Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Regular readers have probably already figured this out, but here's the post that makes it official.

I'm stepping away from this blog for a while, for a number of reasons. They include:
- This takes a lot of time to maintain, and I don't really have it right now.
- I never made a red cent off of blogging, so there's no $$$ incentive for it to linger.
- Writing about hockey feels like a job, and I already have one of those.

They do NOT include:
- Me falling off the Bruins bandwagon... I'm a lifetime member!
- Dissatisfaction with the blog itself, or the response I've had from many great folks in the hockey community.
- Any kind of decision not to return in the future.

For now the site will sit static, for the sake of keeping the archives open to anyone who stumbles across them. The "Star Wars" preview from May is still getting regular traffic, which is kinda cool. If you want to get in touch, simply reply to this post and there's a good chance the notification system will still be able to reach me.

Happy trails, everyone, and thanks for your support over the past couple of years.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Derek Morris through five games

As the Bruins close out their rare season-opening homestand with a meek 2-3 record, this week is sure to be rife with speculation and contrived finger-pointing. What better time to check in on that $3.3 million investment in Derek Morris... you know, the one that prevented the Kessel negotiations from getting off the ground...

Time on ice
Time on ice per game: 23:10, second behind Chara
PP time on ice per game: 5:06, second behind Savard
SH time on ice per game: 2:52, third behind Chara and Wideman

Clearly, Morris has had ample opportunity to make an impact on the ice. He has been paired mostly with Chara, arguably the best defensive partner in the league.

Offensive production
Goals: None.
Assists: 2. Both of Morris' assists were secondary, both were on the power play, and both were scored in the 7-2 rout of struggling Carolina.
Shots: 4. All shots came from a distance of at least 48 feet.

Hits: 7. This puts him in a tie for 129th leaguewide, along with guys like Saku Koivu and Alex Kovalev.
Plus/Minus: A team-worst -4. He's also -1 on special teams, though these numbers don't count in his official +/-.

PIM: 8. Two minors and a double-minor. It was Morris' slashing penalty that led to Colorado's tie-breaking goal.
Giveaways: 3, tied for most on the team.
Takeaways: 1.

$3.3 million per season, in case you forgot.

Of course there are a lot of Bruins whose numbers look bad right now, but Morris has clearly not had a smooth landing in Boston. If he can't turn it around, this contract could end up being an albatross for Peter Chiarelli.

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Friday, October 9, 2009

As long as we're throwing money around...

How about a major contract extension for Shawn Thornton?

Shots taken in 2009-10
Bruins: 92
Thornton: 11
Krejci: 7
Lucic: 2

Goals scored in 2009-10
Bruins: 9
Thornton: 1
Krejci: 0
Lucic: 0

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What's wrong with Tim Thomas?

Absolutely nothing, that's what.

The media are already beginning to pick up on the too-easy storyline that Thomas is stumbling in the face of his Vezina trophy and bloated contract. He didn't look great in an opening-night loss to Washington, and was lit up for 6 goals last night against the Ducks. Clearly, they conclude, he's due for a letdown season.

This happens with pretty much every goalie who achieves some measure of success, and in some cases (*cough*Theodore*cough*) the scrutiny is warranted. But in this case the lens should be focussed on a soft, passive defensive corps which seems to miss the grit and tenacity of Aaron Ward and Shane Hnidy.

What matters most for Boston is that Thomas is still playing like a man desperate to extend his NHL career. He made big saves against Anaheim while the game was still a close contest. He became more active handling the puck when it was clear his teammates couldn't handle the Ducks' aggressive forecheck.

Saturday night we should expect wunderkind Tuukka Rask to face the Islanders, marking his first appearance as full-time backup. If he plays well, the media are going to declare a "goalie controversy". But our attention should instead be squarely on Matt Hunwick, who really will be playing to convice Claude Julien of his worth. If Hunwick continues to be bullied by opposing forwards, look for Julien to bench him in favor of the stouter Johnny Boychuck.

That change alone might solve Thomas' struggles.

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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

On Tobacco Road

I'm now fully landed in the Triangle area of North Carolina, just down the bend from the home of those red-clad bastards who bounced the Bruins last April. Regular posting will resume soon.

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Whatever happened to Brock Bradford?

Great find by Matt Porter:

Brock Bradford was drafted by the Bruins in the seventh round of the 2005 entry draft. After becoming Bruins property, he played at Boston College for four years where he peaked at 25 goals (in 37 games) as a senior. Hockeysfuture.com pegged him as a decent prospect with a probable future in the AHL.

If you've been wondering whatever happened to him, here's your answer.

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Bruins could trade for Kovalchuk

[ed: Within moments of posting this, I came across Joe Haggerty's article for WEEI, also asserting that the Bruins should pursue Kovalchuk before the trade deadline.]

Following on yesterday's post, let's look at some plausible scenarios in which the Bruins might be in a position to make a major trade this season.

Each of these would require Peter Chiarelli to make two "setup" moves:
1) Buy out the contract of Patrice Bergeron, reducing his cap hit to $1.5m.
2) Replace him as third-line center with a youngster, such as Sobotka or Hammill, or acquire a veteran in the range of $1m.
The overall effect would be to end up with a cap cushion of roughly $4m.

Given the above, any of the following could be offered at the trade deadline:

To ATL for Ilya Kovalchuk ($6.3m)
Chuck Kobasew ($2.3m) OR Michael Ryder ($4.0m)
AND first-round picks in 2010, 2011 and 2012

To COL for Milan Hedjuk ($3.9m)
Brad Marchand ($821k) OR Byron Bitz ($687k)
AND Toronto's first-round pick in 2010

To TBL for Martin St. Louis ($5.25m)

D Adam McQuaid OR D Jeff Penner
AND First-round picks in 2010 and 2011, possibly return Tampa's second-round pick in 2010

In any of these scenarios, Boston would come out of the deal with a fast, scoring winger for the top line. In return, they would give up quality players and prospects -- but without creating a weak spot in the active roster or in the upcoming drafts or in the prospect pipeline. The loss of Bergeron would be relatively easy to cover, considering Boston's depth at the center position, and an elite winger would more than compensate for the loss of Ryder or Kobasew.

Bottom line: If Chiarelli can clear a bit of cap space, he can easily compete for free-agents-to-be without cutting deeply into the prospect pool. Given that the Bruins are going to be a top contender for the Cup, it would be crazy for him not to position himself for a major trade this season.

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