Ramble On Sports

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Archive for the ‘Hockey’ Category

Bruins bounce back in style

Posted by Bill Koch on October 10, 2010

This certainly was more of what we were expecting out of the Boston Bruins when they opened their 2010-11 season on Saturday afternoon in Prague.

The Bruins bounced back from a lame performance to shut out the Phoenix Coyotes, 3-0, and salvaged two points to bring back across the pond. Boston looked like a completely different team on Sunday morning, a team that we actually have fun watching. The Bruins were skating hard, finishing their checks, generating chances and playing responsibly in the defensive zone. This is the sort of performance that allows us to believe everything will be okay after last year’s postseason implosion. Let’s move to our five points from Sunday’s matchup to break this one down.

— Very nice Bruins debut for Nathan Horton. He added another goal and an assist on Sunday to make it four points in two games and looks like the perfect fit as the power forward that this team desperately needs. Boston is going to welcome this guy with open arms if he keeps lighting the lamp on a regular basis.

— We couldn’t help but feel like Milan Lucic is this team’s barometer after watching both games this weekend. Lucic didn’t do all that much on Saturday and we don’t think it was a coincidence that Boston was flat. He was much more aggressive on Sunday, got on the board with his first goal of the season and teamed with Horton and center David Krejci to form the best line either team rolled over the boards. The Bruins clearly responded with a complete, 60-minute effort and need an invested Lucic going forward.

— Tyler Seguin, welcome to the NHL. Congratulations on your first goal with the Bruins and we hope that there are many, many more in your Boston future. Seguin finished off a breakaway with a nifty backhand that put the game out of reach in the third period, a well-timed goal considering that Phoenix had put together a couple of good shifts and looked like it was about to threaten the Bruins’ two-goal lead. It was the kind of scorer’s finish that we’d expect out of the No. 2 overall pick in the 2010 NHL Draft.

— Did anybody else notice that Daniel Paille was scratched on Sunday? Jordan Caron was an instant upgrade on the wing, giving the Bruins some youthful energy and playing with the desperation that we would expect out of someone fighting for a spot in the first 20. We’d rather see a young player get his feet wet and grow into a spot with the team than watch a veteran who has already had his chance and done very little with it any day of the week, and we hope to see much more of Caron going forward.

— Tim Thomas showed no ill effects from offseason hip surgery while pitching a shutout against the Coyotes in his first start of the year. This was the perfect example of why many NHL insiders consider Boston’s goaltending depth to be the best in the league. Thomas and Tuukka Rask will never have to play back-to-back nights during the regular season, can take a rest at the end of a long road trip and can allow any little injuries that they pick up during the grind of the 82-game season heal completely before taking the ice again. That said, let’s not turn this into a controversy. Rask’s team didn’t show up in front of him on Saturday – it could have been 10-2 instead of 5-2 if he didn’t play as well as he did – and Thomas benefited from a solid performance by the Bruins on Sunday. Consider these two men No. 1 and No. 1a for right now.

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ENOUGH!!!

Posted by Bill Koch on September 22, 2010

We’re sickened here at Ramble On to hear the news that Marc Savard could miss the entire 2010-11 Boston Bruins season while struggling to overcome post-concussion syndrome.

News leaked on Tuesday that Savard was still feeling the effects of a gutless elbow thrown by Pittsburgh Penguins hack Matt Cooke during a regular season game in March. Savard was cleared to play in the postseason and scored the winning goal in Game 1 of the series against the Philadelphia Flyers (we’d rather not talk about how that ended up), but he’s clearly not right as training camp kicks into gear this fall.

Our man BDowd is crushed by this news, almost to the point where I had to write this post on his behalf. His official No. 91 Savard jersey looks like it’s going to be retired for the immediate future, and Boston’s goal-scoring forwards are going to be a little less effective without one of the league’s elite playmakers feeding them the puck in position to light the lamp on a regular basis. The Bruins were the worst offensive team in the NHL last year – needless to say, they need every offensive option they can find to be 100 percent healthy if they want to make another postseason run this year.

How many times does this have to happen before Boston’s players respond? We’re big fans of Claude Julien here at Ramble On, but Savard joins Patrice Bergeron and Aaron Ward on a list of Bruins’ players who have been mugged in recent seasons with virtually no retaliation. This sort of thing is usually policed by the coaching staff and the players on the bench, and nothing like this would have happened when Cameron Michael Neely was on the ice. Now No. 8 sits with the rest of the luxury suite crowd as the team’s president, and you can be sure that Neely will be just as enraged as we are if Savard is forced to miss even a single game due to this current situation.

We just hope that Boston finally gets the message and starts taking justice into its own hands on the ice. We’ve asked them to do it before and it just hasn’t happened. We’re done with seeing the likes of Randy Jones (who crushed Bergeron from behind), Scott Walker (who sucker punched Ward in the face) and Cooke get off without a scratch while the Bruins lose players by the handful. We hope this is the final straw and demand that some of the old Big Bad Bruins DNA shows up on Causeway Street this winter. If that doesn’t happen, be ready to suffer through another winter of broken bodies wearing black and gold mopping up NHL ice from coast to coast.

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Two Fenway Franks please! On second thought……

Posted by Bill Koch on July 26, 2010

Food

We came across this little nugget today while surfing the internet for the latest and greatest in the world of sports. This is the side that’s often unseen – our stadiums. Specifically, is that Fenway Frank completely safe? Are the Papa Gino’s pizzas at Gillette Stadium as fresh as advertised? Would the Bruins really be cheap enough to serve expired beef in their cheeseburgers?

Here are the results. By comparison, we look like we’re pretty lucky here in New England (Fenway Park, Gillette Stadium, The Fake Garden). Canada (Bell Centre, Rogers Centre, Scotiabank Place) seems like a great place to go to a game. Illinois (Wrigley Field, the United Center, U.S. Cellular Field) is just about perfect. Colorado? Florida? Not so much. And be careful drinking those $60 glasses of scotch at Yankee Stadium and Citi Field. Your price to pay for snobbery could end up costing you a trip to the emergency room. Don’t say that we here at Ramble On never added to the quality of your life.

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A busy weekend wraps up on a (relative) high note

Posted by bdowd625 on May 16, 2010

The Bruins broke my heart on Friday night by gagging away a 3-0 series lead to the Philadelphia Flyers, guaranteeing themselves a spot in sports history for all the wrong reasons. The Red Sox played like ass in their second and third games against the Detroit Tigers to continue their see-saw season. And the Celtics, thankfully, held on to beat the Orlando Magic in Game 1 of their series today, nearly pulling a Bruins and choking down the stretch. The C’s got the ‘W,’ though, so it’s a good start to the Eastern Conference Finals.

Did anyone think the Celtics would actually have a shot in hell to win a title after the way they played during the regular season? I didn’t. I’ll hitch my wagon to them now, though, and hopefully they can fill the void the Bruins have left in my heart.

We’ll have more Celtics stuff as the series progresses, but I just spent the weekend trying to keep up with college kids, so I need to get to bed. Before I leave, a few parting words. Goodbye Bruins – I’ll see you next year, you pathetic bums. Stop sucking Red Sox or you’ll be watching from home in October. And keep winning Celtics because there’s nothing else to watch on TV. Goodnight.

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Five thoughts from Game 6 of Bruins/Flyers

Posted by bdowd625 on May 12, 2010

Thanks for teasing us with that meaningless late goal, Bruins. You might as well just shoot me now and get it over with. From a commanding 3-0 lead to a 3-3 tie and zero momentum heading home. Wonderful. If they break my heart on Friday night, I’m going to have a tough time coming back to them next season. It’s just not fair. I’m going to make my five thoughts short and sweet tonight because I’m angry, tired and scared to death about what’s on the horizon for Bruins fans everywhere.

*  That sound you just heard was the puck deflecting off another Flyer stick, shin guard or helmet and into the stands. How many saves did Michael Leighton actually make tonight? By my count, only like four. His defensemen did the rest. You don’t need a top-notch goalie if the other team can’t even put the puck on net.

*  Milan Lucic’s goal with a minute to play saved the Bruins the embarrassment of going six consecutive periods without a goal. So he’s got that going for him, which is nice. Watching the Boston offense tonight made me feel like we were stuck back in January again. Or in other words, the seventh circle of hockey hell. Awesome time to stop scoring.

*  Tuukka Rask returned to form tonight. That was a money glove save he made on the penalty shot in the third period. Speaking of that, that might have been one of the worst calls I’ve ever seen. Who am I to complain about the officials, though, when my team just shit the bed for the second consecutive game?

*  Any chance we can bring David Krejci back to play with one arm? If not, can he have one of mine? It’s getting to the point where I’d be willing to give it up just to see the Bruins survive. Pathetic, I know, but who are you to judge me? You’d do it, too, damn it.

*  The Montreal Canadiens upset the defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins in the other Eastern Conference semifinal series tonight. If the B’s can advance past this round, it will be an awesome matchup with another Original Six franchise and their biggest rival. Boston has to get there first, though, and pardon me for not being overly confident about that.

I’ll be in Philly again on Friday night for my brother’s graduation, so I’m not sure when I’ll be able to post. If they end up losing, I may skip writing entirely and shut this blog down forever. It’s 50-50 at this point.

Now please answer the poll question below while I go sit in my car with the engine on and the garage door closed.

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Five thoughts from Game 5 of Bruins/Flyers

Posted by bdowd625 on May 10, 2010

First off, I want to apologize for the lack of a post after Game 4 on Friday night. I was in Philadelphia (not at the game) hanging out with my brother as he winds down his college career at Villanova. The festivities at his house required more of my attention than this blog did. You understand, I’m sure.

A harmless loss that night has turned into a scant one-game lead for the Bruins, though, as the Flyers bitched the B’s around all night long in a bad loss in Game 5 tonight. The Bruins were tight, slow and seemingly disinterested, all things that could lead to their demise if they don’t correct them immediately. And now onto my five thoughts from Game 5.

*  The B’s have to stay out of the penalty box – it’s not like there’s free ice cream or beer in there or anything. That was as undisciplined as they’ve been throughout these playoffs and it cost them. Every time you looked up at the TV, someone was taking a boarding or tripping call. You can’t win in the postseason if you can’t keep five guys on the ice all the time. It’s as simple as that.

*  With that said, Tuukka Rask looked pretty damn ordinary for the second game in a row. Say what you want about how desperate the Flyers were, but you’re going to need a better effort out of your star goalie to get to the next round. He outplayed Ryan Miller in the first series and needs to regain his magician-like form if the B’s have any chance of advancing.

*  Thanks for starting a brawl late in the third period after the game was already decided, guys. Maybe if you had come out of the gate with that much intensity, you wouldn’t have gotten blown off your home ice. And is anyone else nervous whenever someone grabs Marc Savard’s head? I’m afraid it’s going to fall off and just roll around on the ice for a few seconds while everyone stares in disbelief.

*  This was exactly the type of offensive effort we Bruins fans have come to know and despise. They simply couldn’t slam one home – even after Brian Boucher got knocked out of the game – and it was evident that David Krejci’s play-making ability was sorely missed. I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t expecting Trent Whitfield to light the lamp all that often when he got called up in place of the injured Krejci.

*  Simon Gagne has given the Flyers a HUGE boost since his return. He tallied the winner in Game 4, then absolutely toyed with Rask on that perfectly-elevated wrister that put the final nail in the Bruins’ coffin tonight. You can’t underestimate his presence on the bench as a respected veteran.

*  I’ll give you a bonus thought because I dropped the ball the other night. Here it is: The Bruins fans are absolutely pathetic. Yeah, the B’s laid an egg tonight – I get that. But they’re still just one win away from the Eastern Conference finals for the first time in 18 years. They have a chance to be one of the last four teams left playing this season. So stop booing the team like there’s no tomorrow. Stand by them now because they need it more than ever. And please stop throwing shit on the ice. You’re classier than that. On second thought…

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Krejci done for the season

Posted by bdowd625 on May 6, 2010

Well this certainly sucks. Bruins center David Krejci, who was injured on a vicious but clean open-ice hit by Flyers captain Mike Richards in Game 3 last night, has reportedly undergone wrist surgery in Baltimore and will miss the remainder of the playoffs. It was orginally reported that Krejci might have damaged his shoulder on the play, but that’s obviously not true anymore.

So what does this mean for the B’s? In short, it’s not good. Krejci was arguably the team’s best player during the second half of the season and he continued to be a force into the playoffs. Vladimir Sobotka, who played center before Marc Savard’s return for the second round, filled in for Krejci after the injury last night, as a handful of different wingers earned more minutes than usual to pick up the slack. Look for the Bruins to call up someone like Brad Marchand or Trent Whitfield to fill Krejci’s roster spot. The B’s have gotten decent production out of their younger guys when they’re called upon – see: Boychuk, Johnny – but don’t expect the next call-up to play nearly as big of a role as Krejci did.

There has been a lot to cheer about lately when it comes to the Bruins. This loss is tough to swallow, though, and it’s only going to make things that much more difficult when the B’s get to the next round.

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Five thoughts from Game 3 of Bruins/Flyers

Posted by bdowd625 on May 5, 2010

 

This series is over. The Philadelphia Flyers outplayed the Bruins for nearly all of Game 3 on Wednesday night and they still lost by three goals. So I will say it again – the B’s are going to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 1992. They might not sweep the Flyers or even win in five games, but there’s no way Philly comes all the way back from this deficit. Sorry, guys. Time for my five thoughts.

*  The Bruins are dropping like flies out on the ice, but somehow the team continues to win. Boston might have enough to beat the likes of the Flyers, but when they get to the conference finals it could pose a serious problem if they’re shorthanded. First Marco Sturm goes down early in Game 1 with a torn-up knee, and tonight David Krejci and Adam McQuaid get hurt early on and don’t return. And if Johnny Boychuk keeps diving in front of slap shots – which I love, by the way – he’ll end up watching rather than playing, too.

*  Tuukka Rask played like a beast tonight. The Flyers threw wave after wave of pressure at him and, aside from that goal two minutes into the game that wasn’t really his fault, he was flawless. The thing that impresses me most about him is how calm he stays even when the opposition turns up the heat. He doesn’t waste his energy flopping around on the ice – which Tim Thomas has turned into somewhat of an art form in recent years – and he’s got super-quick reflexes. If he keeps shutting teams down, the sky is the limit.

*  It was nice to see the Flyers fans leaving with their team down only two goals with more than two minutes to play tonight. Way to support your team, you hosers. All I hear about is how tough people from Philly are. If that’s the case, then sit there until the final buzzer and take your beating like a man. 

*  Who was the monkey working the main camera for Versus tonight? Half the time he/she was so far behind the play I got confused as to what I was looking at. And then when they finally did realize where the puck was, they whipped the camera to that spot in about .2 seconds. Thanks for the seizure.

*  Now that the broadcasts have shifted to Versus from NESN, I wonder how Jack Edwards is spending his time. He’s most likely sitting in his basement in footsie pajamas during the games, using the remote as his microphone and screaming every time the Bruins score. Until his Mom tells him to quiet down and turn out the lights because it’s bedtime. “But Mom, I don’t wanna!”

Game 4 is Friday night in Philly and I’m hoping the Bruins will put the final nail in the coffin. What do you think?

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