New beginning for the Bruins

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New beginning for the Bruins

It wouldn't be a day here on Standing Room Only without some commentary on the Bruins, and today will be no different. After all, today the B's Stanley Cup defense officially begins.

Not to take anything away from the last six months, but all that's out the window. The slow start. The red hot November. The dominant December, flakey February and mediocre March. Tim Thomas skipping the White House? Tyler Seguin sleeping with more girls than you even spoke to? Old news.

It's all about now, and the only question on anyone's mind:

Can the Bruins do it again?

Answer: Of course they can. All things considered, the Bruins are more prepared to win the Cup this season than theyve been at any point in the last 30 years. Why? Because they already have.

Wasn't that always the biggest problem with the B's?

The culture of losing?

The fact that no matter how well they played in the regular season, there was always the expectation that when it came down to winning time, when the season was on the line, that the Bruins would come up short?

After all, it's not like the team was horrible for the entire 39-year Stanley Cup drought. Hell, in those 39 years they only missed the playoffs five times. They won 13 division crowns. They weren't the Los Angeles Clippers. They were just a solid franchise with no backbone.

But last year delivered a transplant. And now, with this core starting with the man in net, regardless of how you feel about his politics you do have faith. You don't look back on the regular season and think: "Eh, it doesn't matter, because they're going to blow it anyway." It's more, "Eh, it doesn't matter, because this team is built for the playoffs. They've shown us that already, and there's no reason to think they can't show us that again!"

Actually, OK. Maybe there are a few reasons to believe it won't happen. Namely, that only two teams have won back-to-back Cups in the last 20 years and the Bruins don't have Mario Lemieux or Steve Yzerman. On top of that, there are obviously injury concerns, especially on defense. Not to mention some pretty stiff competition in the Eastern Conference and beyond. Still, there's no doubt that the Bruins have a chance. A great chance.

Of course, at the end of the day, like in any NHL playoffs, the Bruins fate may still come down to how many games Tim Thomas can steal, how many times they can sneak in the first goal of an overtime, how many times there's a make or break moment and for one reason or another, the Bruins make it happen.

But for the first time in a long time, you're not crazy to think that the Bruins do have what it takes, and they will make it happen.

Either way, the story starts to unfold tonight.

The title defense begins now.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

McQuaid on going in the NHL expansion draft: ‘I hope that’s not the case for me’

McQuaid on going in the NHL expansion draft: ‘I hope that’s not the case for me’

BOSTON – With the NHL expansion draft looming a couple of months in the future, it became much more of a reality for the Bruins this week now that the 2016-17 season is in the books.

Bruins GM Don Sweeney said on Thursday that he expects the Bruins to go the 7 (forwards) 3 (defensemen) 1 (goaltender) route protecting their roster from the June 21 expansion draft. That will still leave some useful roster players unprotected.

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Atop that available expansion list for the Bruins will be potential names Malcolm Subban, Riley Nash, Jimmy Hayes and Adam McQuaid, who could be headed to Vegas. Asked about the topic at this week’s breakup day for the players, McQuaid expressed his hopes that he isn’t the one selected by the Vegas Golden Knights. The 30-year-old McQuaid stayed healthy enough to play in 77 games this season, and posted two goals and 10 points along with a plus-4 while serving in a top-four role pretty much all season as Torey Krug’s defensive partner.

McQuaid also brought the toughness and quiet leadership element with his willingness to always stand up for his teammates and go toe-to-toe with the toughest guys in the league when it was called for. His midseason heavyweight bout with Matt Martin was one of the most memorable moments of the season. It’s an element the Bruins would miss if he was taken in the expansion draft.  

“Well, I hope not. I never thought of it that way, to be honest with you. Obviously, the reality of the situation is they’re picking somebody from every team,” said McQuaid. “So, I hope that’s not the case for me. I’ve won here and I’ve always said how much I love it back here. I can’t imagine playing for another team. It’s totally out of my control, but hopefully that’s not the case.”

McQuaid is signed for $2.75 million for the next seasons and it was clear he was missed on the penalty kill once he went down injured in the first-round series against the Ottawa Senators. As for the entire expansion process, Sweeney said they are currently whittling down the protected list while required to protect Zdeno Chara, David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron and David Backes to start by virtue of the no-movement language in their contracts.

Other young players, Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo and Frank Vatrano among others, don’t need to be protected either after completing this season with two years or less of pro hockey experience. One of the most difficult decisions will come down to protecting either 25-year-old Colin Miller or 28-year-old Kevan Miller as the third defensemen. 

Whichever one of those D-men is left unprotected would join McQuaid as the most likely player to be selected by Vegas GM George McPhee after he spent a decent amount of time scouting the Black and Gold this season to get an idea of which player he wanted.

Here’s our best guess at which players will end up being protected by the Bruins:

Forwards (7): Bergeron, Krejci, Backes, Pastrnak, Marchand, Beleskey and Spooner

Defensemen (3): Chara, Krug and Colin Miller

Goaltender (1): Rask 


 

Brady’s pre-draft Facebook post tries to provide some inspiration to picks

Brady’s pre-draft Facebook post tries to provide some inspiration to picks

Pick No. 199 in 2000 tried to provide a little inspiration to the next generation of NFL draftees before the first selection Thursday night. 

Remember: they can't measure heart. Whether you're picked first, last or not at all, YOU decide what happens next, every day. Good luck!!!

Posted by Tom Brady on Thursday, April 27, 2017