Sunday, December 31, 2006

Bruins out of tune in Music City

The Bruins continued their road trip last night and played Nashville at The Grand Ole Opry.
The B's were soundly defeated 5-0 despite outshooting The Preds 38-25.

Game Notes and General Observations:
- The Trapper had the night off after starting 150 games in a row and Torkelson got the nod in nets. He didn't play bad but he never played great either. I was looking for signs of if his confidence was there or not - he never showed that he wasn't confident by body language but if you look at his positioning he was deep in his net all night long. This may have been due to a loss of confidence or it just may have been because he hasn't played in forever and has to get a feel for the game again.
- The loss was not because of goaltending - you will never win a game by scoring zero goals.
- If I were Lewis I would bench Brad Stuart for one game to send a message. Let me explain: he was the D-man on a two on one last night and instead of staying in the middle and stopping the pass he cheated over towards the shooter and the pass got through for a goal. This is a minor hockey mistake and should not be seen in Professional Hockey - it should not be seen past pee wee. Defence takes the pass totally and goalie plays the puckman (shooter) all the way. If you played at any level you know this. I think Stuart is a great D-man but give him a one game sit down and tell the rest of the D that the next person who does this will get 2 games. Start doing this with all defensive mistakes and they will become less and less. This is just my opinion on how to get our D playing better and being accountable for their miscues.
- It has been rumored over the last two seasons that the Preds arena staff play Marty Robbins songs before a game in the vistors dressing room. Nothing like a couple of verses of "El Paso" to put a team asleep before a game. I always thought that this was just a rumor until The Bruins played there last night. Hint: next time they play there bring I-pods filled with rock and metal.
- Back to goaltending and I don't blame Hannu for last nights loss but I would like to see Timmy play in 95 % of the remaining games. He doesn't seem fatigued and plays better when he plays more. If he does start to tire give him a few practices off.

The Bruins next two games are against the pitiful Leafs whom we own this season. My prediction is 2 wins and out scoring them 11-3 in the 2 games combined.

Go Bruins Go !!!



Blogger Heather said...

However can Hannu get better and become the goalie he's been predicted to be if he were to spend 95% of the remaining games on the bench?

1:13 p.m., December 31, 2006  
Blogger neb said...

yes...hannu can get better riding the bench... here is how.. he is seeing nhl talent at practice daily. his confidence is not being hurt when he is handing water bottles over. at age 21 (i think) he has plenty of time to become the goalie of the future and put in his time maturing on the bench.

the rest of this team can not afford the mental harm that running hannu out there until he has developed into his expectations would cause. so if you stunt hannu's development by a year because you want to give the bergerons and kessels (and us fans) a taste of winning, well i say its worth it.

3:27 p.m., December 31, 2006  
Blogger number4bobbyorr said...

Regarding Stuart misplaying the 2 on 1: I think that's a sign of lack of faith in his goaltending. Both Hannu and the team have to believe in the goaltending, or we will see more of the same when he plays.

On a related note, you hear so much about how big Chara is and how he's a fitness freak, but I've also been really impressed with his technique and decision making. (Sure he makes mistakes from time to time--how many players don't?). In particular I noticed a few times lately that when he's had a 2 on 1, he calmly takes away the pass while sliding the player with the puck to the outside and getting *completely* out of Thomas's way. He makes it look so simple!

Lastly, I have been thinking about Kessel lately. I really think that the best thing for him and the future of the franchise would be to send him to Providence. Maybe even for the rest of the season. I know I sound like a cad saying that, but he needs some seasoning. Being the big fish in the little pond might be just the thing for him. So far he's averaged only 12 minutes per game, has 9 points in 27 starts, is plus/minus -8, and has won only 40% of his faceoffs. Simply increasing his ice time when he hasn't earned it would be a mistake for the team as a whole. On the other hand he is clearly improving (he had a huge shift in his last game, for instance, where he won a battle on the end boards and generated a good scoring chance).

So I'll also say this: I think PC and Lewis are both smart and classy, and if they believe he should stay in the NHL, then who am I to argue?

3:54 p.m., December 31, 2006  
Blogger TreeBob said...

Number4, about Kessel. I could agree with that, but i would suggest that he stays for at least 10 games so we can determine how he plays after his surgery. Remember we don't know how long he was playing with the pain and wether it had any effect on his play.

7:21 p.m., December 31, 2006  
Blogger Doobie said...

As much as I'd like to back Toivonen, I can't justify ice time when you continue to play poorly. And you especially can't do it when you've got a shot at making the playoffs. If anything, at this point, it might even make more sense to send him to Providence again and let him play every game.

5:09 a.m., January 01, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

However can Hannu get better and become the goalie he's been predicted to be if he were to spend 95% of the remaining games on the bench?

Right on the money. But some peoples doesn't undertsand that the future of the team, between the pipes,reside in Toivonen and Rask.

his confidence is not being hurt when he is handing water bottles over.

That's a very sorry comment. It is the first chapter of your " 101 " hockey book? What would happended to Thomas then? Thomas improved because he was playing; not handing water bottles ! You should reconsider that statement.

the rest of this team can not afford the mental harm that running hannu out there

Basically you said that,if Thomas is hurt,this team is doomed? Do you really think that Finley, Signalet or Sauve can do the job? If this team cannot play a good hockey game,with their backup between the pipes,they don't deserve to be in the playoffs. Good teams win in all kind of situations. Toivonen was victimized, Saturday, by a team meltdown. The same kind of meltdown Thomas suffered against Carolina.


9:13 a.m., January 01, 2007  
Blogger neb said...

actually - it would be nice if the future of the team was rask or hannu, but is not necessary.... if thomas is able to continue to play this solidly, then you can ride him for 2-5 years and work on the plan for 2010 and beyond (which could still include the youngsters in the system). granted it would be nice to have a backup that held is own but that is a luxury that many other teams would love to have as well... too many people have it in their mind that tim thomas is a great backup, he is proving that he just might be a franchise goalie.

right now if tt got hurt i believe this would force pc to make a move for a goalie...or you risk writing this season off to maturing as a team for next year (which i thought it might be to begin with)

thomas improved because the team started to play properly in front of him and he had years of maturity to understand that this was going to happen....

while toivonen may have "improved" if he had gotten the playing time that thomas did... thomas was the first to earn it and gain the trust of his teammates.

presently with thomas this team is looking like a 4-6 seed with the potential to upset for a round or two in the playoffs. without thomas - they are a 9 seed at best and should be giving kessel 20 minutes a game (develop while losing like pittsburg did with crosby).

so the question to fandom - develop the youth for the future and lose or try to win and balance development of your youth, even if it retards the youngsters growth.... it think its time we win a little for the health of the franchise. (here's hoping that timmy stays healthy!)

12:16 p.m., January 01, 2007  
Blogger jimbuff said...

one quick point: we ride Thomas for this season now as he is the hot one. I feel bad for Hannu but the "Big's" is not for developing players. He either has to ride the p[ine or develop in the minors for this season anyways.

1:23 p.m., January 01, 2007  
Blogger Doobie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5:31 p.m., January 01, 2007  
Blogger Doobie said...

Well, I know this is really overstating the obvious, but all we can worry about now is the present and the future will just have to wait (how's that for profound!).

At this point there's really no sense even playing Toivonen with the way he's been. Thomas is the best goalie the team has and they should ride him until he proves otherwise. You won't know his ceiling until he plays in the playoffs and that's not going to happen for another few months (assuming they make it). Once he performs there, it'll determine his future with the team. If he does well, he might just be around for the next three years or so. If not, look for the team to start making other plans.

6:47 p.m., January 01, 2007  
Blogger neb said...

doobie why do i have a feeling that you have already decided that if (when, this is after all a flawed team) the bruins fail in the playoffs it will have been thomas's "fault"?

7:07 p.m., January 01, 2007  
Blogger Doobie said...

Neb, I haven't "decided" anything. If the fault lies in the play of Thomas, then he needs to shoulder the blame.

However, right now this team's primary weakness lies in the inconsistent play of the defense and less than mediocre penalty kills. As I said earlier in the year, Thomas and Toivonen can only be expected to do so much. If the goalies are going to be placed in a lot of bad situations, then they need to be judged accordingly.

Right now Thomas has been up to the task, but the true test is going to be in the playoffs and how he handles the pressure.

Some people may think I'm being overly skeptical of Thomas, but the only criticisms I've ever had of Thomas has been his age & and relatively unknown abilities coming into this season, and whether or not he's the future of the team. No, he's NOT Hasek, but his play to this point has been an extremely pleasant surprise, but for the reasons I mentioned above, I'm going to have to see this level play over an extended period of time...and especially including the playoffs...before I'm convinced he's "the guy".

And I can almost guarantee that Chiarelli and company feel the same way...don't forget, this was a time share situation up until about two months ago. I can't image anyone in the front office being sold on Thomas being the future just yet.

8:35 p.m., January 01, 2007  
Blogger Sean Zandberg said...

Hey topic, but...3-1 Leafs late in the 2nd!!!! yeehaw!

8:36 p.m., January 01, 2007  
Blogger Sean Zandberg said...

Now it's 4-1 early in the 3rd! I'm such a spammer!

9:09 p.m., January 01, 2007  
Blogger TreeBob said...


I hate you Zan ;)

9:25 p.m., January 01, 2007  
Blogger number4bobbyorr said...

doobie said: "No, he's NOT Hasek, but his play to this point has been an extremely pleasant surprise, "

See, that's what I don't get about the Thomas doubter crowd. A pleasent surprise to whom? His success isn't at all a surprise to me because he won me over last year. Yeah, last year. You remember last year, right? In fact, I was only surprised when he stumbled a bit early on this season. I *knew* he had it in him to be a No. 1 goaltender. There was no question in my mind. I saw it last year. You combine his impressive play with the Bs with his extraordinary play in Providence, Finland, and his minor league record in general, and there should be little surpirse. What should surprise people is how this guy stayed off the NHL radar for so long. Was it his non-standard style? Did he sleep with some GM's wife? Beats me. That's something I don't get. But I'll trust seeing him play first hand over what some other organizations may have concluded many years ago. His record is actually very good, and he has shown marked improvement with each and every season.

"And I can almost guarantee that Chiarelli and company feel the same way..." sorry, but I'm not at all convinced you know what they think.

P.S. regarding the Leaf's game: one goal in two games? What's up with that? I knew it would come sooner or later, but I sure hope this isn't a long slide...

10:52 p.m., January 01, 2007  
Blogger Doobie said...

Number4 - From Kevin Dupont's article in the 12/25 Boston Globe:

Also put to rest has been the issue of finding a No. 1 goalie, a hunt that briefly had general manager Peter Chiarelli inquiring around the league for possible trades."

I find it hard to believe that in a two month period, a GM would go from scrambling to find a #1 goalie for this year to being convinced that one of their current options was not only the solution for this year, but for the future as well. That would be a serious leap of faith.

I believe that management has seen enough of Thomas to give him the reins for 2006/07 and going to take a wait and see approach for the future.

4:48 a.m., January 02, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe that management has seen enough of Thomas to give him the reins for 2006/07 and going to take a wait and see approach for the future.

I don't think so. Thomas stock is on the rise and if PC have a chance to pull the trigger for a quality #1, he will do it. Remember that, good as he was in the last few weeks, Thomas still have to play a full NHL season and prove that he can carry the load.


9:11 a.m., January 02, 2007  
Blogger number4bobbyorr said...

"Thomas stock is on the rise and if PC have a chance to pull the trigger for a quality #1, he will do it. Remember that, good as he was in the last few weeks, Thomas still have to play a full NHL season and prove that he can carry the load."

That would be certifiable insane. If PC gave up an inexpensive goaltender who has stolen games even when his defense is lacking for some other guy (I don't care who) I'd completely lose faith in him as a GM. Thankfully, as far as I can tell he's not an idiot.

We *have* a quality No. 1. Period.

11:21 a.m., January 02, 2007  
Blogger TreeBob said...

Tom: about the only thing I can agree with is the fact that Thomas' stock is on the rise. Thomas has without a doubt proven he is a number one goalie on this team and 3/4 of the other NHL teams. If you do a search for "Tim Thomas" in a thesaurus the alternate word would be "quality"!

On a side note I am currently driving home from holidays and will be back on my regular blogging sheduale in a couple days.

11:45 a.m., January 02, 2007  
Blogger jimbuff said...

I agree with number4bobbyorr's last comment toally. Timmy is the man right now and for PC to give up on him and trade him for anybody else who we do not know how he will play in this situation is insane.
Timmy has been our best player this season and probably will be for the next few season if we keep him. He is probably the 3rd or 4th best goalie in the league right now and for the money he is paid he is the best for the buck!!!!

12:05 p.m., January 02, 2007  
Blogger Doobie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12:34 p.m., January 02, 2007  
Blogger Doobie said...

If last year's Thornton trade taught me anything, it's that no one is untouchable when it comes to trades...although I probably first learned those lessons with Babe Ruth and Wayne Gretzky.

And not to throw more fuel onto this already sizable flame, but everyone does realize that Thomas is currently ranked 31st in the league in GAA and 20th in save %, right? That's for the whole season, not just from November on. I mean, he's been good, but compared to the rest of the league, he's been statistically subpar.

Regardless, I can't envision a scenario right now where the Bruins could realistically get a better goalie in a trade. Usually you might get lucky dealing with a team that's out of the playoffs looking to offload a big salary, but pretty much all the best goalies out there are on contenders.

12:41 p.m., January 02, 2007  
Blogger neb said...

doob... you can use that page to also look up that thomas is 10th in shots against and 10th in wins (only 6 behind ryan miller for league lead). with the lack of depth and time playing together from the players beyond the top ten on the roster, i think they are doing well...

7:54 p.m., January 02, 2007  
Blogger Doobie said...

I'll give you shots against, but I've always felt that "wins" was a questionable category in almost every sport.

To some extent it shows guile and character of the player, but it mostly shows the kind of team a person plays for. Go ask Nolan Ryan who was screwed out of dozens of wins while playing for bad teams in California and Houston in the 70's.

Personally, I'd rather have a goalie with a 2.11 GAA and a .932 SV% who tends to be on the losing side of a lot of 2-1 games than a goalie with a 3.23 GAA and a .890 SV% who gets a lot of wins because he plays on an offensive juggernaut.

8:22 p.m., January 02, 2007  
Blogger neb said...

i do not really believe in save percentage and goals against for just the reason you just gave.....

a team can do a lot to make a goalie look good by preventing qaulity chances. ill take a team with offense (in all four lines) and a goalie at 90 percent and 2.7 a game if we need to throw meaningless numbers around....


8:42 p.m., January 02, 2007  
Blogger jimbuff said...

A goalie is just a part of a team and like any other member individual stats are unimportant. The only thing that counts is winning. Grant Fuhr was a great example of this in his Edmonton days - never the best goalie statistically but got the wins - he made the saves when they were needed and counted.
In sports winning is everything not GAA or Save % - although sometimes they do coincide with winning but not always.
Doodie: did you just say you would rather a goalie with good stats but loses over a winning goalie? I am definitely on nebs side on this one.

9:48 p.m., January 02, 2007  
Blogger Doobie said...

From a stat perspective, wins are mostly arbitrary. If I'm going to judge two goalies side by side, I'm definitely going to give the advantage to someone with a significantly better SV% and GAA than to a guy who simply has more wins.

The stats themselves aren't an end-all definitive answer as to who's better, but the guy with better SV% and GAA is usually the better goalie because they reflect more of an individual performance level. More wins simply means your team scored more goals than the other team, more often. It doesn't matter if the score was 3-1, 5-4 or still counts as a win. Sure, some team team performance factors into the GAA and SV% (and moreso the GAA than the SV%), but not as much as wins.

You take them both off of their teams and put them elsewhere, the guy with the higher SV% and GAA will have a better chance of succeeding than the guy with simply more wins.

Buff - if Thomas or any other goalie on the Bruins starts consistently winning games 8-6, I'll still complain about the goaltending, but I'll try to tone it down a little. :)

11:22 p.m., January 02, 2007  
Blogger number4bobbyorr said...

What I believe is that any of these stats aren't as important as observing the whole. By that I mean, the sum of all the intangibles: does his play inspire others? Has he single handedly won games? Has he single handedly kept the team in it long enough for the rest of the team to come back to their senses and start playing again? Do his teammates have confidence in him?

From what I've seen both this season and last I'm convinced that on this scale his value is very high.

That reminds me (29 comments so lets keep it going :-) I read a thread somehwere the other day about who the best defenseman was in the east. Chara came up 3 or 4 for most people. But I started thinking this: what if you dropped those other defenseman who are supposed to be better into a spoked B at the start of the season? How well would they have fared? This guy has become the captain is short order, is expected to be a leader on and off the ice, is on the first power play and penalty killing unit, is expected to score and to screen the goalie, is out there for most 5 on 3's, and plays more than anyone else in the league. Looking at it that way, I'd say Chara's shoes would be rather big to fill indeed.

Man I'm glad he's a Bruin! Ditto for Thomas.

2:00 a.m., January 03, 2007  
Blogger jimbuff said...

number4bobbyorr I agree with you on Timmy.
As for Chara AGHHHH!!! 7.5 million for a big goof to give away the puck 6-7 times a game - come on. He is overpaid and the most overrated defenceman in the league - that said he is still the Bruins best D-man.
I am glad he is a Bruin but he is not the second coming of Orr like everyone seems to believe he is - he is just a good defenceman; nothing more, nothing less!

7:46 a.m., January 03, 2007  
Blogger neb said...

30th post!! did 4 just use chara and short in the same sentence?

(damn 31st post just notice buff slipped one in on me)

7:49 a.m., January 03, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fellows I just noticed all the comments here. Why don't some of you go over to Bruins Rumors and leave some comments? They don't seem to have much interest or traffic. Why not drop them a line and help them out.

7:53 a.m., January 03, 2007  
Blogger neb said...

lol 33!

12:26 p.m., January 03, 2007  
Blogger number4bobbyorr said...

"Why don't some of you go over to Bruins Rumors and leave some comments?"

Two reasons for me: I got tired of the childish, poorly considered rants that pass for blogging there. I mean, they just seem to want to yank my chain again and again. Matt's ok, but some of those other guys...

I also tired of up to 24 hours passing before my comments would appear.

From the lack comments there now I'd say others must have similar reasons.

1:23 p.m., January 03, 2007  
Blogger jimbuff said...

Do you think that number8petermcnab could be one of the boys at bruins rumors looking to get some traffic?
- maybe maybe not - just a thought.

2:19 p.m., January 03, 2007  
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