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A Closer Look Into the Bruins First Month of the Season.

By on November 23, 2016 at 8:22pm

Despite what the standings may show before the Thanksgiving break, this years Bruins team is on the right track. As of Nov. 23 the B’s currently hold the second Wild Card spot with 22 points and have been playing inspired hockey as of late. Let me speak for the majority of Bruins fans here when I say that I’ve been pleasantly surprised thus far since I wasn’t expecting this team to be as competitive as they are at this point.

My biggest concern entering this season, along with almost everyone who’s followed the B’s the past couple years, was their dull defensive group. On paper, they are one of the worst units in the entire NHL but so far, they’ve managed to not completely sink the teams and fans postseason aspirations. Granted they have had their moments where they look like they’re fishing for swordfish in their own end, however it hasn’t been as bad as it could be. Obviously, the white knight in this case has been the expected-unexpected emergence of Brandon Carlo.

The 19 year-old from Colorado Springs has stepped right into the top pairing alongside Zdeno Chara and has done just about everything that has been asked of him at this point. His big 6’5″ frame knows how to maneuver around the ice and his impressive poise combined with his simple, no-nonsense style of play has absolutely been a welcome addition to the Bruins backend. I will say that he certainly does look his age on the ice at times as he gets thrown around quite a bit and sometimes looks overwhelmed in the D-zone but all that comes down to inexperience and that will improve the more he plays. Basically, I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say Carlo has been a huge reason this team has been as successful as they are in the early-goings of the year.

Behind Carlo and the other five defensemen on the ice stands a man that was on the verge of being run out of Boston this fall in Tuukka Rask. However, after amassing one of the best starts of his career this season recording an 11-3-0 record in 14 appearances, it would be foolish to overlook the contributions Rask has made to the B’s 11-8-0 overall record. To keep it simple, every game Rask hasn’t started the Bruins have lost, and those games were missing the same feel to it with Rask on the bench. Not only that, but for the most part, Rask has been an imposing presence in the crease making the majority of his saves look very easy. If Tuukka can keep this up he’s going to be in contention for the Vezina Trophy at the end of the season, alongside my favorite goalie in the league in Carey Price (sarcasm, of course) and could single-handily lead the B’s to the playoffs for the first time in three seasons.

The last player I’ve noticed more than any other through 19 games has been David Pastrnak. I’m glad to be saying this because I really enjoy what Pastrnak has brought to the table since he’s been on the roster and I think he’s the true goal scorer the Bruins have missed since trading Tyler Seguin. Leading the team with 10 goals, Pastrnak has looked much more confident in the offensive zone stringing together some nice plays with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. The one concern I have surrounding his game though is his health. Similar to Carlo, Pastrnak is a young kid still developing muscle and is more at risk to injury because he’s on the weaker side. It’s been an issue in the past and it has popped up already this season, so if anything will hold him back this year, it’ll be the injury bug. Other than that, it’s clear that his overall game is starting to show improvement as his back-checking alone has improved ten-fold, as well as his defensive game in general, and it’ll be critical once the big games roll around in February and March.

Like I said, while the B’s haven’t been tremendous so far, they also haven’t looked dreadful. This team really didn’t have much roster turnover and the new guys on the roster, with the exception of David Backes, are all young players still trying to fill a role so at least to me, it’s hard to be upset with the results we’ve gotten so far. As a team, they seem to be a lot more likeable than in years past and I feel like that comes from their tendency, at least until now, to not give up in games. Other than an embarrassing 5-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild on Oct. 25 and two 5-2 losses to the New York Rangers, every game they lost was a back-and-forth game that I felt they had a good chance to win.

Look at their most recent game against the St. Louis Blues, a couple bounces go their way and they more-likely-than-not walk away with a win against a predominantly top Western Conference team. A 3-2 loss at Montreal also comes to mind in this example as the B’s were the better team in this game, but just couldn’t muster a goal past Price. This could be the most important aspect to this years team because as we all know, part of the reason they’ve failed to make the playoffs was their inability to win big games down the stretch. If they are showing some heart now, I can’t imagine that’ll disappear once the games become even more important down the line.

When it all boils down to it in April, we’ll look back on this start and the towering play of Carlo, Rask’s extraordinary start, the superb play of Pastrnak, and the overall pride this year’s team possesses and be shocked. Hopefully it’ll be a positive shock because they didn’t get a higher seeding in the playoffs, and not a negative shock if they fail to make the postseason, again. Now that would be something I would not be thankful for.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Red Sox lost in horrific fashion, but still managed to clinch the AL East with Toronto's loss to the Orioles. (USA Today)

That’s not exactly how you draw up clinching the division.

With the Boston Red Sox leading the New York Yankees 3-0 in the eighth inning, the Baltimore Orioles came back to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 3-2 and clinch the American League East division title for the Red Sox, win or lose against the Yankees.

The Red Sox chose the losing route. Needing just three outs to kick off the celebration with a win, Craig Kimbrel threw 28 more pitches than I did in recording the same number of outs (that would be zero). He gave up a single, walked three, and threw a wild pitch.

Continue reading Red Sox Clinch Division, Miss Opportunity for Home Field Advantage »

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Jose Fernandez

September 27, 2016 at 3:17pm in MLB, Opinion, Top Story

Jose Fernandez

On September 25, 2016 Major league baseball lost one of the greatest pitchers in the game.  Not only was Fernandez already one of the best pitchers in the game, but he had a very bright future.  Fernandez passed away around 3 in the morning on September 25 due to a tragic boating accident.  I woke up to this news on Sunday and I was completely devastated.  Being that he was only 24 years old, it seemed like he had a lot of great baseball left but now all we can think is what could have been.

Before I talk about how great a person he was, let’s talk about Jose Fernandez, the ace of the Miami Marlins.  In his short four year MLB career, Fernandez had a career record of 38-17 with an ERA of 2.58.  He also posted 538 strike outs.  This guy could throw heat and he was very electric.  In my mind he was easily in the top 5 of MLB pitchers right now.  Some of his career accomplishments, were winning the NL Rookie of the year in 2013 and being named to the all-star game in 2013 and 2016.  Not only did Fernandez bring dominant stuff to the mound but he also brought a great personality.  This guy loved baseball and he was always having fun.  He was also the Marlins biggest cheerleader.  He loved his teammates and his teammates loved him.  Sometimes he rubbed opposing players the wrong way but that was just him showing his emotions.  Fernandez was just a fun, loving player that would express how he felt about his performance or his teammates performance.

Jose Fernandez, the individual, was also great too.  Fernandez tried to escape from Cuba to America and failed three times.   On his fourth attempt, a person fell into the sea, and not knowing who it was, Fernandez, jumped into the water and was able to rescue the person and get them back into the boat.  The person he saved turned out to be his mother.  At only 15 years old, Fernandez, was already a hero for doing that.  Fernandez, his sister and his mother successfully made it to America and relocated in Tampa Bay.  Jose loved his family and his biggest fan was his grandmother.  His grandmother would climb to the roof of her house just to be able to listen to Fernandez pitch on the radio.  After six years apart, his grandmother was able to attend opening day in 2014 and watch her grandson pitch.  Fernandez pitched a great game that day and I believe part of the reason was because of his Grandmother being in attendance.

Jose Fernandez leaves his grandmother, mother, sister, and girlfriend behind.  One of the saddest things about Jose passing is that a week ago he announced on Instagram that his girlfriend was pregnant.  That child will never know his/her dad but will know how outstanding his/her father was not only as an MLB pitcher but as a human being.  The Marlins have already announced that they will retire the number 16 Fernandez jersey and I believe that is the right move.  He will never be forgotten by that franchise and will be watching down on that team.  Baseball will miss you Jose, keep smiling and forever Rest in Peace.

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Marchands stays a Bruin for 8 more years. (cbc.ca)

It looks like Brad Marchand will remain a Bruin for the considerable future as he has just been signed to a new 8 year contract extension worth $49 million, according to multiple sources. Continue reading Brad Marchand Resigns with Bruins for 8 years $49 million »

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World Cup of Hockey is set to begin next week. (ajournalofmusicalthings.com)

The last time the NHL hosted a World Cup tournament the year was 1996. Independence Day was the number one movie in America, Seinfeld was at the peak of it’s popularity, the Dallas Cowboys were actually good, and I was just days old. 20 years ago the USA squad, led by Brett Hull and Mike Richter, ran the table against opposing teams and beat the heavily favored Canadian team, led by the ‘Great One’ himself, in the championship series. Now two decades later, the American bunch will look to repeat the success of the ’96 team in this years World Cup of Hockey, which is being held in Toronto, and earn ultimate bragging rights in this highly anticipated preseason tournament. Continue reading The Ultimate World Cup of Hockey Preview »

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Will The Sox Win The AL East?

August 29, 2016 at 9:30pm in Featured, Opinion, Red Sox
(AP Photo/Gail Burton)

As September is nearing, playoffs is becoming a predominant topic in baseball. The powerhouse hitting Red Sox are now in a position where the postseason is not a guarantee. They have been bouncing in and out of first, second, and third place for a majority of the season. The Red Sox, Blue Jays and Orioles have been the most dominant teams in the Al East all season.

Going into Monday Aug. 29th, the Red Sox sit in second place with a 72-58 record, two games behind the Blue Jays. Baltimore sits right behind the Sox, only one game back. So the question we are all wondering is who is going to win the division?

I believe at this point it’s a complete toss up. We can pull out as many statistics as we want to predict the end of the season results but we have to remember that this is baseball. This game is so unpredictable, especially when there are only 30 games left to be played. Any team could take the division with being just a half game up, it could be that close.

The good news is that the next month of baseball is going to be tough for all teams in the AL East. Starting tonight until the end of the season the Sox have two remaining series against the Rays, Yankees, Orioles, and the Blue Jays. So the standings in the AL East are going to be jumping all around for the next month. If the Sox want a legitimate chance at taking the division, they need to be the best team in the month of September, period.

If the Sox do not win the division, they always have the Wild Card. But with the Wild Card , the top two teams have to play in a one game playoff match up to decide who moves onto the ALDS. Boston needs to avoid this at all costs because a one game deciding match up is a tough game to win. If this were to happen I’d be scared to see who Farrell decides to start on the bump.

However I am very confident the Sox will finish the season strong. Their hitting is still very dominant. Ortiz is still showing he’s one of the best with 30 plus homers and 100 plus RBIs. Mookie is still one of the best hitters in the entire MLB right now with 29 homers, 94 RBIs, and a .321 AVG (Did I mention he was a lead off hitter for the majority of the season?). And Pedey quietly is hitting .320 going into Monday. So the bats are there. Again as we’ve discussed a million times, it all comes down to the Sox pitching. Starting pitching for Boston has looked better lately, the bullpen is still an issue. All we can do at this point is pray that the pitching comes around going into September.

The toughest series the Sox are going to have this next month are the ones against the Blue Jays. Toronto plays as the biggest threat towards Boston. They are a very well rounded team that can hit and have some pitching. The two series the Sox have against them in the next month are definitely the most imports series they will have all year.

This all being said, I’m super excited for the next month of baseball because its going to be a a fun one to watch.

 

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9 games to circle on your calendar. (forum.canucks.com)

With the long-awaited Jimmy Vesey Sweepstakes, or #VeseyWatch as it was known on Twitter, coming to an unfortunate end last week after the North Reading, MA native decided to sign in the Big Apple with the Rangers instead of his hometown team, the buzz around this upcoming Bruins season has taken somewhat of a hit. The questions surrounding this group of players, specifically on the blue line, haven’t been addressed and the moves that have been made, most notably the signing of David Backes, have been second guessed. Adding Vesey to this group would have reinvigorated a fan-base that isn’t very happy right now according to recent sports polls, and masked some of the problems that still linger for this years squad. Nevertheless, training camp opens in just about a month, so rather than sulk and pout, I looked at the B’s upcoming season and found nine games that will surely get even the most depressed Bruins fan pumped up. Continue reading 9 Bruins Games to Circle on your Calendar »

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