Gotta give some love to the Northeast Division. Today, a little foreplay with the Boston Bruins.
- The Bruins have made it out of the first playoff round once in the last 12 seasons. The last time they were in the Conference Finals, Kevin Stevens was the league's second leading scorer.
- P.J. Axelsson is the longest tenured Bruin, as this will be his 10th season in a Boston uniform.
- [Insert obligatory joke about how bad the Southeast Division is] The Southeast's new slogan; 'We're not just Carolina and Tampa Bay!'
- For the price of $250, "Blades, the Bruins mascot [a giant bear] will arrive in the Bruins Hummer for a one-hour appearance".
- For $650, Blades will fight a Leprechaun with a broom.*
Odds for the folks at gambler's anonymous
12 to 1: Blades defeats the Leprechaun by TKO.
3 to 1: Blades wins by threatening to maul the judges.
4 to 1: Manny Fernandez will realize that Boston isn't all that much better than Minnesota. In fact, it might just be worse. That is, if Fernandez enjoys winning hockey games.
50 to 1: Zdeno Chara finally acknowledges that he's been lying on the scouting report his entire career. He's not actually 6'9", but is really a midget on stilts.
Obligatory serious analysis
A few weeks back, I rated the Bruins as the fourth biggest losers of the off season up to that point. That position still stands, as the team hasn't made any significant improvement since that piece was written. The Bs did a face lift of off-ice personnel this summer, firing head coach Dave Lewis and letting go some of their front office staff. Claude Julien was brought in to replace Lewis, and that's probably for the better. Julien did coach the Devils into a playoff spot and helped in their winning of the Atlantic Division title before Lou Lamoriello pulled the plug on him and took all the credit. He's certainly an upgrade over Lewis. Not doubt about that.
The problem in Boston is that the on-ice product hasn't improved much. The team did acquire Manny Fernandez, which brings an end to their goaltending woes. Fernandez should be a solid performer for the Bs this season, but the problem with his acquisition was the subsequent loss of youngster Hannu Toivonen. The Bruins received center Carl Soderberg from St. Louis in exchange for Toivonen, and Greg Wynshenski was not too keen on the trade. He went so far as to say that "Bruins fans may want to mark down July 23, 2007 as yet another date that could live on in Bostonian hockey infamy."
No matter what happens down the road, the Bruins net will be secure for the present. That's great and all, but is that what you really want with a somewhat young, below average team? The Bruins won't be a factor in the East this season, so they might as well have kept Toivonen and gone with the youth movement in net for another year.
The only other addition that the Bruins have to flaunt is the signing of free agent Shawn Thornton from Anaheim. Thornton had 9 points in 48 games last season for Anaheim, as he split time between the NHL and AHL's Portland Pirates. The B's didn't lose any significant players, but their inability to add big names is what will hurt them this season. Aside from Thornton (who may likely be a non-factor) and Fernandez, they are essentially returning with the same lineup that finished 13th in the East last season. Yes, they have a new (and better) coach. That's not going to cut it in an Eastern Conference where almost every cellar team improved in leaps and bounds.
Prediction: Hold on to your hats, folks. I'm going to put the knife in 'em and say the Bruins will finish dead last in the East this season. Everyone in the conference save for the Islanders has either significantly improved or was already better than Boston. It's going to be a long year.
The best looking ice girls in Boston
As far as I can tell, the Bruins don't actually have any ice girls. I'm not entirely sure if anyone in Boston even cares about the Bs anymore, either. So, to try and make this as little of a stretch as possible, as you probably know, Jennifer Garner is a fan of that other team in Boston that everybody does care about, the Red Sox.
Previous Editions of Preseason Foreplay
- Atlanta Thrashers - August 15th
- Chicago Blackhawks - August 24th
- Columbus Blue Jackets - August 22nd
- Dallas Stars - August 13th
- Florida Panthers - August 26th
- New Jersey Devils - August 19th
- Phoenix Coyotes - August 14th
- Tampa Bay Lightning - August 18th
* - probably not actually endorsed by the Bruins. Maybe, but it's not likely.