Boston Bruins

Morning Skate: Will Subban breathe new life into Crosby?

Morning Skate: Will Subban breathe new life into Crosby?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while having been thoroughly entertained by the great product that the NHL and NBC Sports put on last night for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final. Good stuff, everybody.

*Don Cherry didn’t enjoy the bad breath and Listerine drama from PK Subban drawing in Sidney Crosby during the Stanley Cup Final, and thinks those kind of antics are going to end up ticking off Crosby more than anything else. I don’t know. I think it’s really starting to bother the best hockey player in the world and Subban has been exactly the kind of personality that the NHL has badly needed on their biggest stage. The Stanley Cup Final setting was made for PK and his undeniable style.

*Justin Bieber came under fire for wearing some Pittsburgh Penguins gear, so he did what every Millenial does these days…he took to Twitter to defend himself and gave us a look into his dizzying powers of logic and reason.

*As referenced above, it was a great show on NBC Sports last night with Charles Barkley and Carrie Underwood serving as intermission guests and the Round Mound of Rebound openly rooting for an alligator to eat Jeremy Roenick. It was fun to watch and NBC gets the kudos for embracing the star power of the series. As it turns out, Nashville is a phenomenal setting for a signature NHL event. Maybe the league should consider moving their NHL Awards to Music City on a permanent basis rather than Vegas. Just a thought.

*Subban’s act may be wearing thin on hockey purists and the Penguins as well, but it’s all part of the successful game plan if the Predators end up winning the Cup.

*Pekka Rinne has rebounded nicely for the Predators, and the Finnish hockey commentators rewarded us with this amazing call of his series of saves in Game 4.

*Interesting, Darren Dreger says there is a “slight chance” that Penguins D-man Kris Letang could return in the series for Pittsburgh, which would be a huge boost.

*What a stone cold pro this gent in Nashville is while doing his sports report with a couple of over-amorous Predators fans full on making out behind him.

*For something completely different: Frank Deford was one of those sports journalism giants that you marveled at when I was a kid. He was one of the first to do the video essays that so many make attempts at these days. It was a big loss when he passed and that loss was felt across all sports, including pro wrestling.


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.