The season begins Thursday night in Denver as the Bruins open against the Avalanche at Red Sox playoff time of 10pm. Lots of questions for me in this Bruins team. The biggest is will Manny (J.D.Drew) Fernandez actually play more than four games this season. The Goalie, acquired from Minnesota, before the 2007-2008 season, has played four games with Boston and was out with injuries for the remainder of last year. I still don’t understand why they traded for him in the first place, but the bigger question is, will he be in the lineup day in and day out. For my money, you put Tim Thomas in goal as much as you can. He is the number one goalie for the Boston Bruins and I don’t think there is anything Fernandez can do to change that. He has not been in the lineup, and when he has he has not impressed. The four games that he has played in the black & gold, he is 2-2, with a 3.93 GAA and a horrible .832 save percentage. Since Thomas came up to the big club for good in 2005, he has consistently been what you would ask for a number one goalie. Sure he has given up the odd bad goal, but he is your number one goaltender by a long shot. Peter Chiarelli decided that the Peter Schaefer experiment was a bust and released him along with three others. Nate Thompson was claimed by the Islanders while Schaefer and Jeremy Reich have been assigned to Providence. Vladimir Sobotka also goes to the Baby B’s, but Diehard thinks he will be back in Boston before long. Blake Wheeler is your new Milan Lucic and has made the team. The two pre-season games that Diehard saw, he was impressed with the big rookie. Its been said that this is a big year for Chiarelli, Julien and the Bruins. Making the playoffs and getting bounced once again by your arch rival Montreal is no longer acceptable. How many years must we go through the emotional roller coaster. Remember 2004, when we all got sucked in as Boston finished first in the conference and promptly got bounced by the aforementioned Canadiens. Then after the lockout….oh Boston was in prime position to build a great team said then GM Mike O’Connell. Oh yeah, a ridiculously poor start, trading Joe Thornton to San Jose for a bag of pucks and the Bruins and their fans like me had had enough. Then the lockout and along with the NHL, hockey was oh so irrelevant. Then came the new Regime and new signings and nice guy, awful coach, Dave Lewis. Once again no playoffs and a firing of the coach. Claude Julien’s system squeaked the Bruins into the playoffs and brought Diehard and some fans back into the building and hope that maybe, just maybe, they could advance. Alas, no such luck. Down three games to one against Montreal, they made a valiant effort in bring the series to seven games, where they just wilted and didn’t show up for game seven and hearts and dreams crushed as year 37 with no cup passed us by. 2008-2009 brings a healthy Patrice Bergeron to play along with Marc Savard, New Comer Stephane Yelle, Lucic, and Wheeler. But what of former Canadien Michael Ryder. What will he bring to this group. He couldn’t make it on the ice for Guy Carbonneau. Was it doghouse things, personality clash or lack of work ethic, we will see soon. Boon or bust?
Anyway, Diehard will be at most games at the Garden and will try to keep you updated on most things Boston Bruins. Lets hope that we can smile through most of the season. October 10, opening night. Always a fun and optimistic night. I won’t squawk too much about the 10 o’clock start time, but the Avalanche will be the opposition and starts that annual Circus at the Garden road trip. Lets hope when they get back to Boston on October 20, things will be ok..or not!