Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Postgame Recap: January 26 - Sunrise? Sunset.

The Florida Panthers are in town.  And that means one thing: Dennis Wideman is in town.
Let's see how it played out:

Just the facts, Jack (Edwards)

  • Regular Season game #49, home game #24
  • Boston Bruins (27-15-7, 1st in Northeast Div.) vs. Florida Panthers (22-21-5, last in Southeast Div.)
  • Fourth and final meeting of the season with the Bruins looking to sweep the series 4-0.
John Blue Plate Special

Looking out the window of my office all day long, I watched as the snow turned into sleet into rain.  Any sort of precipitation typically makes for a hellacious commute on the Pike, so I was pleasantly surprised to get into town in under an hour.

Even better, the Four's had this on the menu as a special:

The buffalo chicken spring roll.

I am forever indebted to the genius who invented this.  The Fours had introduced buffalo chicken rangoons a few months ago as a special appetizer, but I never managed to be at the bar when they were serving them, only going by word of mouth via Heather.  Assured by the staff that they were homemade, I endeavored to try them as soon as I got chance.

So when I sidled up to the bar and Heather told me that the rangoons were available in spring roll form, I had her put in an order for me.  And they were worth the wait.  Tender chicken, hot sauce and creamy cheese all tucked into a spring roll wrapper and fried, served with shredded lettuce and additional hot sauce.

We shared 3 orders between the two of us.  They were that good.

Suffice to say, anytime these are available, I'm going to order them.

The Couture Corner

Florida is another of those teams with weak travelling fan support, so my bar was set fairly low. Their current uniforms utilize the worst template offered by Reebok as part of its Edge system, only slightly better rendered than those of the Edmonton Oilers and Nashville Predators.

But I was pleasantly surprised to see this on my way out after the game:

 Mid 90's John Vanbiesbrouck Away

"Beezer" as he was called, was Florida's first pick in the 1993 expansion draft.  After backstoping the Rangers for a number of years, including winning the Vezina in 1986, he yielded the number one spot to Mike Richter, still forming one of the best goaltending tandems in the league.  When teams could only protect one goalie in the expansion draft that stocked the Panthers as well as the then-Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, the Rangers protected Richter and traded Vanbiesbrouck to Vancouver for a player to be named later.

Vanbiesbrouck ended up being the Panthers first true star player, backstopping them to the 1996 Stanley Cup finals, only to lose to the newly relocated Colorado Avalanche 4 games to 1.

The call?


 The Row 12 Rundown

Charla, Kathi and the kids were there, but Tim, Maureen and Patty were missing in action.  Probably suffering from jet-lag after their epic road trip to see the B's play in Colorado and LA.

Doosh of the Day

Look, during his time here I was not a huge fan of Dennis Wideman.  Was he prone to gaffes? Yes.  Did he cough up the puck at inoportune times? Yes.  Was he easy to scapegoat anytime anything went wrong on the ice? Yes.  Was I glad that he got traded for Nathan Horton and Gregory Campbell? Yes.

Did I boo him every time he touched the puck the other night? No.

In fact, no one should have.

Look, Wideman had many faults.  The fact that we gave up on Brad Boyes prematurely hurt.  But he had promise as a puck moving defenseman.  And for all his faults, the Bruins were a better team with him than prior to his acquisition.  So it should go without saying that Wideman doesn't deserve the boos from Bruins fans.  It's classless.  It reflects poorly on us as fans.  He's gone.  Let it be.

So, for all those "fans" who insist on booing Wideman, I'm making you the Dooshes of the Day.

The Clothes Line

So my buddy Joe Grav texted me that he had nabbed a pair of tickets to the game.  That meant one thing: this sweater was going to be in the house:

Yep.  2006-7 Shean Donovan home

Look Joe, I don't care if you got it dirt cheap off the discount rack after we didn't re-sign him, he sucked.  Take the money you saved and have a jersey shop switch the nameplate to someone more deserving - Shawn Thornton, Kenny Baumgartner, Rick Tocchet, even Michal Grosek.  How about a fellow BC guy like yourself such as Brian Leetch? Ok, maybe not. Hell, even Mikko Eloranta is more deserving than Donovan.

Clean it up, buddy.

Then there was Joe Grav's friend, sporting this doozy:

2007-8 Glen Murray Home

The first year of this sweater style was also the last year of Glen Murray's hockey career. Muzz was pretty good player for the Bruins, first coming up with the club as a rookie in 1991-2 before being traded in 1995 to the Penguins with Brian Smolinski for Shawn McEachern and Kevin Stevens in one of Harry Sinden's worst trades. That trade would have been so much better if it had happened about 3 years earlier, you know, when Stevens was a scoring machine and McEachern was a decent two-way forward.  But Harry thought getting a couple of locals would keep bringing the fans into the Garden, even if they had little tread left on the tires.

But, to their credit, they re-acquired Muzz along with another former Bruin, Jozef Stumpel, from LA in 2001 in exchange for the aforementioned Eloranta and Jason Allison.  Paired with Joe Thornton and Mike Knuble, he enjoyed his best years scoring-wise including a 44 goal campaign in 2002-3.  Alas, while his teams were strong, they never made much noise in the playoffs.

Finally, in 2007-8 he sustatined an severe ankle injury that effectively ended his career.  He was bought out by the Bruins the following season, the hit having a major inpact on the Bruins' salary cap.

Back to the sweater in question ,though, I have to give a thumbs down.  While it does deserve some credit for being the only version of this sweater that I've ever seen, it would do much more justice to wear a Murray sweater from the 1995-2006 era or even better, his #44 from the 1991-2 season.

The Lobel Prize

We already know that Dennis Wideman plays for the Panthers.  But let me also remind you that they also have 2 other former Bruins on their roster: Marty Reasoner and Byron Bitz.

Reasoner played collegiately at BC and was acquired from the Edmonton Oilers in the Sergei Samsonov trade in 2006.  That was the same trade where the Bruins got the Oilers' second round pick that was used to slect Milan Lucic in the 206 NHL entry draft.

Bitz was drafted by the Bruins in 2003 and eventually became a fourth line grinder.  He had size and grit and wasn't afraid to drop the gloves when need be.  Not bad for an Ivy Leaguer from Cornell.

So how did they fare in this game:

Wideman: 19:05 TOI, 5 shots, -1
Reasoner: 17:13 TOI, 1 shot, +1
Bitz: DNP (Injured Reserve)
Little to no harm done.

The Home End

This game could have very easily been a letdown game.  They had just got back from the west coast on a 2 game road trip, culminating with a 2-0 shutout at the hands on the Kings.  It was the last game before the all star break and they were playing a relatively weak opponent.  And Tomas Vokun is a pretty decent goalie who's capable of stealing a game for the Panthers.  But to their credit, the Bruins came out strong and built a 2-0 lead, eventually yielding a 3rd period goal but holding on for the win.

Heading into the break, the Bruins had a 4 point cushion over Montreal for the division lead and were in third place in the conference standings.  Tim Thomas' goaltending has been stellar thus far and the team defense has been solid.  If it keeps up, this could be a promsing spring, for once.

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