Tag Archives: Johnny Boychuk

Bruins sign Johnny Boychuk to 3 year extension

Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli got a head start on what is still likely to be a very busy off season in Beantown this summer, signing defenseman Johnny Boychuk to a 3-year contract extension that will carry a cap hit of $3.36 million. That still leaves Chiarelli with a sizable list of free agents, both unrestricted and restricted, to address before the 2012-2013 season, but it’s nice to see him being proactive and taking care of something that was clearly at the top of his to-do list early. After this season Chris Kelly, Gregory Campbell, Shawn Thornton, Daniel Paille, and Joe Corvo will all be unrestricted free agents while Benoit Pouliot and Tuukka Rask will become restricted free agents.

Clearly there is still some work to be done, with Tuukka Rask probably sticking out as the most important guy on that list, but for now let’s focus on the Boychuk deal.

At first blush, I’m sure a lot of the reaction to the amount of money Boychuk got in this deal will be that of shock considering he got a pretty decent raise from his current $1.85 million dollar a year contract. Also, when you look at his offensive numbers since he’s become a mainstay in the Boston lineup 2009, it certainly doesn’t help make his case for such a hefty pay raise, as he had 5 goals and 10 assists in his initial year here, followed by a season of 3 goals and 13 assists. To this point in the season he has only managed to tally 3 goals and 7 assists. Certainly not lofty numbers. However I think it’s important to look at the entire makeup of a player, and especially a defenseman, before making a final judgement on whether he is worth the money he makes.

In the case of Boychuk, there are a few things about his game and what he has done in Boston that warrant the kind of contract he received, which is a fairly standard contract for a top-4 defensemen in the NHL these days. First, he is a guy that really fits in well in a top-4 role and is someone who can really eat minutes on the back-end. For the B’s, Boychuk actually slots in on the first pairing playing alongside Zdeno Chara and so far this season has averaged just over 20 minutes a night. Granted he’s numb three on the depth chart as I’d say Dennis Seidenberg is probably the number 2, Boychuk is still an extremely important part of the Bruins d-corps.

On top of his ability to log important minutes, he has also proven that he is by no means a liability defensively, as he’s been a plus player in each of his three years with Boston, and as of right now is a +23 which is good for 5th best among all NHL defensemen. I’ve really been a fan of his game since he’s been in Boston. He’s been a very steady presence on the back-end. He’s  an above average shot blocker, which is you look at a team like the New York Rangers, has become a pretty invaluable part of the game lately. He’s also someone who loves to bring a physical edge to the ice and has shown an ability for throwing those big, game changing types of hits.

And to be honest, I really believe there is a lot more offensive potential in his game despite the modest numbers he’s put up in three years with the Bruins. This is a guy who, in 2008-2009, won the award for best defenseman in the AHL playing with the Providence Bruins after posting an incredible season of 20 goals and 45 assists for 65 points. I also think he turned a bit of  a corner with his play during last year’s playoff run as he scored 3 goals and 9 assists during the B’s run to the Cup. Despite his slow offensive season thus far, I feel he certainly has the ability to become the kind of defensemen who can give you a solid defensive game, play some big minutes and score somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 goals. He has an absolute cannon of a slap shot and likes to jump into the play offensively when the opportunity presents itself. He also gets time on the power play, mainly because of his shot. A guy like that though is valuable in today’s explosive and offense-heavy NHL.

I think the main reason for Boychuk’s raise though, lies in his formerly impending status as an unrestricted free agent. He’s a guy who, at 28 years of age, still sits firmly in his prime. It was likely that had Chiarelli waited and allowed Boychuk to hit the open market he could have garnered offers north of the $4 million range. A comparable guy is the Hurricanes Tim Gleason, who plays a similar physical, stay at home type of game and probably is more limited offensively then Boychuk while being a bit more solid defensively. Gleason is currently in the middle of a contract that pays him just over $4 million a year. Also, you can look at guys like Tomas Kaberle ($4.25 mill) and James Wisniewski ($5.5 mill) to know that with Johnny B at $3.3 million for the next three years, the Bruins locked up a known commodity, someone who has entrenched himself into the Bruins top-4 and who has developed some really good chemistry with big Z, for a pretty reasonable price.

I for one am glad that Boychuk will be sticking around. Hopefully we can see a lot more of this over the course of the next three years:

 

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B’s drop frustrating game 6 in Tampa

Last night’s game 6 down in Tampa proved to be one of the more frustrating games for the Bruins of these playoffs thus far. Once again they gave up a goal in the first minute of the game. Now of course, that hasn’t been an issue in the past as twice they’ve rebounded from an early deficit to get the win in this series. And last night they were able to bounce back and grab a 2-1 lead after the first period. Still though, it’s starting to get old watching Tampa jump out to these early leads night after night. However, in a game that the Bruins seemed to have full control of 5-on-5, they squandered a chance to send the Lightning to the golf course and move on to their first Stanley Cup finals since 1990. It was a night in which failed special teams (1-for-5 on the PP and 1-for-4 on the PK), and mental mistakes gave new life to Tampa Bay.

Now, on the bright side, they did finally score another powerplay goal, and the change of moving big Zdeno Chara to the front of the net seemed to generate a bit of PP life for the B’s. They also continued to dominate 5-on-5, and their first line probably had their best overall game of the post-season, connecting for all four Bruin goals. Furthermore, the Bruins at least get to come home and play another game 7 in front of their home crowd, in what should once again be an electric TD Garden.

For now, I need to get a few things off my chest about last night thought.

Special Teams

Now, even though as I mentioned I thought the powerplay looked much better than it had at any other point during these playoffs with the exception of game 2, they still went just 1-4 and squandered numerous opportunities to stretch their first period lead. This has been the most frustrating part of the Bruins powerplay all post-season. They have never been able to use it as a real weapon like Tampa has. Last night, after battling back from an early 1-0 deficit to grab a 2-1 lead, they had two first period PP chances to stretch that lead to 3 or even 4-1, but failed to do so. The result was just a swing in momentum towards Tampa, and the obvious impending PP chance for the Lightning.

The worst part about the special teams from last night’s game, however, was the fact that the Tampa powerplay finally clicked like it had been for them all post-season long. The Bruins PK had been able to keep the Tampa PP at bay for most of this series, but last night the Lightning went an impressive 3-4 with the man-advantage, ultimately accounting for the difference in the game. If the Bruins aren’t going to make their PP an advantage, they at least need to continue to kill penalties to even out the special teams battle.

Johnny Boychuk and Tomas Kaberle

These two guys were complete train wrecks defensively for the B’s last night. Tomas Kaberle has honestly been awful throughout the playoffs for the B’s. He’s soft, shies away from body contact, has had countless defensive-zone turnovers, many of which have resulted in goals from the opposition, and has failed to spark the Bruins powerplay at all, which was an area he was supposed to help out in. Boychuk, on the other hand, has been strong for most of the playoffs this year. He’s been physical, steady defensively and chipped in a bit offensively as well. Last night was one of his worst games of the post-season, though. He made bad decisions with and without the puck, and a mental lapse in the third period led directly to Tampa’s fifth goal and ultimately cost the Bruins the game. These two are going to need to step up their games in a big way tomorrow night.

Face-offs

Face-offs are an area of the game that the Bruins are supposed to excel in. Their center depth has been something that has defined them all season long and only got stronger at the deadline with the additions of Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley, both guys who have reputations as strong at the face-off dot. Throughout this Eastern Conference finals, however, the Bruins’ performance at the dot has been far too inconsistent. It was particularly bad last night however. Patrice Bergeron, the B’s best face-off man, had one of his worst games of the playoffs last night, but was especially bad on draws. The largest concern I have was their ineffectiveness on defensive zone face-offs. Countless times the Lightning were able to win these draws cleanly, leading to offensive zone possession and multiple scoring chances. It was a clean offensive-zone face-off win, in fact, that led to Purcell’s first period strike. They must clean up this area of their game in game 7 if they’re going to have a shot.

The First Line

One of the lone bright spots last night was the play of the B’s first line of David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton. This trio was absolutely dominant for the B’s all night long, scoring all four goals and applying consistent pressure on Tampa from start to finish. Krejci continued his torrid offensive pace, tallying his first career playoff hat trick. Milan Lucic had probably his best game of the post-season by far. Never mind his offensive production, he was a force to be reckoned with. He was skating hard, bringing a physical presence, creating offense and generally giving the Tampa d fits all night. Horton complimented them well, and the line was by far the Bruins’ best. If only any of the other three lines stepped up we’d likely be previewing the Bruins-Canucks Stanley Cup Finals at this point.

Honestly, I can’t really put together many more coherent thoughts about last night’s game. I’m still pretty angry at how it all played out, but more than that, I’m already anxious for game 7 tomorrow night. This has been a pretty amazing playoff run for the Bruins so far, but I know I’m not alone when I say that I’m absolutely not ready for it to come to an end. Game 7 at home once again, and on my birthday no less, the B’s have to bring their A game and give Bruins Nation what they deserve. An appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals.

Believe in Boston.

– Fredi

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Game 6 Notes

With a victory tonight, the Bruins would advance to their first Stanley Cup Finals since 1990.  It certainly won’t be easy as Tampa Bay has dominated play recently despite losing game 5.  The B’s need to come out ready to play as they can expect the Lightning’s best effort as they try to stave off elimination.

Boston will have the services of defenseman Johnny Boychuk.  Boychuk left last game after a hit from behind from Steve Downie and did not return. Boychuk had this to say about the incident, “I was a little foggy but after I got off the ice, I felt totally fine”.  This is great news for the B’s.  While Boychuk has struggled at times this series, Shane Hnidy would be an obvious downgrade.  Hnidy has played in only 3 games these playoffs and not since game 4 of the Philly series.  Rust would be a major factor if he was forced into action which thankfully he will not be.

As predicted by the Sports List, the Lightning will return to goalie Dwayne Roloson for this pivotal game 6.  Mike Smith played admirably whilel filling in but come do or die time coaches generally go with the guys who got them there.  It’ll be interesting to see if the game off has refocused Rolly or if he’ll continue to struggle.  The Bruins need to test him early and often to see where his confidence lies.

-Size

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Bruins Steal Game 5

Although they were dominated for large stretches of play, the Bruins came away with the 3-1 victory in Game 5.  There are no style points come playoff time only wins and losses and the B’s will take a 3-2 series lead back to Tampa Bay.  Tim Thomas rebounded from his sub par Game 4 performance stopping 33 shots and the Bruins managed just enough offense to put the team one win away from the Stanley Cup Finals.

First Period–  The Bruins did not come ready to play and were dominated in the first stanza.  The Lightning went ahead only 1:09 into it as Simon Gagne buried a 2 on 1 rush.  Tampa Bay outshot the B’s 14-4 in the first and Boston was extremely lucky only to be down 1-0 at the break.  This is completely unacceptable!  How can’t you get up to play a pivotal game 5 in the Eastern Conference Finals?  The Bruins simply were not skating and seemed indifferent on winning this game.  Going forward, it is imperative the B’s come ready to play.  You would think this is a no brainer but apparently not!

Tim Thomas–  Another in a long line of amazing performances for Timmy.  He stopped 33 shots including an incredible stick save on agitator Steve Downie midway through the third.  Thomas clearly was not reflecting on his atypical game 4 performance as he was very aggressive, coming out to challenge shooters at the top of the crease and supremely confident.  It was interesting to see Timmy stay in his crease during both timeouts late in the game as he was clearly a man in the zone, not wanting to be bothered by any aspect of the game besides stopping the puck.

Boychuk Injury–  Johnny Boychuk was injured on a cheap hit from behind by Steve Downie midway through the third period.  He banged his head on the play, left the game and did not return.  Hopefully Boychuk will be OK and ready to return for game 6 Wednesday night in Tampa.  Otherwise Shane Hnidy will be inserted back into the D corps.  Interestingly enough Downie was given only a minor penalty for boarding.  Below is the rule from the league website on hitting from behind.

Rule 43 – Checking from Behind

43.1 Checking from Behind – A check from behind is a check delivered on a player who is not aware of the impending hit, therefore unable to protect or defend himself, and contact is made on the back part of the body. When a player intentionally turns his body to create contact with his back, no penalty shall be assessed.

43.2 Minor Penalty – There is no provision for a minor penalty for checking from behind.

43.3 Major Penalty – Any player or goalkeeper who cross-checks, pushes or charges from behind an opponent who is unable to protect or defend himself, shall be assessed a major penalty.  This penalty applies anywhere on the playing surface.

Nathan Horton–  Horton needs to play smarter as he drew two interference calls in a 3 minute span.  I like the fact that he’s trying to play physical but hitting players away from the play is dumb hockey not aggressive hockey.  Horton certainly made up for this as he buried a one timer from Looch to tie the game at 1.  Hopefully this will get the big man going as he has been quiet this series with the exception of his 3 point game 2.

Patrice Bergeron–  What a pass by Bergy for the game winning goal!  He threaded one right on Marchand’s blade and he had nothing left to do but put it in the empty net.  Bergeron again led all Bruins forwards with 20:05 of ice time and he continues to be one of our most effective players.

TB Goalie Situation–  Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher decided to start Mike Smith over Dwayne Roloson tonight and he played pretty well.  He saw only 19 shots, stopping 17 of them but there was nothing he could of done on either goal.  It will be interesting to see who starts in net Wednesday night.  Will Boucher stick with Smith or go back to the goalie who got him here?  My guess is that we’ll see Rolly back in net for game 6.

Claude Julien–  Is Julien to blame for his team not being ready to play?  Maybe, but a lot of that blame has to go to the players.  I do however have an issue with Claude’s personnel choices for the 4 on 3 powerplay in the second period.  It was tied 1-1 at the time and this was clearly an opportunity to generate some offense and take a lead.  I want to see guys that can create in space out there; Krecji, Seguin, Bergeron, Peverly.  While Krecji was used so were Recchi, Lucic and Horton.  It’s not often the other team will have only 3 defenders out there and putting guys who are strictly catch and shoot or screen options is not optimizing this opportunity.

Despite not playing anywhere near their best the Bruins took game 5 and are one win away from the Cup Finals.  Boston can expect to get Tampa’s best shot Wednesday night as they stand on the brink of elimination.  The B’s will certainly need to step up their game if they intend on knocking out the Lightning.

-Size

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It’s Party Time

That’s right, it’s that time again. My buddy Party, everybody’s favorite new contributor to The Boston Sports List, is back to provide us with his thoughts on the Bruins game last night, the state of the B’s right now, popular culture and television, and his life. To give you a bit of a background for this particular edition of Party Time, Party works in sales for a company that manufactures foam and foam products, or something along those lines. That’s not really important. What is important is that prior to moving to sales, he managed production lines at the company’s factory, working the third shift. This week he has had to basically work his normal, day-time sales shift along with putting some time in during the third shift to help train a new production line manager. Needless to say, the lack of sleep has clearly gotten to him a bit, which has only contributed to his ramblings in a positive way.

Anyways, I hope you enjoy Party’s newest email as much as I did.

So I haven’t slept since Monday night but I am not whining Kenny and working the graveyard and reg shift for the week. So I watched the bruins game and Horton is well on his way to a real 30 goal season but he will mess it up because he doesn’t have the honor of 8 empty netters like a certain some one I know with hands the size of a large pizza. His name rhymes with felan muchic. Fuck anyway te bruins won and I’m pumped.  Has anyone seen or watch hardtime?  I dunno if it’s new or just new shows but they follow guys around prision for a year. I watch a ton of that shit but this show is awesome. This guy make a hundred bucks a  week for by selling coffee in dime bag size baggies and all he was talking about was he wants toget into a fight to show he’s a big boy. The show is. So good. Ther is a guy that makes tons of money that was a lawyer now in jail and give the inmates advice. Fucking goal mine niche market
I would be f’ed in jail but the mother ship has connected and hit the bricks kid. I almost forgot. What the hell happened to thorts. He wanted to throw hay makers One second he is starting a fight the next he is gettin thirty stitches. He is a bad man

Sent from my iPhone watching Cambodians on a production line

Once again, just gold coming from the mind of Party. Can’t wait for the next one.

– Fredi

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