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.
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.
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.
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.
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.