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10-25-2003, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Joe Dirtbag
Your views in this thread are excellent! I would like to know what you think about Glen Murray's play so far this season? What kind of early impact is he having facing UFA status at the end of this season?

Lastly, Please leave Bergeron where he is now with Rolly and the Axe man. The combo is producing at both ends of the ice and that <B>add's</b> value to Rolston as trade bait should we go south like last season. The Bruins have a lot of impact players becoming UFA's and that could be very troublesome once the NHL and the NHLPA reach an agreement! The Bruins have already started to prepare by dumping Stumpel when they did. Valcak seems interesting already and we still have a 2nd rounder next year for him from LA. Zinovjev was mentioned over the Summer by management as Stumpel's hopeful 2nd line replacement. Yada...Yada...VISA...Yada...He's here! YAY! Goes to P-Town and gets 3 points in 4 games and said the Russian Super League is the better of the two!

Sullivan said that Zinovjev can be a great bottom 6 checker playing off his Center position as a winger like Bergeron??????

Hey Sully........GROW UP!

IMO this season has been pre-planned because of the CBA. I'm calling it "The Fall Guy Year."

Sullivan's got what they've given him and O'Connell is saying in the papers "no more money." The B's expect to make the playoffs again this season but there are never any guarantees. Play Zinovjev with Samsonov and let them loose to provide some entertainment to bring in the odd fan to a game!
Heya Shane, I didn't see your reply. Thanks for the kind words.

Hmmm, as far as Murray goes, I think he will be OK. Aside from the goal he got tonight, he's typically a slow starter. When he was in LA during the training camp prior to when the B's acquired him, Andy Murray was publicly challenging him. After he changed teams the rest was history. So he should be OK. He just has to concentrate on working harder and the goals should go in.

At the same rate, I think the Bruins lack of second line scoring punch has adversely effected the ability of Thornton & Murray. I have seen how teams smother those guys knowing that if they succeed, they have a good shot at beating the Bruins. That may not be the case anymore now that the B's are getting contributions from Bergeron and potentially Samsonov-Zinovjev. In other words, if the B's are able to spread out their attack, it will be much more difficult for the opponent to focus on shutting down the top line. In turn, Murray (and Thornton) should get a little more space to operate.

I do agree that Bergeron is effective with Axelsson and Rolston. Ax is a heads up player with great hockey sense, so he can mesh well with the poise and intelligence Patrice brings. With Rolston's experience, size and shot, they have a solid 2-way line that can contribute some decent offense. All told, that can be a terrific third line.

As far as the idea of playing Bergeron with Samsonov, it was to put a skater with Sergei who can read the play and do the give and go. Samsonov's game is cutbacks and quick passing, and pairing him with up & down guys like Green and Lapointe doesn't allow him to take advantage of his best skills. That said, it looks like we already have a player to put with him...Sergei Zinovjev. If that's the case, then the Bruins have greatly strengthened their potential -- and may have answered one serious question at the same time. They could have offense spread out through three lines, which with their goaltending and dedicated team defense, could give them a real chance to win any game.

Speaking of which, you called it right about playing Zino with Sammie. That was exactly what Samsonov needed, a guy who can keep up with him. The goal they manufactured tonight was a prime example of the potential they have. Swirling play, cutbacks, stopping and turning, and the quick give & go is where they can excel together. That makes it extremely difficult to defend against, which is why bringing out Samsonov's best is so key for the Bruins offense. Having him anchor an effective, not to mention dangerous, second line spreads out the attack. Even though Zinovjev is a first year player who may or may not keep up, now's the time to get him in. If he can contribute, then stick with him and live with the errors. Find the right linemates and keep it consistent. Speaking of which, I like Lapointe on that line. He's a physical presence and real corner guy who is always willing to go to the net and do the dirty work. His veteran experience gives the trio a nice blend.

Hmmm, even if the Bruins went down the stretch and into the playoffs with all these young unproven players, I'd be OK with it if it meant they have a better chance for a balanced team in the postseason. In other words, I'd rather see three potential scoring lines and live with Zinovjev & Bergeron's possible mistakes than asking Green, Zamuner, Grosek and Lapointe to be scorers on a second line. Not only that, but these young guys would be getting tremendous experience as well as valuable playoff games. In the long term, that will pay off fast.

That said, in terms of the big picture, I'd feel much better about things if there was less uncertainty about the team heading into next summer. Not to fret about something that's 2/3rds of a year away, but with Rolston, Knuble, Murray, O'Donnell and McGillis being pending UFAs, there's definitely reason to be concerned about what will happen to this team's core. That's relevent to the conversation because with the youth, the Bruins are really building something here. Over the next 2 seasons, they could have the chance to finally have a real contender. But how do they do that with so many core players entering unrestricted status? Using past history as a guide, I am skeptical about the Bruins desire and willingness to build upon their success and do what it takes to build a complete team. I hope that's not the case and things will be different now, but honestly speaking, I've said that to myself several times before.

And while some will say that there will be many UFAs across the board next summer, no team has as many core players with expired contracts as the Bruins. There's no doubt that several teams will stand pat, but I believe that at least a few clubs will go against the grain and spend. There's always at least a few who throw caution or respect to the wind for a chance to one-up their competitors. Whether that spells trouble for the B's is unknown, but in their case, losing any of those guys would hurt. It's not so much as there isn't internal replacements (Jurcina, Morrisonn, Huml, Hilbert and Samuelsson provide us with great talent waiting in the wings), but that they could be void of needed veteran presence and leadership or some other important element critical (size, special teams, etc) to the team's success. In one form or another, all of those guys have key roles on this team. I believe the Broons need to bring back as many as four of them, or have alternative veteran replacements, to ensure they do not fall back as we have seen in year's past. Even Sinden said during transition of the Bates/Wilson/Mann crop "you can't have all kids."

In essence, all this ties back to what's happening today. The Bruins are trying to integrate youth, but they are also facing armegeddon with a number of core players. So while the young players are a critical element in the roadmap for the future, the B's will not be making progress if they lose more than a few of their core UFAs. Anyone knows that is the strength, depth and competence at the core that carries your team in the playoffs. So yeah, play the youth, see what you've got, inventory your roster and plan for the future. That means re-signing Knuble, Rolston, Murray and maybe O'Donnell, and continuing to upgrade weak spots like the defense.

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