With how the season is turning out for the Boston Bruins it won’t shock most fans to find out that they hold their chances to get into the playoffs in their own hands. They currently sit one point back of the Philadelphia Flyers in the standings and with three games left on their schedule, all at home against quality teams, they have every opportunity to get over that barrier.
The last game the Bruins played ended in a disappointing loss at the hands of the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks despite a very strong late game push. They have been playing great during the latter half of games but it has been proving to be insufficient seeing as they have lost more of them then won.
After the loss in Chicago the media mainly focused on the Boston veterans who were in a similar position to this last year when 96 points was not enough to get them into the postseason. They all had a similar one game at a time mentality.
“We are focusing on the game against the Hurricanes. That’s the biggest focus right now,” said Boston defensemen Zdeno Chara. “We don’t look at as a three game sequence, you know? Right now we look at it like the Carolina game is the biggest game for us.
If they win out against all three of their upcoming opponents they will guarantee themselves a place in the playoffs.
With the scratching of Ryan Spooner for the Tuesday’s game against the New Jersey Devils, the Bruins are being forced to switch up their lineups with hopes to gain some more consistent production from their lackluster late lines.
The main move is right wing Loui Eriksson moving from his natural position to the center. He will be suiting up in a new way next to teammates Jimmy Hayes and Frank Vatrano and will try to give the third line rotation something to contribute.
He has played a bit of center earlier this season, most recently against the Maple Leafs following Spooner leaving the game in the third with an undisclosed injury and while Eriksson might not have the physical aspects to match Spooner’s game, his high IQ when it comes to the game and better two-way game could prove to be an advantage.
“I did try it in Dallas. I had a few games in Dallas at center. It’s a little different. I kind of liked the work you have to put in as a centerman, and I’ll try to do my best.” said Eriksson.
The forward from Sweden is on the upswing offensively with three assists and 11 shots in the last trio of games. That is great for the team as they are looking for offense wherever they can find it going into this stretch of must win games.
Yesterdays’ Boston Bruins game was one of the rare times when the winner was the team who didn’t play better during the game. After a taxing road trip the Bruins started off very lethargic against the Los Angeles Kings and that led to a quick boost for the home team. The Kings ended the first period up 1-0 on the visiting Bruins and they held that lead through the first and added to the score in the second leading by two heading into the third. This is when Boston came to life. Even during the second the Bruins played great despite giving up another goal.
Heading into the third the Bruins were looking for a turnaround and many fans watching were confused how they didn’t pull out a win. After the Kings scored their second goal the B’s started playing as if their season was on the line leading to fourth-liner Tyler Randell to score making it a 2-1 game. Randell’s goal was the first the Bruins had scored on their three game road trip through California. The main difference maker for the Kings was their goalie Jonathan Quick who saved 27 out of 28 shot attempts continuing with yet another successful season. The Bruins are looking to wash this bad taste out of their mouths Wednesday against the New York Rangers.
The Boston Bruins have put together a very rough patch over the last 10 games, but seeing the season they are having overall puts a better taste in fan’s mouths. The most recent game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the only team that was above Boston in the Atlantic Division going into the game, was a defensive showing that held all the way to the final buzzer. The Bruins are known for their stifling 1-on-1 defenders and stellar goal-keeping that shined through as they dragged the Lightning into overtime. Their leader on defense was goalie Jonas Gustavsson, who tallied 42 saves and allowing no points to be scored by the opponents. Over the season, he has a 91.6 percent save percentage, which is the highest of his career. After a very disappointing season for the Detroit Redwings last year, the fans in Boston are glad he has bounced back.
Offense was a scarce sight in this contest, but the Bruins didn’t let that stop them as within the first 10 seconds of overtime, the game was decided. After a solid pass from Patrice Bergeron during a 2-on-1 rush, Brad Marchand was able to put in a shot on Ben Bishop, one of the best goalies in the league, for an amazing stick side shot. Now the Bruins and Lightning are tied atop the Atlantic Division and are fighting for playoff positioning. This game might end up being very factor later on.
NBA teams are getting an enormous boost to their spending salary this upcoming season due to ESPN and TNT extending the TV game deals. The students of Oklahoma Christian University are not impacted directly by this event, but it does impact the college landscape and its players. After speaking with Seth Copple, who is speaking from an outside perspective, that even without following the game, he still had strong opinions about the budget increase.
“They should use some of that money to benefit other parts of the communities,” said Copple. “They deserved to be paid a large amount, but some of that money should go to veterans or other worthy causes.”
NBA teams are expected to gain $ 20 million in salary cap space in the upcoming 2016 – 2017 season. The average player’s potential max contract would jump from around $ 26–35 million per athlete. That brings the normal max contract for players up to a bit less then what Michael Jordan was making on his biggest contract. Putting that into perspective is like saying that some players who are the best on their team but not a top-five talent in the league will be making money similar to the amount Jordan made. Speaking with David Young brought about a new way to approach the subject.
“I think it is a good thing for both the teams and the players in multiple ways,” said Young. “They put so much effort into what they do and devote themselves to it fully, and that deserves to be compensated for.”
With every professional sport there is speculation and criticism about how much players are payed. It always degrades into arguments over how much they should earn. This dispute changes drastically depending on multiple facets such as experience with the sport, whether they actually enjoy the game or if they even have an opinion on it. When asked about the topic, Cody Gill, a student from OC, had some varying views about the budget increase.
“I agree with the salary cap getting an increase because the NBA is bringing in more money to sustain a larger budget,” said Gill when asked about the money coming in. “It is a great thing for the players who really need the extra money, but for the more well-known players, the money is reaching insane heights.”
Though Gill points out the positive effects of the change, he also remarks that new rules need to be set in place to make these changes work.
“If a player makes more than a certain amount of money each season, then they should have a larger amount of contractual obligation toward their teams,” Gill said. “Players that make under that set amount each season should be immune to the same restrictions that someone with a LeBron James-sized contract during events such as a lockout.”
The difference this monetary increase makes will be seen immediately once free agency hits and the players on the market start setting new records for salary for their roles. The same could be said when it gets even bigger in 2017, because contracts will be breaking all previous records by the beginning of that year’s season.
More From this Writer:
By: Cale S Michael (@BoosterGreen)
In my last article I talked about my predictions for what the NBA season would shape up to look like, but as we all know no one can predict everything and man did I mess up on some stuff. This one will be all about the five things that surprised me the most out of the first few weeks of this season. They will be in no particular order but these are just a couple of thoughts about the most surprising starts for a team, player, etc.
In my predictions article I said that the reigning champs would take a small step back from last year and I will be the first to admit that I was completely wrong. The Dubs are back and better than ever. Steph Curry is playing out of his mind at a level that an MVP should play at. If he played like this last year he would have been much more accepted as the MVP. The entire team, minus the new additions from this offseason, are playing with a chip on their shoulder for being underestimated even after all they did last year. They are in my opinion the most dangerous team in the league for multiple reasons but there is one main reason. Anyone on this team could have an amazing game. Sure you have to worry about Curry and Thompson, but that doesn’t mean you can sleep on Barnes, Green, Iguodala, or even Bogut to have a big night. This team is proving that they are ready to repeat and I think they might just be able to pull it off.
True they may not be as good as some of the other teams in the league at the moment and sure they might look a bit out of sync with each other at times, but they have come out this season with a fiery spirit that is fit for a team willing to fight to the last man in the last minute of a close game. Rubio is healthy and firing on all cylinders and looking great while doing it. Watching the T-Wolves play you can feel the impact Rubio has and although he isn’t a great 3-point shooter he is still an amazing all-around player. Wiggins looks like he is ready to improve on his already great rookie season. Towns is looking like a pro already and making a huge impact already while learning from the great KG. I am really looking forward to the remaining season for this squad.
The last few years have been a disappointment for the Pistons except for two bright spots. One of those bright spots now plays for Milwaukee and the other is dropping 20-20 games left and right. I still think they should have traded Monroe knowing that he had a high chance to walk away but if the compensation for that mistake is the Drummond-Jackson combo that we have been seeing to start this year off, I think it was worth it. Illyasova is fitting in great with the scheme and all of the pieces are falling into place for Detroit to make the playoffs. I would like to see them trade for some other shooters to help space the floor better but the upside is looking very high this season.
Most Celtics fans will tell you that Rondo was the best pure point guard in the league. Most Mavs fans are now in tears seeing as the Celtics fans were right and now that Rondo is in the mess that is called the Kings organization and setting the court on fire with his triple-doubles. And most Kings fans are also crying because despite Boogie’s great year so far and Rondo playing great, their team is still a huge mess that has little hope of a turn around this year. The entire league is waiting to see the coming implosion and where that leaves the three main players, Gay included, of that team. Most of the teams in the league are salivating at the prospect and getting the phones ready for that day.
The Raptors were not favored by me in the previous list and I want to apologize here for that. This team is complete now after they added Carroll in the offseason. They have depth, scoring, defense, and the toughness needed to take them over that hump they have been stopped at for the past few seasons. With Lowry and Jonas playing superbly along with the other pieces they have, this team will be one to watch for the remaining season.
I hope that some of my points are valid and put some of the basics of this year into perspective. The season has just started and many more surprises are waiting to happen in the near future. I will probably make more lists similar to this over the course of the year. As always thanks for reading.