A lot has gone wrong for the 2009-2010 Boston Bruins. Opening Night 2009 was on October 1, 2009 vs the Washington Capitals. The Capitals won, 4-1. Now the Bruins are in the second round. And the Caps… Lost to the eight seed Montreal Canadiens.
As much that has gone wrong, (where to start?) so much has gone right. It all started the night Bruins leading goalscorer Phil Kessel was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs for a first and second round draft pick this year, and a first round pick the next. Kessel was coming off labrum surgery in the offseason, so his season did not begin until November. He still had more goals than any Bruins player.
The Bruins where coming off a season where they lost veterans Aaron Ward, Shane Hnidy, Manny Fernandez, Stephane Yelle, PJ Axelsson, and later Chuck Kobasew. They brought in Derrek Morris, Steve Begin, and Daniel Paille.
More went wrong when it was announced five games into the that Kobasew had been traded to Minnesota, but also Milan Lucic had broke his finger. Things got worse when Marc Savard aggravated a broken foot before a game vs Nashville.
The Bruins goal after that was to tread water. They learned early they would not be that offensive juggernaut that got them to first overall in the east the season before. They would have to be more like the 2007-2008 Bruins who took the number one Canadiens seven games. The Bruins got Lucic back in late November vs Atlanta. Savard returned four games later in Minnesota, a game that was won in a shootout. But Lucic was re-injured when he took an awkward pass from Dennis Wideman, and he had a high-ankle sprain.
December would be highlited be the return of Phil Kessel to Boston. The Bruins won, 5-2, with Savard’s hat trick. Going into late December, many worried about the Bruins getting distracted by the upcoming winter classic at Fenway park. They showed this losses to their opponet, the Flyers, and a heartbreaking loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, where Bill Guerin scored with 0.4 left in the game to tie it. After that Tuukka Rask, a rookie goaltender, started eight straight games opposed to last year’s Vezina trophey winner Tim Thomas.
Thomas was in net for the Winter Classic, and he was the biggest reason they won. The Bruins where down 1-0 with time ticking off the third period clock, and most where thinking “here we go again”. But Derrek Morris made a bueatiful slap-pass that Mark Recchi tipped in to tie it. It would be the second of the three Winter Classics to go to Overtime. The Bruins started off on the power play, but could not score. Thomas then made a fluery of saves the other way. Bruins MVP of the season Patrice Bergeron made a pass to Marco Sturm, which he tipped in. The Bruins did not know that would be the last home game they would win into Febuary.
A few nights later the Bruins misfourtone returned, when 22 seconds into the the game Savard injured his knee. It was revealed he had a torn MCL. In the stretch of his abscence, the Bruins went on a 10 game winless streak, started by a shootout loss in Los Angeles. The Bruins did get Savard back in Buffalo, a game where it showed how much the Bruins missed him, but they lost, 2-1. More bad news would erupt when rookie defenseman Johnny Boychuk was hit in the face by a puck vs the Vancouver Canucks. However, the winless streak would be snapped the next day in Montreal, Super Bowl Sunday.
The Bruins went on a four game winning streak before the olympics, all road games, in Montreal, Buffalo, Tampa Bay, and Florida. Six Bruins would go to the Olympics: Thomas (USA), Bergeron (Canada), Zdeno Chara and Miroslav Satan (Slovakia), David Krejci (Czech Republic), and Sturm (Germany).
After the Olympics, the Bruins hit another tough stretch. They lost their first night back on home ice to the Canadiens, 4-1. The Bruins bounced back in games vs Toronto and the Islanders before things would take a turn for the worst. In a game vs the Pittsburgh Penguins the next day, Matt Cooke, a known cheapshot artist around the league, concussed the Bruins best player in Savard. He would need a stretcher off the ice, and would be out indefinetly. Cooke was not suspended by the league. There was a lot of aftermath to follow the incident, from Bruins coach Claude Jullian and GM Peter Charelli stating their displeasure, to former Bruins coach and now Hockey Night in Canada host Don Cherry bashing Cooke. The Bruins would meet the Penguins again on March 18, eleven days after the hit. The Bruins lost, 3-0 in a completey heartless game where many wrote the Bruins off afterward. But the Bruins continued their theme of the season and never said die.
Two days later they would face a team fightning them for a playoff spot, the New York Rangers. The Bruins beat them, and then the Atlanta Thrashers, in convincing victories. Later, they would lose to the Lightning in maybe their best effort all season. But they never said die.
In turned around on March 30, when the Bruins beat the New Jersey Devils in OT. After that they gained points in every game but one.
That’s when the good luck began to turn their way. The Bruins finished as the nukber six seed in the east, with a matchup with the Buffalo Sabres. They got the number two draft pick overall, thanks to Toronto. They beat Buffalo in six games, and would have their star playmaker Savard return. And they would have home ice vs the Philadelphia Flyers.
The season is far from over, but it’s hard to not appriciate what the Bruins have overcome this season. Sometimes good things come to those who wait. Maybe that will be the case for the Bruins. Or maybe their new hope will be shatered. Hopefully the former will come true, but either way, the Bruins have already amazed many. They never said die.
The Celtics lost to the San Antonio Spurs, 94-73 . Paul Pierce appeared to hurt his right shoulder, but stayed in the game. Kendrick Perkins missed his second straight game with a left knee injury. Rasheed Wallace was in the starting lineup.
The Red Sox beat the Twins, 11-5. Clay Buchholz pitched 4.2 innings, giving up four runs in the first two innings, one a two run homer from Joe Mauer. Buchholz also striked out seven batters. David Ortiz and Tug Hullet both his three run bombs. Victor Martinez went 4-5 and Dustin Pedroia went 3-4 with three runs. Scott Atchison, Jonathan Papelbon, Ramon Rameriz, and Hideki Okajima also pitched.
The Flyers beat the Devils, 5-1. They now move ahead of the Bruins by two points, and trail Montreal by two points. The Devils loss keeps them in fourth place.
The Penguins beat the Leafs, 5-4 in a SO. The Maple Leafs now trail the Panthers and Hurricanes by only two points. The Penguins stay in second place.
Duke beat Baylor, 79-71. Duke completes the Final Four, along with Michagin State who beat Tennessee. Butler and West Virgina are also in the final four. Prediction: Mounteneers win it all.
News and Notes: The Penguins will host the 2011 Winter Classic. Who else? They will probally play the Capitals, seeing those are the only NHL teams that are relavant. The Pens already played in the Classic, give somebody else a chance. Have Washington host it at Camden Yards and play a team like Toronto, or Ottawa. Or maybe have Toronto host it. Maybe a team like Minnesota at Target field.
The Mailbag is today! Get your questions in by 5:00 pm!
Congrats to the BC Eageles, going to the Frozen Four!
Today the Bruins play the Buffalo Sabres in a critical game. The Red Sox play the Rays at 7:00 pm. I will be in Port Charlote tomorrow to see Casey Kelly and the Red Sox.
The Celtics beat the New York Knicks, 109-97. Paul Pierce led the way with 29 points while KG collected 22.
The Red Sox lost to the Mets, 4-2. John Lackey pitched four shutout innings, but Ramon Rameriz gave up a three run homer. Jonthan Papelbon pitched a scoreless inning.
The New Jersey Devils beat the Pittsburgh Penguins, 5-2. Paul Martin scored in his first game after missing 59.
News and Notes: Bruins-Pens tonight. Should be fun. Scroll down for my game preveiw on that one.
Patrice Bergeron will play tonight after taking a slap shot off the knee in Carolina.
Jed Lowrie has been diagnosed with Mono. He can still do physical activity, but will feel tired and fatigued.
JR Giddens was activated after being out six weeks by the Knicks last night vs his former team, the Celtics.
The Celtics return to action tomorrow vs the Rockets. The Red Sox have an off-day today, but return tomorrow in bradenton to play the Pirates. I’ll be there.
Here is your Sunday recap in Boston sports.
The Red Sox beat the Orioles, 5-4. The Sox where down in the eigth inning, but an Angel Sanchez double and Gil Velezquez single tied it. Mark Wagner homered in the ninth inning to win. Casey Kelly picked up the win and Robert Manuel the save. David Hernandez got the L for the O’s.
The Bruins lost to the Penguins, 2-1. Marc Savard was taken out on a stretcher after a dirty hit from behind by a dirty player, Matt Cooke. Savard took an awkward pass from the left wing and dumped it in, and Cooke came from behind and slammed his elbow into his head. Obvious intent to injure. The NHL says they want to get rid of head shots, but no penalty was called on the play. I expect Cooke to be let of the hook with a two or three game suspension, though he deserves a season suspension in my mind. I’ll talk more about this at news and notes.
The Celtics beat the Wizards, in a comeback win. Down by as much as thriteen in the fourth quater, Ray Allen hit two key three pointers in the comeback. Rajon Rondo missed a free throw down two, and Kendrick Perkins picked up the rebound and passed to Ray who was beyond the arc. He hit it, of course.
The Sabres beat the Rangers, 2-1 in OT. The Rangers gain a point on the Bruins in the Eastern Conference standings, and now sit only two points behind them after the Bruins loss.
The Canadiens beat the Ducks, 4-3 in a shootout. Montreal entered the third period down three goals, and came back to tie. Tomas Plekanic sealed it in the SO. Montreal is now two points behind the Bruins.
The Magic beat the Lakers, 96-94. Kobe Bryant could not hit the buzzer beater this time. Vince Carter threw down 25 points in the win. The Lakers have now lost three games in their west coast swing, to the Bobcats, Heat, and now Orlando.
The 76ers beat the Raptors, 114-101. Yes, the C’s actully have to worry about the Raptors, who are behind them in the divison. Good to gain a game on them. Expect a Celtics-Raptors first round playoff series.
The Oilers beat the Devils, 2-0. Always a good thing, as the B’s need the Oilers to heat up if they want Taylor Hall in the draft. Can Toronto catch them?
News and Notes: I promised I would touch on this topic again and I will. That hit Cooke had on Savard was the second dirtiest hit I have seen this year. The only worse was Mike Richards on David Booth in an almost identical situation that took Booth out 45 games and he missed the Olympics for team USA. Did Richards get suspended? Of course not. Welcome to the NHL. This is the second time Cooke had handed out a hit like this. It’s time the NHL does something.
I was at the Red Sox game yesterday afternoon. Right behind the Sox dugout. Victor Martinez tossed me a ball! That was sweet. I got to see Casey Kelly pitch live for the first time. That kid has some sick stuff. I can see him in the big leagues next year. Or maybe this year. If Kelly is what they think he is, then they can just let Beckett walk without a problem.
Thanks for all the mailbag questions. It will be back again at it’s reaguler time Sunday. Sorry for no recap yesterday, I was at the Red Sox game, then I watched the Bruins and Celtics. Today the Red Sox play the Cardinals at 1:05 pm. Josh Beckett will face off vs Chris Carpenter. I will be in Ft. Myers Wednesday when the Red Sox play the Rays. I expect to see either Lester or Lackey.