The 27-5-4 Boston Bruins were in town today as they prepare for a home and home series against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Bruins practiced at SouthPointe this afternoon and I had a chance to see about an hour of their 75 minute practice.
The Bruins winners of a eight straight went through a pretty hard workout. A lot of skating and it was a very intense practice. Head coach Claude Julien has not been happy with the Bruins play the past couple¬†games but just like good teams do, they have found ways to win.
The Penguins will likely see this lineup from the Bruins tomorrow night.
P.J. Axelsson – Marc Savard – Phil Kessel
Blake Wheeler – David Krejci – Michael Ryder
Milan Lucic – Stephane Yelle – Chuck Kobasew
Vladimir Sobotka – Martin St. Pierre – Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara – Aaron Ward
Matt Hunwick – Dennis Wideman
Mark Stuart -Shane Hnidy
I was told Manny Fernandez will likely start for the Bruins.
I watched Phil Kessel (22 goals) very closely today at practice. He‚Äôs going to be a premier 40 goal scorer for years to come. A lot of discussion has centered around the Penguins passing on Kessel for Staal in the 2006 draft. Would I rather have Kessel? You bet I would
Staal is going to be a productive NHL player for years to come but if he can‚Äôt become a top 6 forward on this team than he needs to be moved. The Penguins can’t afford to give a third line center the money Staal seeks.
The Bruins are going to be a contender for the next couple seasons because of their young core.
F Phil Kessel (21 yrs old, 38 pts); F David Krejci (22 yrs old, 39 pts); F Blake Wheeler (22 yrs old, 13 goals); Milan Lucic (20 yrs, 24 pts); D Matt Hunwick ( 23 yrs old, 15pts in 24 games)
The emergence of Hunwick has scaled back the Bruins pursuit of another offensive defenseman. I do expect them to add another depth defenseman at the deadline.
Wheeler has been a surprise for the Bruins. The former first round pick of the Coyotes became a free agent this past summer and the Penguins were among a group of teams to show interest. The Penguins were not in his final four.
Talked to some people today at the facility who said Patrice Bergeron is expected back this season but the team doesn’t expect him back on the ice until late January at the earliest.
Photo courtesy of Dan4th