Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Bruins vs. Leafs: Stuff To Look Out For

The Bruins limp into Toronto tonight for their final pre-AllStar matchup.

Injury (non)update: All the usual suspects are still out of the lineup (Kessel, Lucic, Bergeron, Ference, Ward) and to the best of my knowledge the AHL callups are still the same (St. Pierre, Bitz, Lashoff, Nokelainen, Sobotka).

updating the update: Julien says that Ward actually will be playing tonight, since the Bruins need to get things turned around ASAP.

News out of Toronto is that Mike Van Ryn will miss the game with his continuing concussion problems (Bruins fans can sympathize) and the Leafs will also be without D Jeff Finger and LW Jeremy Williams.

Wakeup calls in the East: I don't think we have to worry about the Bruins looking past this game, considering the nature of their loss to the Blues on Monday. That cluster**** stings a little less since both the Caps and Habs were upset yesterday (by the Sens and Thrashers, respectively), thereby giving the Bruins an opportunity to actually widen their lead on the East by week's end.

Death Watch: Last Wednesday I issued an ultimatum to the Leafs -- win 4 more games in January or be moved to the "dead" list for the rest of the season. Since then they've got one win (Hurricanes), one loss (Hurricanes) and one OT loss (Thrashers). They have 4 games left in January -- the Bruins, followed by road games in Minny and Denver, and a home game against the Pens. The watch continues...

The Barilkosphere: The Leafs blogging community is probably the best in the NHL, in part because they have the coolest nickname. What pre-2004 Red Sox fans were to baseball, Leafs fans are to hockey. Losing sucks, but it sucks more when you don't care. Leafs fans, for all their bitterness and backhanded fandom, care enough to turn the whole situation on its head.

A sampling of today's Barilkosphere, with scattered pre-game items:
Down Goes Brown
Cox Bloc
Pension Plan Puppets
Just Your Usual General Borschevsky
The Wonderful World of Loser Domi
Die Hard Blue and White

Since this is the 4th meeting between these teams this season, there's not much more to say about the matchup. Here are some more links to make up the difference:

Interchangeable Parts says the Bruins are this season's "Tranny Gentleman Caller"... it's a higher compliment than it sounds.

From The Rink points out that Wideman and Chara have been the two most-productive defensemen in the league over the past 30 days.

Fluto reports that Patrice Bergeron is staying home rather than make the trip to Toronto.

The Bear Cave has a very thorough game preview.

Hub Hockey gives us the rundown of Bruins who will participate in the SuperDooperSkillz Competion. Z is the defending champ in the hardest-shot contest, but I think Savvy's got the best chance at a victory this season. If he can put a blind pass on the trailing winger's tape at full speed against a defense, he should be pretty good at nailing stationary targets.

Stanley Cup of Chowder interviews CHL ref Tom Steinel, including a direct question about the controversial high-stick review on the Blues' tying goal.

The Bastard is back.

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