|Friday, 26 August 2011 21:45|
The Boston Bruins will not repeat as Stanley Cup champions in 2012. Since no team has won back-to-back Cups since the ’97 & ’98 Detroit Red Wings, that’s hardly a daring prediction but one to be made nonetheless. With the likes of veterans Zdeno Chara and Shawn Thornton, they’ll say all the right things such as it being a new season and having to put last season behind them, but that will prove to be much easier said than done. After ending a 39 year Stanley Cup drought, the usually cranky Bruins fans will probably cut them slack.
Tim Thomas returns as the Bruins starter in goal after a magical season that saw him win his second Vezina Trophy, the Conn Smythe Trophy and the Stanley Cup. The chances of topping that trifecta: none. Thomas, originally scheduled to backup then incumbent Tuukka Rask at the beginning of the season, outperformed Rask early and never relinquished the starting job. This season the Bruins probably wasn’t to see more of a 65/35 split in goal due to Thomas’ advancing age and getting Rask and his healthy paycheck experience for the future. Come playoffs, expect to see Thomas once again as their main man.
Defensemen Chara and Dennis Seidenberg were immense in last year’s playoff run and the Sedin twins will be the first to verify that. They’ll be supported by veteran Andrew Ference and newcomer Joe Corvo, acquired from Carolina to replace Tomas Kaberle who did not come close to living up to his billing as the quarterback of the power play and moving the puck forward. Youngster Steven Kampfer and Adam McQuaid – one tough customer – round out the Bruins solid defensive corps.
Marc Savard will not be back in 2011-12 and, in all likelihood, has played his last game in the NHL due to his most recent concussion, a relatively benign looking hit from former teammate Matt Hunwick. The team will also be missing the leadership of Mark Recchi who closed a magnificent career with a Stanley Cup victory.
Center David Krejci and wingers Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton will once again be the Bruins top line. However, both Krejci and Horton had concussions last season and would both have to be considered risks going forward. Lucic seemed lethargic often during the playoffs and was rumored to be injured, possibly a toe or foot. Two-way player Patrice Bergeron will center their second line with unknown linemates as Brad Marchand is still unsigned and Recchi retired. The bottom of the forward combinations has steady role players like center Gregory Campbell and rugged Shawn Thornton.
TheO6.com has the Bruins winning the Northeast Division and as the third seed in the East, but doesn’t forecast them playing any games past the second round of the playoffs.
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 March 2013 18:30|