Former Bruins at the halfway point
|Oilers Captain and tattoo aficionado Ference|
We had a big Tim Thomas hoopla when the Bruins faced him down in Florida back in October. It was an obvious attempt to sell out tickets for the Panthers who play in front of an empty arena regularly. Thomas was being brought back from an injury and he clearly wasn’t ready to be back in net. He struggled through 2 more games and was then placed on the injury list. He played through most of November and was injured again in early December. Since then he was activated once again in late December and has played in 3 games since where he went 1-1-1. He’s played in 24 games this season (one of which he did not get a decision in) and is 10-11-2 on the year so far. The Panthers are happy to have him back healthy to start the second half but if his injury trend continues I would expect him to be sidelined again at least one more time this season. The Panthers come to Boston two more times this season and hopefully Thomas will be healthy for at least one of them.
Nathan who? Oh right the guy who used to wear #18 before Reilly Smith came to town, Nathan Horton. Horton is happy bringing his family up in the safe suburbs of Columbus Ohio where he has had plenty of family time to start the season. After signing a blockbuster deal with the Bluejackets through free agency he went in to have surgery on his shoulder which was injured in the Stanley Cup Finals. He missed the entire first half of the season but came out with a bang in his debut for the Jackets scoring a power play goal in the second period which also held up to be the game winning goal. In three games he’s got 2 points, a goal and an assist, and looks like he might be the player he was in Boston for Columbus. Columbus and the Bruins are already done with each other for the season so there won’t be any reunions for Horton and the B’s. The Bruins won all 3 meetings against them this year.
Rich Peverley is doing his Peverley thing down in Big D playing for the Stars. He’s getting a point every other game or so scoring 21 points (5 goals 16 assists) so far in the 41 games Dallas has played this year. That is slightly better than the 18 points he scored in the 47 games he played in the lockout season last year for the B’s. As much as I miss Peverley shitting up the power play here in Boston I’m glad he isn’t an option for Claude Julien to trot out there anymore during the man advantage. I’m also glad he’s finding a little success down in Dallas and wish for it to continue for him.
Peverley was one of the footnotes in the huge deal with Dallas that sent him and young superstar in the making Tyler Seguin to Dallas for Loui Eriksson and Reilly Smith. Seguin has since flourished in Dallas and is leading the team in scoring with 41 points. He’s got 21 goals and 20 assists and only Jamie Benn has more assists with 22. The Stars as a team are struggling but they are young and building to become a playoff contender in the next few seasons. A large part of that is the chemistry between Seguin and Benn. Seguin was rumored to have been shipped off partly because of his off-ice extracurricular activities and that maybe he wasn’t living the healthiest lifestyle a pro athlete should be living. The Stars organization has nothing but praise for Segs saying he’s been nothing but good for them on the ice, in the locker room and in the community. As Dallas general manager Jim Nill says, He's been outstanding for us. The Bruins have already lost to the Stars in a shootout this season back in November and there is 1 more matchup between the two. If you want to see the game in person you’ll have to travel to Dallas to see it. Otherwise you’ll be watching with Jack and Brick on Thursday of next week when the 2 teams butt heads for the last time this season.
One player I know we’re all excited to see make his return to Boston is the Edmonton Oiler’s new captain Andrew Ference. Salary cap problems helped Bruins management make the decision not to bring back fan favorite Ference. A player who never took a shift off and made up for any shortcomings he had with heart and effort. His offensive production wasn’t the reason he was a staple on the Bruins blue line and he’s kept the same style of play out in Alberta. With only 9 points in 46 games this season he’s a little bit under what he produced last year in the lockout season. Last year he had 13 points playing in all 48 games for the B’s but more importantly was a plus 9 in the +/- column. Trying to turn around the struggling Oilers hasn’t been good to that stat for Ference with a -2 rating thus far. Nobody likes to see a defenseman with a minus rating but when put into comparison he is a defensive phenom for the Oilers. He is the only player on the team who has played all 46 games and the next defensemen on the list are Nick Shultz and Jeff Petry who have played 44 games each and are -13 and -14. There are defensemen on their roster with better +/- but none of whom have played even 15 games. Get your tickets now and welcome back the man with the Bruin’s tattoo on Saturday February 1st.
With all the injuries the Bruins have had this season Ference is still the only player I’d want back. Even though the beginning of the season saw an embarrassment of riches on the back end I think Ference would be a good leader and mentor to help the younger guys become a little more defensively responsible to go along with all the offensive skills they have. Especially now with Seidenberg done for the season I think we’d all love to see Ference back there anchoring the Bruins D.
Let @BruinsLife know who you miss and who you don’t now that we’re halfway through the new season.