Sharks Gameday: The Big, Bad, Banged Up Bruins

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7:30 PST
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22-16-7, 51 points 30-10-7, 67 points
5th in Eastern Conference
2nd in Western Conference
Television
CSN-CA, NHLN
Radio
98.5 KFOX, Sjsharks.com
Antagonists
Stanley Cup O' Chowda
Hub Hockey

The Bruins head in to tonight's game more banged up than Snookie's face-- Andrew Ference, Patrice Bergeron, Mark Stuart, and Marc Savard are all likely out of the lineup, and with Boston coming off a deflating 4-3 loss to the Anaheim Ducks last night that put them at 1-3-1 in their last five, all the stars seem to be aligned for a Sharks victory.

It's a shame the games aren't played in space. For more reasons than one, obviously.

Boston looked fairly potent offensively last night, and they did a good job of getting pucks to the net against an admittedly average Anaheim defensive unit. Marco Sturm had one helluva deflection about five feet out in front of Jonas Hiller that was pretty as hell-- Mark Recchi collected the puck near the circles and works his way up top, spins at the point and fires what seems to be a dump headed for the far corner; however, instead of letting the puck go on it's merry way to re-establsh the cycle, Sturm manages to fight off Steve Eminger in front of the net and gets his stick out to deflect it on a wicked turn through Hiller's wickets. Not too shabby.

Like we mentioned before the Los Angeles game, there hasn't been a whole lot of consistency from the team as a whole since they began the mammoth two-month homestand, but if there was ever a time to jump on the Bruins and pick up two points, now is it. Although Savard has missed Phil Kessel and lacked chemistry with any of the Bruins' current wingers that would assuage those concerns, he's a potent weapon that the B's don't have in their arsenal. Toss in the lack of Bergeron and Stuart, along with the fact that Boston is currently tied for 25th in goals for this season, and you have a situation where secondary scoring might not be an issue as long as Heatley and Marleau continue their torrid pace.

*****

I'd like the rest of the time today to thank James Mirtle for all that he's done, both for SBN as well as my blogging career. He recently announced that he will be leaving From The Rink in order to focus on his well-deserved duty of covering the Toronto Maple Leafs for the Globe & Mail. It's a decision you could see coming for a long time considering the stress of a market as volatile as Toronto's, and although behind the public veil there was an almost unspoken agreement he would be moving on with his career, it did very little to ease the poignancy of reading that article. "Bit of a tough post to write" he began; helluva tough post to read.

I owe a lot to James-- when he began to build the SBN Hockey team (which at that point, a mere year ago, featured around five blogs with varying degrees of readership), I immediately sent him an email. After some back and forth, and a ringing endorsement from good friend Earl Sleek of BoC, he decided to take a chance on a young college blogger who was toiling away on the moderately successful We Bleed Teal. And that's an opportunity I will never forget.

Thank you so much James, for all that you've done-- nothing but the best of luck in your future endeavors, not that you need or require any such thing as fickle as luck. Your talents that got you here will continue to take you wherever it is you want to go-- the creme de la creme of hockey writers, one of the true pioneers of the hockey blogosphere, and a heckuva guy to boot.

SBN won't be the same without you.

Prediction: Sharks win 4-2. Goals by Heatley (x2), Setoguchi, and McGinn (back by popular demand!).

 

Go Sharks.

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