Joe Haggerty's live chat transcript: NHL is back

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Joe Haggerty's live chat transcript: NHL is back

CSNNE.com: Hey, everyone! Joe will be here shortly. Go ahead and leave your Bruins questions here, and he'll do his best to get to all of them!

Bruins Insider Joe Haggerty: Hey guys...here and ready to chat. So glad the NHL is back and now we can start talking hockey again!

We've all heard the rumors about free Center Ice as an apology to the fans. Have you heard anything else the league may do? If it's just a message on the ice about "thank you fans" i'll lose my mind. by Bhockey77

Haggerty: Hey Bhockey77...Was just at the Bruins skate this morning at BU, and Lucic suggested free Center Ice as a great method of apology from the NHL. Personally I don't think it's going to happen, but that's the kind of gesture fans would appreciate. Frankly I don't have a lot of faith it will be more than "Thank You Fans" on the ice and plastic commemorative Stanley Cups like they did coming out of the 2004-05 lockout. Those plastic Stanley Cups ended up raining down on the ice when the Bruins blew their first game back coming out of the lockout. Andrew Raycroft had to hide underneath the net for his own safety. Ah, the memories.

good to have pucks back haggs. are there any teams that are going to be in trouble cap w-ise once these CBA rules all kick in? by rmmoran1178

Haggerty: The Bruins, Wild and Canucks have less than 2.5 million in cap space to start this season, so they've got little wiggle room right off the bat. Of course the Bruins will buy a little more space when they put Marc Savard's 4M cap hit on LTIR. The Bruins will have roughly 57M committed for a 64M cap next season, but they'll also need to re-sign Tuukka Rask for probably around 4.5-5 million and then fill out a roster with little cap room. Will be a challenge for Peter Chiarelli and could mean a player or two gets traded. Or guys like Ference and Horton don't come back after this season. Tough choices

Does Seguin start the year at C or W? First or 2nd Line? by mike t

Haggerty: Seguin will start the year at wing. I'd imagine he'll be skating again with Bergeron and Marchand. I consider that a first line, but maybe that's just me. BTW, Seguin was the best player on the ice today in his first day back skating with his Bruins teammates. Flying around the ice and dead-red on target with his wrist shot. Bruins PP could be much better this year with No. 19 coming into his own. Put me down for at least 25 goals in 48-game season

It's good to be talking hockey again! Is Tuukka going to be able to handle the starting load this season? Or will be seeing more of Anton Khudobin than expected? by suzanne hanrahan

Haggerty: The Bruins will give Tuukka every chance to show he can carry the starter's workload, but both goalies will be plenty of games played. With a 48-game season shoehorned into roughly four plus months, teams will be playing every other day. That means it'll be Tuukka time at least 2-3 times a week at the bare minimum. He's rarin' to prove he can handle a starter's workload so he can get paid like one.

How big of an advantage do you think it will be for the B's seeing as it is almost an identical roster from last year? by mickey

Haggerty: Same roster, same coaching staff, same systems for the Bruins. Also having 13 guys playing overseas will help, especially given that it was important guys like Chara, Seidenberg, Bergeron, Seguin, Rask, Krejci etc that were staying sharp. It will sloppy hockey in the first few weeks, but I expect most of the B's best players to hit the ground running. Only concern is conditioning of guys that stayed at home. Will Horton be able to remain healthy? Lucic stayed off the ice for long stretches of November and December...how long will it take him to get into shape? Kind of questions Claude Julien will be asking himself

What has Marshy been up to? Any reason why he didn't play oversea's? How quick will the guys that stayed back be at the same level of play as the others? by kmac

Haggerty: Marchand was skating in Boston on and off...going back and forth between Boston and Nova Scotia. Would go on moose-hunting trips with his dad. Don't think he played in Europe because he didn't really seem to want to. He was maximizing his time off. I'll say this for him: he was the best player on the ice many times when the local NHL players did skate, and seems to be one of those athletes that can get into top condition very, very quickly

Haggerty: Funny note about Marchand: He told me if the season was cancelled that he wanted to go play hockey in Japan for the rest of the year. That would have been comedy gold

Who's your pick for the 9th forward Haggs? by mike t

Haggerty: With Jordan Caron injured for the next few weeks, I'll say it's Chris Bourque. He's been Providence's best forward and at 26 years old he's experienced enough to play a bottom-six role with a top-six skill set. Hope Spooner gets a look at the short NHL camp. He's been pretty good in his first pro season.

will bruins be able to trade thomas ? with the cap floor being set so low for 1213, I dont think anybody needs to get above the floor. by pucks23

Haggerty: Bruins might find it tough trading Thomas after the goalie expressed no interest in playing this season. Agreed about the salary cap floor making it more difficult. Had heard that the Flyers were actually interested in Thomas if he wanted to play. How bizarre would that have been to have Bryz and TT as the Philly goalie tandem. My buddy Tim Panaccio at CSNPhilly.com would have had his hands full with this two. Humangous beeg like the Universe!

Haggs, getting ready for camp now does Hamilton make the team and if so what line do you expecthim to play? by jmo19

Haggerty: I expect Dougie to make the squad and be paired with Chara to start the season. Would be a great learning experience for the talented kid. But all that being said he'll have to earn a spot on the team, and he struggled quite a bit at the World Jr tourney. Will need to step up his game to make the jump from OHL to NHL. I predict an up-and-down rookie year like the one Seguin experienced a few seasons ago, but the talent is clearly there

You expect to see a lot of fista-cuffs the first few games back, especially against division foes?? by mike from watertown

Haggerty: Yup. They play 7 games against each division rival in a 48-game schedule. That means a lot of Montreal, Buffalo, Toronto and Ottawa, and you'll remember that those teams signed guys like John Scott, Steve Ott, Brandon Prust and Colby Armstrong along with the Habs trade for Rene Bourque. There are going to be some classic Adams Division bloodbaths involving the Bruins this season, but they wouldn't have it any other way.

are the teams still allowed two amnesty contracts? If so will they use it for savard and thomas or who do you think? by mark

Haggerty: Yes. They are, but neither can be used until after this season. Highly doubt Savard is bought out. They'll just put him on LTIR, take him off the cap and let insurance pay out his money. Not sure they'd waste that on a half season of TT's 3M salary for this year. Just take the cap hit & get him off the books. Middle class veteran players like Chris Kelly or Johnny Boychuk could be most in danger of a buyout, the fight for a 64.3M cap ceiling next yr might have saved them both. Bruins could also deal Krejci's 5M plus cap hit if the going gets rough.

But, seriously, I've always wanted to know: WHAT started with a whisper? by kevin

Haggerty: Silly Rabbit...the answer is "it"

Eastern Conference finals or bust this year. They have too much talent to exit any earlier, agree? by CapnMikeM

Haggerty: Got to say I love the fact nobody is asking questions about the lockout. Get all of the Hockey Related Revenue talk and escrow chatter outta my face!

Haggerty: Agreed CapnMikeM...no hangover excuses this year, They need to make another long run, and appear rested and healthy enough for it. Goaltending is the big key for them. If Tuukka steps up and plays like he did as a rookie they'll be in very good shape.

Haggerty: But I wouldn't rule out Khudobin making a bid for the job either. His numbers in brief NHL stints are sick

Will Darth Quader be ready to go on Jan 19? Do you think this injury will change the way he plays? Make him more hesitant to drop gloves, finish check etc? by nycb's

Haggerty: I don't think McQuaid will be ready to go by Jan. 19. Blood clots and the thoracic outlet syndrome surgery are serious health issues. He's off blood thinners so he will play this year, but he'll need to gain some weightstrength first. His weight is way down from what it was in September, and he couldn't do anything physically for like 3 months. Big question is whether he can right back to being the stay-at-home, hockey fighting beast he was prior to the surgeries, but I certainly think his mind will be willing

While I am happy that the sides agreed on a deal, the apologies from the players hasn't been enough to make me not feel resentful about the lockout. I guess I am waiting for a statement of contrition from the billionaire owners... any chance of that happening? You know, something thanking the fans for our patience, an apology for the the were trying to grab as well as the negative impact on the local businesses, etc... Unless I hear something that sounds genuine from JJ, i am really going to have a hard time supporting the team i grew up loving. by scott in sd

Haggerty: I totally understand where you're coming from Scott, and I agree with you. Would be good to hear heartfelt apologies from the owners about the millions of dollars in revenue lost by restaurants, bars and other local businesses that rely on the NHL as a public trust. Players are saying they're sorry and they were the ones being locked out because owners put padlocks on all the team facilities. I just wouldn't hold my breath waiting for it because they feel the can do whatever they please in the arena of big business. Sadly many big American companies run with that kind of mindset. If you love hockey you'll come back whether they apologize or not. But you just have to hope that the NHL decision-makers the next time around are those that have a deep love and respect for the league and the game of hockey.

I heard a rumor that they would be giving out free guldens mustard at the home opener, please confrim by charles xavier

Haggerty: I can neither confirm nor deny. I heard they'll be giving out free Grey Poupon. We can only hope. I'd even take a free hot pretzel at this point

Haggs, Where everyone will be in different shape do you think they pair guys up differently or will they try to build the chemistry off the bat? for example if lucic is out of shape do they start him on a lower line? by dave from plymouth

Haggerty: That's a definite possibility, Dave. Guys that stayed around Boston and played shinny are in far different condition than the guys that were playing in Europe up until a few days or weeks ago. It will take more than a week for one group to catch up to the other, and some players might not ever catch up at all in a 48-game season. Lucic didn't skate much in November or December so he's got some work to do, but at least he didn't put on any weight from the end of last season. If there is one person on the B's roster that I feel might have a slow start it would be him, but we'll have to wait and see. Looch is traditionally a slow starter anyway.

Haggs, any shot Koko makes this Team, watching the Subway Series and the WJC he looks to have the speed and skillset to play in the NHL, strength may be an issue ? by bruinblood

Haggerty: Nope. Koko is a year away at least and he won't even be in NHL camp with the Bruins. He struggled this season in the KHL which would be the league most closely resembling the NHL, and needs at least one more year of development and getting stronger. But -- as you said bruinblood -- he's got the goods. Looks great against his peers and really brings a different element to the table than many of Boston's typical draft picksprospects. Has a great nose for the net and willingness to get into the dirty areas. Really like him as a player

Haggs, saw on a few reporters on twitter saying teams will likely carry a few extra players (healthy scratches) this season, even if they normally wouldn't. I know many teams do this during a regular season but I was wondering what are thoughts on this are and what the Bruins may do? Is the thinking guys may need day off with tough scheduleinjuries? by db

Haggerty: There are expected to be a ton of nagging injuries with a week-long training camp and a 48-game season where NHL teams play every other night. You'll need a couple of extra bodies just given the high workload in the short period of time and the groinhamstring type stuff that will sideline a lot of players. With Adam McQuaid and Jordan Caron both likely out to start the season, that means a couple of players from Providence will get bumped up. Interesting to see who it will be. I think Chris Bourque is looking more of a lock every day. Spooner, Tardif, MacDermid will probably all get looks, and guys like Bartkowski, Krug, Cohen could be brought up for depth purposes. Should be a crazy ride once training camp opens this weekend

I've heard there are no re-entry waivers anymore. Does this mean teams can't hide player's contracts in the AHL anymore like the Rangers do with Wade Redden? if true, I assume this would mean he counts against their cap this year no matter what. by Hitman489

Haggerty: Yes, I believe that is how it's going to work. That's why the Rangers will surely be buying out Redden's deal after the year is over and he'll get signed elsewhere. It was a shame seeing NHL caliber players stuck in the minors simply because of bad contractCBA technicalities.

Haggerty: Got time for a couple more questions if you've got any more

Give us a couple of bold Tuukka and Dougie predictions for this season. by mike t

Dougie will struggle to handle himself physically against bigger, stronger, thicker opponents and won't put up much offensively. Don't see him getting a ton of PP time, but I could be wrong about that. I think Tuukka is going to lead the NHL in GAA and save percentage and be in the running for the Vezina. He knows it's his time. He'll take the ball and run with it, and it also helps that Claude Julien's defensive system has allowed the B's goaltenders to put up some crazy good stat lines over the last five seasons. IMHO, Tim Thomas success was partly due to his abilities and partly due to the great supportive system that he played in.

Haggerty: One more question and then it's off to the blogosphere

Speaking of the power play, what PP unit's can we expect to see this year? Will they be better? by amm

Haggerty: Two words: Tyler Seguin. I think the B's top PP is going to be built around him and he'll see plenty of time on it running things from the half-wall. He's equally good passing, shooting or rushing the net from that position and should create plenty of scoring situations all over the ice given the attention that he'll garner from PK units. I think we should be in store for some of the best PP performance in Boston since No. 91 was running the show, and he was a maestro of the man advantage. Claude Julien will have to loosen up his approach a little bit, but Seguin looks like he's really about to go Supernova on the NHL. That's a great sign for this year's edition of the Black and Gold. I'm outta here...see you at the rinks.

CSNNE.com: That's it for today! Thanks to Joe for taking the time, and thanks to all of you for your questions! Follow us on Twitter @CSNNE for updates on our next chat. And be sure to tune in to Sports Tonight at 6:30 . . . we'll have Mike Milbury on air for more BruinsTalk!

Brady-Ryan marks rare case of NFL's top two quarterbacks meeting in Super Bowl

Brady-Ryan marks rare case of NFL's top two quarterbacks meeting in Super Bowl

For all the flack that Matt Ryan got heading into this season, he’s been a damn good quarterback. Is his career on the same level as Tom Brady’s? Of course not, but this regular season saw him stand as Brady’s peer, making him an MVP favorite.

One of Ryan’s biggest challengers for that hardware is the same man who stands in the way of him winning his first Super Bowl. Though he missed the first four games of the season due to suspension, Brady finished second in the league in passing yards per game and threw just two picks in 12 games while tossing 28 touchdowns.  

So Super Bowl LI will pin the quarterback with the best numbers overall (Ryan finished two touchdowns behind Aaron Rodgers for the league lead but threw for 516 more yards and had a higher completion percentage) against the quarterback with the best touchdown/interception ratio ever for a single season. 

In other words, this is a Super Bowl that puts what one could argue are the season’s two best quarterbacks each other. That’s pretty rare. 

Going back the last 25 years, there are four candidates for such meetings: Manning vs. Brees in Super Bowl XLIV, Favre and Elway in Super Bowl XXXII (this one is a stretch), Favre and Bledsoe in Super Bowl XXXI and Kelly and Rypien in Super Bowl XXVI.. 

Why haven’t the two best quarterbacks squared off in the Super Bowl more often? Because Brady and Peyton Manning played their entire careers in the same conference, silly. It’s taken other players entering their echelon to even set up such a scenario, and that’s why Brees’ Saints beating Manning’s Colts serves as the only example during Manning or Brady’s career. 

The strong performances of those who dominated the regular season have often carried over into their Super Bowl meetings, but not always. Drew Bledsoe and Jim Kelly (both throwing two touchdowns and four picks in Super Bowl losses) are examples of the wheels falling off in the final game. 

Here’s a breakdown of past occurrences. Note that all four of them saw the winning team score at least 30 points, something the Pats have done just once in Brady's four Super Bowl wins: 

Super Bowl XLIV: Brees vs. Manning

Brees led NFL with 34 touchdowns in regular season; Manning finished tied for second with 33

Final score: Saints 31, Colts 17

Brees: 32/39, 288 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
Manning: 31/45, 333 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT

Brees completed a postseason in which he had no turnovers and did so in a nearly exactly average game for him that season, as e averaged 292.5 yards, 2.26 touchdowns and less than one interception per game in the regular season. The two quarterbacks also combined for just one sack. 
 
Super Bowl XXXII: Favre vs. Elway

Favre led NFL with 35 TDs in regular season, Elway finished second in TD/interception ratio

Final score: Broncos 31, Packers 24

Favre: 25/42, 256 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT, fumble lost 
Elway: 12/22, 123 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT

Again, this is the forced one because Jeff George (3,917 passing yards, 29 touchdowns, nine interceptions) had the better regular season than Elway (3,635 passing yards, 27 touchdowns, 11 picks). Elway may have been the winning quarterback, but he didn’t have anything to do with the win. Terrell Davis carried the Broncos, playing through a migraine and rushing for 157 yards with three touchdowns en route to Super Bowl MVP honors. 

Super Bowl XXXI: Favre vs. Bledsoe

Favre led NFL with 39 TDs, Bledsoe third with 27

Final Score: Packers 35, Patriots 21

Favre: 14/27, 246 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
Bledsoe: 25/48, 253 yards, 2 TD, 4 INT

Both quarterbacks took five sacks in this game. For Bledsoe, it was the most he took all season. The game was the third four-pick performance of his NFL career. 

Super Bowl XXVI: Kelly vs. Rypien

Kelly led NFL with 33 TDs, Rypien second with 28

Final score: Redskins 37, Bills 24

Rypien: 18/33, 292 yards, 2 TD, INT
Kelly: 28/58, 275 yards, 2 TD, 4 INT, fumble lost

Turns out five turnovers (and being sacked four times) is not a recipe for winning the Super Bowl. Kelly’s 58 passes thrown set a Super Bowl record.
 

Dimitroff, Pioli the first Belichick defectors to lead new team to Super Bowl

Dimitroff, Pioli the first Belichick defectors to lead new team to Super Bowl

Working for the Patriots makes you attractive to other teams. Many have left, but Thomas Dimitroff and Scott Pioli are finally showing that major success can be attained in the process. 

Dimitroff and Pioli have built a team in Atlanta that will play for the franchise’s first Super Bowl title on Feb. 5. While many have been hired away from Bill Belichick's Patriots to lead other organizations, Dimitroff is the first of the defectors to get to the Super Bowl on his own. Adding an old friend in Pioli has played a part in that. 

Dimitroff served as New England’s director of college scouting from 2003 through 2007 before becoming Atlanta’s general manager in 2008. He hired Pioli in 2014 as an assistant GM after the longtime Patriots director and vice president of player personnel had a messy stint as the Chiefs’ GM. 

Executives and coaches (even Field Yates; yes, the fair-haired boy from the television) leaving the Patriots for better positions with other organizations has been common, but with the new positions have often come diminished success compared to New England. 

Romeo Crennel, Eric Mangini, Bill O’Brien, Charlie Weis (in his brief return to the NFL in 2010) and Josh McDaniels make up the list of coordinators who have left winning with the Patriots to experience a dropoff without Brady and Belichick. John Robinson (Titans), Jason Licht (Buccaneers) and Bob Quinn (Lions) currently serve as GMs elsewhere, while former Pats secondary coach Joe Collier works with Dimitroff and Pioli as the Falcons’ director of pro personnel. 

It’s only fitting that Dimitroff and Pioli will have to go through Belichick in order to secure a title on their own. Winning without Belichick has proven hard enough for his former colleagues; winning against him will be even harder.