The big bad Bruins are back! The NHL and the NHL Players Association FINALLY reached an agreement to end the lockout. I still can’t believe it took half the season to get it figured out.. and that the NHL even had a lockout since they’ve had one every several years for awhile now. I’m not even sure who to be mad at as both sides seem to have made it more difficult than it needed to be.
Well, regardless, we have an NHL season, so let’s get back into it! It shouldn’t be hard for Bruins fans since our team is totally friggin awesome! We’ve had a great start with no regulation losses after five games and a 4-0-1 record. So we have 9 out of a possible 10 points on the season and sit at the top of the Eastern Conference in the standings.. great start! We haven’t earned points in all of the first five games of a season since 1990-91. I can’t say it enough: I’m really impressed. Bruins fans know that we have a very well-rounded team, but the one thing that made us a bit nervous about this year is not having Tim Thomas anymore. I totally love the guy.. on the ice. I give him the majority of the credit for our 2011 Stanley Cup as we almost surely wouldn’t have been able to win it without his ridiculous playoff performance.. arguably the best playoff performance by a goalie ever! But off the ice, he totally flaked out. Even though he didn’t agree with President Obama’s politics, he still should’ve gone to the White House with the team after they won the Stanley Cup.. politics had nothing to do with it. Now, he’s sitting at home while we pay him for another year. Ugh!
But I digress.. What I was getting at is that without Tim Thomas in net, Bruins fans were nervous. Well first off, after last year’s performance, I think we can say that Thomas peaked in 2011 and was on the way down hill. So that’s one reason not to worry. But the other reason, the main reason, is that we have Tuukka Rask! Remember a couple of years ago when he played half the season and dominated? He actually had the best goalie stats in the league at the time! Well I think he’s back in that form, or at least working back to it.. and he’s pretty close. He’s had a great start to the season, with a ridiculous 1.26 GAA so far, and he will only improve. What’s more, our backup goalie, Anton Khudobin, is pretty nasty too! In his first start of the season last night against the Hurricanes, he made 29 saves on 32 shots, and some of them were truly great.. like the big glove save during the Hurricanes’ 2-man advantage. He didn’t let in any power play goals at all.. This helped our penalty kill, which is still a perfect 23 for 23 on the season (best in the league) and which has scored more goals (one) than it has allowed (none).
Now back to how the Bruins are well-rounded.. Last night, it was nice to see Brad Marchand and Zdeno Chara score goals, both with great shots (and Marchand’s coming while we were short-handed). They’re not our top scorers, which reminds us just how great of a roster we have.. probably the deepest in the league as it was last year, which was evidenced by the fact that we had six 20+ goal scorers!
Another good performance this season has come from Milan Lucic. He’s always been one of my favorite players, but in the past few years, it seemed like his game was slipping a bit or he was sitting back, or something.. but not this year. So far, he’s been playing how we’ve always expected: full throttle, tremendous effort, and a bunch of fights ending with him knocking the other guys down. I’m loving it!
It has also been great to see Nathan Horton back on the ice and getting back into the flow quickly. He’s been doing well and scored his second goal of the season last night.. and it was sick! He deked past two defenders, skated all the way in and took a sweet shot that beat Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward.
One of the best (if not the best) stories of the season, though, is rookie defenseman and hometown hero Dougie Hamilton. I still can’t believe we got him, but it’s so awesome because he gets to play for the team he grew up rooting for, and we get a great defenseman how will no doubt be one of the best one day. He’s been playing really well, showing patience and a hockey IQ that a rookie normally lacks.. He’s been doing so well that the Bruins have decided to keep him in the pros (he won’t be sent back to junior hockey as they had considered before the season). Last night, after Horton hit the goal post, Hamilton got the rebound and had a decent shot, but knew there was a much better chance of scoring if he passed it across to David Krejci.. he did and Krejci scored with a one-timer! Great decision! I psyched to watch him grow with the team!
Lastly, I wanted to mention Tyler Seguin. In his third year in the NHL and with the Bruins, he’s had a pretty good start to the season. It hasn’t been great, but watching him, I get the feeling that starting in the second half of this season, he’s really going to take off. Last night he scored a goal too. With 8 seconds left in regulation, he scored an empty-netter to seal the game. Luckily for our stats, it was during a power play. So now the Bruins actually have two power play goals on the season.. out of 20ish power plays. : / I really don’t get why we struggle so much on the power play, but no matter, we still won a Stanley Cup two years ago with a terrible power play. Plus, we’re still the best 5-on-5 team, as we were last year.
So, while we don’t have Tim Thomas, there’s no need for Bruins fans to worry! Tuukka Rask has and will really step up, and Anton Khudobin is a great backup. As for the rest of the team: well, it seems as though they’ve only improved since last year and the year before. We have some rookies/newly traded players that bring a whole lot to the team, and the other 17 players that were here when we won the Stanley Cup, well, they’re still arguably the most solid roster in the league. So get pumped Bruins fans! This will be a great year, and I feel we have a pretty decent chance of being able to repeat what we did in 1970 and 1972 and win two Stanley Cups in three seasons!
Here’s a video of Brad Marchand’s goal with a great assist by Zdeno Chara:
Here’s a video of Nathan Horton’s sweet moves and goal:
Here’s a video of David Krejci’s goal with a great assist by Dougie Hamilton:
This video is from a few games ago, but it’s Dougie Hamilton’s first NHL point:
Here’s a video recap of last night’s game:
Here’s some more video recaps if the above doesn’t work:
Here’s some photos from last night’s game:
Here’s a written recap of last night’s game:
Thanks for reading,