Pastrnak Trade? Slam The Panic Button

I consider myself to be a stand up guy. I follow the rules, keep my nose out of other people business. But my patience is constantly worn thin by one thing, the Boston Bruins. The only franchise in Boston that truly tests its fans dedication.

In the least surprising break in recent sports history. The Boston Bruins may very well be on the brink of trading yet another superb young talent for what I can only imagine to be pennies on the dollar. Which is more annoying than any one thing because I finally memorized the correct way to spell Pastrnak.

I mean why not? Their track record for such things since I’ve been alive has been stellar. Who could forget Joe Thornton for Marco Sturm, Wayne Primeau and Brad Stuart? Phil Kessel for two first round picks (Tyler Seguin/Dougie Hamilton) and a second round pick (Jared Knight). Dougie Hamilton was ousted for three picks because who the hell wants Freddie Hmailton on their team? Tyler ‘I like to party’ Seguin was later swapped for Loui Eriksson, Joe Morrow, Reilly Smith and Matt Fraser.

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To be perfectly fair, by the time you reach 21 years old your potential is practically maxed out and a trade is the only sensible solution. Which explains why Kessel and Seguin were traded when they were. Uncoincidentally that is how old Pastrnak is, so I guess this is the best thing for the franchise moving forward.

The cherry on top will be Don Sweeney’s in depth press conference post deal which will undoubtedly give extreme insight as to how contract talks went sour. How far off they were from the number/term Pasta desired. Why they picked the team they traded with (Colorado Avalanche), and how they will use the garbage they received (Gabriel Landeskog) to win 29 games.

Time to get irrationally upset.

Wake Up With Paul Postma On Your Mind

Typically when you think of guys like Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns, Kris Letang, and Zdeno Chara you think Norris Trophy, correct?

Well in 365 days you’ll be adding a new name to that illustrious list. Paul Edward Postma. Boston signed the former Winnipeg Jet to a one year contract yesterday and I couldn’t have been less shocked to hear it. In all honesty who would you rather have? You can keep Karl Alzner and Kevin Shattenkirk. I’m a-okay with Pauly.

I mean who wouldn’t salivate over a guy with concussion history?

B+ shot selection. Double F- on the celebration.

Still not impressed? Keep scrolling…

Joining the rush. Handcuffed by the pass, jukes to his forehand and launches a wicked wrister! Is that Bobby Orr? Paul Coffee? Hard to differentiate.

Also, that last video is from the preseason, it was harder than anticipated to find highlights of this guy.

82-0 season. Still lose in the first round. Postma wins the Norris, the world is upside down and backwards. So maybe the Habs will actually win a Stanley Cup in my lifetime. Probably not though.

Boston’s Options For Free Agent Frenzy Day

First of all happy 150th birthday to Canada.

Now that that is out of the way lets profile Kenny Agostino real quick. The former Blues prospect was the AHL player of the year last season. Scored in his Blues debut and now is going to be the next best thing in Boston. Signing him to a one year $850,000 deal is a good hockey move.

Showcasing his high cheese ability at the AHL’s skill competition last year.

Some people will look at this and say “4 for 7!? Ray Bourque went 4/4!!”. To which I say, listen up sally the only thing Kenny Agostino knows is bar Mexico, point to the rocket in the first row then skate to the bench. #CalderKenny is yet to unleash his skills, and opposing goalies *cough* Carey Price *cough* best beware.

Alright, so with it being the official opening of free agency a lot of speculation has been flying on who is going where. A quick glance over Bob McKenzie’s twitter account will show you that Boston hasn’t landed a single free agent I previously picked them for.

So. Boston will sign,

 

nobody.

You heard it here first.

 

 

Bye-Bye Jimmy

I’ll be the first to admit that there was a period of time in my life where I was blaming all the bad things I had going for me on Jimmy Hayes. Which in retrospect was just a poor way of distributing my problems on a third party.

So when it was announced at noon today that the Bruins cut Jimmy from their full time payroll I had an unfortunate epiphany. Now I have to take full responsibility for my actions, which to be frank seems a little unfair.

In all seriousness Jimmy Hayes was actually the bane of the Bruins existence from the moment he threw the sweater on for his first game. Standing a 6 feet 6 inches you’d think the former Boston College standout would just stand in front of the net as Chara and company pelted him with slap shots to make a living. However, this was not the case and as we’ve seen in the past when hometown kids come to play in Boston it doesn’t always workout.

Initially Hayes was brought along to bare the physical load left behind when Milan Lucic was traded to Los Angeles. With his size and frame most assumed it was a match made in heaven. Unfortunately for Hayes, when the dust settled on 2016-17 all we were left with was an uninspiring 2 goals, 3 assists and a -3 in 58 games of work. It can be argued that 8 minutes and 55 seconds of average ice time per game isn’t enough to make an impact on a game. You just can’t force what you can’t feel and apparently Bruce Cassidy/Don Sweeney would agree.

All in all the Bruins save 1.7 million dollars this season which will no doubt come in handy as free agency officially opens up tomorrow.

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Take this how you will.

Also Ryan Spooner is Jimmy Hayes’ immediate replacement for “player I’ll blame all my life’s problems on” from here on out.

Patrice Bergeron- Hockey’s Equivalent Of Jesus Christ

With all do respect to Ryan Kesler and Mikko Koivu whom were nominated for the NHL’s top defensive forward in 2016-17. Patrice Bergeron was far and away the best in that category all season long. Winning his fourth Selke Trophy in six attempts makes him the most responsible two way forward in nearly 40 years. Tying hockey hall of famer Bob Gainey, formally of the Montreal Canadiens as the only two players to ever win the trophy four times.

The 31 year old played 79 games for the Bruins this past season racking up 21 goals and 53 points. Attempting 1812 faceoffs and winning 744, that equates to a 60.1 winning percentage. Not to mention his corsi rating of 61.8, basically what that means is that whenever Bergeron was on the ice his team was in control of the puck 61.8% of the time. Kesler sported a corsi rating of 50.9%, Koivu’s was 50.1%.

Both Marchand (39) and Pastrnak (34) who regularly flanked Bergeron enjoyed career years in goals scored. That is no coincidence. Boston also qualified for the post season this year for the first time since 2014. Once the season had officially concluded Bergeron announced he had played the entire season with a sports hernia. Which would explain his sluggish start. But also underline the impressiveness of obtaining the honor.

Basically when the dust settles Patrice Bergeron is Jesus Christ reincarnated. Enjoy it while it lasts, you just witnessed history.

 

Face Of The Nation

100 years is a damn long time. When someone turns 100 years old Smuckers puts their picture on a bottle of their world famous jam. 100 years is ten terms of ten years, or two terms of 50 years. But that’s enough for the math lessons.

The point that should be hammered home is that a lot can happen in 100 years, obviously. So when Patrick Kane was awarded the Hart trophy as NHL MVP it came as a surprise to some that he was the first American born player to ever receive it. Back in 1917 the NHL held its inaugural season, I’m sure they imagined at some point an American would have his day as MVP. Well, it took a player of Kane’s caliber to get it done.

Aside from the fact that the league was shoving the expansion to Las Vegas down our throats at last nights NHL Awards it was also obvious that Kane also relished the moment.

America has produced plenty of notable players who have made it to the Hall of Fame. The first of which being Frank Brimsek in 1966. However, after him was a notable gap. 2009 saw Brett Hull and Brian Leetch get their names in Toronto, still that was a 46 year waiting period between players. Although it should be noted that since 2009 Americans have been honored almost annually. The fact remains is that Kane is unlike anything we’ve seen since Hull or Modano.

What separates Patrick Kane from the pack is the hardware. The former rookie of the year has won three Stanley Cups in 2010, 2013 and 2015. He was named playoff MVP in 2013 and last night at the NHL awards he took home the Hart as league MVP, the Art Ross for leading the league in points and finally the Ted Lindsay for being the most outstanding player in the regular season as voted on by his peers. He trailed Alex Ovechkin for the Rocket Richard trophy by just four goals. While his Blackhawks failed to defend their title, at just 27 years old the core of Kane, Toews, Keith, Seabrook and Panarin (who won rookie of the year last night as well) have plenty of potential titles on the horizon.

Clutch is his middle name, after all he scored the Stanley Cup winning goal in overtime of game 6 in 2010. 2013 he scored a hat trick in game 7 against the Los Angeles Kings to advance to the Cup Final. In 2015 he single handedly dismantled the defensive structure of the Tampa Bay Lightning that was Tailor-made to stop the Blackhawks organized attack. In doing so propelled his team to their third title in five years.

Brett Hull had an uncanny ability to get the puck off his stick in the blink of an eye. As quickly as it was on his stick it was off and it was as hard as anyone in the league. Mike Modano could take the puck from behind his own net, dance around your entire team and flat out embarrass your goaltender. Patrick Kane? He can do both of those things.

International glory however has eluded Kane. In two Olympic appearances (2010, 2014) representing his country he has only a silver medal. Which infamously came after losing to Canada in the 2010 gold medal game.

Its difficult if not flat out impossible to argue that Patrick Kane as of right now is the best American Born player to ever live. Accompanied by Jack Eichel and Auston Matthews the ‘big three’ for team USA in the future is a formidable one to say the very least. That is if the NHL will even be allowed to loan players for the Olympics come 2018.

One thing that remains without question is the influx of American players into the hall of fame is a direct result of the games popularity increasing over the last 30 years. Men like Kane, Eichel and soon to be Maple Leaf Auston Matthews are a direct result of that.

Regardless Kane is making a strong argument for himself to be viewed as one of the all time greats, nationality aside. At this rate you’ll be foolish to believe otherwise.

June 15th 2011

Believe it or not, half  a decade has passed since Zdeno Chara hoisted Lord Stanley emphatically over his head, in doing so he launched sports greatest trophy to another stratosphere. The phrase “get the duck boats ready” reverberates through my ears promptly every June 15th.

Just look at the contrasts in emotion between the guys on the ice and the mix between grief stricken Canucks fans and that one Bruin fan smacking the glass.

Christ, I miss Mark Recchi.

On a realistic level it doesn’t seem like it was five years ago whatsoever. To me, it was just yesterday that an un-recallable amount of friends and I were jammed into my basement filled with nervous optimism.

For Bruins fans this unexpected victory was so much sweeter when you factor in the mud they had been involuntarily dragged through for years. History will tell you that Boston has appeared in 19 Stanley Cup finals, emerging victorious only 6 times.

Excluding the 2013 loss because, it obviously hadn’t happened prior to 2011.

Recent losses include the upstart Flyers in 74, back to back finals to the Canadians in 77 and 78 and twice to the Oilers in 88 and 90.

While to this day watching Ray Bourque lift the Cup with Colorado never fails to bring a tear to my eye. Seriously if you don’t get the chills watching this, I’m convinced you aren’t a human being or you’re incapable of basic emotions. Take your pick.

As fantastic as it was to witness it first hand, it should of happened in Boston. But no cigar, so watching his greatest triumph as a member of Colorado was like watching your best friend kiss you sister.

Hockey’s gods didn’t take pity on the Bruins after the Avalanche helped Ray win his one and only title. Entering the early 2000’s they were good, but not anywhere near good enough. In 2003-04 they lost to the underdog Canadians after establishing a 3-1 series lead and again losing to Montreal four years later in game 7. 2009 saw Boston sweep Montreal, then lose to Carolina in 7. 2010 ended on the opposite side of one of histories greatest comebacks as the Flyers rebounded after trailing 3 games to 0.

Changes were desperately needed.

Trading for Nathan Horton and Greg Campbell and drafting Tyler Seguin 2nd overall (TBT). Boston got their face lift, but needed a few more pieces. Chris Kelly, Tomas Kaberle and Rich Peverley were necessary trade deadline additions.

With the roster solidified it was now time to make use of the changes.

Staring you directly in the face was the organization whom for years took it upon themselves to ensure playoff success wasn’t the norm in Boston.

You guessed it, the Montreal Canadians.

Unfamiliar with how it typically goes? Allow history to tell its story. No other team in NHL history has played one another in the Cup finals than these two, which is bound to change eventually.

Initially they squared off on December 8th 1924 since that date they have exchanged “pleasantries” 910 times. Montreal holds the playoff edge with 106 victories to Boston’s 71, similar story in the regular season. Montreal comes on top with 358 victories to Boston’s 265.

2011 was just another footnote in the novel that is one of sports greatest rivalry. For a truly jaw dropping 33rd time two of hockey’s most historically rich teams would battle for bragging rights.

Boston, statistically was the favorite. They won more games, had more points, were the higher seed and owned home ice. Which, in return didn’t phase Montreal whatsoever. The Habs took games one and two in Boston forcing the Bruins to accomplish the near impossible. Go to Montreal and win.

Make no mistake next to the “Mad house on Madison” home of the Blackhawks, the Bell Centre is the hardest building for the opposition to win in. Unlike in games one and two, games three and four were rumpus affairs. Trading goal for goal, punch for punch, the type of hockey that makes your heart skip a beat.

Legendary performances from Nathan Horton, Michael Ryder and obviously Tim Thomas sent Boston back home for game five with the series knotted at two games a piece.

Boston would win the double overtime nail bitter that was game 5. A new objective had arose, win the series in Montreal. It didn’t happen, Montreal took the potential elimination opportunity away from Boston, winning the affair 2-1.

Game 7; its often echoed in sports, no series is worth while unless it goes seven games. What makes a game 7 so special is the fact that there truly is nothing left to play for in the series beyond it. So, in the hours that led to puck drop the unavoidable notion that it could all go horribly wrong for Boston was steadfast.

Behind goals from Johnny Boychuk and Mark Recchi, Boston opened the final chapter of the series with a 2-0 lead. Only to see it evaporate, Chris Kelly put Boston up 3-2 late in the third period only to have PK Subban re-tie the game in the dying moments. She would need extra time.

While certain retellings of the play as it materialized do little to send chills down particular fans spines, some men are masters of it. Milan Lucic wins a 50/50 puck battle against Subban, buys time and space, finds Horton in the high slot and his slap shot flies pas the glove of Price.

Philadelphia anxiously awaited on the horizon. Had you fancied yourself to the notion of omens and if you were a reporter at the time, this series was gold for you. History tells its own rendition of the season prior, not that Boston had won the first three games. Quite the opposite indeed, the story was how Philadelphia battled back. Winning four games in a row and winning the series.

Three games later it was a similar story line. Boston held once again a commanding three games to none series lead.

Headlines littered with slogans like “Choking hazard, will Boston pull through”. Game four was an anxious time for Boston but just as they did in game 3, game four ended in a 5-1 victory for Boston.

Until this particular point, Boston had not faced an opponent quite like Tampa Bay.

Offensively Tampa was one of the most dangerous teams in the playoffs. In complete contrast to how Boston typically played their games. Speed was Tampa’s greatest weapon.

Defensively Tampa introduced the 1-3-1 trap style in the neutral zone. Basically one man would patrol the blue line, behind him three of his teammates stood guard at center ice, finally the last man positioned himself in the far blue line. It turned out to get the better of Boston, who lost game one at home 5-2.

Game one also featured the coming out party for Tyler Seguin who recorded a goal and an assist in his first playoff game.

The series reached its boiling point after game two. Various narratives such as Shawn Thornton being a healthy scratch by virtue of Tyler Seguin. The goal tending battle between Tim Thomas and Dwayne Roloson. Stars on both sides losing their cool repeatedly, often times engaging in fisticuffs. Steven Stamkos getting hit in the face with a slap shot in game 7 and of course Nathan Horton’s famous game 7 goal.

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However, the series will always be remembered for the now famous game 7 at the TD Garden. Many hockey savvy people will tell you its one of the best playoff games in recent history. Regardless of the fact that there wasn’t a single goal recorded until just under 8 minutes remaining in regulation.

Nathan Horton deflected Krejci’s beautiful saucer pass by a prone Roloson and that was all Boston needed to advance to the Cup Final.

For Milan Lucic being able to participate in the Stanley Cup Final was an opportunity he would cherish for life. Not simply because its every hockey players dream, but he was a die hard Canuck fan growing up in suburban Vancouver.

Quite the homecoming.

Games one and two of the series were pedestrian affairs. Now, that being said Alex Burrows was so hungry for a victory in game one he couldn’t help but chomp down on Patrice Bergerons hand. Promoting the league to institute a no bitting rule.

Vancouver took both games by differing scenarios. In game one Raffi Torres’ back door goal with 18 seconds remaining in the third sent the hometown crowd off with a smile.

Game two needed extra time, but not a lot of it. Just 11 seconds into overtime Alex Burrows maneuvered his way around Zdeno Chara, wrapped around the net and tucked it by Tim Thomas.

Roberto Luongo criticized Thomas’ aggressive tendencies in net “when you play like that you have to expect those goals”.

The theoretical pot was boiling.

Boston was desperate for answers after under performing thus far in the Finals. Hopefully the change in scenery would do them good.

Unfortunately just five minutes into game three Aaron Rome’s shoulder side swiped Nathan Horton’s upper body. Hortons body slammed to the ice laying motionless for several minutes, it was quite obvious he had received a serious concussion. The injury would keep Horton from returning to the series at all.

Boos rained down from the Garden hopeful as Rome was escorted off the ice after receiving a 5 minute major penalty for his hit. Subsequently the league suspended Rome for the rest of the Finals.

In the minutes that followed Thomas stood tall, conquering a dangerous press from the Canucks. Boston appeared lost for a moment, the health and well being of their teammate weighing heavy on their conscious.

After the mourning period had passed, they used their teammates revenge as motivation. By the time the final buzzer sounded on game three Boston totaled 8 goals, two of them short handed. Thomas stopped 40 of 41 shots and remained perfect until the third period. The series complexion had completely shifted.

Roberto had no comments on Thomas’ ability to perform in net post game.

Similarly, Thomas allowed the numbers to do the talking.

Before the first puck was dropped on game 4 a familiar figure made a significant impact on the game. Legendary Bruin, Bobby Orr emerged from the concourse waving a flag with Horton’s name and number. It proved to be a much needed shot in the arm for Boston. The atmosphere was set. Boston cruised to a 4-0 victory.

Boston felt confident with the series tied heading back to Vancouver for game 5.

An uneventful game 5 saw Vancouver down Boston 1-0, the only goal coming in the third period from Max Lapierre.

Back in Boston the trend remained in game 6, goals came in bunches from the Bruins, 5-2 was your final score.

June 15th 2011.

Game 7’s are as unique to the sporting world as anything else. Especially in the Stanley Cup Finals. A proverbial final act which culminates everything that has come before it. There’s a certain crispness in the air, such dramatic tension that, as eluded to earlier is unique to its situation. Unlike in theater nothing is scripted, there is no pre-planning, if there’s a plot twist it comes in the moment of the game. Simply put its pure spontanious bedlam. Men are made into heroes in game 7’s. More often than not its the 3rd or 4th line guys who make their mark here. Many have found themselves here in the past, even fewer have succeeded. Dreams are made and broken in game 7’s which is why its heralded as the pinnacle of sporting lore. Nothing is quite like game 7, besides itself.

Up until this point the home team had won every single game in the series. It goes without saying that the odds weren’t in Bostons favor.

Prior to game time Nathan Horton did something most people don’t know about. With the home ice advantage stat fresh in his mind, he took ice shavings from the TD Garden, preserving them in a Gatorade bottle. When the ice was cleared following the conclusion of warm ups Horton uncapped the water bottle spilling the melted Garden ice onto Rogers Arena surface.

“Its our home ice now” Horton boasted.

Thomas yet again was rock solid for Boston as wave after wave after wave of calculated Vancouver attack came unrelentingly.

14:36 into the first period Patrice Bergeron took a face off in Vancouver’s zone flanked by Marchand and Recchi. Marchand jumped the snap and won the 50/50 puck off the draw, circled back to the half wall and backhanded a pass in the direction of Bergeron.

Bergeron slapped home the games first goal, the pass was so pretty from Marchand that Luongo didn’t even react to the shot.

Whoever scored the games first goal has won every game in the series, the fans in Vancouver realized such a stat and sat on egg shells for remained of the period.

Vancouver brought the pace to start the second, Thomas yet again was up to the task. Boston, fed on the momentum their veteran goaltender was giving them. Half way through the second period Vancouver’s best opportunity to break the tie came when Chara’s pass was deflected off Sedin’s skate right to Burrow’s stick. Thomas was caught drastically out of position, scrambling to recover himself Chara leaped in front of the wide open net, blocking Burrow’s shot.

Just a few minutes later Marchand gave his team some breathing room, his wrap around backhander was saved by Luongo, but trickled in regardless.

2-0 Boston.

Under four minutes remained in the second period as Vancouver found themselves on the power play. This was their opportunity to claw back into the game, the leagues best special teams unit was on the ice and smelled blood.

Not according to Bergeron, who intercepted a pass, split the defense at his blue line and streaked towards Luongo. In full stride Bergeron was yanked to the ice, colliding with the Vancouver goaltender. Within the mad scramble the puck found its way into the net, despite the backlash from fans and players alike the goal would stand.

3-0 Boston.

Despite the less than opportune circumstances to start the third and final period Vancouver remained vigilant. They wanted a goal.

However, they had to solve Tim Thomas which is no small task.

As the minutes bled away, that collective inevitability began to soak in on Vancouver’s bench ‘we’re going to lose’. For Boston the grip didn’t loosen for them the mindset was ‘we’re going to win the Stanley Cup’.

2:45 was all that remained in game 7, Marchand hustling after a puck deep into Vancouver’s zone. If he wins the race he negates the icing, he did just that. Regardless of is efforts the puck managed to clear the zone, just to be intercepted by Bergeron who gave it back to Marchand. He made no mistake firing home his second of the game into the empty net.

4-0 Boston.

Doc Emerick said it best when describing the Boston Bruins as the final seconds of the game clicked away “despite that adversity they followed their coach to the high road, and the high road is the road to the Cup. No icing, for the first time in 39 years the Bruins have won the Stanley Cup”.

Confetti in the form of sticks, helmets and gloves fell from the sky. Rogers Arena was quiet aside from the cheers and screams from 23 grown men whose dreams were finally realized. Each and every single one of them were Stanley Cup Champions, nothing could take that away.

When the dust cleared both teams took part in what makes the sport so special. The hand shake line.

You can beat the ever living piss out of each other for seven straight games but when that final horn blows, its over. The game is over, but the respect prevails.

37 saves later and Tim Thomas was the Conn Smythe Trophy winner more than deservedly so. With all do respect he was far more interested in holding the next trophy to come out.

She gets the white glove treatment daily, over 100 years of history. The dynasty’s, legends, Cinderella stories, blood, sweat and tears were all accounted for. It weights 35 pounds but after what you go through to win it, that doesn’t matter. Men have separated shoulders and still lifted it well above their heads. Lord Stanley’s hardware has reduced men to tears.

And on June 15th 2011, the team that suffered the leagues most historic playoff defeat just one year prior had written their wrongs, exercised their demons against Montreal, weathered the storm against Tampa and capped it off with a game 7 nobody in Boston will ever forget.

Believe it or not, half  a decade has passed since Zdeno Chara hoisted Lord Stanley emphatically over his head, but it feels like yesterday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Tremendous High Or Torturous Low

Back in mid April the NHL went from 30 teams competing for the Stanley Cup to just 16. By may 30th only Pittsburg and San Jose remained from the marginal 16 that qualified for the playoffs. Two weeks later Pittsburg captured their 4th Stanley Cup, ironically it came 7 years to the day from their last Cup in 2009.

Unfortunately for San Jose and more specifically Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau this may have been the first and final time they get this close. “It sucks. That’s the bottom line. It sucks. We thought we had the team, going through the teams we did in the West. It’s just tough right now” a somber Thornton told reporters post game 6. Marleau was a man of fewer words, but made them count “it’s like being hit by a truck” via Kevin Kurz’s twitter account.

San Jose was surprised in the way Pittsburg elevated their game for the Finals. Overwhelming San Jose with their speed and drive to get sticks in the passing lanes. Simply not allowing the Sharks to get comfortable in their own game at any point in the Finals.

Had it not been for how spectacular Martin Jones performed, Pittsburg could have easy won this in five games. Jones, who capped off his Cinderella run with a superb individual performance last night. Remaining one of the most exciting players to watch throughout the playoffs. I’m still waiting for the San Jose Police Department to further investigate the larceny Jones performed on Kessel in the third period.

But I digress.

Despite the melancholy atmosphere in the Sharks locker room the overall consensus was unanimous, Pittsburg was the better team.

Whether you are a Penguins fan or not, you get chills anytime someone gets to raise the Stanley Cup.  A tremendous accomplishment for Crosby who now has two championships under his belt, a much needed boost to his super star status. While he won the Conn Smythe trophy as playoff MVP many firmly believe it deserved to be Matt Murray’s. Speaking of getting lost in nostalgia it was truly tear jerking witnessing Pascal Dupuis suit up to celebrate with his teammates after being forced into retirement with nagging injuries. Mario Lemieux, long since retired played a significant role in reshaping this team, he enjoyed the opportunity to raise his fourth Cup, two as a player, two as a manager.

So, congratulations to Pittsburg who proved to anyone who doubted them they still remain amongst the NHL elite.

What is impossible to ignore is the overwhelming contrast of narratives. In regards to the Stanley Cup Finals how will this be remembered? Was it San Jose’s inability to play their game? Or was Pittsburg so good that they just didn’t allow San Jose to feel comfortable in 6 complete games. Between Thornton and Marleau are they super stars with dwindling stardom or did we witness the rebirth for the next dynasty. Did a coaches relationship disrupt the flow of momentum for San Jose? I am of course referencing Peter Deboer’s relationship with Dainius Zubrus. Zubrus is a long time veteran of the league but he took two less than ideal penalties in two less than ideal moments of critical games against Pittsburg. Not only did it destroy positive momentum for San Jose but Pittsburg scored on the ensuing power plays further disrupting San Jose’s confidence to win.

Now, its not fair to blame a series loss on one player, but it definitely didn’t help.

One thing is for sure, we best keep a close eye on the Penguins who just a few months ago were flirting with the idea of trading Malkin. Its safe to say that is no longer an option.

Congratulations to the 2016 Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburg Penguins, also great job to the fans at San Jose for showering Gary Bettman in boos during his presentation of the Cup.

Goodbye Mr. Hockey

Gordie Howe was a handsome man, also one tough son of a bitch. There’s a reason they call it a “Gordie Howe hat trick” if you score, earn an assist and of course, fight someone in a single game. Unfortunately after a long battle with dementia and suffering a stroke last year, Howe succumbed to his ailments.

He was 88 years old.

Nobody truly did it as well as Howe. Four times a Cup Champion, 801 goals in 1,767 career games. Annually bringing the grit and sheer determination that only he possessed. On top of that he helped pave the way for the WHA. Joining the league in the mid 70’s to experience playing professional hockey with his two sons. Yes, Gordie played professional hockey with his two sons. In fact he didn’t retire until the conclusion of the 1979-80 season at the age of 51.

Which begins to paint the picture of how important this man was for the sport. In the 1950’s Howe was the most influential personas in the world of hockey, he was the only hockey player to be featured on Sports Illustrated’s front cover. Despite the demeanor by which he carried himself on the ice, he was as gentle a giant as a man could be off it. Taking hours after every game to sign autographs for fans, especially the children who patiently waited to get a glimpse at a legend on two legs.

Officially retiring in 1980 after playing in that years all star game which was held at the new Joe Louis Arena, the current home of the Red Wings. A ceremonious hat tip to the most colorful Redwing ever.

In the years following his retirement Howe has remained a prominent figure in the world of hockey. The agency which set up and maintained his public appearances fell through, only saved by one of his sons who threw down money to keep it afloat. In 2009 Howe lost his wife Colleen to Pick’s disease. Despite the adversity Howe remained, as always the public figure that hockey needed. Making frequent appearances to junior events and the NHL awards.

Howe is ranked 3rd all time in the history of hockey players via The Hockey News top 100 list. Only Gretzky and Orr are ranked ahead of Howe. Two of the most polarizing figures in yesterdays NHL, firmly believed Howe was an all around better hockey player than they were.

Gordie was hospitalized in 2015 with a stroke, which wasn’t tough enough to keep a man like himself away from the life he wished to live.

With a heavy heart we say goodbye to the man that put hockey on the map. Its hard to imagine the game without him. Detroit will never forget the man who not only put the Wings in the center of the hockey universe but made it a reputable sport in America. I can say with confidence he will no doubt be patrolling the chain linked corners of the ice rink upstairs, daring anyone to mix it up with him down low.

RIP to the original GOAT.

For Boston Their Past Is A Painful Reminder

Well, in case you need another brutal reminder of the magnitude 10,000 dumpster fire that is the Boston Bruins organization as a whole. The Stanley Cup Final was an exquisite reminder of just that.

Phil Kessel, Joe Thornton, Martin Jones,  Joel Ward, Patrick Marleau and finally Mike Sullivan. What on gods green earth do all of these men have in common you might ask? I’m elated to tell you!

Hold your hearts Bruins nation, its about to get agitating in here.

Phil Kessel and Joe Thornton were both products of separate draft years, both going in the top 10 and having a significant impact on the ice. It physically cannot be stressed enough that you whole heartedly owned both of these men, with the means of holding on to them for years to come.

After a horrific, actually no an atrocious start to the 2005 season Joe Thornton, for reasons still unknown to mankind. Was traded to San Jose for pennies on the dollar. Ready? Here comes the names of those pennies from worse to “acceptable”. Wayne Primeau, Brad Stuart and finally Marco Sturm.

Feeling light headed yet?

Purple elephant in the room, Wayne Primeau who clearly was a piece to the deal that then Bruins GM Mike O’Connell muttered “uhh sure? You can add him”. Primeau was a formidable player in the NHL, under the right circumstances. However, Primeau and Boston was not a match made in heaven.

Brad Stuart, okay we’re getting warmer here. Look, this guy has played a ton of meaningful hockey. An above average, top four defensemen. He’ll for better or worse be remembered in Boston for the trade with Calgary along with my good buddy Wayne Primeau for Andrew Ference and Chuck Kobasew.

Last but certainly not least we have the German sensation Marco Sturm. Saving the best for last, as long as  ‘best’ and ‘last’ is visualized as a relative terms of course. Marco played the most hockey for the Bruins out of the trio they received for Thornton. Leading the Bruins in goals one year, winning the Winter Classic in overtime the next. While he didn’t last long enough to be on the Cup winning roster, he left a significant foot note in Bruins recent history. If you actually wish to recall it.

Phil the thrill, Phat Phil, Phil Kessel he goes by many sir names. Say what you will Phil is a clutch player, just Google his playoff stats. While he’s sort of hobbled around since his departure from Boston in 2009. I swear that wasn’t intended to be a fat joke. He’s left little doubt that Pittsburg probably will be his final resting spot. Honestly though who the hell calls house parties “shakers”?

Resembles a pretty Disney like success story doesn’t it? Phil Kessel gets traded. Finds a home. Fans love him. Happily ever after!

Well, it depends which side of the fence you stand on. Toronto wanted a goal scoring wing so badly that they gave up their 2010 first round pick which became Tyler Seguin, a second rounder Jared Knight and finally a 2011 first which materialized into Dougie Hamilton. To Boston, only to make the post season once, we’ll get to that later.

Any who.

Noticing a trend? If you guessed “none of them are currently Boston Bruins” then go get a cookie because you’re absolutely right.

Life truly is crazy.

Onward we go. Martin Jones, it’s okay if you’ve never heard of him before.

The ex Los Angles King spent the vast majority of his career wedged between “I like winning Stanley Cups” and “I don’t really want to backup Jonathan Quick anymore”. Last season Jones was set to become a free agent come July first. Los Angeles wanted Milan Lucic and at the time the Bruins needed a backup goalie. A first round pick, Colin Miller and Martin Jones was all it took to land Lucic. Four days later Jones was property of the San Jose Shark, in return the Bruins landed another draft pick.

Colin Miller possess a high ceiling and a desire to join the offensive rush but played a miniscule amount of games for the Bruins this past season because Claude Julien hates offense.

Jones, on the other hand has backpacked San Jose to the Stanley Cup Final. Despite the deficit Jones has played fantastic throughout. Would have been nice to have him in regular season game 82 when Rask threw in the towel, eh?

26th head coach in Bruins franchise history was the wonderful Mike Sullivan. His first season was a success, 41 wins and over 100 points. It’s one tarnished spot was that loss in the playoffs to Montreal. Yup, like so many before him Sullivan couldn’t get the B’s over mount Montreal. After the lockout Sullivan’s Bruins were a vomit inducing 29-37-16 record. Thornton was traded, Sullivan was fired and x amount of years later he’s two wins away from winning a Cup.

How wondrously reoccuring thus far.

Up to this point the mantra of this passage has remained steadfast. All of the previous names have at one point or another been Bruins, except for the final two.

Joel Ward was the guy who knocked out Boston in the playoffs back in 2012 with the Capitals. Following his goal all you lovely people took to social media and berated the poor man on his ethnic background.

Bravo Boston. This is why we can’t have nice things.

Anyways the guy oozes clutch in the playoffs. A danger to score in every minute he played as a member of the Predators, that clutch gene stabbed the Bruins hopeful, as already mentioned in 2012 when Ward was a member of the Capitals. Again he shined in game 3 of the Cup Finals, pulling up and taking a hefty, unscreened slaps hot from the blue line. Which he scored on.

You have to be good to be lucky and lucky to be good, some stiff named Patrick Roy or something said that.

Hey Thomas Vanek we’ve found our new Bruins killer.

Parick Marleau, I bring him up only because its an interesting story. Rumors flew across social media last summer that a trade between Boston and San Jose might be in the works. Brad Marchand for Patrick Marleau straight up.

Off the bat…

All jokes aside Marchand is significantly younger than Marleau. Adding on to that Marchand scored more goals in the past two seasons than Marleau. Thirdly, Brad is far and beyond a better playoff performer than Marleau could dream of being. So, yeah, revert back to the meme.

While Boston most likely won’t be targeting Ward or Marleau in the near future. I’ll do what every D league blogger would do, entertain the idea if they had followed through on those trade rumors discussed above.

Thank Christ they didn’t.

Brad Marchand is that player you love to have on your team, because you don’t have to play against him. Recently he’s decided he enjoys scoring a lot of goals along side his ability to agitate, that’s okay by me.

While its more than evident the sting of the Thornton and Kessel trades hasn’t subsided much. Bruins fans can find comfort in the fact that Kessel is a member of that Leaf team that had a 4-1 lead in the third period and still lost.

Granted Boston has won a Cup before either of them, its come at a significant cost. The effects of which are being felt today.

Sympathy can be found with Thornton who barring a miracle is on the verge of losing the only Cup Final he’ll most likely take part in. Truly a sad occurrence, I understand most hockey fans love Crosby. But how can you dislike Joe Thornton? In a perfect world “Jumbo Joe” gets his ring, in this year or the next.

To the grieving Bruins fan its as close to a Ray Bourque send off as you’re going to get.

Go Sharks.