Bruins minor sellers at deadline

This Week in Boston

The Boston Bruins played five games this week, here in the WCHL. Boston managed a 2-3 week and a second consecutive losing week. The Bruins currently sit in 23rd position league wide with a record of 27-32-4 after 64 games. The Bruins did manage both wins at home, 4-2 vs Columbus and 5-2 vs the LA Kings. The team has been very respectable on home ice, with a record 19-13-1.

Captain Mitch Marner
" If we could translate how we play at home, on the road, we would have been a playoff team this year, that gives us confidence going into next season, where we should have improved goaltending and hopefully add to the roster. We have been competitive for five straight weeks, thats a solid sample size, it will give us confidence in the last 18 games of the season, we will put our best foot forward."

Last week we talked about Joonas Korpisalo and his three shutouts this season in a Boston uniform. This week we look at Thatcher Demko, Demko has played 8 games for Boston this season, also seeing time in three others, he has a save percentage of .922 and a GA of 2.64. Demko only has a record of 3-5, but those numbers over a full season should translate into a fine full season.

GM Bourque
" Goaltending is so key to winning in the WCHL, its an area if you want to have a shot at the playoffs and going anywhere once you get there, you better have solid goaltending, a decent back up is essential to a long run, we are reasonably confident we have found two guys we can trust for the long arduous challenge that is a WCHL season."

Mathew Barzal  
" I have been asked how things are going, and I think I am settling in, my production has not been what I wanted but there is always and adjustment when you join a new team after the season has started, next season I expect to be better prepared, and playing with Mitch is great fun."

The trade deadline has arrived the Bruins were minor sellers, trading Paul Statsny for Darren Helm and a 2019 3rd rounder. The Bruins would have loved to be in the position of buyers, a top line leftwing would have been on the teams wish list and a top pairing dman to play long term with Dahlin, but its just simply to early in the team building cycle, having said that the Bruins were interested in a few guys and did kick the tires but found the asking price too high at this time.

This Weeks Games

913 Columbus Blue Jackets (2) vs Boston Bruins (4)
935 Toronto Maple Leafs (4) vs Boston Bruins (3)
964 Los Angeles Kings (2) vs Boston Bruins (5)
974 Boston Bruins (2) vs Detroit Red Wings (3)
992 Boston Bruins (1) vs Carolina Hurricanes (4)

......out for this week....peace

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Welcome to the house that Bobby Orr built

Bruins Update

We are at the 10 game mark of S 32 here in the WCHL. The Bruins under new Gm Bourque have acquitted themselves respectfully. The Bruins are 5 -5 after 10, playing .500 hockey, 26 goals for, 26 goals against. This is a feat considering that the boys from Boston, have, if not the worst, close to the worse goaltending in the WCHL. The top line of the Brew Crew, Mitch Marner, Tyler Toffoli and Nazim Kadri have done a nice job of competing enough to be responsible for 9 goals and 23 points. Ryan Getslaf is ageless playing 3rd and 4th center has account for 9 points in 10 games. The biggest surprise might be on the blue line where Nate Schmidt has 10 points in 10 games and Justin Schultz has 7 assists in 10 games. Schmidt also leads the team with a +6. From a team stat perspective the Bruins much like Bourque's old team Philadelphia, find themselves among the team leaders in Shots For, thy Bruins trail only the Anaheim Ducks and the New York Rangers with 38.80 shots per game. They are also among the least penalized teams in the league, sitting 6th. The Bruins lost a close 3-2 decision to Bourque's ex team Philadelphia as the high lite of the week.

Gm Bourque
" We are doing some good things in the early going this season, when you can generate shots you put pressure on your opponents back end and if your disciplined and keep out of the box, teams have to beat you 5 on 5. We have some nice leadership, veterans who have been to and  won a Cup and guys with things still to prove. We are building, we are in the early stages of building a team that Boston can be proud of, its starts with effort, when th fans know you are showing up every night with your hard hat on, they are proud to support you."

Mitch Marner
" We are learning how to play as a team, learning to put the right work in, its a culture thing and we are building one, this is a historically a proud franchise, we have a lot to live up to but nothing gets done if you dont come to the rink with the right attitude, just get better every day."

First 10 Games

15 Tampa Bay Lightning (1) vs Boston Bruins (2)
24 Boston Bruins (2) vs Carolina Hurricanes (5)
33 Boston Bruins (1) vs New York Rangers (3)
53 Buffalo Sabres (1) vs Boston Bruins (6)
72 Philadelphia Flyers (3) vs Boston Bruins (2)
91 Columbus Blue Jackets (1) vs Boston Bruins (3)
106 Boston Bruins (4) vs New York Islanders (3) - SO
124 Boston Bruins (1) vs Pittsburgh Penguins (3)
131 Calgary Flames (4) vs Boston Bruins (1)
156 Buffalo Sabres (2) vs Boston Bruins (4)

..out from the Gardens for this week, peace

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Hershey kisses regular season goodbye

Da Bears ready for playoffs

The Hershey Bears finished season 31 with 35 wins and 97 points which was good for fourth in the Atlantic division. Similar to the Washington Capitals, the Bears play in the most competitive division as the top two Atlantic teams were the top two overall teams in the WAHL. The Bears endured and ended with a +23 goal differential (a slight bump from +18 at the midway point).

Scoring. Nick Ritchie led the team in scoring with 29 goals, 223 shots, and 62 points. Five more players – Rasmus Andersson (61 points), Alexander Volkov (55 points), Michael McLeod (44 points), Morgan Geekie (43 points), and Nick Suzuki (40 points in 49 games played) – racked up at least one point every two games. Andersson had the team lead in assists (47) and Volkov led in game winning goals (5).

Various Stats. Both Olivier Leblanc and Volkov (+14) were tied with the team lead in +/- rating and were among 12 players with a positive rating. Ritchie dished out the most hits (269) and was the most penalized player (161 PIM) on the teeam. Libor Hajek blocked the most shots (86) for a second straight year. Geekie had the best winning face-off percentage (59.49%) among players who have taken at least 350 draws.

League Leaders. Several Bears shined across the WAHL including Andersson who led all defencemen in scoring, Volkov who led all players in short-handed goals (4), and Hajek led the league in shots blocked. Ritchie ranked third in both hits and shots league-wide. The Bears were a respectably top five in Goals Against, Shots Against, and Faceoff %.

Transactions. Two more Bears, Danick Martel and Adin Hilll, were re-signed.

MVPs. The MVP (Offence) is Ritchie who scored prolifically despite spending extended time in the sin bin, and the MVP (Defence) is Andersson who played a 200 foot game contributing at both ends of the ice.

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Canes still in playoff hunt despite flurry of trades

Surviving the storm

At the gates of change for the Carolina Hurricanes has come sooner rather than later for the team going into season 31. This included the departure of long time Hurricanes in Erik Karlsson and Carey Price.

"As two longtime players for our organization both Erik Karlsson and Carey Price guided our team to many playoff appearances and a finals berth in a few seasons ago, we wish them luck in both Toronto and Vancouver respectfully" said General Manager Mike McFarland.

"We were taking a look at our team overall both from a financial and future point of view, Carey has expressed interest getting a trade to his home province in the last few years and this year we were able to accommodate him this time around which saw a couple future draft picks and goaltender Brian Elliot come our way. Granted Brian didn't stay very long as he was flipped to LA for later picks" said McFarland.

"Erik Karlsson was our captain for the last few season and did a very excellent job guiding some of lesser experienced players and being the captain we asked him to be, for him it came down to a financial decision. Going into the future it was hard for us to carry a huge salary and we started to explore trade options, the lucky team that came calling was the Toronto Maple Leafs. We discussed different trade ideas settling on multiple futures and a few NHLers in Claude Giroux, Jason Spezza and Sean Walker for the services of Karlsson. Only keeping the futures and Walker, as we once again flipped Giroux to New Jersey and Spezza to San Jose in separate deals" said Mike McFarland

New Additions to the Carolina Hurricanes include: Tyson Barrie, Ryan Kesler, Tanner Pearson, Nikolaj Ehlers, Jake DeBrusk, Ryan Dzingel, Cam Fowler, Luca Sbisa, Sean Walker, Casey Mittlestadt, Shayne Gostisbehere, Tyson Jost and Michael Dal Colle.

Departures: Erik Karlsson, Claude Giroux, Jason Spezza, Brian Elliot, Stephen Johns, Martin Frk, Vladislav Namestnikov, Brendan Lemieux, Torey Krug, Jakob De la Rose.

With all of these trades we have done some how still have $10+ million in cap space, but that means were not going to spend that just means we will have a space in case some injuries come up.

"We have a solid, younger line up than we did last year and have a few picks in the upcoming draft. Overall I think we have a really good 4 lines of talent going into the playoffs and beyond" said head coach Dan Bylsma

As of right now the Hurricanes are holding onto barely 3rd place in the ultra competitive Metro division and 5th in the conference, 11th overall in the WCHL.

"Right now our goal as a team will be to make the post season with the ultimate goal making some waves and upsets in this years playoffs. I think with our team and maybe a addition or two we will achieve this, and make our fans proud to be a member of Hurricane Nation" said Bylsma

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Canucks drowning in injuries

A Topsy Turvy Season for the Canucks

The Canucks entered the season with fairly low expectations, after a bottom 10 finish the previous season. The Canucks knew they would have a strong defense, with a decent top 6. The bottom 6 was a different story, as even the most staunch Canuck supporters expected them to get caved in every time they were on the ice. Couple this with a journeyman starter in Cam Talbot, and you could tell this would be a recipe for disaster. 

After the first month or so of the season, things were looking up. The Canucks were sitting in a playoff spot, and they had the best line in the league, featuring Evander Kane, Bryan Rust and Carl Soderberg. The trio were leading the league in just about every statistical category imaginable. It was because of the play of the first line, which caused GM MacArthur to go out and trade for perennial all-star Carey Price. 

This deal worked out well in the short term, but as injuries started to hit the defense corps, Price's play began to drop off, resulting in one of the league's worst goals against average. The Canucks were able to keep their heads above water during this time, thanks again to the top line. 

The turning point where the Canucks finally began drowning, was the long term injury to Bryan Rust. As soon as Rust got hurt, the top line was still good, but not at the elite level it had been at to buoy the Canucks into the playoffs. Over the past few weeks, the Canucks have plummeted down the standings, which has led to them becoming sellers at the upcoming deadline. 

Names rumoured to be on the way out are: Jay Bouwmeester, David Perron, Dmitri Orlov, Valterri Filppula, Cam Talbot and Korbinian Holzer. 

"We will continue to build for next season, but with the way the team is playing right now, there aren't too many players who can say their jobs are safe for next season", said the GM.

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Caps figure to be sellers as deadline looms

Disappointing run has Washington on the ropes

The year 2020 will be ominously remembered due to COVID-19. Its impacts are widespread including the hockey world with a shortened NHL season, playoff ice hockey in July and August, and the best participation prize ever (top lottery pick for a playoff loser). The pandemic's mismanagement in Washington D.C. has been well covered on top of existing chaos. In this gloomy backdrop, the shadow is also cast on the WCHL's Washington Capitals.

Winter (Season 30) – 2020 began with the Caps finishing season 30 strong and they entered the playoffs with some jump against the Philadelphia Flyers who had even given Washington the edge. Then the Broad Street Bullies sent the Caps packing with a sweep.

Spring (Off- and new season) – The team had a respectable off-season retooling via the trade market, entry draft, and to a lesser extent free agency. Season 31 started with a bang with the Caps holding on to the third spot in the uber competitive Metropolitan division, and poised for more. Sometime near the half-way mark, the team went off the tracks – an epic derailment.

Summer (Season 31) – From August 15 to August 27, 2020, or from day 48 to day 60 of Season 31, the Caps won one game and lost eleven. This included losses to league basement dwellers the Winnipeg Jets and twice to the lowly Boston Bruins. Moreover, in their previous twelve games, the Caps played .500 hockey winning and losing six, which isn't good enough to contend. Altogether, this downward spiral resulted in a drop to the thirteenth seed in the Eastern Conference.

Outlook  The organization has decided to be sellers at the deadline. Even if they win a few games, the promise of the season is lost. All players will be made available with the exception of Nick Suzuki and those with NMCs. This is not a fire sale. Prominent players in the trade block include: Steven Stamkos, Alex Goligoski, Devon Toews, Ondrej Palat, Brad Richardson (has a NTC, not NMC); Zach Hyman, Madison Bowey, Mattias Janmark, and Michael Del Zotto.

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Toronto GM issues statement; makes moves

Trades large and frequent in TO


A few weeks ago I joined to become the new Toronto Maple Leaf General Manager. 

With little warning or knowledge of how things were done, we sat back and graded this team before making any big moves.

That review is obviously over.

In the past week, the Toronto Maple Leafs have made many team altering trades that have shook the very foundation of the team.

Gone are stalwarts, Claude Giroux, Mitch Marner, Josh Morrissey and a variety of future picks. With a team steep in youth and prospects, we felt that this was something we could address over time.

New blood in include; Jacob Trouba, Erik Karlsson, Tom Wilson, Phillip Grubauer and Calvin De Haan.

While grit and defensive depth were once missing, these have been addressed and winning streak emerged. 

Further review will commence as we see where this new team takes us.