Well, never got to the summary of the B’s that I was planning. So since it is Opening Night, probably a good time to throw out a few comments on the past, present and future of the B’s. Without further adieu, and not in any specific order (though I will try to go “past to future”):
*What a ride to the Cup Finals last year, eh? Rough ending in Game 6 (which I attended…ugh), but still more than the average fan expected. Especially after almost choking against Toronto in Round 1, then engineering one of the more remarkable comebacks you will ever see. Hard to say if the Bruins were truly a “Cup-level” team last year, based on the crazy shortened schedule and the whole weird season, but they sure came up big when they needed to…up until the end, that is.
*8 year deal for Rask? For 7 per? Ummmm…too much for my taste. I like Rask, I just don’t love him. Think he’s a pretty good goalie, but not a great one. Played well in the playoffs last year, but don’t remember him “stealing” too many games. I hope I’m wrong. Truth be told, I don’t like spending a ton of dough for my goalie anyway, unless it is a Brodeur or a Roy in their prime. Would rather spend the money on skaters…specifically scorers and shutdown D-men. But that is me. What I might have investigated is letting him walk, going with a vet (Tim Thomas? Hahaha!) and Svedberg. And then maybe Svedberg and Subban or something. If the two kids are as good as people say they are, then why lock up Rask for 8 years? Then again, Evgeny Ryabchikov, Blaine Lacher and Andrew Raycroft were all highly touted kids, so maybe getting Rask tied up was the right move…and maybe with the core of this team intact, fresh off of two Finals appearances in three years, maybe the brass wanted stability in goal in the immediate future for another run or three. Can’t argue with that.
*Didn’t particularly care for the 8 year deal for Bergeron either. But for different reasons. The whole concussion deal really. Remember when they handed Savard a 7 year deal? What did he play, like a half a season after that? Gun shy, I am, I guess. Funny still seeing Savard’s name still listed on the Bruins roster though. No chance of him ever playing again. So I guess it’s not that funny, but you know what I mean. Anyway, I do understand Patrice’s deal, even if I don’t like the years. I don’t like that many years for anyone actually. But if you are going to do it, he’s one of the guys you would do it for. Great all-around player, great leader, long-time Bruin, still young enough to play it out, etc…
*Seguin trade. Still up in the air about this one. Tough to give up on a kid that has all the talent in the world, someone that has the potential to be a serious sniper. System-wise, it is perfect. Seguin seemingly would never fit in a Claude Julien system…and Claude ain’t going anywhere. Eriksson appears to be the better fit…but 7 years older. Losing Peverley was no big deal, he’s replaceable. The jury is out on the 3 other dudes the B’s got (Smith, Frasor and Morrow), but at least they are pretty young and seem to have some promise. But Seguin, on paper, is the most talented guy in the deal. Apparently the whispers about all the off ice shenanigans must be true. These things must have greased the skids out of town, in addition to the fit. Still wary about it though.
*Tough to say goodbye to a guy like Ference. True leader, solid presence on the blue line for several years, stand up guy it appeared. But with the 3 kids ready to go (Krug, Hamilton and Bartkowski) and the other vets under contract, have to admit with his deal up, it was time to move on. He didn’t exactly have the best year last year, though he played well (and hurt) during the playoffs. I was actually ok with Horton leaving as well. Thanks to him for his contributions, but if someone else was going to give him 7 years, see ya later. Iginla will be more than a capable replacement this year. And going forward, it may be time for some of these other kids that we keep hearing about (Spooner, Knight, Soderberg, Smith, Frasor, Caron, etc.) to get more of a look on a top line in the future.
*Speaking of the 3 kids on defense, surprised to see the news of the 4 year extension for Seidenberg today. I don’t mind the deal, but now they have locked in for a few years (though I am counting Krug’s and Bartkowski’s restricted free agent statuses after this year, since the B’s would probably match any offers if it got to that point…unless they were outrageous). If they have any other kids in Providence (not sure how high they are on guys like Tommy Cross and David Warsofsky, etc.), they will be blocked as well. Trades, injuries and all that can change things of course. But even right now, I don’t like one of the three sitting on the bench. Would think one of them could be sent to Providence to play big minutes instead of sitting in the press box…and maybe that will still happen. I know it is heresy, but I actually floated the idea of trading Chara after the Finals last year. Another year older, lot of mileage on the tires, B’s have some depth at D, huge cap charges until 2017-18…but everyone I floated the idea to scoffed at it. So maybe I’m the idiot. But I would have gauged interest among the league…never know. In the end though, probably good they still have him, for this year anyway. Le’s have him stop playing 28 minutes a game in the regular season however. Shouldn’t be necessary.
*Season outlook. Well, they are 1-0! It’ll be interesting to see how the new divisional alignments and playoff berths affect the league. It may have an effect on the Bruins. There are some decent teams in the division, including the Red Wings. That’s a little scary in and of itself. Never like the thought of seeing those guys. But most of the division will be tough. And the way they will do the playoff seedings in the conference this year may result in good teams not making the playoffs. But the B’s have a good core and some decent depth, so they will be in the mix, barring catastrophe. One big concern could be if Rask goes down. Not sure what Chad Johnson brings to the table, or even Svedberg for that matter. But there will be high hopes around Beantown, that much is for sure.