Bruins: 'Last year was last year'


Bruins: 'Last year was last year'

By Joe Haggerty
BOSTON Its pretty clear after a couple of days that the Bruins are on the same page when it comes to publicly closing the door on last years collapse.The Bruins dropped four straight games to the Flyers in the second round of last years playoffs and were the butt of plenty of Boston Massacre-style jokes last summer. Now, they have the chance to wipe that memory clean.Its the Big, Bad, Broad Street Bullies vs. the Big, Bad, Bruins and itll be the equivalent of an alley brawl to determine which team advances once the seven game war of attrition and steely determination has been decided.But Peter Chiarelli and Claude Julien have set the tone over the last couple of days, and put the proper focus on the here and now of Game 1 in Philadelphia Saturday afternoon rather than anywhere else. The Bs coach sounded like a hockey version of Yogi Berra when asked to compare and contrast this years series against the Flyers with last season's, but Julien wasnt going there just like his players werent willing to step into that territory.Instead Julien was focusing on the fact that so much statistically was slanted against the Bs in the opening round Game 7 against the Montreal Canadiens, and his hockey club did a good job of tossing convention and probability straight out the window.I think last year is last year, and this year is this year," Julien said. "A lot of people are going to want to bring up the past. If anything, its like Montreal. All the stats were probably against us with the odds and how the Bruins had fared against them in the past. We were down 2-0... anything that the odds were against us we overcame. "So its always a new situation. Its a new opportunity and thats how were looking at it. Its just a new opportunity for us to get past the Flyers and hopefully win this series. Zdeno Chara said that he lost 10 pounds in the 24 hours surrounding his virus and extreme hydration episode before Game 2 against the Montreal Canadiens, and that hes just now feeling 100 percent following the illness. The Bruins captain was noticeably weaker during the games following his hospitalization, but battled through and indicated he was back at 100 percent prior to the weekend start to the Flyers series. Chara's normal playing weight is 255 pounds, and he told that he's back up to 252 with only a couple more pounds to be back up to his full fighting weight. Every Bruins player was on the ice for a Friday morning practice at TD Garden that included power play work, line drills and some good old-fashioned work on defensive zone breakouts in anticipation of the strong Flyers fore-check coming their way starting this weekend. Peter Chiarelli confirmed on Thursday that his hockey club is healthy entering their conference semi-final series against Philly. Tyler Seguin has taken to calling his forward line the Green Goblin line while skating with Jordan Caron and Jamie Arniel and wearing bright green jerseys during practice. It seems that Shawn Thornton isnt much of a Spider Man fan given that Seguin had to explain the origin of the term born from one of the super-villains in the comic book and movies.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs.

Thursday, Aug. 25: Nearly two decades later, the Whalers live on


Thursday, Aug. 25: Nearly two decades later, the Whalers live on

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while in disbelief mode that the summer is almost over.

*Good piece on the remainders of the Hartford Whalers organization in Connecticut trying to keep the dream alive for the Whale.

*Tyler Seguin sits down for a podcast this week that I freely admit I did not have the time to listen to. I wonder if Boston even rated a mention in the conversation?

*Rating the top NHL contracts, according to the fancy stats hockey analysts, sounds like an interesting exercise.

*Tracey Myers has Duncan Keith bowing out of the World Cup of Hockey while recovering from an injury, and getting replaced by Jay Boumeester.

*The “Da Beauty” Hockey League has kept players like Dustin Byfuglien, Ryan McDonagh and David Backes in hockey shape this summer while slowly getting ready for the season.

*The Arizona Coyotes make a historic hire by naming Dawn Braid as skating coach, making her the first female coach in the NHL.

*For something completely different: FOH (Friend of Haggs) Rich Shirtenlieb guested on the #DORK podcast this week, and it sounds like he didn’t love “Stranger Things.” At the very least he liked “Preacher” better. I thought Preacher was entertaining, but I didn’t even think it was in the same stratosphere as Stranger Things. Rich also has me wanting to watch “It Follows” now, however, after his endorsement.


Bruins don't poll well in latest New England Sports survey

Bruins don't poll well in latest New England Sports survey

It’s no secret Bruins fans are getting fed up with a hockey team in decline, one that’s missed the playoffs each of the last two years. Now there are numbers to prove it.

Channel Media and Market Research, Inc. came out with its annual New England Sports survey,  tabulating responses from over 14,600 polled, and, according to the numbers, the Bruins are dropping in popularity, fan support and faith in the current management group.

The B’s are holding somewhat steady with 16 percent of voters listing them as their “favorite sports team” behind the Patriots (46 percent) and Red Sox (29 percent) while ahead of the Celtics and Revolution. Claude Julien also ranked ahead of John Farrell among the big four teams in the “coaches/manages most admired” category.

But after sitting at a relative high of ranking at 27 percent for “ownership performance” in 2014 -- they year after their trip to the Cup Finals against the Blackhawks -- the Bruins now rank dead last in that category at 2 percent, behind the Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics and even the Revolution. Ouch, babe.

Also sitting at a lowly 2 percent is Bruins president Cam Neely in the “leadership performance” category. In "management performance," Neely has dropped from a solid 49 percent in 2014 to just 16 percent in this summer’s survey.

So B’s fans are clearly upset with a team that traded away Tyler Seguin, Johnny Boychuk, Milan Lucic and Dougie Hamilton, and has featured a decimated defense corps for each of the last two seasons. But do the B’s fans think that things are getting any better with prospects coming down the pipeline?

Not really.

In the “which team has done the best job making its product better.” category, the Patriots (35 percent) and Red Sox (31 percent) were resting at the top, with the Celtics (27 percent) a respectable third. The Bruins limped in at just 4 percent with a fan base that very clearly sees that, on paper, this upcoming season’s club doesn’t appear to be much better than last year's.

On top of that, only 13 percent of those surveyed believe the Bruins have gotten better over the last year, and 52 percent believe they’ve just gotten worse. A lowly 3 percent of those surveyed think the Bruins have the best chance of the five teams to bring a world championship back to Boston; the Patriots (79 percent), Red Sox (11 percent) and Celtics (5 percent) all ranked higher.

Finally, Zdeno Chara, Tuukka Rask and Jimmy Hayes were at the top of the list of the Boston athletes “who did not meet expectations” last season. None of that is a surprise, given the state of Boston’s defense along with Hayes’ subpar season.

The good news for the Bruins: They still have a passionate fan base. But they need to start reversing course immediately before they do lasting damage to the B’s brand.

Wednesday, August 24: B's dealing with post-Vesey aftermath


Wednesday, August 24: B's dealing with post-Vesey aftermath

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading with the Olympics coming to a close . . .
-- FOH (Friend of Haggs) Kirk Luedeke sorts through the aftermath for the Bruins after losing out on Jimmy Vesey

-- Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland gave an interview where he said the Red Wings aren’t Stanley Cup contenders this season. 

-- Related to Holland’s comments, some of the media in Detroit aren’t taking the dose of reality all that well

-- It’s a big season for New Jersey Devils forward Kyle Palmieri, who will be starring for Team USA on the World Cup team. 

 -- PHT writer Cam Tucker says the Buffalo Sabres still have a strong group of forwards even without Jimmy Vesey.

-- Jamie Benn is giving everything to his Dallas Stars team, and that means that the World Cup of Hockey is taking a backseat
-- The Colorado Avalanche are nearing the end of their head coaching search as they look for their replacement for Patrick Roy.
-- For something completely different: NBC is making the argument that millenials watched the Olympics, but just not on the traditional formats