|Five stats on the Bruins through five games||10.17.11 at 6:28 pm ET|
Five games into last season, one could hardly tell the Bruins were going to be Stanley Cup champions, but a couple of things were apparent. For starters, it was clear that Tim Thomas was capable of playing at a high level again after his offseason hip surgery, and it seemed that Nathan Horton had it in him to play some big games for the B’s.
Now five games into this season, there are a few things that are apparent about this team, though injuries to the likes of David Krejci and Adam McQuaid have made it tough to effectively gauge some things.
The Bruins started off the season in a 1-3-0 funk, but may be coming out of it after their 3-2 shootout victory over the Blackhawks Saturday in Chicago. Up next is a four-game home stand with the Hurricanes, Maple Leafs, Sharks and Canadiens coming to town.
“I feel we’re turning the corner here,” coach Claude Julien said Monday of the team after five games. “I liked our game in Chicago, the way we progressed through tut the day. Today in practice we seemed to have a much better pace. Hopefully that’s a good sign of us turning the corner.”
Here are five quick stats on the Bruins through five games, with a look at last season as well.
1. Tyler Seguin leads the Bruins with five points, which is a little less than a quarter of his 22 points from all of last season. He also leads the team with a plus-3 rating and has 16 shots on goal, good for tops amongst forwards and second only to defenseman Dennis Seidenberg.
2. Last season, Horton led the team with seven points through five games. This season, he has a goal and an assist through five contests, struggling mightily in the first few games of the season before seemingly finding himself of late. Bottom-six forwards Gregory Campbell, Chris Kelly and Jordan Caron (who has only played in three games) are the only Bruins’ forwards with less than his five shots on goal.
3. Thomas has won two and lost two this season, allowing eight goals in four games. Five games into last season, Thomas had allowed three goals in four games, and had won all four of his starts. He picked up his first shutout in the second game of the 2010-11 season and went on to have two more by the end of the month.
4. Bruins were 4-for-19 on the power play through five games last season. This season, they are 1-for-21, as they have not scored on the man advantage since Brad Marchand scored on the team’s first power play of the season.
5. Seidenberg leads the B’s in ice time with an average of 25:26 a night yet also has a minus-2 rating that is tied for worst on the team. Further proof that plus-minus rarely tells the whole story.
|Struggles aside, Bruins remember Tomas Kaberle fondly||10.11.11 at 11:40 pm ET|
When the Bruins play the Hurricanes Wednesday night in Carolina, they will play against a member of the 2010-11 champions for the first time, and perhaps no one fell victim to the harsh Boston spotlight more Tomas Kaberle.
Kaberle, for whom the Bruins traded former 16th overall pick Joe Colborne, a first-round pick and a second-rounder to the Maple Leafs, came to the Bruins on Feb. 18 of last season with big expectations. The veteran blueliner was popular amongst his teammates, but struggled in his stint with the Bruins, failing to improve a wretched power play, hesitating to shoot and proving to be a liability in his own zone. When his contract expired the Bruins told him to test the waters, and he ended up taking a three-year deal worth $12.75 million with the Hurricanes.
“I don’t know if the pressure bothered him. I mean, he played in Toronto, where there’s tons of pressure,” Dennis Seidenberg said. “He felt like it was the best situation for him to go to Carolina, and he got a good deal, so it’s good for him.”
Kaberle had averaged upwards of 22 minutes per night in his career with the Maple Leafs, but he saw his ice time with the Bruins cut down significantly as time went on. Things looked their worst in the Eastern Conference finals, when he committed costly turnovers and ended up playing what at the time was a career-low (injuries excluded) of 11:35 in Game 4 against the Lightning. He played better in the Stanley Cup finals, but in Game 7 set a new career-low with 9:14 of ice time.
“It’s never good if you see a player that’s been so successful in the past to struggle a little bit, but he was really good,” Seidenberg said. “He knew how to handle himself, and you would never knew how he was doing on the ice with the way he acted in the locker room with us. He’s just a great guy.”
Though he will be on the other team Wednesday, Seidenberg admitted Tuesday that the members of last season’s historic Bruins team will always remember one another fondly.
“I think even if we didn’t win the Cup, Tomas is just a really nice guy, and good to hang out with and a great team guy,” Seidenberg said. “Winning the Cup with him definitely makes it a little more special. Down the road, it’s going to be nice to exchange stories and talk about.”
This season, Kaberle is playing on the Hurricanes’ top power play unit. He has no points and is a minus-3 for the Hurricanes, who are 0-2-1 through three games.
For all that’s been said about the “Stanley Cup hangover,” it’s hard to imagine it being any easier with the team parading the trophy around every chance it gets. That isn’t a criticism, but a mere stating of facts. It’s the most coveted trophy in sports, and when a team gets it, that team has every right to have as many celebrations and put it on display as it wants. The Bruins earned it.
But it’s three games into the season, and the Bruins have as many Gillette Stadium appearances as they do victories. After opening the season with three games at home (1-2-0) the Bruins are finally on the road as they get set to play the Hurricanes Wednesday and the Blackhawks Saturday. The Bruins have no problem with all the hoopla they’ve experienced at home, but now it’s time to win hockey games.
“It will be nice to get away for a bit and just kind of be by ourselves. We can get back to being a team, working on our chemistry a bit and get away from trying to put a show on for all our fans and all the Cup ceremonies and whatnot,” forward Brad Marchand said Tuesday. “Hopefully we’ll just be able to go away, get back to focusing on playing hockey and hopefully get a couple wins.”
Defenseman Dennis Seidenberg, who started the last two season with teams playng in the Premier Games in Europe, admitted Tuesday that the open to this season has been unlike any he’d experience before given all of the celebrations and ceremonies. Those are in the past now, which he and his teammates should embrace.
“The whole celebration with the first game, and the second game we got introduced again, that’s a little different,” Seidenberg said. “I guess it’s nice, but you just want to play your game and focus on the task at hand. That’s what we can do now.”
|Dennis Seidenberg brings Stanley Cup to Atlantic City||08.10.11 at 8:38 pm ET|
The gamble the Bruins took when they loaded their two best defenseman onto an unstoppable top pairing in the postseason paid off, and on Tuesday one member of that pairing took the Stanley Cup where gambling is the norm.
Dennis Seidenberg, who was among the Bruins’ biggest contributors throughout their run, took the trophy to Atlantic City, where fans took pictures of it and the 30-year-old held a private cocktail party with what NHL.com said was “about 100 friends and family.”
Here’s a video from Caesars Palace, courtesy of NHL.com:
And here’s a picture sent our way from Caesars Entertainment:
|Bruins year in review: Unsung hero||06.24.11 at 3:45 am ET|
Each day this week, WEEI.com will be taking a look back at the Bruins’ historic 2010-11 Stanley Cup Championship season. So far, we’ve looked at the goal of the year, fight of the year, save of the year and top rookie. Up today is the Bruins’ rookie of the year, a no-brainer for anyone who followed the championship season.
Andrew Ference: 70 GP, 3 G, 12 A, 15 P, +22 (regular season)
25 GP, 4 G, 6 A, 10 P
‘He’s been very, very consistent, if not the most consistent defenseman we’ve had all season. He’s been solid every time he’s been on the ice. He never gives up any soft goals. He’s been unbelievable for us, and a real workhorse.’
– Dennis Seidenberg, May 19
There was no questioning who the Bruins’ most important player was during their Stanley Cup run, as Tim Thomas was outstanding for the B’s. Next on the list of key performers would probably be either Zdeno Chara or Dennis Seidenberg, as those two formed the shutdown pair that nobody could beat.
Yet while all of the praise rightfully went to the goaltender and the No. 1 pairing, Andrew Ference was continuing his solid season that saw him earn every dime of his $2.25 million cap hit.
Ference was never Chara-like, nor did he have to log the type of minutes Seidenberg did, but at the end of the day, what Ference brought was something the Bruins needed. It was hard to say with confidence going into the season who the Bruins’ No. 3 defenseman was, and just how good he’d be. Ference answered that by staying healthy (for the most part) and giving the Bruins a splendid No. 3 D man.
Were there low points with Ference? Absolutely. The game-winning play for the Canucks in overtime of Game 2 started with Ference, and him flipping off the Montreal crowd was an avoidable headache. At the end of the day, Ference was huge for the B’s, even if he didn’t get credit for it.
|Bruins year in review: Goal of the year||06.20.11 at 12:52 am ET|
Each day this week, WEEI.com will be taking a look back at the Bruins’ historic 2010-11 Stanley Cup Championship season. We start it off by looking at the goal of the year.
GOAL OF THE YEAR
Dennis Seidenberg, Dec. 2 vs. Tampa Bay
“I know he tried to do it more than once this year. That time it just worked. With Smith in there, I know he likes to play the puck, so he kind of faked him out.”
Dennis Seidenberg might be best known for making up one half of the Bruins’ impenetrable top defensive pairing in the playoffs, but teaming with Zdeno Chara was not the only way in which he left his mark on the Bruins’ championship season.
With the Bruins holding a 1-0 lead over the Lightning in the first period back in early December, Michael Ryder gave the puck to Seidenberg in the neutral zone. With just over 20 seconds left in the period, Seidenberg gained the red line and lowered his shoulder as he released the puck, seemingly into the corner. Given that he was going through all the motions of a dump-in (even David Krejci appeared ready to chase the puck toward the corner), Lightning goalie Mike Smith left his net to retrieve it.
The only problem was that Seidenberg was pulling hockey’s version of the hidden-ball trick. Despite throwing his shoulder as though he was dumping it in, Seidenberg fired a wrist shot on net. The puck reached Smith’s net just as he was leaving it, producing just about the most entertaining play that could come from such a routine scenario. The goal was Seidenberg’s first of the season. The B’s would go on to win the game, 8-1, and Smith would be yanked early in the third period.
For Smith, it was a lapse that only a goalie keen on handling the puck could make, and it’s one of the more embarrassing snafus a netminder could encounter. Seidenberg simply took advantage of the situation, and the game eventually got out of hand.
Did this goal have the pizazz of Tyler Seguin‘s first career goal in Prague or mean anywhere near what either of Nathan Horton‘s Game 7 gems? Not even close. Yet Seidenberg’s goal in that December blowout of the Lightning flashed a great combination of hockey smarts, guts and good ol’ fashioned trickery.
HONORABLE MENTION: Tyler Seguin Oct. 10 vs. Phoenix, Nathan Horton Game 7 vs. Montreal, Tyler Seguin Game 1 vs. Tampa Bay
|Plain and simple: Bruins win the Stanley Cup||06.15.11 at 10:45 pm ET|
VANCOUVER — The Stanley Cup never entered TD Garden when the Canucks had a chance to win it on Monday. Now, it’s safe to say it will be in plain sight in Boston for quite some time.
The Bruins knocked off the Canucks, 4-0, in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals Wednesday night to win the Cup for the first time since 1972 and take the trophy for the sixth time in franchise history.
It was only fitting that the longest tenured Bruin, Patrice Bergeron, sure-fire Conn Smythe winner Tim Thomas and top rookie Brad Marchand stole the show in Vancouver in providing Boston with the most coveted trophy in all of sports.
Both Bergeron and Marchand had a pair of goals on the night, factoring for all of the Bruins’ tallies. Marchand’s second was an empty-netter with just over two minutes remaining.
Bergeron opened the scoring for the Bruins at 14:37 of first period, taking a pass from Marchand in the slot and sending the puck past a pair of Canucks skaters and just past Roberto Luongo‘s right leg.
The goal marked one bookend of a telling issue for the Bruins, as they did not record another shot on Luongo until 7:40 into the second period. Marchand had another superb opportunity in that span, though he saw his backhanded bid in front of Luongo go off the crossbar.
Despite the lack of work provided for Luongo, Marchand made his presence felt by beating the Vancouver netminder on a wraparound at 12:13. The rookie finished the postseason with 11 goals, and the B’s won all nine games in which he scored.
If it’s possible for a dagger to come in the second period, Bergeron provided it with a shorthanded goal on a breakaway late in the period. The play was reviewed to determine whether Bergeron punched the puck into the net, though the goal stood, and so too did the Bruins’ lead.
Thomas’ performance capped a remarkable series for the anticipated Vezina winner, as he allowed just eight goals over the entire series and set the record for most games in a Stanley Cup finals series. His shutout was his fourth of the postseason and second of the finals.
Though first period yielded the Bruins’ first goal, though it was not the most encouraging 20 minutes. The B’s managed only five shots on goal, with the fourth line of Gregory Campbell between Shawn Thornton and Daniel Paille. The line’s tireless work and aggression stood out for the Bruins, with each member getting a shot on Luongo. By the end of the period, the line had contributed 60 percent of the team’s shots on goal.
An injury scare occurred for the Bruins early on as well, as a hit from Chris Higgins at the blue line in the first period left captain Zdeno Chara down on the ice for a few moments. Chara got up and returned to the bench without any further issues.
The Canucks came out of the gate much stronger than the Bruins, and had quality opportunities throughout the night despite the Bruins’ attempts to push the play to the side. Vancouver’s best opportunity came a little over nine minutes into the second, when Chara was attempting to send the puck up the boards in his own zone, only to see the puck deflect off of Henrik Sedin and in front of the net to Alexandre Burrows. The controversial Vancouver winger had an empty net to work with, but Chara made up for his own miscue by getting in position to save the puck for Thomas.
A few odds and ends from the game:
– Dennis Seidenberg is now the second German to win the Stanley Cup, joining Uwe Krupp (1996).
– Both Henrik and Daniel Sedin were on the ice for the first three Bruins’ goals. Henrik was one of the players in front when Bergeron’s shot went past him on its way to Luongo on the first goal.
– The Canucks’ power play finished the Stanley Cup finals just 2-for-31.
– Tyler Seguin has gone from No. 2 overall pick to Stanley Cup champion in less than a year.
– Of the four major sports, the Patriots now have the longest Boston championship drought, as they las won the Super Bowl in February of 2005.
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