Welcome back to a more timely-in-its-completion monthly wrapup. January was a big month and we might be forgetting some stuff, but we’ll cover the good stuff we remember!
Emma: Happy new year to the Bruins! The team shook off their loss in Dallas and handed New Jersey a six-pack…of goals…in a 6-1 victory at their house. This was the night they aired the magnificent NHL 36: Patrice Bergeron as a lead-in.
This game was followed by the Bs’ highest-scoring game so far this season, a full-on 9-0 torching of Calgary. Tuukka Rask was perfect and at least one representative of all four lines scored.
It’d be alright to completely forget the 4-3 defeat by Vancouver. It is good that we weren’t defeated, say, 9-0, but the game itself was just so ugly in so many ways.
Shawn Thornton scored on a penalty shot (one of two in the same game, awarded to both #22s) to help bolster Boston in a 5-3 victory against Winnipeg. NESN didn’t overwork the fact that Brad Marchand was unable to play, either.
The Bruins narrowly defeated Montreal 2-1 in a game that had David Krejci doing All of the Things, but the big story was off the ice when Michael Cammalleri was pulled from the game and traded to Calgary. According to Carey Price, his teammates didn’t even get to say goodbye. Ouch.
The Hurricanes continued to establish themselves as the Bruins’ odd thorn in its side by beating us 4-2, although Bruins Nation Southeast: Raleigh Chapter showed up to the game in great numbers!
Down in the Miami area, the Bs pulled out a 3-2 shootout win against the Panthers in a sometimes-sloppy match and probably enjoyed the weather.
A sluggish start and some sort of unidentifiable funk led to a 5-3 loss against the Lightning, a team right near the bottom of the entire conference.
Marchand returned, along with Rich Peverley (who was off for undisclosed family reasons), to help the Bruins beat the Devils (again) 4-1 on a night where six different games were resolved with that total.
Number 1 and Number 2 in the conference met up when the Rangers came to Boston for a 3-2 overtime victory. Defensemen gave Bruins fans angst during regulation, where they didn’t pitch in enough in front of Rask, and during overtime, when Andrew Ference collided with Ryan McDonagh and got a three-game suspension.
Boston beat the Flyers 6-5 in the shootout, but in a game that allowed Scott Hartnell to score a hat trick and caused Nathan Horton to go off with a concussion, where he still is as of this writing.
Off the ice, the Bruins (uh, except one) met with President Obama and then met with the Capitals. In a 5-3 loss, the Bs allowed another hat trick and even Claude Julien noted the lack of defense. Perhaps it was pre-All Star phoning it in.
Following the All-Star break, Boston took on ASG hosts the Senators for a come-from-behind 4-3 win on Tyler Seguin‘s birthday. That Dennis Seidenberg goal from 90 feet away is going to be on all of the highlight reels. Magnificence.
Krista: The Blackhawks didn’t have a very good start to the new year, beginning with their first meeting with the Oilers since that awful night at Rexall Place back in November (it’s rather hard to forget since it happened on Patrick Kane‘s birthday). During the 4-3 loss, Daniel Carcillo boarded Tom Gilbert hard – Gilbert didn’t even have the puck – and they both ended up injured. Actually, it turns out that Carbomb caught the worst of it. That seemed like that catalyst for the game to just fall apart for my boys after that.
The game against the Flyers was a step back in time, right down to Kaner sinking a goal again in the exact same spot where he did it during Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals in 2010…at morning skate. It was also the debut of a certain Andrew Shaw, who got into his first fight – complete with stitches – and potted his first NHL goal! Unfortunately, they beat us in this time 5-4 in OT, and we also learned that Carbomb was given a seven game suspension for his hit in the Oilers game.
The boys met the Avs at home, and the game – a 4-0 affair – went so badly (with the exception of the rookies having another great game and Dave Bolland getting his first career fighting major) that people filed out of United Center early and Jonathan Toews refused to give his usual postgame interview. If I had to pinpoint when the defense really started to go downhill, I’d say it began with this game.
Another home game against the Red Wings, but this time they nicked us 3-2 overtime. Patrick Sharp was slashed on the arm, which kept him out of the game and bad reffing was abundant. That last goal, that greasy little slip-in shot by Pavel Datsyuk, was due to goalie interference to me, but it was never called.
We finally won a game! Granted, it was 5-2 against the Blue Jackets, but a win’s a win. Viktor Stalberg got his first career hat trick, and Toewsbot scratched up his outer casing again due to an errant puck glancing off the goalpost. But then Steve Montador and Jamal Mayers got heavy penalties for separate fights with Jared Boll, and I seriously questioned the necessity of the instigator rule.
Wait, we won two in a row with another 5-2 victory, this time over the Wild. No shootout stickhandling from Kaner, but we won our two points on Marian Hossa‘s birthday! Bolly, aka our Rat, potted two goals and got an assist, and for that he was named first star of the game.
The second meeting of the Hawks and the Red Wings in a week turned into a 3-2 overtime loss for the boys, but Krugs returned and Jimmy Hayes scored a goal that began as an off-the-boards bounce from Jimmy Howard (oops). Added to the loss was the news that Carbomb would need reconstructive surgery on his ACL and would be ready to go…in six months. Sigh.
Sharks again, and in their 4-3 win (third home win in a row, mind you), Crow got sassy and swatted Logan Couture’s stick away, Shawsie netted the game-winning goal and Kaner was outright robbed of a goal by Antti Niemi so badly that Kaner wanted to quit the game that night. How dare you, Nemo. How dare you.
The Sabres came to town, and even though Buffalo boy Kaner didn’t get a goal, five of his teammates did for a 6-2 win (Toewsbot hit twine twice). Both rookies contritbuted, and the night was so wonderful that Shawsie got his own Twitter hashtag #ShawFacts. Go find it and read, it’s hilarious and beautiful.
A sudden blizzard didn’t keep the boys from beating the Florida Panthers 3-1 at home, even if the puck drop was pushed back 30 minutes. It delayed the teams so badly that a normal 10 minute drive to the West Side took 90 minutes! No matter, the talk of the game was Kaner’s breakout from their own zone to sink the puck five-hole behind Jose Theodore. Yes, I did cry a bit when that happened. He’s trying so hard to score that when the goals come, you can’t help but shed a few tears.
Home-and-home games with the Nashville Predators came before All-Star break, and they were both awful defensively. The first was in Nashville and ended 5-2 in the Preds’ favor. Fatigue from a late arrival and a hard physical push in the first period made them run out of gas halfway through the game, and goalie attentiveness was in short supply. Three days later they met the boys at the Madhouse, and they beat us 3-1. It was so bad defensively that Crow slammed his stick on the crossbar in frustration and broke it. When the normally quiet goalie is angry, you know you’ve messed up.
The last game of the month came as the opener to a three-week, nine game road trip. The Vancouver Canucks hosted for that first game and handed the boys a 3-2 overtime loss. Terrible faceoffs and a non-call on what should’ve been a slash on Stally’s breakaway (warranting a penalty shot) put a damper on the debut of our newest Blackhawk, Brendan Morrison, who was a Canuck for eight years.
Wow, long recap is looooong and painful to read in spots. We went from being on top of the league to being 5-5-3 for the month. I really hope the road trip goes well for the boys, and that they come home ready to rock United Center with some wins…especially on my birthday.
Erin is like the New York Rangers of the AiP fantasy league: she seems unstoppable and she’s constantly at the top of the standings. As for any new records in January, there was only one: Vicky joined a three-way tie of best shorthanded points in one day with two on Jan. 10. Krista held a 22-day consecutive leading streak in goals scored from Jan. 8 to 31. Taryn started a plus-minus streak on Jan. 8 that continues to this day. I’ve had a penalty minutes and hits streak going since that day too. (When you have a team loaded with Big Bad Bruins, that kinda comes with the territory.)
Time again for our monthly comparison of relocated teams (and the Thrashers) to the new Winnipeg Jets.
1980-81 Calgary Flames: 6-7-3
1995-96 Colorado Avalanche: 4-4-4
1996-97 Phoenix Coyotes: 5-7-0
1997-98 Carolina Hurricanes: 5-7-1
2010-2011 Atlanta Thrashers: 4-4-3
2011-12 Winnipeg Jets: 4-8-1
Well, the Jets surpassed the Thrashers in one area: by the end of January they’d lost by shutout SIX TIMES. Remember the Thrashers stat we gave for December? Yeah. (If you don’t, the fact is that they lost only once in a shutout for the entire 2010-11 season.)
January brought with it the Frozen Diamond Faceoff, a college hockey game between Ohio State and Michigan held at an outdoor rink in Cleveland. Not just any outdoor rink, mind you, but one set up in the middle of Progressive Field, where the Cleveland Indians play. It was pretty amazing to see, and Michigan held their own to beat the Buckeyes 4-1. Could it be the site of a future NHL Winter Classic? We hope so!
Ah, the All-Star Game. Even with its obvious omissions *cough Patrice Bergeron cough* and the guys who pulled out (notably Jonathan Toews and Alex Ovechkin), our first ASG was still exciting!
But the talk of the weekend was about Patrick Kane’s two entries in the breakaway challenge. First, with fellow Blackhawk Marian Hossa’s help, he transformed from mild-mannered NHL player to Super Kane, able to slip a puck around flailing goalies in a single bound! His other entry kept up the Super Kane persona, this time with him shooting a puck that shattered into four pieces. Of course he won the challenge, and for a week afterward, the most popular videos on the NHL website were “Patrick Kane superman” and “Patrick Kane exploding puck”.
The Super Kane thing was hilarious and so was the phenomenon of mic’ing up players during the game. Carey Price‘s second-period commentary was especially fun to hear, even when it may have distracted him so that he allowed a goal. We also liked Drake’s second-intermission performance. It was a big “get” for the league to pick up a Toronto-area native who grew up loving and playing hockey, a guy with the power to make many of the players totally fanboy over him either during the show or after when he toured the locker rooms. All in all, the game was a blast and here’s to the 2013 party!
(Which we want to be at in person if everything works out right…)