It seems as if the NHL never got back on the map after the 2004-2005 season cancellation. Still, this sportsfan is more excited for hockey now than he has been since the days of Ray Bourque, Cam Neely and Andy Moog.
The B's have some new, high-grade talent this season in our Captain Zdeno Chara (17 Goals, 30 Assists), forwards Marc Savard (24 G, 58 A) and Milan Lucic (17 G, 24 A) and our tandem goalies Tim Thomas (34-11) and Manny Fernandez (16-6). After just squeaking into the playoffs last season, the Bruins are exiting this regular season with home ice advantage in the conference playoffs (53-19-10) finishing only 1 point behind San Jose.
With Tim Thomas being arguably the best goaltender in the NHL this season and 3 players in the top 5 for the (+/-) category David Krejci (37), Blake Wheeler (36) and Dennis Wideman (33), it seems as though the Bruins should easily find their way to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2009 (and it seems Matt agrees with me, picking the B's to win it all and hoist the cup).
Last Saturday night before face-off, the Bruins announced their yearly team awards to honor the players.
Eddie Shore Award
Milan Lucic was given this award which is designed for the player that most resembles the playing days of Eddie Shore with exceptional hustle and determination.
Elizabeth Dufresne Trophy
For his outstanding performance during home games (which is going to be more prevalent in the post season) Marc Savard was honored with the Dufresne Trophy for the second time in his career (2006-2007).
John P. Bucyk Award
As the most charitable off-ice Bruin, Aaron Ward who is involved in multiple charity fund-raising events (most notable "Cuts for a Cause" which raised over $25K last year) was given this award for all he has done.
Bruins Three Stars Award
Given to the three players, Zdeno Chara, Marc Savard and Tim Thomas, that have contributed most to the team while playing in the Garden this season.
We Want It as Bad as You
The Boston Bruins have come aboard the boat (the duckboat that is) with our other teams and have a pretty good chance to win Lord Stanley's Cup this season. They have absolutely played up to the season slogan this year. My only worry is what we would do if the Bruins and Celtics both have a home game scheduled in the post-season. How long does it actually take to put the parquet floor over the ice?
Either way it's time to get excited for a double dose of playoffs at the Garden, make sure you check out Matt's playoff predictions for the '09 season.