AT 4:40 PM EST yesterday, the NHL announced they had cancelled the pre-season games for the month of September. The obvious reason is that the league and the players had been unable to hash out a new collective bargaining agreement. Well, this means the Boston Bruins have lost three games(so far.) Informal talks still progress in New York, but neither side has asked for a formal resumption of the talks. The only bright side about this is it does give a few key players more time to be 100% when(or if) the season starts.
The first player that will greatly benefit from this is Nathan Horton. The Bruins forward suffered two severe concussions in the last eighteen months. The first, on June 6th 2011 took Horton out of the Stanley Cup finals against the Vancouver Canucks. The second, occurring on Jan. 22, 2012, was the last game he played in the NHL. The extra time could bring a fully healed and re-energized Horton back to first line. The Bruins offense is strong without Horton, but with #19
The next player would be Shawn Thornton. Granted, #22 has had no severe injuries last season. He hasn’t run afoul of the ‘Shanaban’ like his teammates Andrew Ference and Brad Marchand. The Merlot man has added Jiu-Jitsu to his already aggressive repertoire. The man was dangerous enough before, a few more weeks of training and frustration will make Thornton the baddest Bruin to march on the ice since John Wensink challenged the entire Minnesota North Stars to a brawl back in the seventies.
Finally, the Bruin with the best shot to make this lockout work for him is Anton Khudobin. The Bruins back up goalie is going to play in the Russian KHL. This will give him a lot of experience against the slew of NHL alumni that will be making similar trips to the Russian league. Seeing Khudobin get that time in the crease will certainly get him sharp enough to add to his first win as a Bruin last season.
At the moment, the season still Starts October 11th. We’ll see about that hockey fans and Bruins Nation.