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Friday, October 10, 2008

A Good Start

While the defensive results might have been dicey, it was great to see the Bruins score five goals in their 5-4 away opener win vs Colorado. A road start is tough (last seasons the Bruins played in a handful of other team's first home games and were bruised by it) but the Bruins hung in there. I could not have wished for better starts from Ryder, Wheeler, Krejci, and Kessel, at least on the scoreboard, and Lucic looked better, picking up an assist and playing on a tough and solid 4rth line.

Not so spiffy was the Bruins defense. Ward worked hard but he was off position too much. Ference not a lot better. Hnidy also tries hard and makes the most of marginal talent. Chara wasn't impressive (a stinky -3 despite his assist), Wideman was OK, as was Stuart. Thomas faced way too many shots again, but he was up for the challenge and came up big in the last seconds against Sakic. Tim was classic Thomas, making some huge stops but you will never see the guy in a goalie training video.

I was overjoyed to see Bergeron playing again, but I felt he was a little restrained on the physical contact. That does not bother me much, because the last thing I want to see is another injury. Bruins have enough beef out there so that Patrice can work on the finesse. I thought Marco Sturm was the invisible man, and Kobesew wasn't exactly Mr. Everywhere either. Yet Chuckie ends up with two points, as did Patrice. Ryder was on the ice for two Avs goals, but he was also on for two Bruin's goals including his own. So that is a wash, even if he ended up -1.

Friday night, no Bruins game, but it is centre ice preview night, so I get to watch a bunch of other teams. Montreal vs Buffalo and a distinct lack of diving - a surprise. But all's well that ends well - Montreal lost in a shootout. Rangers look very strong, Lundquist very sharp. Yet Chicago tied it up in the first. Florida was up 2-0 on the Canes and squandered that. Atlanta was 1-0 vs Washington early, faltered, but then chased Theodore out of the Capitals net and scored another 3 on his backup. The Isles and Devils were 1-1 but NJ scored the winner in the third. I will be heading back to watch some more free hockey later.

So it was a great start, and we will see if CJ starts Manny against his old team the Wild in the next game. Five is nice, but this Bruins team has to prove they can score consistently if they want to make the playoffs. It looks to me like a lot of teams have improved. Toronto under Ron Wilson looked very decent against Detroit. I have to say that they played much better without Sundin; I think they previously got used to sitting back and letting Mats do it all, and that became a set of diminishing returns as he aged. He was a great player, but he had become just good, and I think the younger guys deferred too much to him and Tucker. Well both of them are gone, and my guess is the Leafs will actually be stronger for it.

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