a new coach, a new goalie, a new enforcer, same old Bruins?
Will Claude Julien taking over as Head Coach for The Bruins help turn things around? Julien wants the Bruins to be harder to play against, meaning more defensive minded and more physical, gritty in all areas, finishing checks, hard on the forecheck, driving to the net, basically in your face hockey. Last year the Bruins were one of the worst teams in the league in goals against. They very seldom went in hard on the puck and finished checks and took far too many stupid penalties (Too Many Men, Holding, Delay of Game, etc) at crucial times. If Julien can get the B's to buy into his system, which Lewis couldn't do, stay disciplined and all get on the same page this style of play could be very succesfull for the Bruins, especially with players like Kessel, Bergeron, Axelsson, and Murray on the forecheck.
Will Many Fernandez prove to be a true #1 goalie for the Bruins? There are alot of doubters out there that Manny will be much of an upgrade in net for the Bruins. Alot of people believe the goaltending wouldn't have been a problem last year if the defense hadn't played so poorly. With the acquisition of Manny the Bruins are likely to trade either Tim Thomas or Hannu Toivonen, with Toivonen seeming to be the favorite for a trade. They also have prospect Tuukka Rask who will play in Providence this year that they have high hopes for in the future. With Manny around to carry the work-load I believe Thomas can have a good year as backup. In the past he plays great for stretches and then seems gassed from playing too much and goes through stretches of poor play. If Manny can stay healthy that shouldn't be a problem for Thomas this year. If Toivonen ends up backing up Manny then cross your fingers and pray Manny doesn't get hurt. Toivonen redeemed himself a bit at the end of last year, playing in Providence, but he hasn't really shown anything at the NHL level.
Shawn Thornton should be a nice addition to the team, bringing some much needed toughness. He won't hesitate to stick up for his teamates, a trait that has been lacking since the departure of Paul Mara last season. He wasn't the big name free agent pick up everyone in Boston was hoping for but he definatly fills a void on the team.
Now, Unless the Bruins can move Glen Murray or either Thomas or Toivonen to free up some cap space GM Peter Chiarelli more than likely won't be making anymore roster additions so this is what the lineup for next year should look like.
Kessel - Savard - Murray
Sturm - Bergeron - Bochenski
Donovan - Axelsson - Kobasew
Thornton - Mowers - Chistov - Krejci
Chara - Alberts
Ward - Wideman
Ference - Lashoff - Allen - Stuart
Fernandez - Thomas - Toivonen - Rask