After closing out 2011 with an absolutely ridiculous 21-3-1 run that catapulted them from the dregs of the East to the neck-and-neck race for the #1 seed, the Bruins kicked off a busy January 2012 by crushing New Jersey, 6-1. The win puts the Bs at 51 points, which are good for second overall in this final season ever for the Eastern Conference (we hardly knew ye, ugly All-Star jerseys).
The middling Devils might’ve been better served by having Marty McFly in net last night rather than slam-dunk Hall of Famer Marty Brodeur. The UFA-to-be gave up six goals on just 27 shots (.778 SP) and has look like a shell of himself in more than a handful of games this season. His current numbers, .888 and 3.00, looked like those of a mid-80s starter—not one in today’s NHL.
NJ took an early lead on David Clarkson’s PP tally, a lead that lasted for just under four minutes. Greg Campbell tied it with an inadvertent redirect with his skate. Five minutes later, the Bs took the lead for good on Nathan Horton’s PP goal off a sweet David Krejci feed. Patty Bergeron’s unassisted, almost-shorthanded breakaway goal doubled the lead late in the second and with three 3rd period goals (Bergeron, Krejci, and ShawnThornton, who beat Brodeur 5-hole with a knuckler), the rout was on.
Tim Thomas was his usual stellar self, stopping 30 of 31 shots for his 17th win to go along with a .940 and a 1.90. Typical of this well-balanced Bruins line-up, 12 of the 18 skaters had at least one point and four had a pair.
This impressive team just keeps steamrolling through this league. When they play their game and dictate the pace, we get 6-1 pastings on the road. And when they just play so-so? Well, we see 2-1 OT wins, like the one in Phoenix. This team just needs to keep doing what it’s doing. No gripes or suggestions here. I’m just gonna watch, continue to enjoy the hell out of this team, and keep my fingers crossed that whatever injuries pop up, because it’s hockey and they will, are minor.
The Bs look to keep pace in the East tonight, as the Calgary Flames come to town for what used to be a rare visit but won’t be any longer starting next year as the teams go back to home-and-home meetings.
A few more buds for you New Year bowl…
*Do the Flames have one of the best “ugly history-mocking” nicknames ever or what? “Hmm, this whole city was deliberately burned down about 100 or so years ago…let’s go with Flames!” The Washington Bullets might run a close second. I suppose in another 100 years or so when some unknown sport begins its inaugural season at the Thomas Menino Sports and Speech Complex located on what used to be South Boston, the Boston School Buses will have some pretty sweet unis, too.
*It’s nice to see the Krejci line showing some of the chemistry that drove the team last year but has been lacking and inconsistent at times this year. Oddly enough, the numbers are there (perhaps fattened up in a few games) but this line hasn’t always given the same efforts as their counterparts. Sometimes with “Dangerous” Dave, I think he just wants the playoffs to get here because he knows that’s when the real games are and that’s reflected in his play. I suppose that’s not the worst thing. It’s just that when you see him make a brilliant play like last night, you don’t want to wait long for the next one. There’s certainly nothing to be alarmed about. Just as long as they’re going in April.
*It’s gonna be interesting to see what happens after this season for the NHL’s all-time wins (and losses) leader in New Jersey. The decline in Brodeur’s game has been apparent for the last couple years now. If they sign him beyond this year, it reeks of misguided loyalty (and perhaps a last grab at customers’ money clips). The smart move for Lou (because everybody knows all the HOF GMs come to Barstool for this shit) would be to say “Thanks for sealing/building my HOF candidacy…here’s a nice car with bulletproof windows for those trips back to the Rock…arrivederci”. If Marty finds himself with a raging case of Cheliositis, or just needing more cash flow after getting soaked in his divorce, he may just find himself backing up Jose Theodore on Opening Night for the 2014-2015 Quebec Funny Logos after doing the ‘Namath as an L.A. Ram’ bit somewhere. Whatever happens, I hope the guy doesn’t dump on his legacy too much. Not too many guys, if any, that you’d pick before him for a winner-take-all.
*Out of the top 28 NHL players on the all-time points list, all but one are either in already in the HOF or will be in once they’re eligible (which would require a few to stop playing first). Adam Oates has been eligible since 2007 and certainly more than worthy for selection to hockey’s highest honor. But for some ridiculous reason(s), he hasn’t gotten that phone call yet and one wonders what the hell the hold-up is. The election committee is a notoriously political old boy network whose methods are shrouded in secrecy simply because they can be. This results in the out-of-the-blue elections of friends of committee members and omissions of guys like Oates. His run-ins with Harry Sinden are well known and Sinden still swings a big dick when it comes to such matters so it’s not a stretch to wonder if the two are connected. It would really suck to think that two-decade old battle scars haven’t healed enough to give a man his proper due. I mean, Adam Oates certainly didn’t do anything 1/1,000,000th as bad as that fucking scumbag and former Sinden running buddy Alan Eagleson did. But if there’s something else, or the mere rumor of something, at play keeping him out, certainly not a stretch given the age, beliefs, and political leanings of a good portion of the voters, then that would truly be a low point for the HHOF. Whatever the reasons for his heretofore omission, the committee can always rectify the situation when it reconvenes for its next election. And while they’re at it, vote in Pat Burns, too.
*NHL36 featuring Patrice Bergeron aired on the NBC Sports Network (nee Versus) last night. Just like Pat Kane a couple weeks ago, cameras followed Bergeron around for 36 hours leading up to and just after a game. Also like the Kane ep, the show keeps your attention but doesn’t blow you away like “24/7” does. Jokes about how the hell they’re gonna fill 36 hours. Pre-game soccer (two-touch). It showed him buddying up with Dan Paille for the long flight (“crushing” Modern Family). Prepping his tape and water. A prank that turns out to be somebody actually taking care of him (as a non-prankster, Patty doesn’t get pranked). He was curiously described as the “most vocal” member of his line. Team dinner at Fleming’s, where the Squirrel mistakenly referred to his center as the team’s captain. Some pretty good stuff in there for Bruins fans. Ironically, there was probably more revealed about Claude than his player as we were treated to more locker room footage than we’re used to seeing from him (making us hope that the NHL makes the Bruins the visitors to Michigan for the 2013 Winter Classic so that we get the team on “24/7” in December).