Archive for April, 2012

Stanley Cup Playoffs: Second Round Picks

And then there were eight.

As you all probably know, our defending Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins have been eliminated from the playoffs.

After one round, here are what the standings look like.
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Racism overshadows an incredible playoff series.

Last night was appalling for a multitude of reasons. The Bruins came out looking lifeless and lost as a result. But whats more upsetting than being knocked out of the playoffs, which is a pretty big deal, is the vile comments spewed by Bruins “fans” and “fans” in general after Joel Ward’s OT winner. While I’m fully aware that the argument that those people are not real fans is invalid, I don’t consider them to be fans and I never will. I’m sure the sentiment is similar throughout the hockey fanbase.

Lets not even get into the blatantly racist portion of their attack just yet and focus on another aspect of what they took from Joel Ward last night. By sitting behind a computer screen and spouting off slurs, they took away his glory of scoring the game winner in OT of a Game 7. No one is going to ask him about his goal, and that pains me as a hockey fan. The playoffs are an amazing time, and goals like that are what players and fans dream about. Did Joel Ward and the Capitals knock my team out of the playoffs and shatter my hopes and dreams? Absolutely. That being said, the look on his face and the excitement is what its all about, knowing that he’ll never forget that moment. Ward should be relishing in the glory of taking the series for his team, not having to dodge questions about racism.

Moving onto the childish racism. All I can say after having a day to reflect on it is, really? This racism wasn’t limited to Bruins fans mind you, but Flyers fans, Red Wings fans and just random trolls mixed in. What do you accomplish by calling someone a racial slur. Its not going to change the fact that he scored on Tim Thomas. They’re not going to take back the goal and replay the game because some yahoo on Twitter that is incapable of proper grammar and spelling called Joel Ward the n-word. All they accomplished was diminishing an amazing sport, casting Boston fans in a bad light, and making themselves look like complete fools in the process. So congrats guys, I hope you feel great. I hope you woke up feeling like you made your mark on the world.

This brings me to my final point. There are a lot of people out there, most of them aren’t even Capitals fans, that are grouping the entire city of Boston and all of Bruins fans into the label of “racist”. I’m fully aware the Boston has a tarnished past but this boggles my mind, that people can just generalize about an entire group of people because of the team they follow. How does that make you better than anyone else. Thats like considering that all people from Germany are Nazi’s. I know the latter example is a different, but it has the same idea. You’re taking a group of people and judging them by their affiliation to something. To say that we understand the plight of Canuck fans would be the understatement of the century. They’re labeled “rioters” and we’re labeled “racists”. Its not a label I wish to carry. The fact that Joel Ward is another race never even crossed my mind last night. All I saw was a hockey player that ended my team’s season. I’m sure that’s what most thought as well.

Racism cannot be tolerated in this sport or any aspect of life. If you can play, you can play. I sincerely apologize to Joel Ward, the Capitals and their fans for having their glorious Game 7 win taken away from them with this ignorance. I won’t however, apologize on behalf of Bruins fans because the ones I associate with were nothing but respectful after the loss and I cannot apologize for racist, ignorant people that under no circumstance deserve to be forgiven.

Bergeron is a Selke Finalist

All I can say is: It’s about time.

Bergeron’s name has been circling around the Selke trophy for some time, but it’s only now that he finally gets enough votes to be a finalist. In case you guys don’t know what the Selke Trophy is –  it is awarded to the “forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game.” His competition for the award are two other great forwards – Pavel Datsyuk and David Backes.

He is revered for his dedication and passion for the sport by his team mates, but also by other players in the league. When the NHL followed Patrice around for thirty-six hours for their “NHL36” segment, people got to see the kind of man Patrice is. He doesn’t fool around in the locker room. He is focused, poised, and ready to play the game. He congratulates all of his team members and encourages them on and off the ice to do their best. These are the qualities of a leader who works hard day in and day out to win games.

Patrice Bergeron led the NHL in plus/minus with +36. He also led the Bruins in assists this season with 42 and had 64 points by the end of the regular season games. He was second in the NHL for the best face off win percentage at 59.3%, trailing Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks. Bergeron only went to the penalty box for 20 minutes total during the regular season, which is considerably low when compared to the rest of the players on the Bruins. He led the Bruins forwards this season with 67 blocked shots and 55 takeaways.

But the stats really only begin to cover the way Bergeron plays the game. Here is a clip from the NHL website where Claude Julien talks about Bergeron: Bergeron Named Selke Finalist.

The Awards ceremony will take place on June 20th. I encourage everyone to watch it, even if Nickelback is performing. You can change the channel then.

Player Spotlight: Benoit Pouliot

Ask Bruins fan about how they feel when it comes to Benoit Pouliot and you’ll get a mixed response. Some like him, some aren’t sure and some fans absolutely hate him. When it comes to the Bruins fan base and probably any fan base really, there is always one person that can do no right in the eyes of the fans. It would seem that regardless of all the things Benoit Pouliot does right, it only takes one mistake before people start calling for him to be benched. Fortunately, all of us lovely ladies at CrashingTheNet are supporters of Pouliot. That is why the spotlight belongs on him right now, he’s earned it.

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Pre-game Notes Round 1: Capitals vs. Bruins-Game Five 4/21/12

The Bruins and Capitals are all tied up in the series as we enter game five, today in Boston. One one team so far has been eliminated in the playoffs, with many other teams in the same deadlock as the B’s. The Bruins return to the Garden faithful and hope to find the offensive spark that has eluded them for much of this series. Julien is going to shake things up with the lines today, hoping to find a combination that will produce the results the team and the fans want. The twenty-two year old goaltender for the Capitals, Braden Holtby, has had a lot of stellar performances during the playoffs so far, so the Bruins will have to find his weak spot and throw a lot of good shots at net today. Last game, Holtby stopped 44 out of 45 shots. The Bruins have only scored before the Capitals once this series, and that was the thrilling OT goal by Chris Kelly in Game One.

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Post-Game Notes Round 1: Capitals vs. Bruins – Game Two 4/14/12

It was another low-scoring affair for the Black and Gold. If this series is going to go into OT every game, I may need to buy a pacemaker.

By the time the siren sounded and signaled the game was about to go into 2OT, everyone knew that the next goal would come from some sort of mental error. Both teams were playing phenomenal hockey, with the Capitals blocking shots like pros, and the Bruins rushing to the net when given the chance. Still, the Bruins know that they need to work on offense more. The defense is there. The Bruins need to find a way to move around the Capitals blocking shots if they are going to get a goal behind Holtby. Otherwise, I see this series coming down to a goaltender war.

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Pre-game Notes Round 1: Capitals vs. Bruins-Game Two 4/14/12

If you’re a Bruins fan, you’re probably feeling pretty good about how the last two days have unfolded. Chris Kelly saved the day and took Game One for the Bruins on Thursday, and last night both the Penguins and Vancouver lost on home ice. As nice as it is to enjoy another team’s misery, we have more important things to worry about today. Game Two of the Quarterfinals will be going down today at the Garden, and its fully expected to be a battle to the end. If its anything like Game 1 was, its going to be a very long series. This is an important win for the Bruins, as it will give them a 2 game lead and momentum heading into Washington D.C.

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