I didn’t want to write about Tim Thomas today. Or yesterday. Or even tomorrow.
But when Peter Chiarelli confirmed today that Thomas’ agent approached him in the beginning of May suggesting that the Bruins goaltender was considering sitting out the 2012-13 season, something had to be said.
Just a year ago, Thomas was the biggest story in hockey–maybe even one of the biggest stories in sports. He capped off an unbelievable 2010-11 season by winning the Stanley Cup, the Conn Smythe and the Vezina Trophy, all within a week of one another. Thomas was on top of the hockey world, and why not? The 38-year old, Michigan native had reached what would be the pinnacle of his career.
Only one place to go from there, you know.
The Boston Bruins’ breakup day came approximately six weeks earlier than it did the season before. During the day’s interviews and meetings, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli indicated that while he didn’t foresee any major changes, he would like to “add some pieces.” The Bruins will need bottom-six players with one or two to have the potential to move into the top-six group, if necessary. With the current situation as is for the Bruins, here’s a look at five free agent forwards that the Bruins should target.
It might be safe to say that out of the six Eastern Conference teams still in the hunt for the playoffs, the Boston Bruins have the most difficult schedule of remaining regular season games. The Bruins will first host the 9th seed Washington Capitals, just two points out of playoff contention before heading to New York for back-to-back games against the all-but-eliminated Islanders and a Rangers team which they’re winless against this season. After that, the Bruins will come back home to play the streaking Pittsburgh Penguins, travel to Ottawa to face the team closest to catching them for the Northeast Division lead and close out the season back in Boston against the Buffalo Sabres who are 7-1-2 in their last ten games.
A bit daunting when you think about how inconsistent the Bruins have been at times during the season, eh?
The good news is that the Bruins could potentially clinch a playoff spot in their next game with a win or overtime loss against Washington on Thursday. The bad news is that the division, along with their potential first round opponent, is far from being decided. Pair that with some tough decisions that Boston coach Claude Julien will face regarding starting goaltending and resting key players and you have to think: this will not be an easy two weeks for the Boston Bruins.
It’s been difficult trying to define the 2011-12 Boston Bruins. Although most of the names are the same, this isn’t the same team from last year.
How could that be?
The Bruins have been a wildly inconsistent team. They started out struggling with a 3-7 record before absolutely dominating their opponents in the months of November and December, finishing out 2011 with a 22-3-1 record in the final two months. Then, mediocrity hit. The Bruins went 56 calendar days without back-to-back victories, playing .500 hockey, alternating wins with losses at a pace that could be described as just average. They weren’t bad, but they weren’t all that great either.
Now that the Bruins are once again on a winning streak, has anyone come any closer to finding out exactly who these Bruins really are?
By Mike Miccoli, Boston Bruins correspondent
The Boston Bruins winning streak remains at four as the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver pauses all NHL action. Yes, you read that right. The Bruins are on a four-game winning streak; second longest in the NHL below the basement-dwelling Carolina Hurricanes’ five-game streak, just as the Olympic break goes into effect. And while maybe just one or two of the victories seemed legitimate, the Bruins were still able to secure an important eight points in four games (10, in six games, if you count the previous two overtime losses) placing them right in playoff contention in the 7th spot in the Eastern Conference. The big question for when play resumes in Boston on March 2 is how will the Bruins be able to carry over that same success seen in the previous few weeks? I’m glad you asked because I have some ideas. As crazy as they may seem…
By Mike Miccoli, Boston Bruins correspondent
“If I were running the Bruins…”
How many times have you uttered that one this season? Countless, I’m sure. There are a lot of aspects of the Bruins that could be fixed via a trade: more goals on offense, better leadership, consistent energy, you name it.
I wouldn’t want to be Peter Chiarelli 90% of the time but for now, that 10% is looking awfully tempting. Below, I’ve listed some trades that I might make if I had that General Manager title engraved onto my business card. Some trades are downright outrageous, while others might make some sense. I’ve listed the pros and cons of each trade as well as how the swap would affect each team’s payroll.
Keep in mind, these trades are in no way, shape or form any type of rumor—just pure speculation on my behalf. Some of these are half-baked ideas while others were given a bit of thought. In the current rumor mill, there are some players who the Bruins should stay far away from (Ray Whitney and Marek Svatos come to mind first and foremost) and therefore I won’t even attempt a trade offer here. I’m thinking of players who MIGHT be able to help the team. Keyword, MIGHT. And as far fetched as an Ilya Kovalchuk swap might be, I certainly gave it a shot. I mean, why not, right? I wouldn’t be a true armchair-GM if I didn’t.
I’m 1-0 on running diaries for the season when the Bruins are playing an opponent from last season’s playoffs. Or at least I was before Thursday night’s shootout loss against the Montreal Canadiens.
The Bruins celebrated their first goal in 192 minutes and 6 seconds, a baffling amount of time between tallies if you think about it. In that stretch, the Bruins only allowed four regulation goals, a sign that their defensive abilities have strengthened. But the overall game play of the team? Not the best, especially when injuries are becoming more popular with each passing day now that Byron Bitz and David Krejci have been added to that list