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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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Connelly’s Top Ten: Posse!

November 18, 2016 at 9:49pm in Featured, Now!, Top Story

1. Patriots vs. 49ers:

· Belichick 230 wins vs. Bill Walsh 92 wins

· Gronk 69 touchdowns to Dwight Clark’s 48

· Brady 22 playoff wins to Montana 16 playoff wins

· QB’s on the active roster this week – their draft position: Gabbert – 10 / Kapernick – 36 | Garappollo 62 / Brady 199

2. Around the NFL:

If I’m a player in Mexico City I don’t – Continue reading Connelly’s Top Ten: Posse! »

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1. Patriots vs. Seattle:

MISC

· There was a bad feel to this game from the second drive on – disjointed – It was a frustrating game all night

· Tough to watch passive defense and unimaginative play calling

· I would bet that Chandler Jones and Jamie Collins were texting each other watching Russell Wilson do what he wants

· Cy Jones another fumble

· Patriots lucky they didn’t get a flag for coordinated celebration when Devlin joined Blount with the Minutemen

BRADY

· Was average Continue reading Connelly’s Top Ten: Edelman Lays Eggs (so did the coordinators) »

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1. Patriots vs. Seattle:

· Seattle has beaten one team with a winning record this year

· Games away from home last 15 games – record 7-7-1

· Jimmy Graham and Gronk have 125 TD’s between them

· Wilson 16 sacks

· Richard Sherman hasn’t been seen since he was at a loss for words when Malcom Butler stole his Super Bowl

· Pete the poodle back in town where he single handedly dismantled the champion team Bill Parcells built

· Look out for Wagner – insane and relentless

· Lucky no Bennett

· Only thing keeping Patriots from Super Bowl is Brady standing upright

· Is the who did you vote for to Brady the most absurd story – none of your f-ing business

· Cliff Avril and Frank Clark have 15.5 sacks – suit up Bruce Armstrong

MASSACHUSETTS MEDAL OF HONOR WINNER – Alexander Gordon Lyle – Gloucester – 1918 – French front rushed to the front in middle bombardment to administer and save comrade

2. How amazing has the Patriots run been?

· Over the last 96 games – they have only lost THREE games by more than one score – think Continue reading Connelly’s Top Ten – Thank You Veterans! »

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1. Patriots Fun Facts during the bye:

· Five Patriots are on pace for 500 yards in receiving – Gronk, White, Edelman, Hogan, Bennett

· Butler is on pace to deflect 22 passes

· The top three tacklers are from the secondary – Chung, Ryan, McCourty

· 2011-2016 first round picks projected to dress next Sunday – Malcom Brown, Solder

(Collins and Chandler Jones traded, Easley cut, Cy Jones – doghouse) Continue reading Connelly’s Top Ten: We Survived the Bye Week! »

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1. Patriots vs. Bills:

MISC

· That was a Chamber of Commerce day for Buffalo – cold rain is as good as it gets

· Is it me or is Dan Fouts rooting for the Bills – couldn’t get off the Hightower late hit non-call / he called a pick play on Buffalo “well designed” / was laughing when Gronk got stood up by four guys calling him a “mere mortal”

BRADY

· Treasure every game Continue reading Connelly’s Top Ten: Ryans are Clowns, Gronk and the Beatles »

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1. Patriots vs. Bills:

· Who would be insane enough go up to Buffalo with a Patriots shirt?

· Bills have lost three games by a combined 15 points

· Taylor is sacked every 11.2 attempts / Brady every 25.25 attempts

· Tight end Charles Clay is a Patriots killer

· Gostkowski missed two field goals in pre-season (he is just squeezing some inside the right post

· Some guy named Lorenzo Alexander from Buffalo is on pace for 21 sacks – yikes Continue reading Connelly’s Top Ten: Krug Misfires, Gostkowski Thinking About it, Jeremy Lin Run »

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