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 the NHL All-Starr game officially in the books, it’s time to take a close look at who are the leading candidates for this year’s top honor for Nhl rookies. This year’s class is like no other. From top to bottom, this year’s class is loaded with talent lets take a look at some mid_season candidates. Mid_ Season NHL Candidates Mid Season Report 1. Charlie Mc Avoy Bruins; After a handful of games in 2017 mostly in the playoffs McAvoy has lived up to his billing. The Bruns number one pick in2016 has exceeded all expectation. McAvoy can score, play solid defense and bring a physical presence to a fragile group. Mcavoy has also contributed to a game -goal in a shootout last month. Presently McAvoy is injured due to heart palpations. If he can pick up where he left off he could be a strong finalist for the award. 2 Alex Dibrincat Chicago; After forty plus games Di Brincat brings some youth to an aging team. DiBricat has shown consistency to a struggling Hawks team. His 17 goals and 15 assists and a plus_ minus the ratio of_7. Playing on a sub_ par team could hinder his chances. 3. Yanni Gourde Tampa; Gourde is on a first_ place team which helps him immensely.Gourde has a great scoring touch netting 17 goals and 16 assists.One of the fastest skaters on the team looks for Gourde to be a strong finalist at voting time. 4. Brock Boeser Canucks; Boeser was the MVP in this year’s All_ star game and it shows why. Boeser brings respect for a non- competitive team loaded with issues. After 46 games Boeser is probably the best scorer of the group 24 goals 19 assists 43 points. If he keeps going at the same pace he could reach 40 goals and 50 assists. At this stage, he’s a front_ runner for Rookie of the year. 5. Kyle Connor Winnipeg; The Jets have a special player in Connor. In 40 NHL games, Connor is one of the leagues swiftest skaters. Connor has 15 goals and 14 assists. At the voting time, he should be right in the mix. After 40 plus games hopefully, this article will be fairly accurate a voting time. Othe names that deserve honorable mention are Danton Heinen Bruins, Jake De BruskBruins, Will Butcher New Jersey, Mark Jankowksi Calgary, Sonny Milano Columbus, Pierre Luc DuBois Columbus, and Clayton Kelleher Arizona, Matthew Barzal Islanders, The two front_ runners are McAvoy or Yanni Gourde.
After six games, into the young season, Bruins fans do not have much to cheer about. Just six games into the 2017/18 season the Bruins find themselves at the bottom of their division at 3-3, and only seven points. On the bright side, however many of the young players have been key contributors in the games they won. This leads fans to believe that there is a bright side to the season. The Bruins have eight new faces on this year’s roster. They also completed a deal for star forward David PastrnakThe message is clear the Bruins are committed to winning
Growing pains is the biggest issue facing any young team college, or pro. Time will tell which players can stay in the NHL or be role players, players to be going back and forth to Providence. Experience is an athlete’ s greatest teacher. Bruin players who have made a considerable impression so far on the young season are defenseman Charlie Mc Avoy. McAvoy was the Bruins number one pick in the 2016 NHL draft. So far Mc Avoy comes as advertised playing a tough physical game/ Mc Avoy is also creative on the power play. Left winger Jake De Brusk son of former NHL player Louis DeBrusk has scored two goals and brings a physical presence to the lineup every nite. Other Bruin players who have been eye_catching so far have been second _year players Tim Schaller and Noel Accari. Both spent considerable time on the roster last year and are only getting better. Second_ year defenseman Brandon Carlo has also shown signs of promise. Carlo has been one of the teams most consistent defenseman night in and night out. Backup goaltender Anton Khudobin has been solid taking over for injured goalie Tuukka Rask, Rask has d the past three games due to a concussion. Khudobin has won two games, not to mention making 37 saves in a tie with Buffalo over the weekend. It could be along season for Bruins fans. But there is the reason for optimism here with a new coach and a young roster.If the Bruins defense can play solid in front of Rask then the Bruins season should be a success.