Monthly Archives: November 2009

Get to know: Johnny Boychuk

A little (okay, long) exchange on Twitter today enlightened me to the fact that the Bruins’ hard-working 7th defenseman, Johnny Boychuk, is not a commonly recognized name around the league. My ultimate dream would be to change that; although I know that probably won’t happen, here, at the very least, is a little primer and picture dump about the B’s extra man.

Johnny Boychuk was born January 19, 1984 in Edmonton, Alberta; his junior club was the Calgary Hitmen,  where he played from 2000-2003, including for the 4th place Canadian Under-18 team in 2002. He was drafted 61st overall by the Colorado Avalanche in the 2002 entry draft; for comparison, teammate Daniel Paille was drafted 20th overall that year, Dennis Wideman was drafted 241st in round 8, and the Bruins’ first round draft pick was Hannu Toivonen. 3rd from last to go in the 2002 draft? Adam Burish. Essentially: drafts are weird.

Boychuk went two spots after Tomas Fleischmann. 61st overall!

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I see what you did there

Did you know that if the playoffs started today, the Bruins would actually be in?

Yes, at this point in the season, a 12-8-5 would be good enough to score us a #4 seed. Here’s what the playoff brackets would look like:

1. Pittsburgh
2. Washington
3. New Jersey
4. Boston
5. Ottawa
6. Buffalo
7. There are like 10 teams tied for 7th right now

Who are the Bruins playing today? Ottawa. It’ll be fun to think about in terms of what we might see in April.

Additionally, with 25 games gone in the season and 29 points, with this record, the Bruins are on pace to get 97 points. This isn’t the stellar 106 we had last year, but it’s acceptable, and enough to get us a playoff spot for sure.

I’ve missed two games this week due to traveling in the back-country wilds of Wyoming, but from what I heard, the Wild game was crazy epic, but the Devils game was…a typical low-scoring Devils game, and that the Bruins woke up too late in the third to stage any sort of comeback. 2-1 SO loss. We’re still awful in the shootout. Our powerplay is 27th in the league, only converting 14% of chances to goals. But our penalty kill is 2nd, killing off 85% of other team’s chances. One is horrible, one is awesome; hopefully they even out a little as the season goes on.

The scary part comes when you start looking at goals. The Bruins have scored 56 goals in 25 games. Okay, you say. That’s a little over 2 goals per game; not too terrible. But look around the league. Carolina has the same record: 56 goals in 25 games. Nashville is the only team with fewer goals than Boston: 55 goals in 24 games. That could easily change.

The difference between a team like Carolina at the bottom of the bucket, or Toronto in a similar situation (yet with 66 goals in 24 games) and a team like Boston with a much better record is DEFENSE. But while it’s fantastic that we’ve clawed our way to 4th in the East with that small amount of goals – San Jose, the current league leader, is sitting pretty with 89 goals in 27 games. Washington? 85 in 25, sitting in 2nd in the east. The Bruins need to start producing goals, or they’re going to get to the playoffs and run into an epic roadblock, fancy defense or no.

For the record, Ottawa has 68 goals in 23 games.

Bring it on.

Getting Analytical: rookie goalies

So it occurred to me a while ago that this year there’s a seeming huge influx of rookie goalies, or goalies who’d logged fewer than 10 regular season NHL games. While some teams chose to go with two veteran goaltenders (See: the New York Islanders, New York Rangers, et. al), many teams have chosen to give the backup slot to a kid, a goaltender who hasn’t seen a lot of time. These teams are taking different approaches, as well; some are just throwing the newbie into a tandem spot, logging just as many games as the veteran they’re working with, and some are being more cautious, limiting their backup’s playing time, easing him in.

So let’s do a little analysis here on the four biggest rookies out of the gate in goal this season so far.

Name: Tuukka Rask
Age: 22
Height:  6’2″
Weight: 165
Team: Boston Bruins
Former Team: Providence Bruins
NHL games played so far this season: 8
Record: 5-2-1
GAA: 2.31
Fun Fact:  I mean, have you HEARD about MilkCrateGate? Come on.
Analysis: Rask is shining in a season where the Bruins were out two of their star players for the first quarter-season. The team has given him a little more than a third of the games so far – not overworking him in his rookie season, but definitely not coddling him either. He’s been a good solid backup for Tim Thomas and should continue to do so as the season goes on. Rask has also already logged two shutouts and his first NHL point, an assist against Buffalo on 11/20/09.

TUUKKA RASK

TUUKKAMANIA.

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Tea Time: Far From Home

This week was difficult Tea Time-wise, seeing as how I am on vacation in Montreal and therefore am in no mood to do anything but sit on my ass and make snarky comments about Canadian television.  And Sarah’s had a rough week too, in spite of the karma points she racked up from doing the Tea Time alone last week.

So we have Tea Time this week, but sadly it was done a few days ago, before a bunch of stuff happened that kind of changes what we talked about.  Oops.

It’s also a pretty short and awfully distracted one.

Okay, you know what?  It sucks.  Everything about it.  I don’t even know why I’m posting it.  I’m going to go hide under a rock for awhile.

Or maybe I’ll go spend some time in the hotel spa and forget about the lot of you.

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Tea Time: Purely Theoretical

So you all remember a few weeks ago, where I was technically dead due to stress and fail? Well this week it’s MHC’s turn, so she’s cashing in the solo teatime I owe her.

“Sweet,” I thought initially. “ULTIMATE POWER IS MINE! I can talk about the Bruins for 75% of this thing, the Patriots for 20%, mention the Red Sox in passing and then randomly insert the word Celtics in there somewhere, just for completeness’ sake.” (I hear they’re doing awesome this year, they at least deserve a mention, I guess.)

Unfortunately, it then occurred to me that I really do rely on MHC for most of my witty banter.

Well, there goes that idea. So this morning, as I was outlining what to write about, I had a lightbulb moment – we’re just going to do the same thing she did when I was absent, which is pull in outside sources! Don’t think of this so much as Tea Time, think of it as a struggly conversation around the crappy coffee machine at work. Yeah, you know the one I mean, the one where the coffee tastes like sawdust and the machine spills half the pot every day. We’re talking struggly, here.

Yeah, it's like that.

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