Wake Up Kessel, It’s Boston

In case you missed it Wednesday morning, Brad Marchand got an unexpected prank wakeup call from a Toronto morning show. At about 7am on gameday, the radio station sent several pizzas to his hotel, and after explaining that it was a pregame ritual of his, had the front desk call Mr. Marchand’s room and wake him up. Not going to lie, pretty funny stuff. As a fan, that’s the kind of witty prank I can handle. In fact I enjoy it. operation retaliation waafCompletely different than the Toronto Stronger D-Bag from Monday’s game. Anyways, no harm no foul there. But Toronto, I’ll tell you this. You are extremely naïve if you didn’t think us Bostonians would retaliate. I mean not only were you destined to come back to our city the next day, but you have an obvious target for us to go after. Cue…Mr. Phil Kessel.

With little doubt they’d let it slide, WAAF’s Hillman Morning Show took the reins on Operation Retaliation, sending Spaz out to Toronto’s hotel this morning, fully equipped with a megaphone, bright yellow morph suit, and the support of relentless Bruin’s fans. I can only imagine the scene taking place as he yelled and taunted Kessel over the megaphone, with an army of vehicles beeping violently in the background. Absolute radio gold. Unfortunately, it only lasted about 10 minutes before our boys in blue showed up to send the annoying yellow man packing. Either way, WAAF should be posting it as a podcast later this morning so make sure you listen for yourself. Just more fuel for the fire, I love it. Great work guys. Now let’s go Bruins! Puck drops at 7:10 tonight. Happy Friday indeed!

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Toronto Stronger Loser

Toronto Stronger LoserHow about this freakin guy in Toronto last night? Grade A douche. I’m all about witty slurs against an opponent, and I understand how desperate Toronto fans are after being completely irrelevant to playoff hockey for so long, but this shit won’t do. That’s not a clever jab at the Boston Bruins, that’s a sucker punch to the face of humanity. Nice job bro, instead of taunting our hockey team, you made fun of innocent men, women, and children that fell victim to a terrorist attack. I would love to see how long this Gangnam-looking jerkoff would last coming into the Garden Friday night. And congratulations Toronto, you poked the bear. #BostonStrongBoston Strong Bear

Playoff Hockey is Back in Boston

The beast that is Chara raising the cupI don’t know about you, but I woke up this morning feeling great. May 1st has arrived and for the first time in months, it appears that New England might finally be in the clear as far snow is concerned, although I wouldn’t bet the house on it. More importantly, it’s showtime! Playoff hockey is back in Boston as the B’s open up tonight at home against the Leafs. Let’s hope they’ve been able to flip the switch over the past few days and come out firing tonight. We’ll be doing our part, as you best believe the Garden will be ROCKING. So if you have any doubt, here’s a playoff montage that will be sure to get the blood pumping. Watching these clips still give me the chills. Tonight begins our quest to get Lord Stanley back to the Hub. Let’s go B’s!

PS – Sweet “bear” mascot Toronto.
UPDATE – His name is Carlton.

Blade vs. Carlton

The Looch Saga

The B’s have been taking a lot of heat for a team that’s sitting in first place of their division heading into the final week of the season. And I’ll be the first to say that I’ve been right there throwing stones with the rest of the angry mob. So why are we complaining? Besides our Bostonian expectation of win it all or bust, it’s obvious that the Bruins just aren’t playing to their full potential. Come playoff time, the fumes we’ve Lucic Scratchbeen running on aren’t going to be enough to make a legitimate run at the Cup.

The sense of urgency and our ability to score has just been lacking, among other things. One of which being Milan Lucic. I love Looch, but there’s no denying his metaphorical absence. The Looch of old has been nowhere to be found on the ice this year. Lucic used to be our enforcer. Would anyone call him that right now? No. A lot of people say he’s gone soft since becoming a father, but I’m not buying it. Regardless, the Lucic we’ve grown accustom to over the years needs to return if the B’s want to win the Cup. When Milan Lucic is playing Milan Lucic hockey, the Bruins are playing Boston Bruin’s Hockey, the kind of hockey that won us a Stanley Cup in 2011.

As much as we are all complaining, things aren’t all bad. Although we are in first place, the B’s just need to pick up some momentum heading down the home stretch. And I think that starts with Looch. So here are a few throwbacks that might help build some confidence in the Milan Lucic we all know and love, so Lord Stanley can be returned to its rightful home in Beantown.

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Back on the Ice: Boston Bruins vs. New York Rangers Preview

Bruins Back On the Ice: The Boston Bruins open up what’s left of a 48-game regular season against the New York Rangers at 7pm in TD Garden tomorrow (Saturday Jan 19th). The Bruins vs. Rangers contest is one of 13 games on tap for tomorrow, with 6 more games on Sunday for a weekend full of hockey.

Tale of the Tape: According to the Associated Press, both the Bruins and the Rangers are potential Stanley Cup favorites entering this season. Here’s a breakdown of both teams:

Rangers: The New York Rangers enter this season with Stanely Cup hopes as they nearly missed the big game last year with a conference finals loss to their rivals the New Jersey Devils. The Rangers made an offseason addition to their roster, as they landed former Columbus Blue Jackets forward Rick Nash via trade.

Nash brings even more scoring power to an already potent mix, with Ranger forwards Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards. With the Blue Jackets Nash racked up 289 goals and 547 points in 674 games with a pair 40 goal seasons as well as 5 30+ goal seasons, according to the AP.

Then there’s the goal play of Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who only allowed 1.97 goals averaged against him in 62 regular games last season. Lundqvist also posted an even more microscopic 1.82 GAA in the post-season for New York. Couple that with Nash, Gaboric, plus Richards, and the Rangers could be as good as advertised.

Bruins: The Bruins will be looking to win their second Stanley Cup Finals trophy in 3 seasons and they’ll have to try and do it without usual goalie Tim Thomas. Thomas you may remember was one of the keys to the Bruins 2011 Stanley Cup triumph. Thomas decided to take this shortened season off and spend time with his family.

That puts Tuukka Rask in front of the net for Boston. Rask has promise as he posted a 2.05 GAA in 25 games backing up Thomas last season. Also, Rask posted a 1.97 GAA in a 45 game span back in 2010 when Thomas was injured. The Bruins will hope Rask can put up similar numbers in this 48-game regular season.

Aside from losing Thomas, the Bruins have most of  last year’s crew back. This includes Tyler Seguin, Brad Marchand, and Milan Lucic. All of whom signed multi-year contract deals with Boston before the lockout began.

The Bruins will be looking to bounce back to Stanley Cup form this year, after a first round Game 7 playoff loss to Washington last year.

Brian Boyle Milan Lucic #17 of the Boston Bruins tries to keep the puck as Brian Boyle #22 of the New York Rangers defends on February 14, 2012 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The New York Rangers defeated the Boston Bruins 3-0.

My Prediction: With this being the first game of a shortened season, it’s hard to say how any team will do. Nevertheless, I will take a shot in the dark and say the Bruins win 2-1 over the Rangers.

However, the Bruins may have a tough time scoring against the Rangers Lundqvist, as he boasts a pair of shutouts in his last 3 trips to Bean-town and a nasty 1.53 GAA in 27 games against the Bruins.

Despite the numbers, I give Boston the edge as the Bruins had 9 players who found work in Europe during the lockout. So, I’ll take experience over stats in this one.

Where to Watch: As a reminder the Bruins vs. Rangers game begins at 7pm tomorrow evening (Saturday January 19th) in the TD Garden and can be viewed on NHLN (NHLNetwork). If you’re going to the game, remember to cheer, drink, and act responsibly.

NHL Lockout Has Been Lifted

Lockout Languish is Over: That’s right fans, you can break out the NHL Jerseys, foam fingers, and noise makers and get ready to go out to the hockey rink, because the 2012 NHL Lockout is officially over! The NHL, Commissioner Gary Batteman, and owners all agreed to ratify a new collective bargaining agreement last Wednesday, with the NHLPA voting to ratify as well last Saturday.The new deal includes a mutual opt-out clause after 8 years, and contract limit terms at 7 years (8 for teams re-signing its own players) according to ESPN.com.

With the new deal in the books and everybody feeling all warm and fuzzy on the inside about one another training camps opened up yesterday (Sunday Jan 13th) and a 48-game regular season is slated to begin this Saturday January 19th. A total of 720 games will be played over a 99-day regular season with the last games to be played on April 27th. The Playoffs will follow on April 30th and The Stanley Cup Finals will run no later than June 28th. Other important dates to note: The trade deadline will be April 3rd and free agency begins on July 5th.

Final Thoughts: Well, it only took both sides a little over 113 days and the cancellation of 510 regular season games (including the Winter Classic and NHL All-Star Game), but hey hockey is back, baby! Thanks to Jackpot Capital casino for offering lots of entertainment during the lockout and I’m sure many people’s social networking skills have improved too whilst waiting for this news to break. NHL fans can rejoice in knowing the league successfully avoided repeating the same fate of” The season that never was in 2004-2005″. How about it hockey fans? Are you excited about the 48-game season? Or has the lockout taken all the fun out of this year? Leave a comment below.

NHL= No Hope Left

Meaningless Meeting: It was more of the same this week, as the NHL and NHLPA failed once again to come to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement. The two sides did not meet with one another, but rather met separately with federal mediators. Despite discussions lasting a total of six hours, no progress was made and no future talks are planned for now, according to sources.

At this point, the only thing that is getting accomplished is the cancellation of regular season games. All games through December 30th have been nixed. That’s almost half of the season gone (roughly 43 percent according to ESPN Stats).

Final Thoughts: Unless something can be done, and soon, I don’t foresee this lockout ending. With nearly half the season wiped out, and neither side budging (with federal mediators help mind you), I fear this season is all but lost. My advice to Boston fans: Watch pre-recorded Bruins games from last season, focus on the Celtics, and start a calendar countdown to opening day at Fenway (116 days by the way), because hockey isn’t being played anytime soon at the Garden.

2012 NHL Lockout Update: Mediation Might Not Work

ImageThe Bad News: At first, the NHL and NHLPA agreeing to bring in federal mediators to help negotiate the terms of a new collective bargaining agreement, actually sounded like good news. Then the two sides met up for the first time in over a week this Wednesday, and after two days of lengthy discussion, (with federal mediators mind you) they still couldn’t come to terms on anything.

Here’s a friendly reminder of what’s on the table during these seemingly fruitless meetings: elimination of salary arbitration, free agency rule changes, limits to player contract terms, and of course shared revenue.

The Worse News:  As if it isn’t bad enough to see federal mediation failing to help, more cancellations have been made. All games through December 14th have been axed. This includes the NHL All-Star weekend festivities, which have also been wiped out.

Image

Salvage This Season: Boston Bruins fans and hockey fans alike can only hope that mediation brings an end to this lockout and allows a long awaited season to finally begin. Mediation has helped other sports end lockouts before, so there’s a chance this could work. However, the two sides ultimately still have to come to agreeable terms in order for anything to be salvaged. Hopefully they can cut a deal soon.

The players want to be back out on the ice playing, the owners want to be in their cozy executive chairs making profits, and the fans just want to see some hard-nosed, in your face hockey. Can’t we all just get along???

Bruins Find the Ice Overseas

With the NHL lockout in effect until further notice, the NHL has cancelled all games for the entire month of November. Negotiations between the NHL and NHLPA have come to a standstill and now all eyes are looking forward to the end of 2012. As game cancellations continue, anything close to a full season looks about as likely as the Mighty Ducks beating Team Iceland.

However, as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our savior Lord Stanley Cup, hockey is underway overseas with many of the Bruins roster settling in for what could be a longer lockout than we (and probably the players) imagined. Now is a good time take a look at the best performances thus far by some Bruins bleeding black and gold in the Eurozone; Captain Zdeno Chara, Co-captain Patrice Bergeron, Tyler Seguin, Rich Peverley , David Krejci, and Tuukka Rask.

Chara has gone back to Prague, Czech Republic where his career started, now suiting up for HC Lev Praha. Lev Praha is in their first season in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) and are fortunate to have big Z representing their team in the most prominent league in Eurasia.

Bergeron and Seguin have made the move to the Switzerland to play puck. Bergeron (HC Lugano) and Seguin (EHC Biel) are having tremendous starts to their Swiss campaigns. Seguin is tied for first on his team in points (8-9, 17) and Bergeron is tied for third (7-7, 14) while playing in just a third of his teams games this season. Seguin’s numbers are good enough for 9th overall in the Swiss National league and he has been the best performer among Bruins players overseas, which is a great sign for Bruins fans.

Rich Peverley (JYP) has taken his talents to Finland, posting 1 Goal and 9 assists in 11 games, good for 6th on the team in points (1st place team in the Finnish league).

Krejci, playing in the Czech league for HC Parbudice in the same league as teammates Tuukka Rask and Andrew Ference, is currently on a ten game point streak and hasn’t been held without a point since his debut. Krejci scored against Rask on October 26th but was stuffed by Rask in a shootout later that game.

Finally, in the wake of Tim Thomas’ baffling leave of absence, Tuukka Rask has shown he is more than ready to make Thomas disappear from the conversation. Rask has posted an 8-2 record with a league leading 1.97 GAA and a 92.86 SV% playing for the first place HC Plzen in the Czech league. On October 23rd Rask came up lame in the first period with a groin injury and left the ice. It turned out to be precautionary but was certainly a scare for Bruins fans as Rask missed the last 6 weeks of the 2011-2012 NHL season with a groin injury. He returned to action three days later to earn another victory.

So although the NHL season lies motionless like Eric Lindros for the better half of the 90’s, there is reason to be optimistic and excited about the Bruins when an agreement is reached and the NHL resumes. The Bruins roster is full of young, talented players who have a great opportunity to bring the Cup back to Boston. As more and more NHL players populate Euro rosters, it’s awesome to see Bruins among some of the best performers. As for the few remaining Bruins that are either too mediocre to play in Europe or too old to care (Shawn Thornton) my Tuesday night team could use a ringer and we haven’t had a lockout since Nam.

2012 NHL Lockout Update

No-play-vember:  The NHL Lockout remains at a stand-still after weekend meetings failed to bring anything to fruition. So, Boston Bruins fans will have to watch games at TD Garden from the hardwood, not the ice rink. That’s because the league has canceled all of the regular season games for the month of November. The cancellation of games comes as a result of the players union rejecting the most recent proposal from the owners two weeks ago in Toronto.

The Beef Between Both Sides: As with most lockouts, the biggest road block between the two sides is shared of league related revenue. The owners (big surprise here) wish to decrease the players guaranteed share of 57% in hockey related revenue. While the players union (shocker) wants increased shared revenue beImagetween them and the owners, as well as a fixed salary cap that’s not tied to league revenue. Other topics on the table include: free agency rule changes, the elimination of salary arbitration, and limits to contract terms.

Cancellations to Continue: With the November schedule axed, more cancellations are reportedly on the horizon. Next up on the NHL Lockout chopping block: both the Winter Classic and the All-Star game could be canceled by this Thursday. It’s likely both will be nixed because neither side will be able to actually meet in New York City, as methods of transportation have been shut down due to the recent “frankenstorm” that struck the east coast.

I want to hear from Boston Bruins fans and hockey fans alike on this one. What do you think of the lockout? Do you see it ending anytime soon? Leave a comment.