Monthly Archives: April 2010

An optimistic eulogy

Well, the time has come – round 1 has ended, eight teams will move on, including four of the Original 6 teams, including the BRUINS, which is nothing if not incredibly sexy. Bruins-Flyers is going to be a teeth-shedding bone-breaking messpile, and I can’t wait. OLD TIME HOCKEY.

Unfortunately, the one team I enjoy who is not an original 6 didn’t make it – the Phoenix Coyotes. I’m not a bandwagoner by any means; that being said, living out west lent itself nicely to me adopting the Coyotes as a second team. They’re chippy and adorable and they never give up, and I fell for that. Somehow, I managed to see them play three times this season; here is a little timeline of my Yotes experience. Muchas gracias to this team for giving me an entertaining time!
9/23/09
The moment I might have fallen – vs. TBL in Loveland, CO
I found out about this preseason game before I even moved to the west. Got super excited originally because Matt Lashoff and Martins Karsums, former P-Bruins, were in the TBL system and would probably play, and sort of excited for the Coyotes because a friend of mine was keeping tabs on Sami Lepisto. The reason this game was played here? The Colorado Eagles, who inhabit the Bud Events Arena in Loveland, began an affiliation with the Lightning this season. Hey, NHL hockey 15 minutes from my house (Denver was an hour)? I wasn’t complaining!

Crap-tastic photo from the game.

Coyotes won in a shootout (which I guess set the tone for their season!) and afterward, my friend and I were the ONLY TWO to go around back to the player entrance to meet both teams! Vinny Lecavalier and Marty St. Louis were entertaining, but the moment that made my night was when Bryz signed my program and Prucha came barrelling out of the player entrance juggling two slices of pizza and a diet coke. I sort of just went like OH MAN WHO IS THIS KID and my friend, a Rangers fan, was just like PRUUUUUUU.
And I met Sami. So there you go.
Coyotes 4 Lightning 3 (SO)

10/17/09
Do not wear a black jersey in the desert or you will die – vs. BOS in Glendale
Colorado was depressing and I was homesick so at the beginning of October to counter it I looked up the absolute closest game Boston would play to where I lived. It turned out to be the Coyotes, two weeks later. So on a whim I bought myself glass seats behind the Bruins’ bench and booked it for Phoenix on Friday night after the Bruins vs. Stars game ended. Left at 10PM Friday for a 7PM Saturday game. Fifteen hours of driving through deserts and Indian reservations (where I got the best huevos rancheros wrap I have EVER EVER EVER had) later (and one Dunkin Donuts stop, another thing Colorado lacked)

New Mexico, circa 7am.

I finally made it dying of exhaustion by 3PM, when I was supposed to meet up with Coyotes tailgaters! Now, first of all, I was tired and FORGOT ABOUT THE TIME CHANGE. Um, yeah, it was actually 2PM. Second of all, the tailgate blew my MIND. I had never tailgated before for any sport! We don’t really do that in Boston. I had my Thomas jersey on and nearly died of heat exhaustion (it was 95 degrees out) but managed to enjoy my margarita and walk around Jobing.com to search for other Bruins fans (I FOUND SOME IT WAS AWESOME).

My favorite line, which got broken up on my way home - Kobasew got traded to Minnesota when I was right north of Santa Fe with a fresh cup of Dunks.

Regardless of the fact that my team lost, I couldn’t hate; Coyotes fans are endearing and desperate and they HOWL for their goals and they won 4-1. I left a little bit enchanted with the concept of hockey in the desert: so unnatural but somehow so wonderful.
Coyotes 4 Bruins 1

10/17/09
In which I entertain Shane Doan – vs. COL in Denver

Bryyyyzzzzzzzz!

I wish I could have gotten a photo of Doanface laughing at this sign, because he did. I held it up on the Coyotes end during warmups, wore my Jets shirt (closest thing I had!) and he kept pointing over while he was standing next to Lang, I believe? And laughing. Not sure if Bryz even saw it, but it was worth it to see happy Captain Doan. And……I snuck down to sit behind the coyotes bench during the game! Scandalous.

PRUUUUUU!

They lost this game but I also got to meet @yotesgurl at this game, which was epic. I’m a sucker for cheering for the away team, which was also a bonus!
Coyotes 1 Avalanche 4

So in conclusion: Prague? Prague. Yes. Let’s do it. It’s gonna be a long offseason but it’ll be worth it in October, desert dogs!

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Round 1 hangover

Looch: Blocks shots like a boss.

Well, it’s the day after game 6, and Boston as a collective fanbase is exhausted in the best way possible.

Just as no one expects the Spanish Inquisition or Chara’s stickhandling, in no way, shape or form did most people expect the Bruins to rock the Sabres in 6 games in round 1. With a young corps of defensemen in the absence of Seidenberg and Stuart, it was up to Tuukka Rask and the forwards to find some hidden gear within themselves, some fire and will to win that maybe borderline wasn’t there during the regular season.

It’s said that playoff hockey is an entirely different beast. And, okay. Last year the Bruins went in as the #1 seed; expectations were high, of course, the Bruins had swept the season series against the Canadiens, so a playoff sweep, while amazing, wasn’t entirely unexpected. This year was the ultimate flipside; a Bruins/Sabres series, a season series that had been basically split between the two teams. Anything could happen, and doubts ran rampant. Who would be the better goaltender between the two whose stats had basically been identical throughout the season? Whose PK would prevail, two of the best in the league? Whose special teams would be most effective, as that would most likely be where a good deal of goals would be scored?

Playoff hockey is a different beast. Suddenly through six games the Bruins are six for 22 on the powerplay. That’s a jump from 16.3% effectiveness in the regular season to 27.3% in the playoffs, and although six games isn’t the biggest sample size, it’s still incredibly inpressive.

These players, these Bruins who lost ten straight games in the regular season, they’ve been infected with something. Hope. Determination. Defiance. Underdog grit. Whatever you want to call it. It’s playoffs. It’s the reason Johnny Boychuk’s hits are even more impressive than they were in the regular season. It’s the reason Vladimir Sobotka’s getting increased ice time, and the reason Dennis Wideman is starting to connect, the reason David Krejci has begun to score, and maybe most impressively, it’s the reason Blake freaking Wheeler is starting to use his 6 foot 5 inch, 210 lb frame to actually HIT people. The combination of hitting and his insane puck moving abilities may have only combined to get him a ridiculously failed open-net attempt last night, but it’s building up, it’s getting better.

Oh Looch, don't dump the goal-scorer on the ice, that's not polite.

Tuukka Rask is living up to the hype, improving during games instead of tiring out. Baby Adam McQuaid is keeping up with the play, making a name for himself, always in the scrums after the whistle. Michael Ryder’s picked it up, and what more can I say about Miro Satan that hasn’t already been said? It’s like the bear woke up in October, was sort of groggy for the whole season, and then someone annoyed him at the end of the season. He’s awake now, and he’s putting the fear of Boston into the NHL.

Marc Savard will be back for round 2. That means 3 or 4 days to work him back into the lineup. The big question now is who sits for Savvy? Thornton and Begin seem like automatic options, but are their intangibles actually necessary to the lineup? What about sitting Sturm, or Wheeler? (note: I am not advocating these things) Does it depend on whether we play the Penguins or the Flyers?

After tomorrow night, we’ll know who the Bruins will face. For now we’re in tiny limbo, and all that can be done right now is wait and hope….and cheer for the Coyotes!

Sami Lepisto, I'm not sure what you're doing here but please rock face tonight.

Do you know how hard it was for me to not just make this a giant party post of photos? No, self, that is what tumblr is for.

Sabres: slain. My love for Mike Grier has emerged unscathed. I hate Ryan Miller a little more now. But most importantly it was a hard-fought, well-won series. Round 2, here we come.

POST-ROUND READING:

Double-Edged Sabres: Good Morning Buffalo (a great recap from the other side)

The Good, the Bad, the Coyotes: We Made it 7 (just…read this whole blog. Funniest Coyotes blog out there.)

A PSA for Washington DC

Hey. Psst. Caps fan. Yeah, you. I see you creepin’. Come here, I have an idea for you.

Once upon a time, Montreal booed the USA national anthem during a Habs-Bruins game. The series then traveled to Boston. Did we follow suit and jeer during the Canadian anthem? Did we yell “LET’S GO BRUINS!” or sing some ungodly version of that stupid OLE song?

No. We stood, cheered, and sang along as Rene Rancourt belted out the lyrics to the anthem of America’s Fancy Hat. And then the Bruins kicked some Canadien butt.

Look, guys, we all know your team can handle the butt-kicking. We all saw the score of the game tonight; we know that Ovie, Backstrom, Laich and Crew should have no problem annihilating the Habs in the last two games of the series.

But HOW COOL WOULD IT BE if Washington DC welcomed Les Habitants with a rousing cheer for Canada’s anthem?

And if you don’t know the words but you want to sing along, just follow the example of the LA Kings’ anthem singer and look it up on your Blackberry. I’m sure somewhere Jim Balsillie is fist-pumping with glee.

Oh, and – just because this post can’t be all about the Habs and the Caps, since there was in fact another game 3 tonight…

DENNIS WIDEMAN: Throwing his own snakes since April 2010.

Game 4 is Wednesday.

Rask is on fire (2.01 GAA).

Boychuk and Sobotka have developed a taste for Buffalo. Mmm, delicious hits. Specifically, this one.

Playoffs, the playoffs what. GO BRUINS.

From the Vault: Totally Relevant

Cam Neely annihilates Lindy Ruff. I find this wildly appropriate.

My thoughts on the playoffs so far, in bullet-point form:

  • So, Mr. Vanek, you and your fans and I need to have a little chat, and I’ll keep it short. Do not whine about what you think is a “cheap shot” from Johnny Boychuk when you clearly boarded Blake Wheeler in game 1 and didn’t seem to find any fault with that. I’m sorry you got hurt, but man up and get back on the ice.
  • Tuukka Rask educates Sabres fans. Oh, and also he steals a game on Sabres ice.
  • Game two had 99 combined hits, with Mike Grier accounting for 15 of those. Vladimir Sobotka had 6 in the second period alone. This is awesome.
  • Around the league – I’m pulling pretty hard for the Coyotes (they’re just so ENDEARING) and the Blackhawks; if the two teams meet in a later round I’m not sure who I’ll cheer for. In the east, I have just about broken my brain trying to imagine possible matchups. The fact that every single game 1 was an upset was fantastic. BRANDON YIP’S FIRST PLAYOFF GOAL.  If somehow the Preds advance and the Avs do too, and I get a matchup between Colin Wilson and Brandon Yip….I might possibly die. In the East, I hope the Pens crash and burn, and the Caps, too – really primarily JUST to see how NBC will react to having neither of their powerhouse teams in the semifinals. Should be interesting. I am in no way cheering for the Habs, though. No Habs no.
  • Not playoffs-related, but the Terriers named Joe Pereira and Chris Connolly co-captains for 2010-2011, and Dave Warsofsky (American Hero) will wear the A. Congrats, boys. I expect you to rescue the Beanpot from the end of the B-line next year, thanks.

As of right now, the Coyotes lead the Red Wings 2-1 in their series, thanks to a 4-2 game today on goals from these two guys. Go 'Yotes go!

About eighty billion more hours of playoff hockey left today, epic game 3 at home tomorrow. Let’s do this. Go Bruins.

The farewell tour: Lowell Devils 6, P-Bruins 3

Last night was the last game of the season for a playoffs-eliminated Providence Bruins team. Watered down by the callups of Jeff Penner and Adam McQuaid, along with Andrew Bodnarchuk and Zach Hamill, Providence struggled to maintain an offensive presence and was outplayed by a more skilled Lowell squad.

Although this was a disappointing end to the P-Bruins’ season, the future looks bright, and next season promises to be a good one – a team stacked with talent on both the front and back ends. The only questionable factor is the goaltending; although Dany Sabourin has expressed interest in staying, it seems unlikely that he will be re-signed, and Kevin Regan’s injuries make his return a huge question. Will Providence go young, tapping into the talent of Michael Hutchinson and Matt Dalton? Or will they sign an experienced goaltender from elsewhere?

Only time will tell. For now, some highlights from last night’s game:

The PB's signed goalie Bryan Francis to back up Sabu for this game. Yes, he is really small. 5'4, in fact.

Levi Nelson draws smily-faces on his sticks. This is awesome.

Immediately post-goal

At some point, Joe Colborne's face spontaneously started bleeding.

Devin Timberlake makes a quick stop.

View the rest of the photos HERE! For reference, Max Sauve is #16, Joe Colborne is #22, Drew Larman is #11, Steve Kampfer is #5, and they make up the majority of the photos. Enjoy!

Get to know: Adam McQuaid

With his second NHL callup starting today, it’s time for Bruins fans to get familiar with a new-ish face: defenseman Adam McQuaid. Known for being a solid defensive defenseman, McQuaid has seen only 15 NHL games so far this year. Here’s a little primer on the 6’3, 23-year-old blueliner.

Adam McQuaid was born on October 12, 1986 in Cornwall, Prince Edward Island, which is right outside of Charlottetown, the provincial capital of PEI. The only two other PEI-born current NHLers are Steve Ott and Brad Richards; neither are from Charlottetown. The last NHL player originally from McQuaid’s hometown was Al MacAdam; considering that he spent his second-to-last season with the Minnesota North Stars, it’s no surprise that the city holds McQuaid in fairly high regard.

Cool things from PEI: Adam McQuaid and really pretty red sand beaches. Mmmm, iron oxide!

After playing major midget hockey with his hometown Cornwall Thunder of the PEIHA, McQuaid was selected in the third round of the 2003 OHL draft by the Sudbury Wolves, behind Marc Staal and Kyle Lamb. He played for two years, regularly playing paired with Marc Staal. The two were formidable, paired together; while Staal played more offensively-minded, McQuaid became known as “one of the better defensive-defensemen in the OHL.” After a season where he put up 19 points in 66 games, McQuaid was drafted by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the second round of the 2005 NHL entry draft, 55th overall. By comparison, Tuukka Rask was drafted 21st overall in the first round, Boston’s first round pick was the disappointing Matt Lashoff, Vladimir Sobotka went 106th overall in round 4, Jonathan Quick went 72nd, and Nashville’s Patric Hornqvist was picked last.

And Sidney Crosby went first, and Carey Price went fifth. Moving on.

55th pick overall! Not bad, McQuaid.

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Providence 3, Worcester 1

Where to even begin.

Over the last few days, it’s been well-documented by sources around the country that Joe Colborne was to arrive in Providence from Denver on Wednesday and begin training with the P-Bruins. Likewise, it was stated here on this blog that were Maxime Sauve to finish his season with Val d’Or in a timely manner, that he could be in Providence on a similar schedule. No one really mentioned Steve Kampfer, but as Michigan’s season drew to a close, it was assumed he’d head to Providence as well.

Brian Roloff was signed today. Devin Timberlake was signed several days ago. Colborne, Kampfer, and Sauve arrived prepared to play tonight. Providence is being flooded by new talent, and the kids have shown up in style.

In a 3-1 victory over Worcester, Sauve had two goals, both assisted by Colborne, and both coming on the powerplay. Another new face, Devin Timberlake (signed to a tryout contract before the last game) scored the third goal, assisted by Brian Roloff, the newcomer signed today from University of Vermont. Despite being outshot 49-26, the P-Bruins capitalized on their chances and leaned heavily on Dany Sabourin, who stood tall. The new kids are going to make Zach Hamill irrelevant, and indeed Hamill was a -1 on the night with only two shots on net.

The Colborne-to-Sauve connection is the P-Bruins’ new hotness, and if both of them stay in the AHL next year along with Caron, it’ll be safe to expect great things out of this club.

3 Stars:

1. Maxime Sauve
2. Dany Sabourin
3. Joe Colborne