Sorry for the ridiculous length of time it's been since I last wrote. Attended a wedding and went down to Philly to see a Metallica concert. If you have a chance to see them on tour, go. The boys are playing some tight music.
I've subscribed to The Hockey News for over ten years now. Every year, about a month before the season begins, they publish the Yearbook. It breaks down every team and its players, strengths, weaknesses, etc.
I recently found the 2008-2009 issue under a pile of Ranger Joe's and Newsweeks.
No one, not even the vaunted experts at the publication of all things hockey, predicted Boston to do as well as they have.
Here are some amusing excerpts and predictions that I found...
"...Boston's offense won't scare many teams."
"Overall Team Grade: C"
"Prediction: 10th in the East"
"[Kessel] might be ready for a breakout"
Now reading this shit just cracked me up. Claude Julien's entire team has bought into his system, which hasn't happened in Boston since...well...I can't really remember. The team was like a ship without a rudder when Dave "Der Furher" Lewis was behind the bench, rocking that moustache that only an old German could love.
The injury bug has bitten and bitten hard. However, most of the guys close to returning to the ice. It will create some difficult decisions for Julien. The Human Wrecking Ball Andrew Ference will soon return, and Hunwick will most likely be the odd man out. He has played beyond his years since Ference went down. However, being an NHL D-man is a craft that few can pick up in thirty games, and Hunwick has looked just a bit out of it as of late.
My impressions thus far:
PJ: I don't know why they keep putting him on the scoring line. He's happiest when he can muck and skate on the third line, shutting other players down. Other than his few goals (which every non-Bruin fan uses to say that he sucks), he's been the same ol' PJ. Always in the way, somehow.
Savvy: You know how in video games you can make players that are better than everyone else? Savvy is like that player...but he passes better. I don't understand how he gets the puck through. Amazing. And wearing the mic during the All-Star stuff was great. I was glad to hear you drop at least one f-bomb. It sounded like "Ffffaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaacccckkkkk." Funny stuff.
Looch: I think that he tried to get a little pretty for a while there. He needs to dump and chase. Straight lines. His physical play tailed off a bit before he went out. Hopefully the break will let him heal up and get back to his banging ways. It's entertaining to watch people back off in the corner when they hear him coming behind them. And that fight against the kid on the Pens was brutal.
Krejci: When he gets the puck, things......slow......down....and then the puck is in the net. Not since Jason "Wrist Ligament from a Cadaver" have I seen a guy move that slow and still get results. His hands around the net have improved and he continues to impress.
Kessel: Oh, One Nut. What a season so far! Stop kissing those Southie hags and get healthy!
Ryder: You've come on strong as of late. Keep it up and you'll get thirty.
Wheeler: Where the fuck did this monster come from? Holy shit. He skates like Kessel...but he's 6'5". It's fun to watch him turn the defense inside-out with his moves. He'll get 25-30.
Kobasew: Keep on plugging, Chuckie. It'll come.
Thornton: Love this guy. He skates like a monkey, but he goes HARD every shift. Julien seems to appreciate him quite a bit.
Chara: I like the far-side sneak you've been employing as of late on the PP. I fail to see how the other team can miss your sasquatch ass "sneaking" anywhere, but if it's working, why change it?
Wideman: The crew at the Garden is getting angry with you. On the PP, when you wind up, take an extra millisecond to calibrate your targeting system. You might, just might, hit the fucking net. Those eight-foot high blasts do nothing, save make the kid sitting six rows back shit his pants because he thought the puck was going to end his life before he got laid.
Stuart: You've grown on me. What I like is that I can see you getting pissed when you're grinding in the corner with some forward. You have the taken the torch from Nick "My Blood Sugar is Getting Low" Boynton. Mind your temper or you may end up in jail.
Hnidy: You tough sonofabitch. Take a puck to the face? No problem. I'll just spring to the bench, run down the aisle, and return four minutes later with about a half million stitches holding my eye socket together. I bet you wrestle meth-addicts in the summer just to keep your mean up.
Ward: Hurt. Injured. Hurt. Injured. Your shot-blocking efforts are appreciated by all, but the goalies wear pads for that reason. You don't have to try and stop EVERY shot with your ankle/right ass cheek/taint/pecker. You're almost Hnidy tough.
Hunwick: You've been playing well, but I think your run is just about up with the aforementioned Ference returning shortly. You've learned a lot and we'll see you again.
Sobotka: Go back to Providence. I'm tired of you.
St.Pierre: I like your effort. You're still getting pushed around quite a bit.
Nokelainen: You look a little too comfortable for someone that is on the cusp of getting sent back down. Either crank it up or stand aside.
Patty Cake: You were having a decent return until you rammed your face into that dude's shoulder pad. Heal up. We'll be waiting.
Sturm: I miss your angry just-scored-a-goal face. I hope your knee mends well. Heal up, train hard, and we'll see you next year.
Timmy: Yoga isn't just for dirty hippies! Keep it up. It's working.
Manny: I'm glad you've finally shown Boston fans why you came in the first place. I don't think you'll be around after the trade deadline, but your efforts have been a huge reason why the B's are where they are right now.
That's all I have for now.