Boston Bruins 2017-18 Season Preview

Bears are interesting, aren’t they?

I mean, you have Yogi Bear, who can’t stray too far from his picnic basket. You have Paddington Bear – a connoisseur of sorts – who keeps a sandwich under his hat. You have the three bears who left their porridge unattended to, while Goldilocks did her whole home invasion thing. And you have the Charmin Bears, who wipe themselves with toilet paper in the woods. How precious.

Winnie the Pooh and his pot of honey didn’t even break into that opening paragraph (but Goldilocks did because that’s her thing).

I repeat – bears are interesting, aren’t they?

As for the Boston Bruins, since winning the Stanley Cup in 2011, they’ve only made it passed the second round once, and have missed the playoffs entirely, twice.

Okay, maybe they aren’t at the same level as a sandwich under the hat, but I still find them interesting.

Forwards

It is no surprise the Bruins were ranked 3rd in face-off percentage last season, when you look at who their top two centres are.

Patrice Bergeron. David Krejci.

Bergeron has been one of the best two-way players in the game for the majority of his 13-year career. It’s one of the reasons why he rode shotgun with Sidney Crosby on Team Canada, on multiple occasions.

Bergeron won over 60% of his face-offs last season. All 31 coaches in the NHL would love to have a player like him on the ice in late-game situations.

As for Krejci, he doesn’t get the fanfare he probably deserves. When healthy, he’ll hover around the 60-point mark. In my eyes, he’s a poor mans Ryan Getzlaf.

He’s not as big or imposing, and he won’t put up as many points, but he has great vision and is a true playmaker who makes for a great asset on the power-play.

Head Coach, Bruce Cassidy, is spoiled to have these two as options down the middle.

On the wing, they have Brad Marchand. The pest of a player is listed at 5’9 on their team website, so you know that’s an exaggeration.

Last season was a breakout year for Marchand, who had 85 points in 80 games. I’m not sure anyone saw that coming. Everyone thought he was settling into being a 50-60 point player, who’s main purpose was to get under the opponent’s skin.

But now that he’s a legitimate threat in the offensive zone? Mamma Mia, hold my pizza.

I’m not sure he replicates the success of last season. I expect other teams to be better prepared, now that the secret is out about his offensive upside.

The future of the Bruins lies in the hands of a 21-year-old kid from the Czech Republic. His name is David Pastrnak and he puts pucks in nets for a living.

Oh yeah, he’s entering his 4th season in the NHL. Do you feel unaccomplished yet? I do.

He broke out for 75 points in 70 games last season and the sky is the limit. If he continues to play with Bergeron and Marchand, look out.

After these four, David Backes adds some veteran toughness, while Ryan Spooner adds some much needed youth and a last name that brings comic relief.

Defense

Zdeno Chara stands at a height of 6’9. He is not a basketball player. He is a hockey player’s worst nightmare, unless he’s on your team.

See, Marchand can get away with being a pest because if he can’t defend himself, he just has to turn around and look up at the big man from Slovakia.

Chara was named Captain in 2006 and is the reason why the Stanley Cup now has a fear of heights.

He’s great, but he’s slowing down. He’s 40-years-old and can’t do this forever. That being said, I’m taking Chara on my team every day of the week and twice on Saturdays.

Joining Chara on the blue line is the young, diminutive Torey Krug. Krug is an offensive defensemen who can easily put up 50 points/season for years to come. He was a handful for the Leafs in their 2013 playoff series.

Meanwhile, 20-year-old Brandon Carlo looks to have a bright future. He finished his rookie season with a +9.

And sooner than later, Charlie McAvoy – the Bruins 2016, 1st round pick – will be joining the fray. Look out for him.

Goaltending

Tuukka Rask.

As a Leaf fan, it hurts every time they play the Bruins because I’m reminded that Rask was in the Leafs system before they traded him away for Andrew Raycroft.

That was about 10 years ago. Since then, Rask has carved out a pretty nice career for himself. I’d trust him to start 60-65 games this year; I think the Bruins do too.

Backing him up is Anton Khudobin, who is as prototypical a backup goalie as you’re going to find. Nothing too flashy – just a guy you can throw in there for the second game of a back-to-back and hope he keeps it close.

I’m starting to wonder what the future looks like for Malcolm Subban. I know, I know, he’s only 23 and is still developing in the AHL.

He has played in 2 NHL games, however – three years apart – and each outing lasted 31 minutes. He gave up 3 goals in each game. Eerie? Just a bit.

Maybe if he has a better training camp than Khudobin, he’ll win the backup job? I don’t know. They’d probably like him to get more seasoning in the AHL, regardless.

If Rask needs to miss any amount of time this season with an injury, the Bruins could be in trouble.

Fun Facts

1. The Bruins PK (Penalty Kill) was ranked first in the league last season. P.K. Subban is the brother of Malcolm Subban.

2. The Bruins play their home games out of the TD Garden. “TD” stands for Toronto-Dominion, which is a bank. The Toronto Maple Leafs used to play their home games out of Maple Leaf Gardens, which is now a grocery store. You need money to buy groceries. I smell a conspiracy here.

3. The Ottawa Senators defeated the Bruins in the first round of the playoffs last season. Leaf fans don’t like either team.

4. “Zombie Nation” is the name of their goal song. It was also the goal song for the Leafs in the early 2000s. Conspiracy, I say!

5. Are their fans saying “Boo” or “Bruuu-ins”? (That was a Simpsons reference).

Last Minute Of Play

I see the Boston Bruins as a team in transition. They have aging veterans mixed with some promising young players. I don’t know if their talent is great enough to stand up next to an improving Eastern Conference, however.

On top of that, the Atlantic Division could be really tight this season and if the Bruins don’t take one of the top three spots, I’m not putting my eggs in their basket for a wild card spot.

This might be the season they take a step back in order to take a step forward.

If they had held onto Tyler Seguin, they wouldn’t be in this position. I still don’t know how they managed to mess that one up. Oh well. I’m a Leafs fan. We started that whole Seguin saga, anyway.

One Wild Prediction

Malcolm Subban starts 12 or more games in goal for the Bruins this season.

 

Last Preview: Anaheim Ducks
Next Preview: Arizona Coyotes 
Twitter: @CappyTalks 

About Paul

I think of my blog as an all-you-can-read buffet. There's something for everyone and complimentary mints at the door as you leave.
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12 Responses to Boston Bruins 2017-18 Season Preview

  1. Hira says:

    The names… There is something wrong there… My brain just won’t hold on to any name.. But I think I will strike up hockey in next coffee break and drop defense and forward!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dutch Lion says:

    Love it Paul. Great job! Couple of thoughts from Chicago…….I HATE Zdeno Chara.Good clean old-fashioned HATE! although I bet he’s one of those guys that if he’s on YOUR team, then you love him. Ever since the Blackhawks beat Chara’s ass in the 2013 Stanley Cup, I’ve hated the guy. He’s a 6 foot 9 inch dick!

    OK, sorry for that rant. Another thought…….that Pastrnak guy is really good. And I just love saying “Tuukka Rask”. TUUKKA RASK! I always think of “took a risk”, you know? Like, He “took a risk” on that save, OR his skate almost de-throated that guy because he “took a risk”.

    thanks man

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      No joke, I was going to say the Bruins “took a risk” on trading for Rask, but I couldn’t get the wording right haha.

      Yeah I don’t really like Chara either. I can respect that he’s been a good player, but he’s played for Ottawa and Boston in his career, and I’m not allowed to like anyone on those teams.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Rea says:

    This isn’t the first time Yogi Bear has showed up on your blog. I appreciate the lingering shoutouts! But you forgot one kind of bear: the Care Bear

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Arizona Coyotes 2017-18 Season Preview | The Captain's Speech

  5. Barb Knowles says:

    Your sports blogs always leave me wanting more and with a platform to ask questions I’ve always wanted to ask. Hockey has, in my way-not professional way, the most unusual last names of any of the sports leagues’ players I’m aware of. I hope you got the gist from that very poorly written sentence. In golf, with the exception of the Ryder Cup and now the Olympics, you know the country of origin of all the players. Sometimes you get a clue from their names. And living in immigrant countries like the US and Canada, some very German names, for example, reflect families who moved here from Germany centuries ago. But with hockey players, I get the feel that a LOT of them grew up in Europe or Eastern or Northern Europe. Is that true or am I leaping to conclusions?

    And what are their rules about playing professionally? Does the NHL provide opportunities for more money? Or are their just more teams? And what about Scandinavia? Talk about conditions for ice. I never hear about professional teams in Europe the way we here about soccer teams there.

    Ok specific to this post…….I can’t even……The rivalry in all sports between Boston and New York is so strong that I can’t comment on the Bruins.

    These posts are awesome.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Most of the players are from Canada and the USA, but there are a lot of players from Sweden and Russia and Finland, and to a lesser extent, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Slovakia, Denmark.

      There are a bunch of professional hockey leagues in Europe. There’s the Swedish Elite League, the Finnish Elite League, and a bunch of other ones in just about every country. You never hear about them because there aren’t any really good players in European leagues. If they are good, they’re a teenager and they enter the NHL Draft. The biggest league in Russia is called the KHL and that was seen as an alternative to the NHL when it started in 2008. A lot of Russian players go play there when they’re too old to be coveted by NHL teams.

      The NHL definitely has higher salaries than every other league just because of their sponsors, TV deals, and revenue streams. Also each NHL team has a minor league team so 31 teams x 2 is 62 places for a hockey player to go and make money.

      Liked by 1 person

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