Greetings from Northern Alberta. As I write this the temperature outside is -36°C. Brrr.
I read one of Don Cherry’s books a few years ago and I remember him saying this book has no order. It is written like his thoughts and that is probably how this article will be. I, like Don, am not very politically correct but I will try to contain myself.
These are my thoughts on the current state of the NHL and the Boston Bruins in particular:
Number one thing on my mind is how the injuries keep piling up. My solution is bring back the enforcer role or get rid of the instigator rule. I believe the on ice presence of a guy like Shawn Thornton will deter guys from taking cheap shots or liberties with stars or even any top line guy. I am not a big fan of the Pittsburgh Penguins, but I applaud them for signing Ryan Reaves. That guy is a tank and he would and should put the fear of God into opposing players! I have been saying for a while now that the Bruins need someone like that. Look at the injuries we are having. Not saying that some policing would have prevented them all, but it would not hurt. One of my previous articles talks about how we can use McQuaid back in the line-up for this purpose.
My next beef with the NHL is their decision to put the next possible expansion team in Seattle. I am not against that decision completely, but Quebec has been ready and waiting for a while now. They built a first-rate arena which some would say is better than some of the current league arenas. Now I know what you’re thinking: they already had a team and they couldn’t support it. But look at Winnipeg, they are doing better than ever! In fact, they are doing better than the Panthers, Coyotes and the Hurricanes. I believe that Quebec can do the same.
Bettman is definitely not a fan favorite but he has done good things for the league. However, I think he leans more towards the US market than he does Canada. Just my opinion. I am sure Seattle can support a team, but maybe the league should think about relocating one of the aforementioned teams to Seattle instead of expansion. That being said, LET’S GET QUEBEC A TEAM! I miss that Quebec rivalry.
I want the teams to go back to wearing white at home. Dark on the road. That’s it. Next…
This is a touchy subject, but I am going to open this can of worms. I was taught from age 4 to keep your head up! In fact, when my dad sends me a card or a note his closing remarks to this day are “Keep Your Head Up Kid”. If a player is skating up the ice with his head down, then he should be fair game. Now I’m not saying get him with a cheap shot, but a player should be to step up and lay the body. If you can picture a guy skating up the ice his head is further out than the rest of his body. So now it would stand to reason that his head would get hit first. That’s a penalty in the new NHL. I completely disagree.
It’s the same if Chara steps up on a guy elbows down. The receiving player will get hit in the head just because of the sheer size difference. Now is this the fault of Chara? No. Look, it is a very fast and physical game. Guys will get hurt no matter how hard the league tries to stop the injuries.
These players are paid a ton of money to play a game where every game could be their last. They know the risks and they make the decision to lace up their skates and get out there and do it! Now I do not want to see anyone get hurt, but it happens. It will always happen. Concussions will happen. Some players are more prone to concussion than others. It’s just how our bodies are different. I still watch hockey every chance I get, but the way the league is changing bugs me. You can see players going in for the big hit and then backing off for fear of getting a penalty. ‘Nuff said on that.
What to do with Krug. Personally I like the guy. He is a fast, puck moving defenseman with a dandy shot from the point. His defensive game has been lacking a bit though. He is in the 2nd year of a two year contract worth 5.25 mil/season. That is a boat load of money for someone you can not trust to put on the ice during a 3 on 3 OT. He never set foot on the ice in OT, which leads me to think, have the coaching staff lost faith in him? For example, his ice-time during that game was 18:14. Rookie sensation Charlie McAvoy had 20:48. Even league wide unknown d-man, Matt Grzelcyk had 17:22 TOI. Grzelcyk is quickly becoming a staple on the point for the Bruins.
Was the benching of Krug in OT a message to him and the rest of the defensive corp? Time will tell. I think Krug is just in slump and needs a push to get back to where he was.
Hopefully the next time we meet it will be a bit warmer. Hopefully the Bruins can keep their winning ways and stay injury free. It’s gonna be fun seeing what this young, fearless team can do in the post season!
Keep Your Head Up
View the original article on Bruins Extra: Frozen Thoughts: the State of the NHL and the Bruins