Hey kids, another hockey season is a mere six days away, which is awesome. In what should be a very interesting season for the Bruins in many ways, including:
1.Which kids will not only crack the opening night lineup but make an impact?
2. Can GM Don Sweeney fix the defense?
3. Is this a playoff team?
Number three is the most important question, isn’t it? After two seasons of near misses, made worse by late season vomiting in big games, can the Bs return to the playoffs, all while seeing which of their highly touted prospects can help?
And make no mistake, the Bruins have prospects. Lots of ‘em. Prospects that can help the team either on the ice or in a trade for an established defenseman.
But back to the most important question, the playoffs.
Tampa and Florida are the likely class of the division, but one wonders if Florida is due for a bit of a bump given their goalie is old and so is Jaromir Lagr. Montreal goes as Carey Price goes. Detroit doesn’t look very good. Many are talking up Buffalo with all that young talent but the D and goalie remain questions, and will Evander Kane’s, um, issues, cause a distraction?
Looking at the rest of the conference, Washington and Pittsburgh will be good, obviously. Philly’s on the rise. Personally, the Rangers are due for a drop from their 101 point season, as their D is terrible (sound familiar?) The Islanders are a conundrum, losing Okposo and Nielsen and replacing them with Andrew Ladd and PA Parenteau. Plus they signed the corpse formally known as Dennis Seidenberg so it remains to be seen how good they’ll be.
Elsewhere, people are talking up New Jersey basically because they fleeced PC and Edmonton for Taylor Hall, but I don’t see it. The Devils had 84 points last year, are they 12 points better this year? Not sure, but they could be one of the teams the B’s are fighting for a spot.
So, where do the Bs stand? If everyone stays healthy, they have a good top 6 at forward, lead by two of the best in 37 and 63, and a good goalie in Tuukka Rask. But the D remains an issue, and it’s incumbent upon management to get help in that area to give the “core” a shot.
They missed the playoffs by a point when all was said and done, I say they get there this year, essentially replacing Detroit. But it ain’t gonna be easy. Montreal has to be better now that Price is back, and teams like Buffalo aren’t an automatic 2 points anymore.
Put it this way, if they don’t make it don’t be surprised if there is a new coach, or GM, or President, or all three.