Photo: B. Bennett
“Some things are destined to be – it just takes us a couple of tries to get there.” – J.R. Ward.
Hey guys and gals! The bosses at RMNB foolishly once again gave us access to their site, and in return, we hope to spill a little insight– and fabulousness– about what comes tonight. And not inspire too many hate-filled emails to their box. Not that we care…we don’t get them, so anger-type away!
So, pre-season? Done. Debate about Trotz? On hold. Season opener against the Habs? Mmm, done, and extra soggy. Caps fans exiting extra-pouty? Nothing new.
But this is a season all about new, we thinks. We are witness to a team in transition; a squad searching for its future. And if the early portents are to be believed, we are in for a smashing season. Ish.
OK, in our first season opener Thursday night, we rather unraveled. And…against the Habs. Sure, they were all that last season, but so was Macklemore, and look where he is now. (As in performing at North Dakota casinos?)
The Caps bring a refreshing assortment of new talent (and by new, we’re only grudgingly admitting Orpik) adding to the seasoned talent. That said: Montreal is one thing. Boston is a completely different affair. Or marriage, if you catch our drift.
The Bruins dominated the Atlantic conference last season, and show little sign of letting up. Or Do They?…
In a moment, we’ll hear from BruinsFan#1 (don’t Twitter that), Sarah Connors, about what makes the Bruins such a formidable squad. But first… the opponent.
What pretends to be a movie set for gritty by-your-bootstraps fantasies or smug over-privileged baby-sitting purporting to be universities, Boston is just about as awful as it gets. They would have to compete, in fact, for the Just Awful Championship, but every other place withdraws in expectation of the outcome. Trust us: before everyone hated “millennial”, there was Boston.
Our Caps haven’t recently battled the Bruins as a first-tier rival– either in the old system or the new. Still, they are just about as hated as it gets and a perennial bee in our bonnet. 1-1 so far, they’re undoubtedly looking to continue their run with some smashy-smashy against the Caps; however, with an aging squad, their stats may precede them.
For more insight, we reached out to someone who actually admits to being a Bruins fan: Sarah Connors, writer at Stanley Cup Of Chowder, and just general Boston nuisance. We went a little five-on-five with Sarah.
What are you seeing so far in Bruins play that you like?
Their special teams seem to have picked up where they left off, which is good; a few of the lines have gelled right back together. Soderberg with Eriksson and Chris Kelly look great, as do the Marchand-Bergeron-Smith line. Rask has been on point.
And what no-so-much like?
Uh, pretty much everything else so far. The game against the Red Wings was the second game of a back-to-back, but the team looked completely lousy– very low amounts of zone time, outshot vastly by the Red Wings, etc. The game against the Flyers was better, but not by a whole lot. There’s going to have to be some improvements before the team gets to a place where we’re all happy, otherwise it’s going to be a long season. (Our expectations are always so high. Isn’t it cute?)
Boston has been talent-rich recently, but increasingly not so young. Are they doing enough to foster talent?
Actually, between Matt Fraser, Ryan Spooner, Reilly Smith, Dougie Hamilton, Craig Cunningham, Torey Krug…the Bruins have six players under the age of 25, and are on average only 0.2 years older than your Capitals! We constantly hear the narrative about Zdeno Chara getting older, but I think yes, they’re doing plenty to foster talent– there’s good D in the pipeline and our forwards have a lot of good years ahead of them
You were bested by the hated Habs last playoffs; a team the Caps dominated in the first period of play in their opener before falling flat. Who are your biggest competitors in the Atlantic?
Their biggest competitors have always been and always will be the Habs. However, this year Tampa Bay should give the Bruins fits, especially if some of their young talent pans out. Ottawa, Toronto, Buffalo, and Florida aren’t too intimidating; Detroit is Detroit.
Compare Bruins bruising play with the Caps of late.
The Bruins have lost one of their major ‘bruisers’ in Johnny Boychuk, and have added a mess of small, young, speedy players, so they should match up interestingly with the Capitals. In particular, I’m looking forward to seeing how our 2D and 3D pairs match up against the Caps’ lines that don’t have Ovechkin on them– I feel like in this matchup, past the top-line battle, it’s always a tossup, and that’s really fun.
The stereotype of a Bostonian is loud, loutish and drunk. How do you all see Washingtonians?
I’ve spent quite a good bit of time in DC, I was there four times for hockey in 2010-2011! If one more DC-ite asks me what I do for a living, I will probably, in stereotypical Boston fashion, punch them. (See you cats in December, I’m coming for the Winter Classic to cheer for you!) [Ed. note: you are most welcome to root us to victory.]
Prediction: How do you see the game playing out, and which players are going to shine?
I think it could go either way, neither team stands out particularly – but keep an eye on our Carl Soderberg – he’s come back this year looking fantastic, they have him playing on his strong side now and the combination of him and Loui Eriksson has been fairly lethal so far!
Thanks, Sarah, for representing so professionally such a squad of reprobates, and we look forward to seeing you in DC on January 1!
By the way: that quote at the top isn’t from hero Joel Ward, but American novelist J.R. Ward. Still…if the quote fits…