Boston Bruins

Morning Skate: Big turnout to remember Dave Semenko

Morning Skate: Big turnout to remember Dave Semenko

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while still enjoying fireworks, of the NBA variety or of the standard variety, on the Fourth of the July.

*There was a big room for a reason when it came to the memorial for beloved NHL enforcer Dave Semenko after his passing.

*The Habs have named former defenseman Francis Bouillon as their player development coach in an organizational restructuring.

*The Carolina Hurricanes continue to be a team that’s building toward something as they’ve traded for Marcus Kruger just a couple of days after signing Justin Williams. There’s an interesting mix there if they can find enough scoring and get the consistent goaltending that they’re looking for.

*After being one of the in-demand amateur free agents this summer, Spencer Foo is “the guy” at Calgary Flames development camp.

*Hats off to Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy, who had a Fourth of July tweet that was as American as the bald eagle, apple pie or the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating contest on Coney Island.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) with a good explanation of the John Tavares situation with the New York Islanders and why there’s been no contract extension to this point.

*Is it too early for NHL fantasy hockey rankings? Not for the hard-working folks at NHL.com looking to stoke things up after free agency.

*For something completely different: The fireworks show for the Celtics turned out to be pretty awesome with the news that Gordon Hayward was coming to the Green Team.

 

Bruins have just as good a chance as the Celtics do this season (which is small)

Bruins have just as good a chance as the Celtics do this season (which is small)

Dan Shaughnessy ran a piece this week calling the Bruins the No. 4 team in town these days. He wasn’t wrong. They are. 

Of course, the claim isn’t really a discussion about the Patriots or Red Sox, as they’ll always be the two most popular teams in town. It’s about the Bruins being behind the Celtics, which again, they are. 

Yet while the general premise of the story was correct, there was an issue to be taken with the piece. Shaughnessy wrote that, “In terms of overall interest and championship hopes, [the Bruins] are a distant fourth.”

That’s where he’s wrong. Nobody would argue against the Celtics garnering more interest (even if the Bruins might have a stronger fanbase), but championship hopes? The teams are deadlocked. 

The Celtics are one of the top teams in a league in which only one team (the Warriors) has a chance. The Bruins are a middle-of-the-pack team in a league in which the literal last team in the playoffs (the No. 16 seed Predators) went to the Stanley Cup Final last season. 
 
This isn’t about which team is better, because that’s not close. The Celtics have three All-Stars in their starting five and the third overall picks from each of the last two drafts. They’ve also got one of the best coaches in the league. 

It’s also not about who will likely go farther. The Celtics will at the very least reach the Eastern Conference finals. The issue is that they’ll then either be eliminated by the Cavaliers or earn the opportunity to perhaps get swept by the Warriors in the Finals. 

That leaves the Celtics with a certainty of a very good season, but also close to an impossibility of a championship season. 

As for the Bruins, they probably won’t be much better than they were last season, if at all. This season was always the one to watch in the Sweeney era, as it will see the biggest implementation of the young players drafted. There should be at least four Sweeney draft picks on the team this year (Brandon Carlo, Charlie McAvoy, Jake DeBrusk and Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson), plus youngsters from the Chiarelli era still pushing for jobs. 

The biggest change figures to be on the back end, where the Bruins should have the best top-four they’ve had since Sweeney dealt Dougie Hamilton. A lot of that rides on McAvoy, but there remains hope on the back end in future seasons with Jeremy Lauzon and Jakub Zboril trying to eventually break in. 

Will the Bruins rule their division the way the Celtics will? Most likely not. The guess here is that Tampa and Montreal will finish ahead of teams like Boston, Ottawa and Toronto. 

Yet there isn’t a Cleveland or a Golden State waiting to swallow up whoever does emerge throughout the playoffs, and that’s what leaves the Bruins and Celtics with equal chances at a title. The Penguins have won back-to-back titles, but the Bruins have gone 4-1-1 against them in the regular season the last two years. They’re hardly the unstoppable force that exists in Golden State. 

So in terms of buzz, offseason moves and anticipation for a new season? Sure, the Celtics have it all over the B’s. I’m certainly way more excited for basketball season. When it comes to championship hopes, however, the B’s and C’s are no different. 

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