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2014-2015 NHL Expert Picks

By on October 8, 2014 at 8:27pm
Who will win the 2015 Stanley Cup? (http://www.thehockeynews.com/) Who will win the 2015 Stanley Cup? (http://www.thehockeynews.com/)

The NHL season is finally here. It’s the second season under the new divisional playoff format, and plenty of big moves happened in the offseason to make things interesting. Will Ryan Miller make Vancouver a contender? How about Jaroslav Halak and Johnny Boychuk for the Islanders? Or perhaps Jarome Iginla for the Avalanche?

In bringing you our picks for how the season will turn out, scoring is as follows:

  • Picking a team to make the playoffs is worth one point.
  • Picking the #1 team in each division exactly is worth three points, then two points for #2 and one point for #3.
  • Picking the first Wildcard from each conference exactly is worth two points, then one point for the second Wildcard.
  • Picking the best team in the league is worth two points.
  • In the event of a tie in the standings, we’ll also be selecting which team will wind up with the NHL’s worst record, then second worst, then third worst.

So with that out of the way, check below for everyone’s picks, and come back once the season is complete to see how everyone did. Continue reading 2014-2015 NHL Expert Picks »

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Tuukka Rask, Patrice Bergeron

When Zdeno Chara was hurt it was assumed that the Bruins would have a tough time without him. They started off strong in his absence winning six out of seven games including a five game winning streak. However, the past two nights have been lackluster performances on the road against Toronto (6-1 loss) and Montreal (5-1) loss. The total goal differential in those two games of -9 is one of the worst two game stretches the team has had since Claude Julien became head coach.

The next ten games for the Bruins will be a severe test of what they are capable of doing without their captain. I wrote previously that four to six weeks off for Chara could end up being a good thing as long as the Bruins stayed in playoff position with him out. The next three weeks will tell us a lot about their mental toughness as well as their ability to stay in playoff position. Continue reading Bruins Face Trying Times During Next Three Weeks »

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Bruins Prospect Report

November 13, 2014 at 11:28am in Bruins, NHL
David Pastrnak (bruins.NHL.com)

Will all of the core players locked up for multi-year contracts, we know that the future of the Bruins is in good hands. Guys like Bergeron, Krejci, Lucic, Rask, Marchand, and Chara are all under contract for the next few seasons at least. Quite simply, this team will be good for a long time.

One small downside (if you can call it that) with having such a perennially good team is that it makes it hard for prospects to break into the NHL lineup. Sometimes it’s exciting to see the talented rookies that you drafted perform at the highest level, but the Bruins typically only see one or two a season.

However, in a year like this, injuries happen, trades happen, and you never know when the next guy could be called up from Providence. Let’s take a look at the latest numbers from the Bruins system and see how they’re performing so far this season.

Ryan Spooner – C – AHL

Spooner, who many Bruins fans were hoping would make the Bruins in training camp, showed that although he had flashes of brilliance, he ultimately was not yet ready for the NHL. He has fared pretty well so far down in Providence, putting up 6 points in 8 games. He only has 1 goal so far though. Spooner has been playing strictly the Left Wing lately, in hopes that he can develop some scoring there because the center position at the NHL level is just so deep.

David Pastrnak – RW – AHL

The prized possession of the Bruins farm system, Pastrnak has dazzled since day one of Development camp. He has put up a stellar 13 points in 12 games with a +12 rating– excellent numbers for an 18 year old! Best of all, he is a right-handed shot winger, which the Bruins are in need of. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get called up with the big club at some point this season. Continue reading Bruins Prospect Report »

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Steve Downie ( Jay LaPrete/Associated Press)

We’re already wrapping up our fourth fantasy hockey week if you can believe it. Hopefully by this time, you’ve thrown together some wins and haven’t been bitten by the injury bug too much. Personally, I’m already dealing with Taylor Hall being placed on the IR who I had big hopes for this season. I picked up Filip Forsberg as his replacement, who’s already got 15 points and is a stellar +15. What’s best about him is that he has eligibility in C/LW/RW. Multiple-eligibility players like that become key in a long fantasy season when the injury bug hits. They bring some great production and flexibility to your roster.

If you’re looking for some injury replacements or are ready to drop someone who’s just not performing, here are some speculative adds:

Tanner Pearson – LW

I said in my last fantasy post that I’m not a big fan of Pearson, but he continues to prove me wrong. He already has 7 goals and ten points and was the NHL’s Rookie of the Month for October. What’s really fantastic is his +13, which indicates that he’s really been productive and not just fluky. He’s here to stay.

Brock Nelson – C

The #2 Center for the emerging Islanders team already has 14 points, 7 of which came on the powerplay. The team as a whole is benefiting from having legit threats on the blue line in Boychuk and Leddy, so Nelson is a good look if you’re hurting at center.

Steve Downie – LW/RW

A guy we love to hate, Downie is one of the more effective pests in the league and it’s carrying over into fantasy. He already has 54 PIM, with 7 points and LW/RW eligbility to boot. Your league most likely scores penalty minutes, and he’s one of the best players in the league in that category.

Continue reading Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire Adds; Weekly Mailbag »

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Injury Bug lingers but Bruins keep Rolling

November 7, 2014 at 2:58pm in Bruins, NHL
David Warsofsky (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

The Bruins put together a great character win Thursday night, coming back from behind to defeat the Oilers 5-2. Though it was against lowly Edmonton, it was good to see the team rally and finish strong. The Bergeron-Smith-Marchand line kept rolling, putting up another 4 points and the team is starting to click.

It wasn’t all positive, however. Reports came out Friday that defenseman David Warsofsky is going to miss some time due to injury. Normally this wouldn’t be a big deal, but when the club is already playing without Zdeno Chara, Torey Krug, and Kevan Miller, this one hurts.

Chara also addressed the media on Thursday for the first time since his injury. He seemed to be a bit more uncertain about his timetable and the need for surgery than the team originally purported two weeks ago. As I said before, with someone his age and his size, a knee injury is a very fickle thing. The team, however, is 5-1 without their captain.

The shattered and battered defensive corps for the Bruins now looks like this: Continue reading Injury Bug lingers but Bruins keep Rolling »

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Claude Julien (bruins.NHL.com)

The Bruins officially announced Sunday morning that they have signed head coach Claude Julien to a multi-year extension, marking the continuation of a very successful era for the Bruins franchise. Julien is 317-171-65 as he head coach of the Bruins and has established himself as one of the best coaches in the league.

We have worked at this for a few months, but there was never any doubt in my mind that this would get done,” said Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli. “Claude is one of the top coaches in the NHL and has consistently shown a passion for winning through his coaching.”

This is a an obvious move for the team, but it bodes very well for the future of the Bruins going forward. Julien has been a consistently strong coach and has led his team to over 100 points in 4 of the past 6 seasons. We’ve seen him make some brilliant coaching decisions both in the regular season and the playoffs. And of course, during the Stanley Cup run of 2011 he led his underdog team to glory. Continue reading Bruins Sign Coach Claude Julien to Multi-year Extension »

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Dave Warsofsky (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

The Bruins lost to the Minnesota Wild 4-3 on Tuesday night after they let a 3-1 lead slip through their fingers in the third period. They got goals from Milan Lucic and two from rookie Seth Griffith, but it wasn’t enough to stop an implosive collapse against a dogger Minnesota offense. It was a frustrating loss for the Black and Gold and really epitomized what could go wrong for them without captain Zdeno Chara in the lineup.

According to Weymouth, MA native and Wild forward Charlie Coyle, their game plan was to wear down the Bruins defense. And it worked. They dumped the puck in deep, forcing the Bruins defensemen to skate back and get it, take a hit, and make a decision. It’s exactly the strategy that teams need to execute against the curet B’s roster and other teams around the league are sure to take notice.

The loss was more than just a dip in the standings, however. The Bruins defense, already dwindling, just got a lot thinner. Torey Krug got slashed in the hand on his last shift of the game and will now miss 2-3 weeks while his finger heals. This is very bad news for the Bruins.

Continue reading Krug to Miss 2-3 Weeks, Bruins Defense in Shambles »

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Right Wing Option for Bruins Top Line

October 29, 2014 at 1:56pm in Bruins, NHL

Although Seth Griffith has done a decent job playing on the right side of David Krejci and Milan Lucic with an impressive game Tuesday night against Minnesota, it still feels that an upgrade at the positon is necessary if the Bruins wish to regain the production lost from 30-plus goal scorer Jarome Iginla last season. Their offence to this point has been adequate, but it is clear that the Bruins are lacking the type of consistent player that should be flourishing on the top line of one of the league’s best teams.

The trade deadline is still a while away, but it is necessary to start questioning what moves will be made in the Bruins organization to address the need of a right winger to play with Krejci and Lucic. They have other options in house like high-ceiling prospect David Pastrnak, Loui Eriksson, rusty veteran Simon Gagne, and they can always stick with Griffith if he can keep gelling with Krejci and Lucic.

Ultimately, there is one trade target the Bruins should seriously be considering if they want to remain a top-tier team with a feared number one forward grouping.

Continue reading Right Wing Option for Bruins Top Line »

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