Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bruins vs. Caps: Stuff To Look Out For

You seriously need me to tell you anything about this game that you don't already know?

#1 Bruins vs. #2 Caps: essentially a 2-game standings boost in favor of the winner.

Ovechkin vs. Thomas: Three days ago they combined to win the All-Star game shootout. Thomas stopped Ovechkin in the Elimination shootout, but AO8 won the trick-shot competition.

Here comes the cavalry: Patrice Bergeron, Milan Lucic and Andrew Ference are all back tonight. Other than rust, this should be pretty close to a full-strength game for the Bruins (who are still going to miss Kessel for a while). It's the closest thing to an even matchup that we've seen between these teams so far, as injuries were a major factor in the first two matchups.

Rask in the house: Manny Fernandez's "general soreness" is turning into "general unavailability", so Tuukka Rask is on the bench for the Bruins. If, for whatever reason, he ends up playing in this game it has the potential to be a watershed moment for the franchise.

Super sophomores: Nicklas Backstrom and David Krecji are probably the two best second-year players in the league at present. They might actually be matched up against each other, so keep an eye on that one.

Don't get attached: Kevin Paul Dupont reports that Chiarelli will be making at least a move or two before the trade deadline. Last season, that would have sounded like typical rumor-mongering by the press. This season, it's practically a stone-cold guarantee as the Bruins look prepared for a multi-round playoff run. The Bruins are practically obligated to ditch any remaining spare parts and make a try for firesale items (Nik Antropov's name has surfaced repeatedly).

The most important thing to watch: The absolutely amazing hockey that these teams are playing. Matchups this awesome are fairly rare in the regular season -- enjoy!

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The Bastahd said...

But can you really trust anything KPD reports? After all, this is the same guy who wants to mortgage the B's future to bring in Vinny. Certainly seems unwise to me. I don't mind giving up some spare parts for rental players but I also want to make sure we can keep the core of this team together in the coming years and that means having the cap space to sign Krejci, Kessel, Lucic and Wheeler (RFA '09 and '10)...

The Bastahd said...

Oh, and add Hunwick (RFA '09), Stuart and Rask (RFAs '10) to that list as well...

Bruins Buff said...

Nice breakdown. I just hope Chiarelli doesn't tear this team apart in some sort of blockbuster deal that'll have us shaking our heads.

A move for a veteran forward would be nice -- someone like Tkachuk or Recchi. Probably wouldn't cost us much.

Cool blog, btw. Check out mine sometime too!

Tom said...

IMO, the most important thing long-term is not to let any of the major RFAs escape. They'll be the core for a long time to come.

Having said that, I think we're too good this year not to try and make a deadline move. We've got guys like Sobotka and Noke who could be worth something to a rebuilding team, and will probably not have a big impact for us in the long run. If they can be parlayed into a depth defenseman or a penalty-killing winger, I say go for it.

Tom said...

@ BB - Nice blog! I'll add it to the roll on the next update. Good luck with it.