Category Archives: NHL

Hey Bruins — Step Up and Replace Savard

GM Chiarelli

Time to Step Up, GM Chiarelli

By Thalia Bardell, howiGit Contributing Writer, Boston, MA

Here’s what we do know: Boston Bruins forward Marc Savard is out for the rest of the season. And that’s pretty much all we’ve got. By placing Savard on long-term injury reserve the Bruins have freed up about 4 million dollars in salary cap money (although even that gets tricky because if they use all the money they could incur a penalty for going over the cap due to potential performance bonuses). But let’s say, for the sake of argument, that the Bruins have $4 million to pursue a player to replace Savard. What do they do?

It seems like everyone’s got an opinion, and almost none of them line up. I’ve heard: find explosive offense, get a goal scorer and get him quick, or go for a puck-moving defenseman; someone who clears it fast, but who can also help out in front of the goal. Speaking of the goal: Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask, keep ‘em both or trade away? Is Patrice Bergeron “untouchable”, what about David Krejci, is Mark Stuart the guy to unload or will the B’s have to dangle someone like Milan Lucic to get a decent deal? General Manager Peter Chiarelli wants to “add without subtracting”, but in order to get a big player someone’s gotta go –it’s just a question of who.

Perhaps even more important than who gets traded is who joins the black and gold for the remainder of the season. We need someone big, a playmaker who can ignite the recently skidding Bruins. A few names are being tossed around: Dallas Stars center Brad Richards, Atlanta Thrashers defenseman Zach Bogosian, Toronto Maple Leaves defenseman Tomas Kaberle, and Nashville Predators center Mike Fisher. With this much cap money the Bruins have got to think big and bold and the biggest and boldest player of that group would probably be Brad Richards, but with the Dallas Stars atop their division it’s not likely that Richards will move. Mike Fisher, however, is a rumor that I want to believe – replacing at the center position seems like the smartest move that the Bruins could make. Fisher has been described as “another Patrice Bergeron”, someone with a good work ethic that can contribute at both ends of the ice. Perhaps he has what it takes to inject a little life into this Bruins line-up. Although the B’s sit atop the northeast division it is questionable as to whether this team will be able to hold up against the best of the best come playoff time.

Right now all we can do is speculate, because rumors are rumors and they’ll swirl until the trade deadline, February 28th. There is no question, however, that the Bruins need to do something; they need to make a move that’s ballsy. Chiarelli’s got to man up and land an impact player – show the fans that he’s prepared to do whatever it takes to win now, because 1972 was an awfully long time ago and it’s about time that the Stanley Cup came back to Boston.

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Athletes on Twitter = Tweetletes

Athletes on Twitter

By Thalia Bardell, howiGit Contributing Writer, Boston, MA

Twitter. I’ve resisted it for a long time – perhaps because the first time it was described to me was as a constant series of Facebook stati. Good God. I block most people’s Facebook stati because I just don’t care if you’re out at the mall wit the girlz or at band practice ‘till 5 and then getting pizza with the boys and probably hitting the bars after that – please, spare me. Before I sound too pompous I am aware that not many people care when I update my status, which is why Twitter didn’t appeal to me. What do I have to Tweet about – just ate a turkey sandwich! Just got out of the shower! Doing laundry! Everyone reading just got a sneak peek into my sweet life. Boring. However, I acknowledge that social media has become a huge part of our modern lives and that Twitter is something I’ll need to get on board with just like everyone else has – including athletes.

First, Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew takes a jab at Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler on Twitter. Then, Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck wants to know if Jet cornerback Antonio Cromartie knows what CBA (collective bargaining agreement) stands for. Cromartie then needs to defend his turf by telling Hasselbeck that he’ll “smash his face in.” All on Twitter, all in the public domain. Seriously, what happened to simply calling up your best friend and bitching to them over the phone where no one else can hear? Haven’t any of these guys heard the expression “save the drama for your mamma?” Then my SportsCenter broadcasts would not be crowded with all this he said, she said, they said back, so we said nonsense and I could get my Top Plays in peace.

Lately it’s the Green Bay Packers. You would think that a team that has been well respected all year, a Cinderella story from game one, would want to keep a foolishness-free record going into Super Bowl week. But no, injured linebacker Nick Barnett and tight end Jermichael Finely decide that Twitter would be the appropriate place to complain about not being included in the team Super Bowl photo. This is not the seventh grade, which is what irks me so much about all the comments that these players have been making. If you’re upset about not being in the team photo don’t put a snarky and passive aggressive comment on Twitter, tell your coach that you think that players on the Injury Reserve deserve a place in the picture. This is not hard. As a professional athlete you are supposed to be an adult and moreover you are an adult that is constantly in the public eye. Stop calling each other out over Twitter like fourteen-year-old girls over AIM. Then we can move on to more important things like, oh yeah, playing sports.

I guess the complaint I have with athletes is the same complaint I have with everyone else. If you’re going to use Twitter use it right. Like Shaq, who recently tweeted, “daaaang everyone is tryn to lose weight n look good. u could train wit my people n keep ur new years shaqalution.” Now that’s a Tweet I can get behind.

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Bergeron Leading Bruins Surge

Patrice Bergeron

By Matt Moore, howiGit Contributing Writer, Boston, MA

Despite the Patriots losing their playoff game to the Jets, there is still hope for the Boston sports scene this winter. We all know what the Celtics are doing, and for the most part, the majority of fans still won’t get too excited until the playoffs begin. We saw it last year whenthe C’s played .500 ball to close out the season, only to turn it on come the post season. So ifyou’re feeling as though you have too much free time on your hands due to the Pats early exit,then perhaps the Bruins would be a good place to focus your energy. Clearly the last team on the Boston depth chart, the Bruins have struggled to compete with the Red Sox, Patriots, and Celtics for the attention of the Boston faithful. However, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to ignore what the Bruins are doing, and especially the play of sixth year-center Patrice Bergeron.

The Bruins bounced back from their 4-2 loss to Buffalo by beating Colorado 6-2 on Saturday afternoon. Last Monday’s 7-0 win over Carolina gave the B’s six out of a possible eight points on their mini-homestand. They followed that up with a 3-2 win over the Hurricanes to complete a sweep of the home series. In doing so, Boston now has 27 wins and 61 points on the season. Because of their status as a division leader, the Bruins find themselves in third place in the Eastern Conference behind Tampa Bay (63 points) and Philadelphia (67 points).

And while perhaps the biggest story of the season has been the resurgence of All-Star goalie Tim Thomas and his league leading 1.83 goals against average and .945 save percentage, the credit for the Bruins’ recent success belongs in large part to Bergeron. The centerman has 16 goals and 23 assists for 39 points in 48 games, despite slumping through the latter half of November and early December. Bergeron is now playing more and more like the 70 point player Bruins fans became accustomed to a few years ago. Always looking to set teammates up, Bergeron is just as much looking for his own shot this season — and capitalizing when he does. He has posted multiple points in six of the last nine games and is making additional contributions that don’t show up on any stat sheet. The NHL has taken notice, as it named Bergeron the second star of the week ending January 16th. Known primarily as one of the better two-way players, Bergeron has been an active contributor on both the Bruins’ power play and their 4th ranked penalty kill. He has three power play goals on the year to go along with two short-handed tallies.

Bergeron is not one of the NHL’s flashier players, nor is he even one of the Bruins’ for that matter. But he is a solid player that the B’s have come to rely on heavily; whether it’scontrolling the puck, disrupting the opponent’s transition offense, winning face-offs, or using his offensive skill set. His 39 points leads the Bruins, but is still 27 points behind Sydney Crosby’s and Steven Stamkos’ league leading mark of 66. But the Bruins don’t need Bergeron to be Crosby or Stamkos. Bergeron’s style fits perfectly with a team that finds itself firing on all cylinders as the NHL approaches its All-Star break. Every line is contributing and making plays — the Bruins have eight players with at least ten goals and ten players with at least twenty points.

Boston is playing as good of hockey as anyone in the NHL lately, so now is the time to catch on. Bergeron, along with Thomas, is leading the Bruins towards the playoffs where they hope to avenge the heartbreak of last year’s second round debacle. And while the next few Sundays may sting for fans around here, maybe watching the Bruins is just what the doctor ordered.

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