Things seem to be falling into place for the 2011 Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins. Players are already starting their work outs. Management has re-signed or extended the contracts of nearly every starting forward (at this time only Rolston and Pouliot remain). The 2012 Northeast Division champs are gearing up, and the line up for the 2012-2013 looks very similar to this year.
The obvious exception is Tim Thomas. Thomas opted to sit out next season so he could focus on “friends, family, and faith”. Tuukka Rask asked to get more playing time last season and the hockey gods have granted his wish. Rask will be filling some very large shoes in the net this year as the Bruins’ #1 goalie. Rask will be backed up by Anton Khudobin. Khudobin, a call up from Providence played his first game as a B-Bruin on April 5th of this year. He stopped 44 of 45 (.978SV) in Boston’s 3-1 win over the Ottawa Senators. With recent addition Niklas Svedburg the Bruins look to have depth and safety(if a bit untested) in a younger set of goaltenders.
The Chris Kelly and Daniel Paille re-signings mean that Shawn Thornton will have the famed “merlot line” (named for the wine colored practice jersey) with all of its original cast. “I’m estatic!” said #22. “There’s a feel between the three of us and we don’t need to tell each other where we’re going or what we’re doing. When you have that chemistry it’s huge because it takes a while to create that, and we won’t have to go through that process again. We’re very comfortable with each other on and off the ice so it’s great to keep our line intact.” That line scored 67 points for the Bruins while averaging slightly more than eleven minutes on the ice per game.
Coach Claude Julien has already moved on over the Thomas incident. No doubt he will have the same hard hitting defense that has netted the Bruins consistant success these last few seasons. The summer hasn’t even begun yet, and the slumbering Bruin is about to awaken… hungry and angry. The players intensity is up, and the fan base is ready to march on in a post-Timmy world. All of us in Bruins Nation are looking forward to what happens next.