(final) Player Analysis:
Steve Begin (GP 2, G 1, A 0, Minus 1): I'm not too familiar with Begin, but I know he is here to replace Yelle. I personally liked Yelle and think it would have been a better idea to keep him around for another season, but from what I've heard Begin will be an upgrade. We didn't take a huge cap hit picking him up at $850,000 for this year, which was nice. I'm not sure what Yelle was asking for, but I can't image it was much more then what we paid Begin. Begin, was minus 6 last year with Montreal, if nothing else, I'd like to see him turn that into a plus 6. Should be interesting with him being on the same line as Thornton seeing as they're both pretty willing to throw down.
Marc Savard (GP 4, G 2, A 3, Even +/-): Easily the best performer in the pre-season. But who would expect anything less? Savard was denied an opportunity to play on Team Canada this year, which will only drive him to be more of a beast this year. If he can feed Sturm like he fed Kessel last year, we'll be saying "Kessel Who?!" by the All-Star break. This is just a fun guy to watch, the no look passes, the shots from ridiculous angles, what a monster. It's also fun to watch him run his mouth, he's not afraid to get up in anyone's face. He'll be in the top 5 assist leaders this year no doubt.
Johnny Boychuk (GP 5. G 1, A 1, Even +/-): The "future" of the Bruins defense. I wasn't able to watch him play much this pre-season, but I've heard good things. A goal and an assist as a defensemen in the pre-season isn't to shabby either. He's a healthy scratch for tonight's game, but I'm sure we'll be seeing him sooner then later with Hunwick's weak play as of late.
Tim Thomas (GP 3, W 2, L 1, GAA 2.27, SV% .921): Timmy Beast. Oh how far we have come. It's like watching your kid grow up. From a questionable backup, to a backup, to a he should be the number 1 guy, to the number one guy, to FINALLY HE'S THE NUMBER ONE GUY! So much doubt the entire time. I have been a fan Timmy since the Raycroft backup days. And now look at him, all grown up, winning trophies, potentially playing on Olympic teams. Awesome. Some call him unorthodox, I say that's the "no quit" attitude throwing him around the net. Bottom line is this, he makes the stops, who the hell cares how he does it. His job is to keep the puck out of the net and he does just that. We should expect to see an even better season from Thomas this year with the addition of Morris and I'm sure he'll be a candidate for the Vezina again this year as his play only improves every year.
Summary: The Bruins will be the dominate team in the east this year. Strong up front despite the goal scoring efforts of Phil Kessel being missed. Excellent defense provided by Chara and others. A one-two goalie combo to kill for. Insane depth at every position. With Julien's "Defense First" approach the Bruins, even if they do not take first place, will be an incredibly difficult team to play against and will make the playoffs without a doubt. They should dominate the SouthEast division again this year and I'm sure with the improvements made within Toronto, Montreal and Ottowa, there will be no shortage of drama with inter-division play.
All I have to say is this. If you've been an idle Bruins fan and have been thinking about getting back into the Bruins, now is the time to start. This team has so much depth and young, up and coming talent, you can't help but get excited. If you can't make it to the games, watch them on TV. No TV? Listen to them on the radio at 98.5 FM The HUB. It's time to get excited about hockey again!!!!
Bruins open tonight against the Caps. I'll be at Fan Fest in a few hours and at the game tonight, keeping any eye out for the Kanye poster and being as loud and obnoxious as possible. I'll try to get some pictures or something, though expensive cameras and large amounts of alcohol, typically do not go well together. So I can't make any promises.
This is the first time in 5 years that the Bruins have opened at home, so lets hope they put on a good show.
LETS GO BRU-INS!