Everything Else

Days Of Y’Orr was once a great hockey site. But like anything that burns so brightly, it can’t last forever. Out of the rubble though we still have Marshall. You can follow him on Twitter @MarshallDOY. 

Three quarters of the B’s roster caught the plague this season at some point, or so it seems. So how does Bruce Cassidy keep it afloat?

The short answer is that Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak are just really, really good. Even without Patrice Bergeron for a massive stretch, the Bruins managed to go 9-6-1 thanks to the play of the two wingers. It helps that people forget how good David Krejci is. He’s been perpetually saddled by mediocre linemates since Jarome Iginla‘s departure, but while filling in for Bergeron, he managed 14 points in 16 games.

Despite using 12 different defensemen this year, including John Moore and Steven Kampfer, the Bruins have actually allowed the fewest even strength goals in the league. It defies logic. They are getting above-average goaltending, but let’s discuss that.

Jaro Halak seems to have at least earned a splitting of starts with Duke Tuuke’m, if not the #1 job overall. Do you expect that to continue or will he return to being Jaro Halak soon?
 
Right now, Halak gives the Bruins the best chance to win games. Tuukka Rask, however, will always give them the best chance to win a championship. Rask has always been a feast or famine goalie; he’ll drop some major turds, but then look like a Vezina contender for months at a time. What’s worrying me this year is that he hasn’t gotten enough of a chance to get into a rhythm in favor of riding the hot hand. It’s a great short-term plan, but Halak hasn’t won a playoff series in about a decade. If Rask can’t re-gain his crease soon, it does not bode well for the team’s postseason hopes.
Is Charlie McAvoy good? Other than being a moon-faced mouth-breather, we know the offense is there but every time we look up he seems to be in the trail position defensively.
I don’t know if we have enough of a sample size to accurately judge McAvoy’s season yet. He missed half of October and all of November with a concussion. When he has been on the ice, he’s been giving up a lot of shots, but not a lot of goals. I can live with that out of a 21-year-old defenseman who makes the kind of offensive contribution he does. Like I mentioned earlier, the blue line has been a rotating cast of warm bodies this year, so once that settles down, a little stability will do wonders for Charlie.
Is this Zdeno Chara‘s last season?
 
No. Shut up. Zdeno Chara will play until he’s 80 and he’ll still be in better shape than all of us.
When fully healthy can the Bruins throw a scare or more into the Leafs or Lightning in the spring? Are they more than just the best all around line in hockey plus?
 
This is a team that will win a first round series and then get bounced. Apart from the top line, they are pretty average in every way. There was a lot of hope that the Bruins could build on the progress they made last year, but with so many injuries, younger players have been forced to play above their development level to skate big minutes. When everyone is healthy and in the right slot, they can get a chance to learn and improve, but that just hasn’t happened yet this year. Rather than taking a step forward they have stood still while Tampa and Toronto have continued to blossom. But man is that Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak line fun to watch though.

 

Game #42 Preview Suite

Preview

Spotlight

Q&A

Douchebag Du Jour

I Make A Lot Of Graphs

Lineups & How Teams Were Built

Everything Else

Dan Saraceni is an editor at LightHouseHockey.com. You can follow him on Twitter @CultureOfLosing. 

We’ll start with something joyous: Mathew Barzal, the best player ever or the bestest player ever?

The best. Maybe bestest ever. Islanders haven’t had a player with this… whatever it is in a long time. Even as great as Tavares is, the speed and elusiveness of Barzal is like X-Men level. Of course, as expected, we’re now into the “stop turning the puck over” part of the program but he’s got the awareness and quickness to clean up his own messes a lot of the time. I’ll be sad if he doesn’t win the Calder but those things happen. I’m more excited about seeing what he can do in years two, three and beyond.

Anders Lee is on pace for 40 goals, after 34 last year. That would make him one of the more dangerous scorers in the league. is that what he is? Or a Tavares product? And was Lee who  Peter Chiarelli thought he was getting for Eberle and got confused?
Lee is Tim Kerr, that immobile net front beast that cleans up a lot of rebounds. He’s a little better than just that, but it’s “where his fish is fried,” as Doug Weight said. I wouldn’t say he’s a product of Tavares because he had 36 goals last year, many coming after Tavares was hurt and missed the end of the season. But what’s weird is that without Josh Bailey, that whole line hadn’t worked that well over the last few games. That might be because they had a rotating cast of nobodies on the other wing, but I think Bailey and Lee work as a tandem because of the set-up/net front dynamic. Tavares will be Tavares no matter who he’s with. I think Chiarelli thought he was getting all three Strome brothers for Eberle in a kinda weird Hockey Voltron deal or something.
The Isles are rocking three young d-men in Pelech, Mayfield, and Pulock. What’s the outlook for this trio?
The outlook is long because they’ve already signed Pelech and Mayfield to cheap, long term deals of four and five years respectively. They’re both similar: more defensive than offensive, not especially quick, prone to games of quiet competence and bouts of overt ineptitude, seem like nice guys. Pulock had high expectations given his AHL scoring numbers and big slap shot. His defense has gotten better this season but he’s been reluctant to let it rip for some reason earlier this season. He’s definitely got talent, it’s just a matter of putting it all together (and letting the coaches keep him in the lineup).
Are the Islanders gonna have to find a goalie before the deadline?
Honestly, at this point, I don’t think it’s as simple as that. This team has a lot of structural and fundamental issues that need to be addressed first. Neither goalie has had a good season. Greiss’s 50-something save performance in Montreal on Monday was his best game since October and he’s been sub-.900 the entire time. Halak was awful in November, but has shown more signs of life throughout the season. I was at the 4-1 loss to the Devils on Tuesday and it’s hard to say he was at fault for all but one goal. No goalie should have to face 40+ shots a night. Halak’s a UFA and they’ll need the savings to sign Tavares and (I hope) Bailey. Greiss will be back next year, and I hope back to the above average goalie he was when they signed him. They have some prospects playing overseas that they’re banking on, too. Typical Islanders: the answer is always tomorrow.
So how does this Tavares thing go? Barzal, new arena plans all show promise for the future. In the other hand, may miss the playoffs again.
I’ve been compiling Tavares free agency stories for almost two years now and I still have no idea. Before Monday, when he told a crowd of Montreal reporters that he wants to stay on Long Island and has never thought about playing anywhere else, he had been consistent in saying, “I like it here, I’m focused on winning and when the time is right, I’ll weigh all the information.” (which reminds me, I need to add that stuff.) Most insiders agree he’ll stay. I think that he thinks they can still be a winner, especially with Barzal now in the picture. Belmont was huge. The new owners have to know that without him, even less people will want to watch them. They have money coming off the books, which was smart. But I’ve seen them screw up so many lay-ups, it’s hard to think they won’t do it again.

 

Game #46 Preview

Preview

Spotlight

Q&A

Douchebag Du Jour

I Make A Lot Of Graphs

Lineups & How Teams Were Built