My Top Five Best (And Worst) Bruins Jerseys

Photo Credit:  Pinterest

By: KG                   Follow me on Twitter: @kgbngblog and on FanCred at K G

This is an article I’ve been looking forward to writing for a while now. And first of all, to let you know, HUGE thanks to the people over at NHLUniforms.com. Seriously, it’s a great website if you want to look at the history of NHL jerseys.

My Top Five may not be what everyone likes, but these are my favourites. I know one pick will have a lot of people up in arms, but whatever. I like it. So here we go.

#5 – 1981-1995

81-95

This is a simple jersey, and the bears on the shoulder were pretty new, only coming out the previous year. Plain stripes, nice Spoked “B”, good font. I mainly like this one because this is the only Bruins jersey I currently own. And own is even a reach. I just asked my dad if I could wear it and he said sure. He got it when he was younger. So I guess part of the reason I like it is that there’s a little connection there. Overall, a good, solid jersey.

#4 – 1995-2006 (Also known as the ‘Pooh Bear’ jersey)

poohbear

Now before you start, yes, I know that this is one of the most controversial Bruins jerseys, and yes, I side in favour that it is good. It was the 90’s. A lot of jerseys had wacky designs. Example A will be featured below. I also like that one. But when they were designing this, they must have thought, “Let’s get bold, take a risk” and they did. I think it paid off for them because if you love it or hate it, you can’t tell me that the bear on the chest isn’t loveable.

Example A

#3 – 2010 Winter Classic (Photo from Icejerseys.com)

2010

The main reason why I like this jersey is the cursive-typed Spoked “B”. It’s very comforting to look at. The arm/waist stripes are also a good size. The colours also remind me of the 1925-1934 jerseys with the honey-ish tone. Definitely one of my favourite outdoor jerseys.

#2 – 2008-2016 (The Return of the Alternates)

08-16

This is one of the main jerseys I remember using in all the NHL games when I was younger. I just loved the full bear on the front. The solid black with just hints of gold took a lot from the jersey, and just made the shoulders black and added different logos in spots. I really think this is the best jersey since my first pick.

#1 – 1969-1974 (Number 4, Bobby Orr)

69-74

The main reason why I like this one so much is the history behind it. The great Bobby Orr won the Cup while wearing this version. To me, it’s one of the best because it’s so elegantly simple. One logo, three colours and some lace. Perfect.

Bottom 5

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Sources:

NHLUniforms.com, IceJerseys.com

Follow KG on Twitter @KGbngblog and on FanCred at K G Like, share and comment your takes on the article

Posted in Boston Bruins, Bruins History, Popular | Leave a comment

Boston Bruins Remain Out Of Playoff Picture Early On

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Ottawa Senators at Boston Bruins

Photo Credit: Greg M. Cooper (USA Today Sports)

By: KG                   Follow me on Twitter: @kgbngblog and on FanCred at K G

The Bruins have shown that they can play with the top teams in the league, beating teams like New Jersey and L.A, who are at the top of their respective divisions currently. But the inconsistency at the start of the season along with the four-game losing streak in early November has held the Bruins out of a playoff spot for some time. Here’s a look at some promising facts that could help the Bruins rise up the ranks.

After a slower than expected start from the B’s, they have come back to be one single point out of a playoff spot. And when you take into account that they have only played 25 games instead of the average of 27/28 games played, you realize that they have a potential of 4/6 more points they could gain in the standings. That would send them up one point behind Toronto for second in the Atlantic. That is something that the Bruins haven’t been close to since the first couple of weeks into the season. The games in hand should come in handy, if (And that’s a big ‘IF’) the Bruins can win those games that they have in hand.

The Bruins and their fans have seen so many “Should Khudobin Be The Number 1 Goalie Over Rask” headlines that you’d think that they would have a terrible goal differential, but they actually aren’t that bad at -4. While that is in the bottom half of the rest of the NHL, it’s third best in their Atlantic division. Thir largest losing differential in the score this season was their second game, a 4-0 loss to Colorado, and they have just two losses of three goals. With teams like Detroit losing games 10-1, the Bruins are considerably better with not letting the games get out of hand. This helps them stay in contention more games, and the fewer goals the other team has, the more likely your team can make a comeback. Pretty simple math.

*To explain this tweet, many people were taking Haggerty’s take on how he believes that Khudobin should play more as a call for Anton to be the new Number 1 goalie. This may not have been the case in this tweet/article, but a lot of journalists implied that a shift of power in the net could be coming soon if Rask did not play better. This is also from October 23rd, so quite a bit of time has passed since then. Just an example of the fighting in the Bruins Twitter world while Rask wasn’t winning*

The Bruins are now 7-4-2 at home, giving them 62% of the total points they could have got while playing 13 games. This ties them with Toronto for second best home points percentage in the Atlantic, only trailing Tampa who is at an incredible 82%. This is a positive for Boston because they have only played one more game at home than away. This means they’ll have more opportunities to play in a building that they are familiar with and comfortable in. Hopefully, they can get even better at home so visiting teams know that it’ll be an extra difficult game to play.

The early injuries have been a curse, but also a blessing in disguise. It has given the Bruins management an opportunity to see who could be NHL call-up material, like Danton Heinen or Peter Cehlarik, and who they should depend on when the going gets tough. The injuries also let the Bruins sneak away with going 1-3 while playing four divisional games. When people look back, they’ll say that the lineup was a mess, etc. So when the Bruins play 5 Atlantic division games in their last six, they should hopefully be healthy enough and willing to put up a better fight than before.

The Bruins are close to the playoffs but need to be in a better position by the Christmas break. As I referenced in a previous article, if you are in a playoff position at the holiday break, your team has a really good chance of staying in that position come April.

 

Sources:

ESPN.com, NHL.com

Follow KG on Twitter @KGbngblog and on FanCred at K G Like, share and comment your takes on the article

Posted in Analytics, Boston Bruins, Popular | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Bruins Prospects Added To USA Hockey Preliminary Roster

( Above Photo Credit:  Team USA Hockey – Sports Engine )

By: Mark Allred               Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

The USA Hockey headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado announced today that the preliminary roster for the 2018 U.S. National Junior team has been released and three Boston Bruins prospects have been added. The 2018 IIHF World Junior  U20 Championships will play its 42nd annual tournament and the second time host Buffalo, New York will house the festivities. The Tournament will go on from December 26, 2017, to January 5, 2017, from three locations which include the HarborCenter, KeyBank Center and an outdoor final at New Era Field at Orchard Park the home of the National Football Leagues Buffalo Bills.

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The ten team tournament will consist of participating countries that are split into two groups. Group “A” with have Canada, Denmark, Finland, Slovakia, and host United States while group “B” will have Belarus, Czech Republic, Russia, Sweden, and Switzerland. Last season the United States won the 2017 tournament with a 5-4 shootout victory over Canada at a sold-out Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec.

Below are highlights of the above mentioned 2017 WJC if you missed the action almost a year ago.

Bruins Prospects Added

Trent Frederic – University of Wisconsin

The 6′-2″ 203-pound center hails from St, Louis, Missouri which is starting to become a hotbed for young talent in the mid-west. Selected by the Bruins in the first round (#29 Overall) of the 2016 National Hockey League Entry Draft, the talented forward is currently in his sophomore year with his Badgers team and has 16 points in 19 games played in the Big-10 Conference.

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After successful campaigns on the U-17 and U-18 U.S. National Teams in the United States Hockey League which is a pre-collegiate developmental program, he would go on to commit at Wisconsin and the close tutelage of head coach and former NHL’er Tony Granato who will be Trent’s bench boss for the upcoming 2018 WJC tourney. Although missing some due to an upper-body injury during his freshman season, the then 18-year-old managed to have a great season posting 33 points in 30 games in 2016-17.

Ryan Lindgren – University of Minnesota

Another U.S. National Team USHL alumni who joined the NCAA College Hockey ranks last season, Bruins prospect, Ryan Lindgren was a solid addition to the Gophers program as a freshman last season and although his offensive numbers are not going to blow you away, his shutdown style will. The 6′-0″ 198-pound Minnesota native has a strong ability to use his body effective whether moving opposing players trying to create havoc in front of his goaltender or with bone-crunching hits to those who dare cross the blueline offensively.

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This, his sophomore year the well-balanced wrecking ball is on pace to have a better year on the stat sheet with 2-2-4 numbers in18 games which is close to the half-way point of the 2017-18 NCAA Big-10 regular season. Lindgren ended his National Championship hopes last season in the final game of the 2016-17 regular season when he crashed into the boards with a season-ending injury that would later require surgery.  Lindgren was selected by the Bruins in the second round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.

Jeremy Swayman – University of Maine

After having a decent 2016-17 year with the USHL’s Sioux Falls Stampede posting a 7-18-3 record with a 2.90 goals-against-average and .914 save percentage the Anchorage, Alaska native was selected in the fourth round of the NHL’s 2017 Entry Draft and was a commit to play a long way from home with the Black Bears team.  The 6′-2″ 187-pound 2017-18 freshman goaltender has played well enough to earn more time in the crease than Rob McGovern who’s been with the Black Bear team for the last three seasons and was a Bruins development camp invite in early July of 2017.

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This season with the Black Bears Swayman has a record of 5-3-1, a GAA of 2.38, and a .925 save% and has played very well and gaining the trust of head coach Red Gendron who’s entering his fifth season as the Maine, bench boss. I’d imagine Swayman will play a majority of the remaining games as former Maine alumni goaltender Mike Dunham will be making his rounds visiting and advising the developing youth in the Bruins organization crease until Swayman leaves for a pro job or remains until he gets his degree.

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Boston Bruins Prospect Update Nov. 26th-Dec. 2nd 2017

( Above Photo Credit:  NHL .com )

By: Mark Allred        Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Bruins Prospect Update Nov. 26th-Dec. 2nd 2017

American Hockey League – Providence Bruins

The Providence Bruins played in three games last week going 3-0. The week started on Sunday, November 26th with a 2-1 shootout victory on the road over the Charlotte Checkers. Baby B’s goals scored by Colton Hargrove (6th) on the power-play and the shootout winner from Ryan Fitzgerald. Goaltender on-loan Jordan Binnington got the win in goal stopping 18 of 19 shots.
On Friday, December 1st The Bruins played host to the Binghamton Devils at the Dunk and walked away with a 3-2 win in front of the home crowd. B’s goals scored by
Kenny Agostino (5th) Ryan Fitzgerald on the power-play (6th) and Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson on the power-play (6th). Zane McIntyre got the start in goal making 29 saves on 32 shots.
On Saturday, December 2nd the B’s played the second game of back-to-back home games against the Binghamton team beating the Devils by the score of 4-2. Bruins goals scored by Zack Senyshyn (3rd) Jordan Szwarz (6th & 7th) and Rob O’Gara his first of the season. Goaltender on-loan Jordan Binnington got the job in the crease on this night making 25 saves on 27 shots.

East Coast Hockey League – Atlanta Gladiators

Goaltender Dan Vladar started in two games last week beginning on Sunday, November 26th with a home game against the Jacksonville IceMen and only had to make three saves before leaving the game after the first period for precautionary reasons. The Gladiators managed to pull off the 4-2 victory even though the 2015 third round pick had to leave the game.
On Friday, December 1st Vladar and his Glads team lost 5-3 to the Florida Everblades on home ice. Vladar stopped 26 off 30 shots.

Ontario Hockey League – Oshawa Generals

2017 second round pick Jack Studnicka has been red hot lately, and that continued with three games last week with three games scoring 3-2-5 numbers but snapped a seven-game point streak with no points against the Windsor Spitfires on December 2nd. Jack has 10-19-29 numbers in 29 games this season.

NCAA Men’s Hockey

Jeremy Swayman – University of Maine
The 2017 fourth-round selection played in two games last week both against the University of Vermont. The first was a 2-2 tie making 22 saves on 24 shots on Friday, December, 1st.
The second game of the weekend was on Saturday, December 2nd once again against the Catamounts this time with a huge 6-2 win for the Black Bears stopping 39 of 41 shots. Swayman is now 5-3-1 on the NCAA season dropping his goals-against-average down to 2.38, and .925 save percentage.

Ryan Donato – Harvard University
Ryan played in two games last week scoring a hat trick on Friday, December 1st against the Quinnipiac Bobcats and added a goal and an assist on Saturday, December 2nd against the Princeton Tigers. Donato now has a point in every game played so far this season which is a 10 game point streak. He now has 8-7-15 numbers in 2017-18.

Trent Frederic – University of Wisconsin
After going pointless over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, the former 2016 Bruins first-round pick got back to work offensively in both games against the University of Minnesota Gophers. On Friday, December 1st he had a goal and followed that up on Saturday, December 2nd with a goal and an assist. Trent now has 8-8-16 numbers in 19 games played.

Posted in AHL, Atlanta Gladiators, Boston Bruins, Bruins Prospects, ECHL, NCAA Mens Hockey, OHL, Providence Bruins | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Bruins’ McAvoy In The Mix For Calder

482170419071_Senators_at_Bruins-1000x600

Photo Credit: Fred Kfoury III (Icon Sportswire)

By: KG                   Follow me on Twitter: @kgbngblog and on FanCred at K G

The former BU Terrier is making sure that people see why the Bruins drafted him 14th overall in 2016. He has been a key part of a lineup and seems to be playing some of the most minutes not only on the Bruins but in the NHL. The Hockey News writer Matt Larkin had McAvoy 2nd in his rookie rankings behind Clayton Keller, which seems to be turning out to be relatively accurate. But as the season has progressed, there has been a number of other rookies making their case for the Rookie of the Year award. The tweet below is a look at some of the other players, mainly other defensemen that are competing for the Calder.

We’ve seen over the past few years just how important it is to have a great defense. A team like Nashville last year had a solid core and went far in the playoffs because of it. Players like Will Butcher and Mikhail Sergachev are direct Calder competition for McAvoy. But one thing that they don’t have is the minutes that McAvoy is playing currently. He has four more minutes per game played than the next highest of the rookies in the NHL at 23:36. Like I said in an article earlier this year, he is a key component to the Bruins lineup and hasn’t missed a game this year, something you don’t see rookies do too often.

McAvoy’s point production is pretty good for a rookie d-man. He’s third for the most amount of points by a rookie defencemen, and second for most goals at four. He is in the 13th spot for most points by a rookie total, trailing players like Mathew Barzal and Brock Boeser. His offensive skills pair well with Chara’s stay at home defense style. He is one of the players that “Quarterback” the Bruins power play, and he is adjusting well to doing so. He and Krug are usually a great 1-2 punch when the Bruins get on the PP.

Another part of McAvoy’s game that is an asset to the Bruins is his physicality. He is 35th overall in hits in the NHL with 63, equalling out for 2.6 hits per game. That’s the most of any of the other Bruins. But this comes with its downsides. He is third in most PIMS with 18 on the Bruins behind Miller and Chara. Usually, rookies take a while to adjust physically to the NHL, but McAvoy is fitting right in. He uses hits appropriately to separate the player from the puck, and you don’t see him flying around trying to take somebodies head off.

McAvoy may not be the first person you think of when you talk about rookies that are lighting up the scoresheets every night, but he is playing a veteran role as a rookie on the Bruins. And this is after never playing an AHL game. Just his two years in the USHL at 16/17 years old, two years at BU as an 18/19 old, and the six games in the playoffs last year. Incredible stuff from a rookie and he can hopefully only improve from here on out.

 

Sources:

Theockeynews.com, NHL.com, Hockeydb.com, FoxSports.com

Follow KG on Twitter @KGbngblog and on FanCred at K G Like, share and comment your takes on the article

Posted in Boston Bruins, Featured, NHL | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Identity Of The Boston Bruins Is Starting To Show Up

(Photo Credit: Associated Press)

By Mike Cratty                             Twitter: @Mike_Cratty

As the 2017-2018 Boston Bruins continue to get healthy, they are showing us what they can do with an optimal lineup. The Bruins have won six of their last seven games, dating back to November 16 against the Los Angeles Kings. Their last loss came on November 26 against the Edmonton Oilers.

Adam McQuaid and Peter Cehlarik are still recovering from leg injuries, and Jake DeBrusk is dealing with an upper-body injury. The team is almost there after a crazy string of injuries, with some players missing multiple stretches of time.

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The team isn’t blowing teams away on the score sheet, but rather they are finding different ways to win, night in and night out. That is their identity in my mind – a team that won’t always blow teams away on the score sheet but has a solid mix of different playing styles, can wear teams down, and find different ways to win. Whether Anton Khudobin or Tuukka Rask step up, or David Pastrnak buries a sweet goal on a breakaway, their newfound health and energy have been huge in allowing them to climb the Atlantic Division standings and make up ground. For a little while, it seemed like the misfortune didn’t have any plans of stopping and the Bruins would be near basement territory in the Atlantic Division. That hasn’t been the case as of late, as they sit in fourth place in the Atlantic with a 12-8-4 record and 28 points, three points ahead of the Detroit Red Wings and one point behind the Montreal Canadiens.

The misfortune that was dumped on the Bruins in the injury department prevented hockey fans from getting a glimpse at the identity a team with the potential to return to the playoffs. The season opener, a 4-3 win over the Nashville Predators at home, gave us a quick, short-lived look. With guys like Brad Marchand and Anders Bjork recently returning, as well as David Backes incredibly returning ahead of schedule, this Bruins team is showing fans what many expected. A team with some new faces, some young, some old, and some legitimate Calder trophy candidates. That bunch is starting to meet expectations and wear teams down.

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Part of their resurgence has come from the goaltending. When you’re a team that doesn’t score a whole lot, it’s nice to be able to rely on your goalies, and the Bruins sure have as of late. Tuukka Rask has regained some composure in the crease in three straight starts dating back to the loss last Sunday against Edmonton. In those three starts, Rask is 2-1-0 with a 1.67 GAA, .940 save percentage. The Bruins just have two thriving goalies at the moment, which is nice to see because they simply didn’t have that luxury last season. There is no controversy, Tuukka Rask is the number one goalie, but in this case, both goalies are playing very well. That doesn’t change Tuukka’s status as the number one, and he seems to be ok with split time with his buddy Dobby. Anton Khudobin will slot back in tomorrow night against Nashville.

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The returns of numerous players have just helped this team gain consistent stability and begin to establish a reputation and an identity.  The lack of stability is a huge part of what led to the team’s slow start. One shining example is the fact that they held off the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2, arguably the best team in the NHL and definitely the best team in the East.

Whether the Bruins maintain consistency moving forward is going to be one of the main storylines.

With the lineup nearing full health (fingers crossed), here are my optimal lines for the Bruins when they regain full health (not including trades that could be made):

Forwards

Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – Anders Bjork

Jake DeBrusk – David Krejci – David Pastrnak

Danton Heinen – Ryan Spooner – David Backes

Tim Schaller – Riley Nash – Noel Acciari

Matt Beleskey/Frank Vatrano

Defense

Zdeno Chara – Charlie McAvoy

Kevan Miller – Brandon Carlo

Torey Krug – Adam McQuaid

Paul Postma

Goalies

Tuukka Rask

Anton Khudobin

All I want for Christmas is a fully healthy Bruins lineup, and you should too. This team is showing fans what they are capable of. If this positive trend can continue consistently enough, we may not be looking at a first-round playoff exit like last season.

Posted in Boston Bruins, NHL | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Torey Krug: The Top 2 Defenseman the Bruins Deserve

( Above Photo Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports )

By: Spencer Fascetta                                          Twitter: @PuckNerdHockey

Much has been made of the Bruins’ depth when it comes to defensive prospects. Fans are constantly on the lookout for Jeremy Lauzon, Jakub Zboril, and Urho Vaakanainen, not to mention less heralded prospects such as Matt Grzelcyk and Emil Johansson. Charlie McAvoy already looks like a Calder Trophy finalist, and Brandon Carlo has been a fantastic surprise since arriving early last season. But it is easy to overlook, and even criticize, the play of easily the Bruins’ best defenseman: Torey Krug.

Not only is Torey Krug the Bruins’ BEST defenseman, he actually is one of the best defensemen in the entire NHL. **HOT TAKE ALERT** Yes, I’m aware. However, I have compiled some data to describe to you exactly what I mean. Krug is demonstrably a Top 5 defenseman in the league in terms of transitional ability, or the ability to move the puck from his own zone to the offensive zone effectively and efficiently on a consistent basis, and we all are well aware of his offensive capabilities.

Caption: Graphic courtesy of Andrew Berkshire, Sportsnet, and SportLogiq

As you can see, Krug is clearly an elite offensive defenseman. It may come as a surprise, however, that he is actually a better transitional defenseman per Andrew Berkshire’s metrics than an offensive defenseman. What is even MORE surprising, is that he is actually the 5th best transitional defenseman by these metrics. All four of the defensemen listed ahead of Krug are former Norris Trophy winners, and are consistently considered to be the crème de la crème of NHL defensemen. The major difference between Krug and them appears to be circumstance, pedigree, and size.

Caption: Graphic courtesy of Andrew Berkshire, Sportsnet, and SportLogiq

Krug is demonstrably better offensively than Keith, but the Blackhawks’ rearguard is better in his own end.

Caption: Graphic courtesy of Andrew Berkshire, Sportsnet, and SportLogiq

Again, Doughty is much better than Krug in his own zone and transitionally, but Krug has an absurd advantage offensively.

Caption: Graphic courtesy of Andrew Berkshire, Sportsnet, and SportLogiq

Caption: Graphic courtesy of Andrew Berkshire, Sportsnet, and SportLogiq

Subban and Karlsson are both significantly better than Krug in all three areas of focus. As they are considered the two best defensemen in the league, this is relatively expected.

Well, great. Krug looks good by one guy’s metric. Granted, he is one of the most respected names in hockey analytics, but what does that matter? Well, let’s compare him to each of them.

Caption: Hero Chart via ownthepuck.blogspot.ca

Although Doughty plays significantly more than Krug, Krug is actually a better shot generator on the back end and is a better producer of primary assists. Granted, Doughty is the superior shot suppressor, but that is not Krug’s game.

Caption: Hero Chart via ownthepuck.blogspot.ca

Subban is a better goal scorer than Krug, but Krug is the superior shot generator and primary assist generator. Most importantly, however, is that they are both similar in terms of shot suppression.

 

Caption: Hero Chart via ownthepuck.blogspot.ca

Erik Karlsson is far and away the best defenseman in the game. That is unquestionable. He obviously plays more than Krug and is a significantly better goal scorer. The two are quite similar in terms of shot generation and primary assists, but Krug is actually a BETTER shot suppressor.

Caption: Hero Chart via ownthepuck.blogspot.ca

Finally, the wily veteran of the group only scores better than Krug in terms of shot suppression. Krug is better in terms of goal scoring, primary assist scoring, and shot generation, and is significantly better than Keith in the latter two.

Well, I could have cherry-picked those four to compare to Krug in order to portray him in a favorable light. So, let’s compare him to a few archetypes.

Caption: Hero Chart via ownthepuck.blogspot.ca

Krug continues to play lower minutes than your typical #1 defenseman, but is better than a typical #1 defenseman in all metrics, save for shot suppression, where he compares quite similarly.

Caption: Hero Chart via ownthepuck.blogspot.ca

When compared to a typical #2 defenseman, Krug is far and away a better player, measuring almost dominant regarding shot generation and primary assists.

Caption: Hero Chart via ownthepuck.blogspot.ca

Krug and a typical 2nd Pairing Defenseman? Not even close.

So, according to everything presented above, Torey Krug is an elite, #1 defenseman in today’s NHL. So, why is he so underrated? Well, a large portion of his problem stems from his situation. Krug has had to drag his defensive partner around with him for the majority of his career. As you can see below, he has not been gifted with a stellar situation to maximize his abilities and has been paired with some of the least productive and effective defenseman the Bruins have rostered since he broke into the league in 2012-13. The first graphic compares the relative expected goals for percentage for each defenseman that has suited up for at least 1000 minutes in the black and gold in Krug’s career to the player’s relative CorsiFor Percentage, which is the percentage of time the player had a positive impact on puck possession while he was on the ice relative to the other players around him.

I have highlighted Krug and the best/worst of the group. The size of the bubble for each player corresponds to the percent of the time on ice each player played relative to the total minutes he was dressed for. Based on that, you can see that players like Colin Miller (surprise, surprise) and Zach Trotman (legitimate surprise) were heavily underutilized in their Bruins’ careers, while Dennis Seidenberg, Kevan Miller, and Matt Bartkowski have been relied on to do far more than they are capable of. Brandon Carlo looks lonely down there with a negative relative CorsiFor Percentage, but a fairly good relative expected goals for percentage.

Caption: Data courtesy of Corsica.hockey, graphic by Spencer Fascetta

For some perspective, here is the distribution of relative expected goals for percentage and relative CorsiFor Percentage for the specific defense pairings Krug has been a part of since breaking into the league. He has played with 11 different partners in that timeframe. This time, games played is the size of the bubble. As you can see, a majority of his partners have created very low numbers, and are clustered near the zeros of each axis, with the ill-fated Seidenberg/Krug pairing the only one falling fully in the negative (and far into the negative at that). One only wishes that the Colin Miller/Krug pairing could have been given more time together, because they were far and away the most effective pair, and were nearly dominant on the ice when together.

The other important tidbit to note in this graphic is the size of the bubbles. As stated above, these are relative to the number of games Krug played with each partner. The largest bubbles all exist in the lower left of the graph, with poor relative CorsiFor Percentage and relative expected goals for percentage, and they get smaller as the metric get better. This further illustrates Krug’s plight on the back end, as he has very rarely been put in a position to be successful.

Caption: Data courtesy of Corsica.hockey, graphic by Spencer Fascetta

Finally, how does Krug match up league-wide in this sense? Well, I took the same measurements, expected goals for percentage and relative CorsiFor Percentage, and applied a 3000 minutes time on ice limit on the data to only look at players that played a significant amount of time for their team(s) over the past 6 years. I also added the condition of the quality of competition each player played against per that time on ice. This is what creates the bubble size. I highlighted Krug, as well as the four we discussed above – Keith, Subban, Karlsson, and Doughty. I also highlighted Mark Giordano, who is pretty close to perfect in this analysis, as well as former Bruins Andrew Ference (yet another guy who was not very good but got plenty of ice time to work with, and Dougie Hamilton. Dan Girardi is the plight of all analytics people (Kris Russell is a close second), so I have highlighted him for context as well.

Caption: Data courtesy of Corsica.hockey, graphic by Spencer Fascetta

As you can see, although Krug plays against slightly weaker competition, he still is among the upper echelon of defensemen in this league and compares very favorably to names like Doughty and Keith. If only we found a way to keep Dougie…

So, is Torey Krug a #1 defenseman in this league? Unequivocably yes. Why is he underrated? Well, the hockey community loves to hate in Boston, he was an undrafted college free agent signing, and, to be frank, he’s small. But he never shies away from physicality, he has been known to drop the gloves when necessary (see Andrew Shaw for both).

Oh, and in case you forgot, he can do things like this…

Many thanks to Corsica for providing the data used to create my own Viz for this piece, to OwnThePuck.blogspot.ca for the use of their excellent Hero Charts, and a special thanks to Andrew Berkshire for allowing the use of his personal graphics from a piece he wrote earlier this year for Sportsnet on the Top 23 Defenseman in the NHL. He also goes into an incredible amount of detail on the specifics of these metrics, how they are comprised and calculated, and the way in which he aggregated each numerical value in order to reach the broad and encompassing values used in the graphics themselves. Please take a minute to follow him on Twitter @AndrewBerkshire, and check out his work at Sportsnet as well. He is an excellent source for hockey analytics analysis and news.

Please follow ME on Twitter @PuckNerdHockey, find me on YouTube @PuckNerd for hockey news, analysis, and my newest creation, BFR or Bruins Fan Reactions after nearly every B’s game. Looking forward to your feedback!

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BFR1 – Game 23 – Bruins Stayin Alive

By: Spencer Fascetta                                                                        Twitter: @PuckNerdHockey

Well. That was interesting. The B’s came out on top of the Lightning. They beat the top team in the league while missing half of their preseason top 6 forwards. Rask is back on track? Also, there were shenanigans. Par for the course. PuckNerd has the story…

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Rask Gets First Win Since Nov. 6th

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Photo Credit: Press Image (Lehtikuva – AFP)

By: KG                   Follow me on Twitter: @kgbngblog and on FanCred at K G

The criticism about Tuukka Rask’s recent play has some proof to back it up with Khudobin matching his win total of 7 from last season in 5 games less then it took him last year. But just when you thought that Rask would be held off the ice until Khudobin lost, Bruce Cassidy sent him in against the Edmonton Oilers. After letting in three goals on 35 shots, Cassidy still had enough confidence to put him in against the Eastern Conference-leading Tampa Bay Lightning. The Bruins defense was a big part of Rask’s success last night, needing to stop only 19 of 21 shots. Both goals were pretty tough too. A Sustr shot from the point where he was screened the majority of the time, and a trademarked Stamkos/Kucherov connection on the power play. A good win and confidence booster for Rask and the rest of the team.

The Bruins are coming up on a quick two-game road trip to Philadelphia and Nashville, and then back home to play Arizona. The Flyers have lost nine games straight, and have only won five games in a 20-game stretch. Nashville is playing the Bruins for the first time in Nashville and the last time this season (Barring any Stanley Cup Final meet up) They have won 10 of their last 12 games, climbing to third in the Central division. The Coyotes, after a terrible start to their season, have won 4 of their last 7 games, including an OT loss. All these teams have something in common. They are all playing on streaks. It doesn’t matter if it’s a good or bad one, the Bruins should worry about them all. Playing a team that’s winning night in and night out is tough because they have obviously found a groove and want to stay in that same groove for as long as possible. And playing a losing team is just as dangerous because the other team goes in thinking it’ll be a cake walk and end up being caught flat-footed. Hopefully, Boston plays their cards right and can come out with a couple points.

Injury Update –

The Bruins sit ten points back of Tampa Bay for the top spot in the East, and are currently one point out of third in the Atlantic behind Montreal, with four games in hand on Les Canadiens. Those four games in hand are a good sign for the Bruins. They are keeping pretty close with point totals compared to other teams in playoff spots, but they have played fewer games than most teams.

The Bruins also went out toy shopping today. Here are some of the highlights

I think Jake may have bought that bear for himself. Great cause for them giving back to the local community.

 

Follow KG on Twitter @KGbngblog and on FanCred at K G Like, share and comment your takes on the article

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BFR1 – Game 22 – Chalk Talk

By: Spencer Fascetta                                           Twitter: @PuckNerdHockey

Well, that was tremendously bad… Join PuckNerd as he tries to explain where the Bruins may have gone wrong whilst experiencing ALL of the emotions…

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