Boston Bruins

READY TO TRADE: Red Sox and Diamonbacks Agree On Miley Deal

miley

The Boston Red Sox knew it would not replace their former ace Jon Lester, but they acquired a serviceable pitcher Wednesday night when they and the Arizona Diamondbacks agreed on a deal to send Wade Miley to the Old Town Team.

According to FoxSports’ Ken Rosenthal, the cost were pitchers Alan Webster and Rubby De La Rosa, and a minor leaguer. The 28-year old Miley has been a regular in the Diamondbacks rotation for the last three seasons, with 33 starts and over 200 innings pitch in each of the last two seasons.

The left-hander finished second in the NL Rookie of the Year voting in 2012 after he won 16 games and posted a career best 3.33 ERA. The former first round pick (43rd overall) in the 2008 MLB Amateur draft, is coming off his worst season in the Majors. His ERA rose nearly 80 points from the prior year to .434 and he had a career worst WHIP, highest walks per nine innings pitched, and home runs allowed.

De La Rosa and Webster both got a shot at the Red Sox rotation in 2014, with mixed results. Webster was acquired from the LA Dodgers in the massive 2012 post-deadline deal that sent Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, and Nick Punto to LA. De La Rosa was acquired in October as one of the two players to be named later in the deal.

De La Rosa was solid through most of his 18 starts for Boston until he worn down in the final month of the season. The 25-year old right finished 4-8, 4.43.Webster made 11 starts for Boston, finishing with a strong kick in September after a shaky August. Overall, he was 5-3, 5.03.

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NHL Playoffs: Montreal and Boston Get Ready to Renew Old Rivalry

habruinsA pair of Original Six teams are ready to go toe-to-toe again.

by Drew Sarver

For years, the Montreal Canadiens were the kings of the National Hockey League. Between 1953 and 1979 they captured the Stanley Cup 16 times, including five straight years from 1956-1960 and four times in a row from 1976-1979.  During that stretch, Montreal also made it to the finals three other three times, with losses to Detroit (twice) and Toronto. In all, the Canadiens have hoisted the Cup 24 times.

Their fellow “Original Six” rivals, the Boston Bruins, won the Stanley Cup in 2011 and lost in the finals to Chicago, another of the Original Six, last year. The Cup win was the first for the Bruins since the 1971-1972 season and the sixth for the franchise.

The two team have played in the same division for many years, but when the teams meet in the playoffs, emotions are amped up a notch or 200.

It was no wonder that the Canadiens captured so many titles during the Original Six period that ran from 1942 until the NHL expansion in 1967, which doubled the size of the league. There weren’t too many American-born players in the NHL during that 25-year stretch, and Montreal grabbed one future Hall-of-Fame player after another with their territorial picks. Many of the Canadiens’ championships have included a playoff series win against Boston.

As a matter of fact, after the Bruins won a five-game series in 1943, they lost to the Canadiens the next 18 times they met in the playoffs. The streak, which began in 1946, ended in 1988. Since then, things have actually shifted in the Bruins’ favor with seven wins in 11 series.

Both teams have won just one Stanley Cup since the Bruins ended their skid in 1988, with Montreal entering this season with a 20-year drought since their last championship. This will be the 34th post-season meeting between the two teams and their first in three years.

Both teams got to this point by being road warriors in round one. Though he may never have been known as “Mad Max”, Canadiens’ forward Max Pacioretty eliminated the Tampa Bay Lightning with a goal with 17 seconds left in regulation time in Game 4. The four-game sweep would not have been possible had it not been for the Canadiens’ two wins in Tampa Bay to open the series. It’s just too bad the Lightning no longer play in the “Thunderdome”.

The Bolts had to play without their number-one goalie and Vezina Trophy finalist, Ben Bishop, for the entire series. Bishop underwent wrist surgery at the conclusion of the first-round series, in which Montreal dominated at both ends of the ice. Lightning goalie Anders Lindback was the only thing that kept Game 1 in Tampa from being a blowout, as the Canadiens out-shot the Lightning by a wide margin (44-25), in a 5-4 Montreal victory. Unlikely hero Dale Weise scored the game winner for Montreal in overtime.

Canadiens’ goalie, and Olympic Gold Medalist, Carey Price outplayed Lindback and third-string goalie Kristers Gudlevskis in the entire series. The Canadiens never let up, and the Lightning were burnt to a crisp when Pacioretty got his game winner. Twenty-one year-old Brendan Gallagher led the Habs in both goals (3) and points (5).

Boston took the President’s Trophy for most points (117) recorded in the NHL this season, but lost Game 1 on home ice. The Detroit Red Wings’ Pavel Datsyuk scored the game’s only goal with 3:01 left in regulation. Jimmy Howard stole the game from another Vezina Trophy finalist, Tuukka Rask, with 25 saves.

But Boston didn’t get to be the number-one seed in the entire NHL for no reason. They dominated the next four games, winning at home in Game 2, before going to the Motor City to finish off the Red Wings. Rask and company held Detroit to six goals for the entire series and got a shutout of their own, 3-0, in Game 2. Milan Lucic led a balanced Boston attack with three goals, while center Patrice Bergeron and defenseman Torey Krug led the squad with five points apiece. Finland’s Rask stopped 96.1% of the shots he faced to go along with a 1.16 goals-against-average (GAG).

Montreal has won 24 of the previous 33 playoff series with Boston,  and most recently has won six of the last seven meetings between the two in the regular season. But when the puck drops in round two, it will be difficult to imagine the Bruins not skating away with the series. Probably in six games.

Listed below is the record for the first 33 times the Canadiens and Bruins clashed in the playoffs.

Pre-Orginal Six Period

1929 – Bruins 3-0 Semi-Finals
1930 – Canadiens 2-0 Finals
1931 – Canadiens 3-2 Semi-Finals

Original Six Period

1943 – Bruins 4-1 Semi-Finals
1946 – Canadiens 4-1 Finals
1947 – Canadiens 4-1 Semi-Finals
1952 – Canadiens 4-3 Semi-Finals
1953 – Canadiens 4-1 Finals
1954 – Canadiens 4-0 Semi-Finals
1955 – Canadiens 4-1 Semi-Finals
1957 – Canadiens 4-1 Finals
1958 – Canadiens 4-2 Finals

Post Original Six Period

1968 – Canadiens 4-0 Quarter-Finals
1969 – Canadiens 4-2 Semi-Finals
1971 – Canadiens 4-3 Quarter-Finals
1977 – Canadiens 4-0 Finals
1978 – Canadiens 4-2 Finals
1979 – Canadiens 4-3 Semi-Finals
1984 – Canadiens 3-0 Division Semi-Finals
1985 – Canadiens 3-2 Division Semi-Finals
1986 – Canadiens 3-0 Division Semi-Finals
1987 – Canadiens 4-0 Division Semi-Finals
1988 – Bruins 4-1 Canadiens Division Finals
1989 – Canadiens 4-1 Division Finals
1990 – Bruins 4-1 Division Finals
1991 – Bruins 4-3 Division Finals
1992 – Bruins 4-2 Division Finals
1994 – Bruins 4-3 Conference Quarter-Finals
2002 – Canadiens 4-2 Conference Quarter-Finals
2004 – Canadiens 4-3 Conference Quarter-Finals
2008 – Canadiens 4-3 Conference Quarter-Finals
2009 – Bruins 4-0 Conference Quarter-Finals
2011 – Bruins 4-3 Conference Quarter-Finals


Drew Sarver is the founder, publisher, managing editor, and a contributor for Designated For Assignment. He can be followed on twitter at @mypinstripes and @d4assignment or contacted by email at dsarver@d4assignment.com.

NHL Playoffs: Bruins vs. Red Wings

Tuukka Rask Bruins 2014 favorites

Tuukka Rask has proven he can handle a heavy workload this season and seeks to avenge last year’s Stanley Cup finals loss.

by Christopher Wenrich

After savoring their Stanley Cup victory in 2011, the Boston Bruins experienced the bitterness of defeat at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks in 2013.  Once again, the Bruins are among the heavy favorites to win the Cup.

Boston Bruins
258 goals for (3rd)
171 goals against (2nd)
21.7 PP% (3rd)
83.6 PK% (8th)

The Bruins are strong in every aspect of the game and should be heavy favorites over the Red Wings.  Goaltender Tuukka Rask was spectacular this season, sporting a 36-15-6 record and a 2.04 GAA (4th), .930 SV% and a league-leading seven shutouts.  Rask is arguably the best goaltender in the National Hockey League and demonstrated this season that he can handle a heavy workload.

Having Zdeno Chara in front his a huge asset to Rask.  Chara’s reach is known to cause havoc in the passing lanes and disrupt scoring chances, but his offensive game should not be overlooked, as he tallied 40 points in 77 games.  The Bruins acquired Andrej Meszaros from the Philadelphia Flyers at the trade deadline.  At the time, Meszaros was returning to his old form and he posted five points in 14 games with the Bruins.  Youngster Torey Krug also had a productive season, posting 40 points in 77 games.

Up front, Milan Lucic rebounded from a disappointing 2012-2013 season in which he registered 27 points in 46 games and a +8 rating.  In 2013-2014, Lucic notched 59 points and a +30 rating while scoring on 15.7% of his shots (he scored on only 8.9% last season).  Jarome Iginla was also productive with 61 points in 78 games in the 12th 30-goal season of his career.  Iginla’s 61 points was third among the Bruins and trailed only David Krejci (69) and Patrice Bergeron (62).

Aside from Rask in goal, Bergeron may be the key to the Bruins’ success.  In addition to Bergeron’s 62 points and +38 rating, he led the NHL in faceoff wins (1,015) and was third in faceoff percentage (58.6%).  Bergeron’s superb two-way play is a vital component to the Bruins’ success.

Detroit Red Wings
217 goals for (16th)
221 goals against (16th)
17.7 PP% (18th)
83.0 PK% (12th)

The NHL’s realignment plan brought the Red Wings to the Eastern Conference and they are heavy underdogs in their series with the Bruins.  Daniel Alfredsson led the team in scoring with 49 points in 68 games.  Defenseman Niklas Kronwall also had 49 points (78 games).  A defenseman leading or tied for the team lead in points is not a regular occurrence.  Prior to Erik Karlsson and Shea Weber this season, and Weber last season, the last defenseman to lead their team in scoring was the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Dick Tarnstrom in 2003-2004.

Pavel Datsyuk had 37 points in 45 games this season.  The 35-year-old Russian may not have the ability to post Crosby-like numbers, but very few play the game better than Datsyuk.  He still has the ability to control the tempo of a game with the puck and the to take the puck away from others.  Despite appearing in only 45 games, Datsyuk ranked 15th among forwards with 59 takeaways; Ryan O’Reilly (Colorado Avalanche) led the NHL with 83 takeaways in 80 games.

Although the Red Wings’ NHL rankings may look unimpressive, they are not a team to be underestimated.  In addition to Datsyuk’s injury, Henrik Zetterberg was limited to 45 games and Johan Franzen appeared in 54 contests.  Zetterberg is still recovering from a bad back and skated for the first time in over month on Thursday.  His status for the series is unknown.  For the Red Wings to have any realistic chance of defeating the Bruins, Datsyuk will need to be on top of his game.  Dastsyuk had 21 points in 19 wins this season, but only 16 points in 26 losses.  If Datsyuk and Franzen can generate some offense and not fall too far behind in the series before Zetterberg returns, the Red Wings may have a shot at pulling off the upset.

Christopher Wenrich is a contributor for Designated For Assignment.  Follow him on Twitter (@DuggerSports).