Boston Bruins

Morning Skate: Will Leafs' Vegas side deal get them Colin Miller?

Morning Skate: Will Leafs' Vegas side deal get them Colin Miller?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while waiting for the expansion draft fireworks to begin on Wednesday night.

*Good piece by Frank Seravalli detailing the side dealings between the Vegas Golden Knights and the Toronto Maple Leafs that might net Toronto a defenseman, including perhaps Colin Miller, when it’s all said and done.

*Compelling interview with Shane Doan on XM Sirius Home Ice about his break-up with the Arizona Coyotes, and how it all went down. It sure is pretty clear to just about anybody that the Coyotes could have done better with the face of their franchise for the last two decades.

*Speaking of side deals, it looks like Steve Yzerman managed to secure one with Vegas to protect a couple of his young D-men.

*On the other side of it, FOH (Friend of Haggs) Alex Prewitt details a behind-the-scenes look at Vegas heading into the expansion draft

*What a shame that it appears a skin condition could force Marian Hossa into early retirement and will at least cause him to sit out next season.

*PHT writer Joey Alfieri has the details of Jarome Iginla still planning to come back and play for somebody in the NHL next season.  

*Good piece by FOH (Friend of Haggs) Rob Rossi on a gentleman and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury leaving Pittsburgh in full bloom.

*For something completely different: I sure hope this shakeup with the directors of the Han Solo origin movie doesn’t portend bad things for it. Then again, if Lawrence Kasdan thinks you’re going in the wrong direction with the Han Solo character, then you’re probably going in the wrong direction. The guy pretty much created him into what we all loved so much on-screen.


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.