The 2011 National Hockey League All Star break is upon us. The Boston Bruins closed out the pre-All Star schedule with a 2-1 win over the Florida Panthers. Milan Lucic‘s 20th goal of the season was the game winner. Rookie winger Brad Marchand scored the other B’s goal. Marchand has 4 goals and 2 assists in his last 5 games and is fitting in quite well on the team’s 2nd line with Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi.
The Boston Bruins have played 50 games to this point. They have won 28, lost 15, and have 7 overtime ties. The club sits atop the Northeast division and is third place in the Eastern conference trailing Tampa Bay by 4 points and league leading Philadelphia by 8 points.
Patrice Bergeron is the team’s leading scorer with 16 goals, 24 assists, totaling 40 points. Milan Lucic leads the B’s in goals with 20 while David Krejci leads with 26 assists. Shawn Thornton leads the club in penalty minutes with 81 while Zdeno Chara leads all Bruins with 166 shots on goal and in plus/minus with a plus 22. The plus 22 places Chara fifth in the NHL in that category. Goaltender Tim Thomas has easily been Boston’s most consistent player and its best one. He continues to lead the league in save percentage, goals against average, and shut outs. His 24 wins ranks him 2nd among NHL puckstoppers.
Thomas and Chara will be playing in Sunday’s NHL All Star Game in Raleigh, North Carolina. The All Star game can be seen on Versus at 4:00pm. It has yet to be determined whether they will be teammates as the game’s captains Nicklas Lidstrom (Detroit Red Wings) and Eric Staal (Carolina Hurricanes) will select their teams Friday night. The NHL All Star Fantasy Draft will be televised on the NHL Network at 6:00pm. B’s rookie, Tyler Seguin, will participate in the Superskills competition Saturday at 7:00pm on Versus in the United States and on CBC and RDS in Canada.
I would be remiss if I did not mention veteran center Marc Savard. As I wrote in my last piece found here, http://causewaycrowd.com/2011/01/24/bruins-win-one-lose-one-in-colorado/#more-723, Savard suffered another concussion Saturday January 22, 2011 against the Colorado Avalanche. He returned to his home in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada to convalesce yesterday. It was the clean check by Avalanche defenseman, Matt Hunwick, that is being blamed as the hit that put Savard out of the lineup for the foreseeable future but I cannot help but wonder if it was the check delivered by Pittsburgh’s Deryk Engelland seen here, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_6E6iTW_go, that brought about this latest concussion. As seen in the video, Engelland’s forearm drives Savard’s head into the glass. This check left Savard feeling “woozy” as Savard, himself, put it the next day when asked about it. I am not a medical professional and I am not questioning the B’s medical staff but when someone says they are “woozy” it usually means there is an injury of some sort to the brain. Again, I could be wrong but it is something to think about. Overall, whether it was the Hunwick check or the Engelland one that sent Savard to the sidelines again, the only thing that matters is Marc Savard is given the time necessary to recover. How long that will be is anyone’s guess but when it comes to the brain, it does not matter. A person’s ability to function in a normal manner is much more important that playing in a few hockey games this season.
As mentioned in the opening paragraph, the Bruins defeated the Florida Panthers last night at Boston’s TD Garden. Of course, I am happy about that result but I was very disappointed with the reception former Bruin Dennis Wideman received from a majority of fans in attendance. Every time Wideman touched the puck, he was booed as if he is the reason for the Bruins not winning the Stanley Cup since 1972. In 3+ seasons in a black and gold uniform, Wideman played in 256 games and amassed 39 goals and 105 assists for 144 points. Very good point production for a defenseman who was known as a player who took care of his own zone and moved the puck smartly out of the defensive zone. Wideman’s best offensive season in a Bruins uniform came in 2008-2009 when he scored13 goals and assisted on 37 others for a total of 50 points. He finished the season with a plus 32. Ironically, Zdeno Chara won the Norris Trophy as the league’s best defenseman that season. Chara tied Wideman with 50 points. The difference between the two was in the plus/minor numbers. As mentioned, Wideman has a plus 32. Chara had a plus 23. Looking at the final totals, Wideman had a better season than Chara in ’08-’09. It is also ironic how fans do not want to remember that Boston’s leading scorer in the 2009-2010 Stanley Cup playoffs was Dennis Wideman. He scored 12 points in 13 games. It is very rare for a defenseman to lead his team in scoring and after Wideman had a season where he struggled at times, just as all players do, he proved his value to the team by rebounding to lead his club in the playoffs. Fans screamed for the club to trade him. They got their wish and since the organization traded Wideman to Florida, fans have been clamoring for a puck moving defenseman. You had one, Boston, his name is Dennis Wideman. The next time he comes to Boston, you need to thank him for doing his part in trying to help this club win a Stanley Cup, for being the leading scorer in the playoffs and for helping Zdeno Chara win a trophy that, statistically, Mr. Chara probably did not deserve.
Enjoy the All Star festivities, say a prayer for Marc Savard and when screaming for a player to be moved out of Beantown, be careful what you wish for.
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Tags: Boston Boston Bruins Brad Marchand Canada Carolina Hurricanes CBC Colorado Avalanche David Krejci Dennis Wideman Deryk Engelland Eastern Conference Eric Staal Florida Panthers Marc Savard Mark Recchi Milan Lucic National Hockey League NHL NHL All Star Fantasy Draft NHL All Star Game NHL Network Nicklas Lidstrom Norris Trophy North Carolina Northeast Division Ontario Patrice Bergeron Peterborough Philadelphia Flyers Pittsburgh Penguins Raleigh RDS Shawn Thornton Stanley Cup Playoffs Superskills Tampa Bay Lightning TD Garden Tim Thomas Tyler Seguin United States Versus Zdeno Chara