of hockey!

March 11, 2010

Tonight's Importance and the Unsolved Mystery of the Third Period

First off, tonight our Black and Gold failures are matched up against the Broadstreet Bullies. In the past 10 games, the Philadelphia Flyers are a strong 7-2-1. The B's, on the otherhand, are 6-2-2. Mediocrity at best. Not to be dramatic, but this is crunch time. This is it. If the Bruins want to continue playing 40 minute games, and slowly getting by on the single point of an OT loss, then they will be hitting the links in April. This is NOT what we want. I repeat, this is NOT what we want.

Secondly, the Bruins need to be informed of the 20 minute phenomenon known as..The Third Period. Yes, its true folks. The Third Period really IS part of a hockey game and it is pretty damn important. I'm not sure if the B's invitation to the Third Period have been continuously lost in the mail, or what. All I know, is that in tonight's game, the Third Period is crucial. The Bruins better show up. They desperately need these 2 points; and shouldn't even be allowing other Eastern Conference teams to get a single point. This means, the Bruins need a strong SIXTY minutes of hockey and to win in...*gasp*...REGULATION.

Or else, like I have said time and time again, if the Bruins fail to make the playoffs this year, I will be trading in my season tickets and using that money to purchase a plot of land on which I will be raising goats. Why? Because goats don't get my hopes up and goats don't tease me with the dream of someday winning a 34.5lb chalice of silver by the name of Stanley.

Eastern Conference as of 3/11/10


1 Washington Capitals SE 67 45 13 9 99 264 189 +75
2 Pittsburgh Penguins ATL 66 40 22 4 84 211 189 +22
3 Buffalo Sabres NE 65 36 20 9 81 179 164 +15
4 New Jersey Devils ATL 65 39 23 3 81 175 157 +18
5 Ottawa Senators NE 67 37 25 5 79 185 190 -5
6 Philadelphia Flyers ATL 65 35 26 4 74 198 175 +23
7 Montréal Canadiens NE 68 33 29 6 72 183 188 -5
8 Boston Bruins NE 65 29 24 12 70 160 168 -8
9 New York Rangers ATL 67 29 29 9 67 173 185 -12
10 Atlanta Thrashers SE 65 28 27 10 66 195 211 -16
11 Tampa Bay Lightning SE 65 27 27 11 65 175 201 -26
12 Florida Panthers SE 65 27 28 10 64 171 188 -17
13 Carolina Hurricanes SE 66 27 31 8 62 185 204 -19
14 New York Islanders ATL 66 26 32 8 60 171 209 -38
15 Toronto Maple Leafs NE 66 21 33 12 54 172 223 -51

Is Dennis Wideman actually Hal Gil?

Barstool Sports thinks Dennis Wideman is the new Hal Gill.
Let's look at the evidence.

Here we see Hal Gill in his natural state: stupefied.

And Dennis Wideman in his: terrified.

Here are their statistics with Boston.
Gill (8 seasons): 20-77-97 with 588 PIM in 626 GP (+41)
Wideman (almost 4 seasons): 30-80-120 with 157 PIM in 239 GP (+23)

Wideman has much better offensive numbers, but that's not particularly impressive. The only Boston players who get more time on the powerplay each game are Marc Savard and Zdeno Chara. He has 2 goals and 9 assists in that time, which accounts for more than half his total points. Hal Gill, on the other hand, has actually never scored a power play goal . They're both middle of the line on the penalty kill, and both play a lot of time for their teams (Gill leads Montreal in PK time; Wides is 2nd for the Bruins).

The main thing these players have in common is their commitment to going past simple medioctriy on defense. They are often a genuine liability to their team. For example, in game 5 of the 2008 Stanley Cup Finals, Hal Gill hit fellow Penguin Ryan Malone in the face with a slapshot when Malone had already broken his nose in game 1. Malone returned, but looked like a character from Lord of the Rings.
On the topic of directly causing their teammates bodily harm, Wides broke Patrice Bergeron's thumb with a shot in MSG earlier this season. Since Paula and I had made the trip all the way down to New York to see the Bruins play, we were pretty angry about Patrice's game being cut in half. And also about the two weeks that he would spend out of the lineup, all because of Wideman.

The mistakes they both make are noticeable and therefore memorable, and over time Bruins fans learned to spot their failures a mile away. While this isn't an easy position to be in, Gill was never smart enough, and Wides may never be level-headed enough, to play their way out of that doghouse. They both seemed destined to fill the same role.

However, I don't think Wideman is the new Hal Gill.

If there's one major difference between the two, it's that Wideman can be better. Last year he was confident with the puck, jumped up effectively into the play, and rarely made horrendous defensive zone mistakes. As his year goes downhill, however, that season seems like more and more of an anomaly, rather than his "true potential". He's had only short stretches of mild confidence, and right now he's awful. Wides is running out of chances to show he can be the kind of steady defenseman that doesn't frighten our goaltenders. If he can pull it off, he has a chance at redemption. If he doesn't, which is the far more likely option, then he won't become Hal Gill. He'll be worse than Gill, because he could have been better.

March 1, 2010

Of course it was Crosby.

Well, the USA gave it a hell of a run. It was suprising to many how well this "underdog" team did in the 2010 Winter Olympics. Was I suprised? No. From the first game against the Swiss, I noticed how much spunk and energy the team had, and how explosive they were. Fueled by youth and the desire to win, this team flat out dominated throughout the tournament.
It was amazing to see the USA fight their way into overtime after being down by two. But in the end, it was the fairytale ending that the entire country of Canada had hoped for. The hero that is Sidney Crosby, won it in overtime. Of course he did. As far as Crosby goes, I always say I hate him. But to be brutally honest, how can I? It's bitterness, not hate. Bitter of the fact that the Bruins will probably never, ever have someone like this on their team. Mostly because of that fact that the Sidney Crosbys, Wayne Gretzkys, of the world, are extremely rare. I can complain about Crosby complaining, I can whine about him whining. But when the puck is on his stick, I have to admire him. How can I not respect him? At the same age as me, 22, he has already won a World Junior Championship, a Stanley Cup, and now, an Olympic Gold Medal. The Kid must be doing something right.
I'm shocked I just admitted that I truly don't despise Sidney Crosby. Thankfully, the Bruins hit the ice tomorrow night against their arch nemesis. Hopefully the recent-Olympians can play for the Bruins as they played for their country- with some heart.

February 11, 2010

WRA 2/11/10 and Ovechkin Is a Brat

Before I get to the stats, I just have to say that I no longer like Alex Ovechkin. Paula and I (especially Paula...you'll hear about it) have always been fond of Ovechkin and his wacky antics. While I'm no fan of obnoxiously arrogant players that won't shut up (such as Avery or Roenick), I didn't mind Ovechkin's clowning. His insanity seemed endearingly harmless, and I respected him as a player enough to accept it. I thought he was a puppy, just needing some vodka and to be let out to play hockey every now and then. I even argued with people who claimed he was a dirty player, saying he was physical and passionate.

The last time the Bruins played the Capitals, on February 2nd, Johnny Boychuck laid a solid hit on Ovechkin. Alex took this very personally and for the rest of his shift tracked Johnny Boy down and hit him three more times. I actually understand that part. While it was a little bit of a hissy fit, Ovechkin didn't do anything illegal. He was standing up for himself. What he did at the end of the shift is what upset me. He went to dump the puck into the Bruins zone with time and plenty of space down the boards. Instead, Ovechkin shot it straight at Johnny Boy, hitting him in the upper chest. A player like Ovechkin knows exactly where he's shooting the puck. Retaliating for a hit with more legal, hard hits? Hate your target, but respect your style. Retaliating for a hit by shooting a puck at the guy's face on purpose? When that face is as nice as Jonny Boychuck's? Fuck you, Alexander Ovechkin.

In related news, Johnny Boychuck's face was broken in the game against Vancouver. First Andrew Ference's groin and now this. Curse you, hockey gods!

Onto the stats.

1. San Jose (2.43)
2. Chicago (5.71)
3. Vancouver (7.86)
4. Buffalo (8.00)
5. Colorado (9.57)
6. Washington (10.43)
7. Montreal (11.43)
8. New Jersey (11.57)
9. Philadelphia (11.71)
10. BOSTON (12.71)
11. Phoenix (13.00)
12. Los Angeles (13.57)
13. NY Rangers (14.14)
14. Calgary (15.00)
15. Detroit (15.57)
16. Anaheim (15.71)
17. Ottawa (16.14)
18. Pittsburgh (16.29)
19. Tampa Bay (16.86)
20. St. Louis (17.57)
21. Atlanta (17.86)
22. Dallas (18.14)
23. Nashville (18.29)
24. Minnesota (18.43)
25. Columbus (19.57)
26. Tampa Bay (16.86)
27. Carolina (22.00)
28. Toronto (24.43)
29. Edmonton (26.14)
30. NY Islanders (26.86)

San Jose has Bruins-last-year kind of good numbers. Now all they need is Marian Hossa, and they're sure to win the Cup! But seriously, they're 1st in Save%, 2nd in goals for, and 3rd in goals against, power play, and penalty kill. That's balance.

The Bruins are, for the third week in a row, 30th in goals for. Though they've played better recently, it's clear that they're not a well-balanced team. Some people think they're one difference maker away from being there, but is it really worth the potential price tag? The Bruins have only shown flashes of the chemistry and winning system they had last year. They haven't played with enough confidence to be the opportunistic team they were back then, capitalizing on every mistake with a deadly transition game. When they do make good plays, no one player has consistently come through to finish the job. We need help, but can one passionate goal scorer really make enough of a difference? Possibly, yeah. As long as the price tag isn't too high, I'm down. I'm sick of mediocrity.

February 1, 2010

WRA 2/1/10

1. San Jose (2.57)
2. Chicago (5.57)
3. Buffalo (6.29)
4. Vancouver (6.57)
5. Washington (8.29)
6. New Jersey (9.57)
6. Colorado (9.57)
8. Montreal (13.29)
9. BOSTON (13.43)
9. Los Angeles (13.43)
9. Phoenix (13.43)
12. Philadelphia (13.57)
13. Calgary (14.29)
14. Pittsburgh (15.00)
15. Florida (16.43)
16. NY Rangers (16.57)
17. Atlanta (16.71)
17. St. Louis (16.71)
19. Detroit (17.14)
20. Ottawa (17.29)
21. Anaheim (17.86)
22. Minnesota (18.86)
23. Dallas (19.71)
23. Nashville (19.71)
25. Tampa Bay (20.29)
26. Columbus (20.71)
27. Carolina (22.29)
28. Edmonton (25.00)
29. NY Islanders (25.57)
30. Toronto (25.71)

You're welcome, Carolina. Ever since beating our sorry asses a few games ago, they've gone on something of a tear, and it shows. Beating teams 4-1 or 5-1 does your stats good. There's a gridlock of teams here like there are in the standings right now. Comparing the two would be a good way to see who's likely to drop out.

Thankfully, we're holding our own despite recording our first point in two weeks in Saturday's OTL to the Kings (the last point before that, on January 16th, was also an OTL to the Kings). In that game the Bruins looked much better than they have in a while, which admittedly isn't difficult. Having Savvy back is huge, of course, but Marco Sturm was the real shot in the arm on Saturday. He had a jump in his step and played a very smart game. Hopefully the team keeps up the effort and chemistry tomorrow against the Caps, and beyond that.

January 27, 2010

Ready or Not, Here They Come.

Do you want to know why I am afraid of Alexander Ovechkin? It's not because he's scored 33 goals in just 44 games. And its not because he's tallied 37 assists..which totals to a whopping 70 points, already. The reason why I am afraid of Ovechkin, now more than ever, is because his team can slaughter a team 7-2, without a single goal from him. Yup. The Washington Capitals scored 7 goals last night. And not ONE of those goals was from Ovie. That, my friends, is what I like to call..depth.

I have all the respect in the world for Ovie's antics and shenanigans; as well as his unbelievable, somewhat superhuman talent. But they're coming to the TD Garden next week, Tuesday, to be exact, and this frightens me. Can we just... uninvite them? No. Unfortunately, they're coming whether the Black and Gold like it or not. Personally, I don't like it. But hopefully I'll be pleasantly surprised. But alas, I'm getting ahead of myself, and I'm sorry. I know that the pesky, and Northeast Division leading Sabres will be a tough contest Friday night. As well as the Kings on Saturday.

Ready or Not, here they come.
And by not, i mean...the B's better be ready to draw some blood and pick up some points.

Have a good Wednesday.
Lots of hockey on tonight for those interested in teams beyond the realm of Bruins.

January 26, 2010

Introducing Myself and Some Unorganized Thoughts

Again, I apologize for just starting out by ranting about the B's...but let's face it. That's what I'm good at. Well, my name is Paula and I'll be posting under P.M. as those are my innitials. I'm 22 years old and I would say I am a die hard Bruins fan, through and through. I can honestly say, as much as I curse at the tv, make false claims about giving up my season tickets, or walk out of the Garden crestfallenly...I refuse to turn my back on this team. Not two years ago when they lost to Montreal in the first round of playoffs. Not last year when they lost in the 2nd round to...excuse me while I cringe, Carolina. And most significantly, I won't lose faith now. The B's may be consistently inconsistent for the time being but they're at rock bottom. There's nowhere to go but up. Metaphorically speaking, of course, because they could actually fall further down in the ranks of the Eastern Conference; and ultimately not make the playoffs, which in that case, I probably wouldn't be blogging..because I'd be too busy being curled up in the fetal position, rocking back and forth listening to Enya, but I digress.

The main point to be taken from that running stream of consciousness is that the B's can, and desperately need, to move forward. If they can pull out some wins over the next few games (a grueling schedule, I may add...Sabres, Ovechkin, Habs..to name a few) then they won't be in dire need for wins come the end of the season. The last thing I need is the B's being a bubble team and needing conditional events to occur in order to clinch a playoff spot.

Again, I have faith. The best thing about the Boston Bruins, in my opinion, is that despite all of the heartbreak and disappointment they can bring, they also bring something else. All it takes is one game. A game in which the big, bad, Bruins are back. As opposed to just...bad. A game in which the players score messy goals, maybe even a pretty one; hard hits; acrobatic yet unorthodox saves; having Lucic rip someone's head off or smash a body through the glass; maybe a line brawl. I don't know when this game will happen, but for the team's sake I hope it's soon. And I can assure you, once this game happens, the Eastern Conference will be in for a rude awakening because the Bruins have potential to be a driving force. And I know they will be.

Thank you and Goodnight. Peace , Love & GO BRUINS.

Weighted Rank Average (WRA): 1/22/10

This is a stat that I do about every week starting in January. It is a slightly weighted average of a team's ranking in five different statistics (goals for/game, goals against/game, power play %, penalty kill %, and save %). The formula is:
with GFA being a team's rank in goals for/game, etc. For example, here's a comparison of San Jose and Carolina*:

San Jose: GFA-2nd GAA-4th PP%-5th PK%-1st SV%-2nd
[(2*2)+(4*2)+5+1+2]/7= 2.86

Carolina: GFA-28th GAA-28th PP%-20th PK%-24th SV%-29th
[(28*2)+(28*2)+20+24+29]/7= 26.43

At the end of the season I do a playoff version (WRAP) that's the same except that I also add their conference standing (and divide by 8). That stat predicted the Stanley Cup winner for three years in a row...until last year. The Bruins had the best numbers I'd ever seen.

Moving on to the last WRA stats, from 1/22.

1. San Jose (2.86)
2. Chicago (4.86)
3. Vancouver (6.29)
4. Buffalo (6.43)
5. New Jersey (8.71)
6. Washington (9.71)
7. Colorado (10.71)
8. NY Rangers (12.29)
9. Philadelphia (12.86)
10. Phoenix (13.43)
11. BOSTON (13.57)
12. Montreal (14.00)
13. Los Angeles (14.86)
14. Calgary (15.71)
15. Pittsburgh (15.86)
16. Detroit (16.43)
17. Florida (16.57)
18. Anaheim (17.00)
19. Atlanta (17.29)
19. St. Louis (17.29)
21. Nashville (18.29)
21. Minnesota (18.29)
23. Ottawa (18.86)
24. Dallas (19.14)
25. Tampa Bay (20.43)
25. Columbus (20.43)
27. NY Islanders (22.57)
28. Edmonton (24.14)
29. Toronto (25.14)
30. Carolina (26.43)

*Did I use this comparison because I'm bitter about losing to Carolina the other night? Yes. Did it make me feel better? Nothing really can.


My name is Paula. I'll explain myself to you later. Forgive me for not taking the time to formally introduce myself, as "1-7-1" has been forcefully etched into my mind and more importantly, my heart. The Bruins are 1-7-1 in their last 9 contests. And I find myself asking, WHY????

Some (probably more than a few..) would say.. "Wideman". During Saturday's tilt at the Garden, an Ottawa Senator scored and someone in my section blamed Wideman. Amusingly enough, he wasn't even on the ice. True, Dennis Wideman has not been the number two defenseman we saw last year. To put it bluntly, he's been absolutely brutal so far this year. In the 08-09 season, Wides put up extraordinary numbers. 50 points- 13 goals and 37 assists. Not to mention an almost-Norris-worthy 32 +/- rating. Where has that man gone?? Now, here we are, 51 games into the season and that number 2 d-man is nowhere to be found. Instead, we find ourselves plagued with a discouraged, disoriented man on skates.. who ends up shooting the puck into the legs of opposing defenders, or breaking the thumbs of his own teammates, or crashing into a ref producing a breakway for Cheechoo..etc etc etc. The list goes on. I feel bad for the guy, I really do. But suprisingly, do I think that Wideman is to blame for this mid-season slump? Nope. I don't.

Ok, maybe I blame Wideman a little....but perhaps only because it is so easy. He's in a rut right now, his game is completely off. However, I have faith he will climb out of it, because I've seen what he can do when his game is on. I think there's a reason why myself, and others, are so quick to blame Wideman. Probably because it is so hard to realize that there is a bigger, deeper problem with the team that we saw skyrocket to the top of the Eastern Conference last season. The injury bug has really hit the B's hard, losing top guys such as Savard, Lucic and Bergeron for long stretches of time has messed with team chemistry. Their passes aren't connecting, they're powerplay is out of order as well as sloppy play in the neutral zone resulting in turnovers. Right now, injured Bruins include Marc Savard, Marco Sturm, Byron Bitz, Steve Begin and Andrew Ference. The replacements from Providence have worked hard and I can't say enough about the work ethic of Vladimir Sobotka who I think deserves a spot on the B's roster, for good this season. (But I'll get to that at another time)

The B's need to start playing with their hearts. But unfortunately, a team can't win on "pure heart" alone. Over the past three games before Sunday's utter disaster in Raleigh, the B's were starting to show some promise. They seemed to be hustling faster, moving the puck with more ease and finally shooting the puck. Still, no dice. The Bruins need to find a way to put the puck in the net, and they need to do it fast. Only time will tell as their injured players are healed and return to the lineup. If the return of Savvy and Sturm doesn't jumpstart the B's offense, I don't know what will. And in that case, I think GM Peter Chiarelli should start making some phone calls. Unless, of course, he wants his summer vacation to start in mid-April..

Welcome to The Bear Necessities!

This blog was going to happen eventually. When it comes to the Bruins, Paula and I are fanatics. She has season tickets and we go to all home games. I take notes and compute pages of statistics when I'm excited. We ramble and commiserate with each other every day, our moods dependent on how the team is doing. In short, we're completely tapped.

That's the best reason we have for starting The Bear Necessities. Somewhere between pride in our history, hope for the future, and bitterness in the present; between lifelong devotion and minimal expectations; between the ecstasy of winning and the crushing defeat that inevitably follows it, lies what it takes to be a Boston Bruins fan.

That and Bear Hat.

About Tizzle: My name is Katie, but most people (including Paula) refer to me as Tizzle. I'm a born and raised Bruins fan and played hockey for 8 years. I enjoy long complicated statistics and criticizing forwards for their defensive zone play. Paula, the Jack to my Brick, will introduce herself.

To all the other fans that are in it for the long run, I hope you can get some entertainment and insight from this blog.