Ramble On Sports

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Posts Tagged ‘Boston Bruins’

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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20,000!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Bill Koch on October 1, 2010

Yet another milestone today for us here at Ramble On, and we couldn’t have done it without all of your support.

My man BDowd and I extend our sincere thanks to all of you for helping us reach 20,000 hits all-time on our website. We do this writing thing for a living, but Ramble On is strictly fun for us. We fire some opinions out there, try to stoke some opinion, get after some egos that we think need deflating and touch on some topics that we throw back and forth outside of our professional lives. The fact that we get to entertain all of you is nothing but a bonus and a pleasure.

Thanks again to everyone who has visited this page. We promise to keep bringing it like we always have in the weeks and months to come.

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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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Five thoughts from Game 2 of Bruins/Flyers

Posted by bdowd625 on May 3, 2010

Another night, another nail-biter of a win for the suddenly white-hot Bruins. I should probably be concerned that they blew two leads AGAIN, but they just keeping rattling off victories, so there’s really no need to worry about it until it becomes a real problem. And now, without further delay, onto my five thoughts from Game 2.

*  How much wood would a Boychuk chuck if a Boychuk could chuck wood? Who the hell cares? Just sign the guy to a long-term deal already. He hits harder than anybody on the team and his slapshot has one of those obnoxious purple comet tails that Fox used to use on its hockey broadcasts. He’s rapidly turning into the B’s best defenseman, so I don’t see what’s stopping the Bruins brass from inking him to a new contract.

*  These NHL players find new ways to impress me every night. With an empty Flyers net late in Game 2, it looked like Boston was about to pot a dagger of a goal to ice it. Instead, Chris Pronger came racing out of nowhere, batted the puck out of midair with this stick and sent it just wide enough that it clanged off the post and stayed out of the net. Talk about eye-hand coordination. That was impressive.

*  Miro Satan is playing out of his skull right now. He’s got an uncanny ability to be in the right place at the right time, so it was a little surprising to me that the Bruins signed his ass off the scrap heap. I can think of a few teams that would like his goal-scoring ability right about now.

*  How the hell did Marc Savard get smacked with the only penalty on that play when Dan Carcillo slashed his knee, then tried to pummel him with his fists in the corner. Did I miss something? Did Savard cast some kind of Dungeons and Dragons spell that ripped Carcillo of 10 life points? If he did, the refs were apparently right on top of it. I understand that Carcillo didn’t like how close Savard was to his goalie, but come on. Way to call it evenly, zebras.

*  The Bruins are two wins away from the Eastern Conference finals. Did anybody expect this? This team has disappointed so many times before, though, so I’m trying not to get too excited. But with each passing win, they get a little closer…

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Five thoughts from Game 1 of Bruins/Flyers

Posted by bdowd625 on May 1, 2010

Leave it to my man Marc Savard – in his first game back from that brutal concussion he suffered in early March – to save the Bruins this afternoon with his game-winning goal in OT against the Flyers. I figured the B’s were safe with their two-goal lead late in the third period, but, of course, they didn’t make it easy on themselves. I guess that’s what happens in the playoffs – no lead is safe. A win is a win, though, and that’s really all that matters, so I’m going to try not to fret too much. And now, onto my five thoughts from Game 1.

*  NBC clearly jinxed the Bruins by putting up that graphic about how they hadn’t surrendered a power-play goal this postseason. That’s the kiss of death right there. It’s like when you’re watching a Red Sox game, and Don Orsillo says, “Daniel Bard hasn’t allowed a run in his last 12 innings of work.” Three pitches later, you just know Bard is giving up a moonshot that clears the Monster in left.

*  If Danny McBride doesn’t want to reprise his role as Kenny Powers for the latest season of Eastbound and Down, Scott Hartnell can certainly do it. Whenever I see him out on the ice, I expect him to start screaming things like, “Get me paid, bitch!” or “I play real sports – I’m not trying to be the best at exercise.” If you don’t get the joke, you really need to invest in HBO.

*  It was good to see the B’s score first today, but they took their foot of the gas pedal much too soon. It’s the playoffs – you just can’t do that. And that goal Chris Pronger scored on Tuukka Rask was super soft. I was shocked when that went in, but I guess the guy’s not perfect.

*  It looked like Adam McQuaid wanted to hang out in the penalty box today. His thought process seemed to go something like this, “I think I’m going to clock this Flyer even though he’s nowhere near the play and the referee is right in front of me. Yeah, I think I’ll see if my team can kill off this penalty for my enjoyment.” Thanks, bud. Clean it up.

*  I’m the last person in the world that thought Savard would come back this season. But watching him hurdle over the wall on his first shift made me a happy camper. His presence out there gave his team a big boost, and that rip from the right side saved them from what would have been a serious choke job. Glad to have you back, Savvy.

I already can’t wait for Game 2. Go B’s!

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I’ll take the Philadelphia Flyers with a side of home-ice advantage please

Posted by bdowd625 on April 28, 2010

We here at Ramble On are big fans of Alexander Ovechkin. The guy loves to hit, skates hard on every shift and has a scoring touch that few players possess – all qualities that make him one of the most exciting talents in the NHL. Having said all that, I couldn’t have been happier watching Ovechkin and the top-seeded Washington Capitals get bounced from the playoffs by the Montreal Canadiens tonight in their win-or-go-home Game 7.

Not only is it fun to watch the underdog prevail – even though I despise the Canadiens like every other self-respecting Boston Bruins fan should – but the B’s now get to take on seventh-seeded Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Are you kidding me? If ever there was a dream matchup for the Bruins, this is it. And did I mention the B’s have home-ice advantage throughout this series? The Canadiens, meanwhile, square off with defending champion Pittsburgh, and you can be sure the Penguins have taken notice of the Habs’ play in the last three games.

Boston has a great chance to knock off the Flyers and advance to the conference finals. Can you imagine that? Everyone wrote them off midway through the regular season, and now we’re talking about them possibly being one of the final four teams playing. What’s even better is that Tuukka Rask is arguably the hottest goalie left in the playoffs, and whenever your netminder catches fire, good things happen. I’m picking the Bruins to win this series in six games just like I did for the last one. Let’s hope I’m right again so we can continue this awesome ride.

And on top of all the great hockey news, the Red sox got another gem of a pitching performance tonight – this time from Jon Lester – to sweep the lowly Toronto Blue Jays. Boy do the Jays suck. I think more people read this blog everyday than go to their home games, and that’s really saying something. Either way, the Sox are back to .500 and hopefully it’ll only get better from here.

It’s a good time to be a Boston sports fan, my friends.

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Five thoughts from Game 6 of Bruins/Sabres

Posted by bdowd625 on April 26, 2010

I’d like to thank the Bruins for making me look smart with my prediction for this series. I’d also like to thank them for giving me the worst heartburn and highest stress level of my life. A 4-3 victory over the Sabres in Game 6 has pushed Boston into the Eastern Conference semifinals, but it was anything but easy. I give Buffalo all the credit in the world for the fight they showed tonight, especially when it looked like it was going to slip away. All that is behind us now, though, so as Bruins fans, let’s just be thankful there’s more playoff hockey on the horizon. And now, onto my five thoughts from Game 6.

*  I’m fairly certain there were a handful of Bruins that wanted to lose the game tonight. Dennis Wideman was up to his old tricks – turning the puck over in his own end to spark Buffalo’s first goal – and Michael Ryder didn’t do his team any favors when he threw the puck to Nathan Gerbe for the Sabres’ second tally. I’m going to give Ryder a pass since he’s played out of his mind for most of this series, but Wideman is downright brutal. Whenever the announcers talk about him, they almost always use the word “can’t” immediately after his name. You know, things like, “Wideman can’t clear the puck from Boston’s zone.” “Wideman can’t stay on his feet as he gets burned for another goal.” And my personal favorite – “Wideman can’t believe Claude Julien is actually letting him dress for tonight’s game.”

*  And with everything Boston did wrong tonight, it still managed to pot four goals against All-World goaltender Ryan Miller. Miller’s dream season might be over, but I won’t soon forget what he did this year. His play in the Olympics showed non-hockey fans just how exciting the game can be, and I was scared to death all through the first round that he was going to shut the B’s out in every game. It’s been a pleasure, Mr. Miller.

*  Keeping Marc Savard sidelined tonight was a smart move. The Bruins managed to walk away with the series win without their top offensive playmaker, giving him even more time to get into game shape and bounce back from that disgusting concussion from earlier this year. Forcing him into action tonight was unnecessary and I’m glad the B’s recognized that too. On a personal note, I wanted to see him out there. But that’s just because he’s my Bruins man-crush.

*  I can’t take much more of Jack Edwards in the NESN broadcast booth. When the B’s finally won tonight, he dropped the following gem: “Snowball 1, Hell 0.” Jacko was trying to say that the Bruins didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of getting past the third-seeded Sabres, but he really just sounded like a hyperbolic asshole. Less is more, Jack. Less is more.

*  With Montreal’s win over Washington tonight, the B’s still don’t know who they’re playing in Round 2, as that series is now tied 3-3. But if the Habs find a way to beat the Caps in Game 7, the Bruins will face Philadelphia in the second round. Roll that around in your head for a while. Boston has a chance to take on the No. 7 seed – WITH HOME ICE ADVANTAGE – for the right to play in the Eastern Conference finals. I’m as shocked as you are.

I’m going to go try to calm down a little bit. Taking a few days off from the Bruins’ high-wire act should do me some good. And as always, go B’s!

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