Boston Bruins

Morning Skate: Lineup change time for Preds?

Morning Skate: Lineup change time for Preds?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while wondering who Mr. Met might flip off today.

*The media that covers the Predators on a regular basis is clamoring for lineup changes after falling 0-2 in the Stanley Cup Final against Pittsburgh, but it’s not the changes that you think.

*Speaking of the Penguins, the legend of Jake Guentzel continues to grow as he keeps scoring goals for Pittsburgh and has vaulted himself into the Conn Smythe discussion with his productive play.

*On the other side of things, PK Subban has vowed that Nashville is going to win Game 3 at home after dropping both of the games in Pittsburgh to kick off the Stanley Cup Final.

*PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jason Brough has some thoughts from Pekka Rinne after the Nashville goalie blew up, and was yanked from Game 2.  

*While the en vogue theory has the Washington Capitals trading Alex Ovechkin this summer, there really aren’t that many teams that could make it work financially.

*If there is one team every Bruins fan should be watching closely this summer, it’s the Anaheim Ducks and the ridiculous surplus of defensemen they have on their roster. With youngsters Shea Theodore, Brandon Montour and Josh Manson all pushing through to the NHL, that leaves the Ducks with proven NHL products Cam Fowler, Sami Vatanen, Hampus Lindholm and Kevin Bieksa, who they’d probably like to move on from. Chances are they’re not going to find a taker for Bieksa, and this summer might be the time when Anaheim has to pry free one of their coveted young D-men in exchange for a young impact forward of some kind. It remains to be seen if Ryan Spooner, or a younger guy like Jake DeBrusk, could get Anaheim interested in making a move. It also doesn’t seem likely that the left-shooting Fowler – the guy the B’s would really be interested in – will be the one that ultimately gets moved after a phenomenal year in Anaheim. Somebody should be on the move at some point from the Ducks, however, and the Bruins should be ready to make their best deal possible when/if that time comes.

*For something completely different: As teased up above, Mr. Met is being reprimanded for flipping off the fans and getting caught on video.


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.