April 10th, 2012
by goon
Boston Bruins
Boston Bruins (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I think the Washington Capitals are going to have a hard time matching the Boston Bruins grit and toughness. The Bruins play their best when they’re playing a rough and tumble brand of hockey. Just ask the softer Vancouver Canucks who were brutalized by the Bruins last season.

Katie Carrera, Washington Post — The Bruins – or if you prefer, the big, bad Bruins – have a reputation for toughness. Their brand of hockey comes with physicality and snarl. They like to push teams around between whistles and get under opponents’ skin afterward.

While fighting isn’t really common in the playoffs, one doesn’t need to drop the gloves to be tough to play against and physically dominate a contest or series. Boston’s knack for such things precedes it, but the Capitals believe they can hold their own.

“I think we’re alright,” defenseman Karl Alzner said. “I think we’ve got a lot of guys that can throw the body around, too. We’re not a team like them where we come out and always do that, but we do that when we need to — and we’re going to need to in this series.”

The TD North Garden is a tough play for visiting team to play on any given day. Pierre LeBrun from ESPN looked at the five toughest arenas to play in druing the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

4. Boston Bruins Well, I guess you can ask the Vancouver Canucks to vouch for whether playing in Boston is any fun. The Canucks were destroyed in three games in Beantown during the 2011 Cup finals, which reinforced what a tough place it is to play in especially come playoff time. The Bruins are the NHL’s toughest, most rugged team and that meshes well with a New England crowd that likes its hockey that way. All of which makes for an electric, and intimidating, atmosphere.

Former NHL Official Kerry Fraser is concerned about inconsistency in today’s NHL Refs. Well that makes two of us. I thought the officiating in last season’s Stanley Cup playoffs was bad, but could have been worse. I hope we don’t have anyone biting anyone this year.

As the NHL playoffs kick off this week, Kerry Fraser says he’s concerned about inconsistency in today’s refereeing.

“Right now, the game is very fast and it’s hard for young officials without the experience to keep up with the pace,” said Fraser, who retired a year ago as the most senior referee in the National Hockey League.

During the playoffs last year, too many refs were inconsistent when it came to major infractions, said Fraser, who officiated for 30 years. And the supplementary discipline doled out by the league hasn’t helped.

“There were head shots when players were sometimes suspended and sometimes not.

“The referees became confused seeing what was happening upstairs with suspensions or lack of, and it created inconsistent officiating,” Fraser said.

The “media” is still concerned about Timmy Thomas missing the White House event. Can we just play hockey? I could care less if Thomas takes a stand on his personal Facebook page or has a political message on the back of his goalie mask. The last time I checked Thomas was an American Citizen and is afforded the right to free speech. [Boston Globe]

Reporter: “Given the setting, that’s it’s in D.C., is there any concern on your part about the White House stuff getting kicked up and all that stuff …”

Thomas: “Thanks guys, we finally got somebody to get me out early.”

The Washington Capital have issues in net right now. [Boston Globe]

Assuming Tomas Vokoun (groin) and Michal Neuvirth (leg) won’t be ready for Game 1, 22-year-old Braden Holtby will get the call to start the playoffs between the pipes. Holtby has never appeared in an NHL playoff game.

Holtby will be backed up by Dany Sabourin. The Capitals recalled the ex-Bruin from Hershey today.

Stanley Cup playoffs 2012: Alex Ovechkin vs. Zdeno Chara matchup could affect Capitals-Bruins outcome …

Here are the various prediction on the series between the Bruins and the Capitals. Anyone who has seen the Capitals play know that they have a lot of fire power and I don’t think the Boston Bruins will be looking past anyone.

Dan Steinberg, Washington Post — NHL.com doesn’t provide game predictions, but all seven of the site’s writers say the Bruins will win the series.

The NHL Network’s Craig Button agrees, although his colleague E.J. Hradek took the Caps. (Two out of four NHL.com international writers also took the Caps, for what that’s worth.)
Both of CBS Sports’s “Eye On Hockey” writers take the Bruins. TSN’s Scott Cullen says Bruins in six. Yahoo’s Nick Cotsonika says Bruins in six. The Toronto Sun’s Chris Stevenson says Bruins in six. Sporting News’s Jesse Spector says Bruins in five. Canadian site SportsNet says Bruins in five. And four of five Pro Hockey Talk writers say Bruins in 5, with the fifth, Ryan Dadoun, taking the Caps in 7.

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