Wake Me Up When September Ends

Monday, September 21, 2009

Summer is a short season, but to hockey fans, it’s the longest. As the summer is winding down, hockey is starting up.

The Boston Bruins look to pick up where they left off. By that, I don’t mean from game seven, overtime loss to Carolina. I mean the energy and determination the team brought all last season. The core of the team is still here, even though some players have been lost due to free agency and tight cap space.

Long time Bruins, P.J. Axelsson, will not be playing in a B’s uniform this upcoming season. He will be in his home country, Sweden. Although Axelsson probably had a few years left in him, Bruins personnel decided it was time to let him go. He was a great penalty killer and a player with experience. On and off the ice, he brought so much to the Bruins.

Two players were traded to the new found rival in Carolina; Aaron Ward and Stephane Yelle. Ward, a defenseman, will be missed for his edgy play, experience, and ability to block pucks by sacrificing his body. Yelle, a veteran center, was successful on the Bruins fourth line and first penalty killing unit. While Yelle was a good fit for this team, the Bruins can deal without.

Most Bruins fans echo the same thought when it comes to the goodbyes to goaltender, Manny Fernandez, and defenseman Steve Montador. Both players have potential to be great, but just didn’t fit into Coach Claude Julien’s system.

With defenseman Shane Hnidy going to Minnesota and Ward going to Carolina, the Bruins signed Andy Wozniewski. Also new to the team is defenseman Derek Morris and former Canadien bad guy, Steve Begin who were acquired during the offseason. Morris will most likely fill in Ward’s spot and Begin will see fourth line action.

The main trade that would possibly have a chance at messing up the chemistry and offense the 2008-2009 Bruins team had would be Phil Kessel to Toronto. (I’m too mad to talk about it, though. All I can say is, he looks bad in blue!)

The most important players that the Black and Gold need are still here. Vezina Trophy winner, Tim Thomas, was re-signed at the end of last season for another four years. With him at his best and Tuukka Rask as his back up, the Bruins should have things covered pretty well in between the pipes.

Marc Savard, one of the most accurate passers in the NHL, will most likely stay on the first line along with Milan Lucic. Lucic, who hits anything and everything in his path, works well with Savard because he creates space.

Coming back from an injury plagued season is fast and skilled goal scorer, Marco Sturm. He’s a potential 40 goal scorer who can bring plenty of offense for this team.

Last season, there were two unstoppable lines that clicked all season. The second line, consisting of Blake Wheeler, David Krejci, and Michael Ryder, was the force behind most of the Bruins offense. Krejci and Wheeler both had hat tricks and all three had career highs in many categories.

The other line was the third line which included Chuck Kobasew, Patrice Bergeron, and Mark Recchi. This line wasn’t together all season, seeing as how Recchi has only been a Bruins since March when he was acquired at the trade deadline. However, they clicked right away and were their best during the playoffs.

All six of these players are also coming back this season. The old and the new Bruins kick off the season at home this year. In 10 days, the Washington Capitals come to town for the first game of the season. Welcome back hockey.
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