BruinsSharks: 5 from the First

BruinsSharks: 5 from the First

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.comBOSTON Here are five thoughts with a bonus thrown in -- from the first period with the Bruins trailing the San Jose Sharks by a 1-0 score after the first 20 minutes at the TD Garden.1)A little shaky from Zach Hamill in his first NHL game this year. One of his first shifts with the puck he held onto the puck in the defensive zone, looked for a few beats for a guy to pass to and then flipped the puck up the ice for an icing call. Thats a nothing play that doesnt bring anything to the Bruins. Three shifts in the first, though he appeared to get a little comfortable as things progressed.2)A couple of close bids by the Bruins, but it appears theyre going up against a Sharks teams looking to make a second-half move in the standing and is 6-0-1 in their last seven games. Its going to take a good effort to take down San Jose this afternoon.3)A couple of close calls for the Bruins in the first period. Mark Recchi was taken out on a 2-on-1 after Patrice Bergeron had delivered a nice little pass through traffic, and Milan Lucic missed wide on a rebound attempt during Bostons first power play when Antti Niemi couldnt control rebound of Zdeno Chara blast. Bruins need to execute against a talented, motivated hockey team.4)Pretty sweet new mask for Tuukka Rask that he was showing off prior to the game: It mixes together the Zakim Bridge, an homage to Gerry Cheevers, the Finnish flag and a couple of angry Bears among other things. Check out my twitter account for more pictures.5)Logan Couture is pretty damned impressive. Looks like hes going to be the big gun hunting for the Calder Trophy at the end of this season, and he banged home his 23rd goal of the year on a backhander from the high slot that handcuffed Tim Thomas a little bit. 6)In the paying a price department: three blocked shots for Andrew Ference in the first period.

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