In hockey, there’s a saying that the team with the hot goaltender usually takes his team to the Stanley Cup. So far this season all signs are pointing to a Bruins team to go deep in the playoffs. The question is can, Tuukka Rask leads the Bruins to a Stanley Cup. In this post, we’ll examine three attributes Rask and the Bruins have going for them. Is 2018 The Year Tuukka Rask Leads The Bruins to A Stanley Cup? Skilled players; Since the days of the Big Bad Bruins, the team has had a reputation of grinders. Basically, a team that dumps the puck in the opposite end and wins the battle along the boards and out fighting the other team. This was the formula that was very successful for the Bruins but produced no Stanley Cups, It’s been seven years since the Bruins won their last Cup. That roster consisted of players such as Tim Thomas, Nathan Horton, Dennis Seidenberg and thirty goal scorer Milan Lucic. This years group consist of skilled players such as Charlie Mc Avoy, Danton Heinen, Jake DeBrusk, and ex _Olympian Ryan Donato. Donato _the son of ex _Bruin Ted Donato. Donato had an impressive opening night scoring a goal and two assists despite a losing effort to Columbus . Good mixture of Youth and Veterans; After a long dry spell of not winning in the playoffs, the Bruins are playing like a team on a mission. Veteran goaltender Tuukka Rask is having an impressive season. With three shutouts to his credit, 2018 could be the year. Boston has solid veterans in David Krejci, Adam McQuaid, Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara and Brad Marchand. Marchand has elevated his game to be one of the top five players in hockey despite dirty reputation. Coaching; Since taking over for the fired Claude Julien head coach Bruce Cassidy has transformed the team into one of the most exciting teams in hockey. Cassidy who spent eight years as head coach in Providence. One of the reasons for Cassidy’s success this year has been rotating his goalies Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin. If Rask can stay fresh, then a trip to the Stanley Cup is possible.
Since Don Sweeney replaced former General Manager Peter Chiarelli three years ago, the Bruins find themselves as serious Stanley Cup Contenders. The 37-15-8 and Bruins are in second place of the NHL Eastern Conference. Only five points separate the team from the first place Tampa Bay Lightning. In this article, we’ll cover three areas that are paying dividends for this year’s Black and Gold. Roster Overhaul; Since the teams successful Presidential Cup year in 2012 the Bruins have not gotten by the first round of the playoffs in three tries. With consecutive losses to Montreal and an early exit at the hands of Ottawa last season the Bruins now seem to have found an identity. The first order of business three years ago was to dismiss General Manager Peter Chiarelli. Since Chiarelli’s dismissal in 2015 Sweeney has completely turned the team around. Midway through last season, the club fired longtime coach Claude Julian. Julian was replaced by longtime Providence coach Bruce Cassidy. Cassidy responded by guiding the team back into the playoffs for the first time in two years. Despite a first_ round loss to the Senators. Despite an early exit, Bruin fans found a reason for optimism. A Mixture Of Youth And Veterans; Since Sweeney’s arrival, three year’s ago Bruins fans have seen the likes of Milan Lucic, Dougie Hamilton, Jerome Iginla, Chad Johnson and Reily Smith all depart. Enter Charlie McAvoy, Danton Heinen, Jake De Brusk, Anders Bjork, and Sean Kuraly. All have bought into Bruce Cassidy’s style of play and it shows on the ice every night. Only Tampa Bay, Nashville, Washington and Las Vegas have more points. The new faces seem to click with veterans David Krejci Patrice Bergeron, Adam McQuaid, David Pastrnak, and Tuukka Rask. If the chemistry and good coaching continue the Bruins may have an excellent chance of getting to the finals. Rotating Goalies; One of the biggest differences in this year’s success is the rotating of goaltenders. Veteran Tuukka Rask is having a great season 24-18 and a 2.21 GAA in 40 games while backup Anton Khudobin is 13-4- in 23 games with an impressive 2.41 GAA .Keeping both goaltenders fresh and sharp may play a big factor come playoff time. No matter what the end result is hockey is fun again on Causeway Street. The Bruins have their old swagger back. The Bruins are playing like the Black and Gold team fans are used to seeing. After a flurry of activity the past week Sweeney has acquired Rick Nash, Nick Holden, and Black Hawks forward Tom Wingel. If the chemistry continues then the dividends hopefully will be another Stanley Cup.
With NHL training camps underway this week hockey fans can start to make their predictions. Last year the Penguins skated, to their second straight Stanley Cup .A seven game hard fought series over Nashville. The Predators were one , of the most surprising teams in the NHL last season. The start of training camp means every team gets a fresh new start. During the summer teams retooled and got ready for the upcoming season. Three teams to keep an eye on are Edmonton, Dallas, and Boston. Dallas and Edmonton were very active this past off season.For the Bruins they were fairly quiet. Boston was busy negotiating a long term deal for David Pastrnak. Still no deal has yet to be announced. Dallas was the busiest team this off season. The Stars added veteran goalie Ben Bishop. Bishop. Bishop was traded to LA at the trade deadline,but ended up signing with Dallas this summer. The Stars will have great depth at goaltending ,as Bishop and KariLehtonen will split the time. The biggest move was signing long time NHL coal Ken Hitchcock to a contract. Hitchcock’s experience will greatly help Dallas. With captain Jamie Benn,and Tyler Sguin the Stars should be much better than their 34-37 and 70 point record. Hitchcock has the experience to mold the Stars into a playoff team. Along with Bishop , Dallas acquired defenseman center Martin Hanzal,and forward Tyler Pitlick. Edmonton is another team to keep an eye on. The Oilers rewarded star center Connor Mc David to an eight year 100 million dollar deal. Mc David was was one of the leagues best players last year. The Oilers selected McDavid number one overall in 2015 Mc David and teammate Leon Draisaitl together make the Oilers a very scary team. General manager Peter Chairelli has got the Oilers back to respectability in just three years.If the Oilers can play solid defense in front of goalie Cam Talbot they will be a team to challenge the Penguins in the playoffs. Boston under first year head coach Bruce Cassidy is another team that will surprise a lot of fans. Currently the Bruins are in negotiations with star forward David Pastrnak. If the Bruins can sign Padtrnak theycould be one of the biggest stories in hockey. The Bruins have a strong goaltender in Tukka Rask. The Bruins also have one of the youngest teams in the league. After losing in the opening round last year to Ottawa gained valuable playoff experience. The Bruins are led by number one pick Charlie McAvoy. McAvoy joins a host of young talent such as Brandon Carlo, Jakub Zboril Austin Czarnik, Sean Kuraly, Rob O’Gara, Noel Accari , Frank Vatrano. If Cassidy can mold the veterans, with the young players the Bruins could be serious contenders in 2017/18.
Goaltending Still Key Area of Concern For 2017/18 Bruins
Now that the summer of 2017 has come to a close, opening night of the 2017 NHL season is just around the corner. Free agency is pretty much over. For the Boston Bruins it was ralitively a quiet off season.For the Bruins getting forward David Pastrnak’s contract was the main objective over the summer. Negotiations between the Bruins and management are still going on. On a positive note at least the two sides are still talking.. Aside from from the Pastrnak deal goaltending is the main concern for this year’s Bruins squad. Eight year veteran Tukka Rask played in sixty five games last year. Rask posted a 37-20 record and a nifty 2.34 Goals Against Average. Not to mention eight shutouts and five over time games. At thirty years old Rask is ranked number fourteenth overall in the NHL,by Sports Illustrated. Pretty good company to be in. Since 2012 the Bruins have not won a playoff round. The last goalie to win a Stanley Cup was Tim Thomas. In 2012 the Bruins lost in seven to the Black Hawks.Ever since the Bruins loss to Chicago success has not found Tukka Rask . This past season the Bruins qualified for the playoffs for the first time in five years. Ottawa was the latest culprit to defeat the Bruins in five games last spring. Rotating goalies could be an option for first year head coach Bruce Cassidy. Cassidy took over for long time coach Claude Julian.Cassidy has backups Anton Khudobin, and Zane McIntyre in the wings.Khudobin was last years backup postiing an 8-6 and a2.35 Goals Against Average. McIntyre played in eight games last year and had no record. Rest is something the Bruins should consider. At thirty years old Rask still has a lot of playing time left.Khudoin is a dependable backup, with more playing time this could prove to be a key factor for the Bruins ths season.Counting on Rask to keep the Bruins in games could work against them this year. The youth movement has been the main subject of conversation this year. With a host of young talent on the roster the Bruins could have one of the youngest rosters in the league. Mixed with solid veterans such as Zedeno Chara, Brad Marchand, Adam McQuaid, and Patrice Bergeron the Bruins could be the surprise of the league this year.