…for ANY significant move by the Boston Bruins this summer.
Wait, why the hell are we talking about the Bruins in August?
The Red Sox are done…and we’ve covered them more than enough based on that fact alone. The Celtics have done absolutely nothing of note since we last wrote about them about a month ago. We chatted about the Patriots last week, but what more is to say about a team one week into the preseason schedule? Nothing. Well, Danny Etling just got released. Guess he isn’t the next Julian Edelman. Whatever…
And if you want me to comment on Tom Brady’s contract “extension” then you came to the wrong place. Go hit the local radio airwaves if you want non-stop chatter about that. Who cares if he is selling his house? Furthermore, do people realize that going into next season Brady will be 43 YEARS OLD?!
Listen, the guy is a legend and likely the greatest NFL player of all time. But if you are asking me to worry about a 43-year-old QB, you came to the wrong place. I love the guy as much as anyone. But we really don’t know how much he has left. He could plummet as soon as this year. After all, Bill Belichick has seemingly “loaded up” on the running game, defense and has like 10 mediocre (ie: “blocking”) tight ends in camp now. Oh, and not many receivers either. Looks like he may be thinking ahead about Brady regressing, no?
In any event, SHOULDN’T you go “year to year” with a guy like that? Yup. And if he is pissed, well, I am sorry. He could’ve battled the Pats harder over the years to get more money if that is the underlying issue. And maybe he absolutely should have. But since he didn’t, why are we talking about it now?
Some of the greats finished their careers on other teams. Maybe Brady does too. I really don’t think he will be going anywhere. Highly doubt it. But I am not sure the topic is even worth discussing at this point. Let’s see how this season plays out at age 42 and then take it from there.
Ugh…I know, I just got caught up in it…
As for the B’s…well, despite the run to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals last season, as far as I am concerned, there is a great reason to be well, concerned.
I will tell you. Did you think otherwise??!!
Here’s the first reason(s): Maxime Lagace, Brendan Gaunce, Brett Ritchie, Par Lindholm, Pavel Shen…
These guys are the free agents brought in by the team since the start of the signing period.
You may be like, “well, they only lost Noel Acciari (replaceable) and Marcus Johansson (oft-injured and expensive)”, so they are basically bringing the whole team back that came within a game of winning the whole thing!”
And I will retort, “it was a huge f’ng mistake to bring back basically the entire team after actual championships for the 2019 Boston Red Sox and 2012 Boston Bruins, did we forget?? Complacency, fatigue, all that crap??”
But that isn’t even the biggest issue.
The B’s still have 2 kind of huge restricted free agents sitting out there in Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo.
Ok, nevermind. The re-signing of Steven Kampfer and Connor Clifton should offset that.
HAHAHAHAHAHA…just kidding my friends!!
I’m still not even sure why they re-signed Kampfer. To a TWO year deal, to boot. Assuming the two aforementioned d-men come back in the fold, Kampfer will then be at least the eighth defenseman. Well, I guess ninth, now that they re-signed Clifton too? Then they have some kids in Providence that seem to be on the cusp of the NHL, such as Urho Vaakanainen? Maybe Jeremy Lauzon too, but perhaps not Jakub Zboril…
I don’t get it.
Maybe that means they are dangling some of the “top seven”? McAvoy, I would doubt. Carlo too. No one wants John Moore’s contract. Or Kevan Millar’s injury history. Someone would take Zdeno Chara, despite his age, but he is going nowhere. Matty Grzelcyk? Sure. But what happens if Torey Krug leaves after the upcoming season as a free agent? Gryz may be a natural replacement…and far cheaper.
Trade Krug before he walks away for nothing? Something I would strongly consider. But all indications are that the team has no interest in that. And Krug wants to be here. So maybe he signs a “team-friendly” extension at some point.
There are a lot of capable D-men signed. And let’s face it, Carlo and McAvoy will eventually sign as well. Their options seem to be kind of limited. I just read where Chaz can’t even sign an offer sheet with anyone. Had no idea about that. In any event, it’s nice to have depth. But 10-11 deep? I don’t know. And please don’t give me, “well they used 12 defensemen last year…” That has to be an aberration. Plus, Urho and Zboril only played 2 games apiece, so really it was 10.
All that being said, they can keep all these D-men if they want. It won’t hurt them, no question.
In net, expect a regression from Tuukka Rask. Bet on it. But at least he and Jaroslav Halak should form a pretty good one-two punch in goal…at least for the regular season.
Me? This would appear to be a GREAT time to trade Tuuks (would be even better if the Bruins won the Cup, but alas…). But we already know that ain’t happening.
Forwards? Ugh…this is where the issues lie.
As noted above, the B’s signed a bunch of 4th liners/Providence type dudes. Not scintillating to any degree.
Oh, and they made sure they gave Danton Heinen 2.8 per for the next 2 years. Why? You got me. They love the guy though. I guess he plays awesome defense. Because he is less than mediocre on offense. At least last year he was…and he got some run on the Patrice Bergeron/Brad Marchand line. Not good.
So we still have that Bergy/Marchy/David Pastrnak line. All well and good.
But here we go with the second line issues again. David Krejci centering Jake DeBrusk and…who? I guess the leader in the clubhouse would have to be Karson Kuhlman. Kid showed some flashes. But are we ready to anoint him?
I think we can assume Charlie Coyle and Danton Heinen make up 2/3 of the 3rd line. With Sean Kuraly, Chris Wagner and Joakim Nordstrom starting out as the 4th line. In my eyes anyway.
So who gets that last spot on the third line?
Would you believe David Backes and his 6 mil per year are still around? I am absolutely astonished at this fact. He should have been bought out the first day that was possible. At this point, is a buyout still even an option? The front office has led us to believe that he will not be bought out. Why is this?
So Backes HAS to get that spot, no? What, are they going to waive him (of course he will clear) and send him to Providence? Healthy scratch every night? No and no.
This absolutely pains me. I understand that General Manager Don Sweeney probably doesn’t want to eat 3 mil the next two years against the cap (half of Backes’ salary, which is what I think would be the case on the buyout…but maybe I’m wrong). And I get it, as they already have a smidge over 3 mil in dead cap money for the upcoming season tied to former greats Matt Beleskey and Dennis Seidenberg. Actually, Seids was pretty good. I just thought this wording was smooth! And Beleskey did suck badly. Anyway…
Then all these other guys apparently are out of luck. Ritchie, Lindholm, Shen, Anders Bjork, Peter Cehlarik, Trent Frederic, blah, blah, blah…I guess we don’t really care unless Bjork or Cehlarik or a guy like Jake Studnicka (a new “name” that has picked up some steam recently) can, you know, actually play.
I don’t know man…I would have loved to have seen a little turnover in the forward group. A little more turnover overall actually. There is limited cap room to sign McAvoy and Carlo. Not only should Backes be gone, but one would figure there would be other trades to free up room.
But nothing…yet. And I don’t feel like that other proverbial “shoe to drop” is going to happen. I was absolutely convinced it would in June. Doesn’t seem that way now.
It has been eerily quiet over there, however. Does that mean that this could be a calm before the storm? I truly do not think so. But something has to give with those two D-men needing to re-up.
There is still some offseason left. I won’t completely lambaste the front office at this point. But it’s clear I am leaning that way.
Hope I’m wrong. Goes without saying, I guess…
…lots to catch up on here, let’s start with the Thursday Night Football game and then dive right in:
Miami at Baltimore (-3.5)
The Dolphins are 4-2 despite scoring only 92 points in 6 games. They will be going with their backup QB in Matt Moore. However, Moore may actually be better than the starter, that fraud named Jay Cutler. Speaking of frauds…Joe Flacco everyone! Neither team really excites me this year. Therefore, take the points.
Miami 21, Baltimore 17.
Week (against the spread): 9-6
Week (straight up): 10-5
Season (against the spread): 50-56
Season (straight up): 64-42
Now for the rest of the Boston sports world, in no particular order:
*John Farrell is gone as the manager of the Boston Red Sox. We have known that for a bit. And everyone on God’s Green Earth knows how I feel about Farrell. So no need to expound on any of those thoughts here. Good riddance. Buffoonery at every angle.
But…Alex Cora? Count me among the unimpressed. Just six years removed from the game, but more importantly, he has no managerial experience whatsoever? Yeah, I’ve heard he managed the Puerto Rican team in the World Baseball Classic. But who cares about that? He was (is) a bench coach for the Houston Astros. Doesn’t excite me either.
People are raving about him. Maybe he has great people skills. And actually can manage. More importantly, maybe he can straighten out those morons in the clubhouse. But…how do we really know?
He actually played here from 2006-2008. Does that help? Perhaps a little. He knows what the demands are here in Boston. Looks like the only player on this roster he actually played with was Dustin Pedroia…and Pedroia took his job. People describe Pedey and Cora as close. But I swear I remember Cora being pissed Pedroia took his job. I don’t know, maybe Cora can also play 2b this upcoming season until Pedroia comes back…as we learned Wednesday that Dustin had knee surgery that will keep him out around seven months. If the other options are Brock Holt, Deven Marrero and Tzu-Wei Lin, then why not? I know, there is a whole offseason to find a better temporary 2b option. But some local jamoke writer actually proposed those three clowns as legit (and probable) options.
Let’s also look at the hiring process. The only three guys General Manager Dave Dombrowski thought of interviewing were Cora, Ron Gardenhire and Brad Ausmus? THESE guys were the cream of the crop? YIKES!
Dombrowski has some work to do on the actual roster and most certainly the clubhouse. Let’s also see who Cora surrounds himself with on his staff. But this hiring reminds me of a somewhat similar one for the Sox back in 1992. A hire that a former college hallmate termed a “franchise manager”. They had to go get him before someone else swooped him up. Yup…Butch Hobson. Ugh…
*The Celtics obviously took a big hit with the Gordon Hayward injury. Just over five minutes into the season he goes down for the year…what a kick to the junk.
But you know what? They’ll still be up there fighting for the top seed in the East. Cleveland will probably treat the regular season as an extended preseason, similar to what they did last year. There are other competitive teams in the East. I suppose Milwaukee, Washington and Toronto will be in the upper tier. But not unbeatable, even without Gordo.
Look, with only 4 of the 16 players on the roster carrying over from last year, there was going to be an adjustment period anyway. I don’t think anyone thought the C’s were going to win the NBA Finals this year with full health. Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum appear to have a world of talent (though I am not getting too high about their performance against the lowly Knicks on Tuesday). But let’s remember they are 21 and 19 years old, respectively. In fact, 7 of the 16 players are rookies, though admittedly most of those are on the back-end of the roster.
It’s a long season and anything can happen. Barring any other unforeseen major injury, I’m still excited about watching this team develop.
*I don’t believe Jae Crowder intentionally tried to injure Hayward. But he certainly had a hair across his arse in the opener. Al Horford got all worked up at him at one point. Don’t see Al react like that much. Anyway Jae, let it go dude.
*Brown certainly looks like a different player this season. I know summer league means squat. But I did watch some of the games there. Judging by how Jaylen has come out in the regular season thus far, I would have expected him to dominate the summer league. And he was pretty unimpressive there, in my opinion.
In any event, for a guy with his talent, he seems to have a lack of touch around the rim. Seems like he could have added several layups to this years’ total already. But I shouldn’t complain. He sure looks a hell of a lot better taking outside shots than he did last year. Keep improving his finishes around the rim and of course the free throws and the sky COULD be the limit.
*I have no idea if guys like Abdel Nader, Semi Ojeleye, Guerschon Yabusele, Daniel Theis or Jabari Bird can actually play in the NBA. But I can for damn sure tell you one thing: I’d rather give those guys a shot than have carried over the likes of Jonas Jerebko, Gerald Green, Tyler Zeller and Amir Johnson into this year. We KNOW what those guys can do…and it’s not much. Let’s see if any of these kids can develop into something. While playing 9th to 13th man minutes.
I’m intrigued mostly by Theis, to be honest. Now, I don’t want him playing 30 minutes a game. But I’d like to see him get a consistent 10-15 minutes a night to see what’s there. Listed at 6’9″, as a center, if he can add to the mix as a rebounder, that would be a tremendous help of course. Especially considering the fact how horrid the Celtics were in that department last year.
*Last, but not least, the Boston Bruins. This could be a looooong year, my friends. But you know what? I think I am ok with it.
Say what? Think about it. These guys are not championship timber, by any stretch of the imagination. Not even a player or two away. There has been an influx of young players this year. Started a little bit last year, but you can really see it now. There are apparently more to come. Don Sweeney has been talking about this for years and we MAY be starting to see the “fruits of his labor”.
We have given Donnie Hockey a little bit of a beating the last couple of years, but if this was the plan all along, and Cam Neely (also taking a beating) and ownership have been on board with it…and of course if it eventually WORKS…then the B’s could be set up for years to come. All the while remaining at least competitive during the transition years.
There is a long way to go, but in this young season we have seen glimpses. We’ve also been horrified at some of the play. But with young players and inexperience, that comes with the territory. If the future is truly bright, then can’t we deal with the ups and downs for a little longer?
*Let’s break it down a little further. If the lines this year when everyone is healthy are…
…doesn’t that give you a little hope? Specifically looking at Bjork and DeBrusk hopping right into the top six forward mix. As well as Carlo and McAvoy making some noise on defense in their 2nd and 1st year, respectively. Of course it would help if these guys really can play…and by all accounts they can. It would also help if Vatrano and Spooner took their heads right out of their arses as well. But you could always sprinkle in a Timmy Schaller…or a kid such as Danton Heinen or Austin Czarnik or I guess this Kenny Agostino dude they just brought up. Or…
Of course, I’d rather still have Colin Miller over Kevan Miller. Or ANYONE remaining from the Tyler Seguin trade (or someone who could play anyway…meaning…not Jimmy Hayes). But if some of the other dudes eventually make it as well…Zach Senyshyn, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, Matt Grzelcyk, Rob O’Gara, Jakub Zboril, Jeremy Lauzon…we could be looking at a solid young core for years to come. We shall see…
*Lastly, I will also tell you, I would keep the kids coming. As the trading deadline approaches and the Bruins likely at the bottom of the playoff seedings, or even slightly out of them, I would work to shop some of the vets and implement more kids. Not everyone, mind you. But a few.
First off, they couldn’t necessarily trade ALL the vets anyway. Most of the higher paid ones of course have no movement clauses, thanks to former GM Peter Chiarelli…and a little by Sweens himself.
Who would I look to deal? Tuukka Rask, top of the list. You just don’t need a 7 million dollar a year goalie. Especially for a team in transition. He has a modified no-trade. The door is open. Zdeno Chara has had a nice career in Boston. But he’s heading toward 41 years old. And they are still throwing him out there for about 25 minutes a game…in OCTOBER! Stop the insanity! Give those minutes to someone else. Z has a no-move, but maybe see if he will waive it to go to a contender. I’ve heard people around here saying that they wouldn’t mind if Chara signed on for another 2 years after this year. Once again, STOP THE INSANITY. You still may be actually able to get something decent for him too.
Others? Krug for sure. 3 more years at 5.25 for a defenseman that is truly an offensive specialist. Has some no movement protection starting next year. Move him before that goes into effect. Backes? Makes 6 mil for the next 4 years with a lot of no-move protection. Likely untradeable. Krejci? I’d love to see him on the above line. But injuries seem to be taking control of him. And yes, no-move protections of course.
Just see what’s out there for some of those guys. Can’t hurt. Oh yeah, it’s time to just buy Matt Beleskey out. That ship has sailed. Actually, that ship sailed long ago…
Another week, another league trading deadline. The NHL’s is Wednesday at 3:00 pm. So we ask the same question: Will the Bruins do anything?
Kind of a different situation for them than the Celtics. Where everyone under the sun wanted the C’s to make moves, even a minor one, I am not sure anyone wants the Bruins to make a move at all.
For a couple of reasons:
- The team is 7-1 under “interim” head coach Bruce Cassidy. Why would you mess with any momentum now?
- This team does not seem like Stanley Cup Championship timber, so why trade prospects and/or picks for what would probably amount to just rental players for this playoff push?
You can count the Blowhard among the second group. The team has certainly been playing better under Cassidy. The momentum is nice. But if you have a chance to improve your team, especially for a long Cup run, you absolutely have to do it. So I think that the people who fall under the first group shouldn’t really get hung up on any positive momentum swing. A team could lose that momentum in a hurry. Then you are just left with the same players that were fairly average before the coaching change. Probably not ideal.
The fact remains that this team is not winning a Stanley Cup this year. Not even with adding one, two or three players at the deadline. Sure, any goalie can get hot and then a team can roll during playoff season. Can’t say that hasn’t happened before. But honestly, even with the new coach and his record, does this team give you any sense they can go on a run like that?
The Bruins waited faaaaaar too long to fire Claude Julien. That much is absolutely true and we all know that. Maybe if they did it around New Year’s, we would be talking about adding players for a Cup run. Maybe this streak under Cassidy is just an aberration and an expected uptick in effort and results in the immediate aftermath of a coaching change. But perhaps an earlier Julien dismissal would have sparked an earlier run and the Bruins wouldn’t have dug themselves as deep a hole that they did.
Ok, maybe “dug themselves a big hole” is a little hyperbole. They are 7th in the conference as we speak, which puts them in the playoffs. But Toronto, the Islanders and other teams behind them are lingering around with about 20 games left. Pretty tight group at the edge of the playoff race.
So what if they are lulled into this false sense that they can make a run in the playoffs, go out and bring some guys in and then don’t actually make the cut? Yeah…remember last year? Lee Stempniak and John-Michael Liles in two separate deals for 4 picks and a minor leaguer combined? Yuck! Then not making the playoffs to top it off?
It’s simply not worth it.
So does that make the Bruins sellers? Not necessarily.
Guys like Ryan Spooner, David Krejci, Colin Miller and even Jimmy Hayes have been a little revitalized with Claude’s departure. So if perhaps these guys were on the block beforehand as talented veterans that may be available, maybe they aren’t anymore. Sure, if someone took Hayes off your hands, it wouldn’t necessarily be a big loss. Same is true for Matt Beleskey, Tim Schaller, Liles, Dominic Moore, Riley Nash and dudes of that ilk.
But no one is taking Beleskey’s contract. Maybe not even Hayes’. The rest of those players listed and their types aren’t going to really get you much in return. Also, you could have a worse fourth line than Schaller/Moore/Nash. So there is really no sense in dealing them. Plus, if they do make the playoffs, Liles isn’t horrible as a 7th D-man. Nor Beleskey as a 13th forward. May as well ride this thing out for the most part.
The one interesting case involves the Captain, Zdeno Chara. I personally don’t move him, unless someone absolutely blows the Bruins away. I still believe that the Bruins defense still needs significant work going forward. Another reason why I don’t see a long Cup run in their immediate future. The defense has played pretty well since Cassidy took over. And we don’t have to even mention that they seem more involved offensively. But that doesn’t mean all their defensive problems have been solved. My opinion anyway…
But as for Big Z, he’s obviously not the same dominant player we have known here for years. Maybe he’s not even a first pairing guy anymore. He’s 39 years old, what do you expect?! Sadly, however, he is still at this very point in time probably the Bruins best pure D-man. And his cap hit for next year is a very reasonable 4 million. It makes a lot of sense to keep him around and help bring the youngsters like Brandon Carlo and Colin Miller along. Maybe Rob O’Gara is here next year. Possibly Matt Grzelcyk. Perhaps…Charlie McAvoy? I’d rather have Z here working with them and not Kevan Miller and/or Adam McQuaid (shaking my head and acknowledging that those two may be here as well anyway).
If someone opens the vault, he’s gone. But I am not sure any team does that.
If Donnie Hockey is smart, he sits this trading deadline out altogether. But when have any of us called Sweeney smart recently?