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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Northeast Preview: Boston Bruins

With summer behind us and camps drawing to a close, it seems like the perfect time to contemplate the moves made by Montreal and its various division rivals. Over five parts, we will take a look at each team and venture a guess at where they will finish in 2011-12.Today, we wrap up the series by profiling the Habs biggest nemesis, the Boston Bruins
Last season: 46-25-11, 103 points (1st in Northeast, 3rd in East, Stanley Cup Champions)

Additions: Joe Corvo, D; Josh Hennessy, C; Benoit Pouliot, LW; Jamie Tardif, F

Subtractions: Thomas Kaberle, D; David Laliberte, RW; Mark Recchi, RW; Michael Ryder, RW; Boris Valabik D


Look above. Not a whole lot of changes, right? The fact that the Bruins have managed to keep their Stanley Cup Winning roster so intact should be a worrisome proposition for other Eastern Conference opponents. No doubt, the loss of Michael Ryder and Mark Recchi are noteworthy. While Ryder, as Habs fans well know, can be streaky, he nonetheless put up an impressive post-season performance, contributing 17 points in 25 games. As for Mark Recchi, his veteran savvy and complimentary scoring will undoubtedly be missed. A man with 1652 games of NHL experience is difficult, if not impossible, to replace. 

And, yet, with the acquisition of Benoit Pouliot and the continued emergence of Tyler Seguin, Brad Marchand as well as, to a lesser extent, Jordan Caron, it is clear that the Bruins have the tools to compensate for the loss of the two forwards.

As for the backend, after many season of courting, Peter Chiarelli finally managed to land Thomas Kaberle from Toronto late last season. However, his presence during the playoffs only allowed the Bruins to muster a horrendous 11.4% efficiency on the powerplay and, unsurprisingly, he was not retained in the offseason.

Indeed, it is quite impressive that Boston defeated Montreal and won a Stanley Cup with such a pitiful man-advantage. With Joe Corvo replacing the underwhelming Kaberle, it is hard to imagine the squad doing any worse.
As for those who doubt Tim Thomas’ ability to put-up another Vezina-like campaign, those doubts are understandable. As resilient, hard-working and headstrong as Thomas may be, he cannot fight the hand of time. Yet, as he has proven many times, doubting him is often a foolish notion. And, even should he falter, the Bruins can always fall back on Tukka Rask, who would easily be a starting netminder on at least 20 other teams.

With a virtually unchanged roster, emerging youngsters and two excellent goaltenders, it seems unwise to bet against the Bruins in the Northeast division. 
Prediction: 1st in the North East.

Will the Bruins win their division again? Can they repeat as Cup Champs?    

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Louis is an Associate Editor at HabsAddict.com and an Editor at HabsWorld.net. Louis was born in Chicago but grew up in Quebec City where he earned Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from Université Laval. He currently lives in Ottawa and works for the Coaching Association of Canada. He can be reached at l.moustakas@habsworld.net.

1 comments:

Good stuff Louis!

I think the big point here is Tim Thomas. If he can maintain his stellar form from last season the Bs will be a hell of a team to play against.

Even if he takes a little step back, as you pointed out, Rask is more than capable.

With the roster they have now, the emerging talent and the stable of high draft picks, the Bs are positioned to be a juggernaut for many, many years to come...

...much to the chagrin of Habs' fans!

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