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Come on People, Growl! Go B’s!

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins
Hello Bruins fans in New England, the rest of our United States, and Canada.

This is New England Hockey Afternoon with "Foster" Bish, here.

I have three words to say about today: Hockey. Hockey. Hockey. [Rubs hands maniacally]

Go B’s, Go Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesssssssssssssssss!

Can’t wait for 7:00.

All together now with a big bad Bruins growl: Raaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawwwwr!

Growl out loud, people, even at work. Let’s hear it!

It just makes you feel great to be alive on this beautiful fall day in New England.


Scouting The Good Guys
As you know, tonight the Boston Bruins face off against the Atlanta Thrashers (NESN, WBZ 1030 AM) in the 3rd leg of a 5 game road swing that has seen them endure a very tough loss last Friday to the Florida Panthers and then rebound big time against the Tampa Bay Lightning the following evening in a hard fought, exciting 3-2 victory.

Hoping to continue that momentum, tonight Finland’s Hannu Toivonen will take his space between the pipes for the Bruins.

Thus far this season "Toivo" has a 1-0-0 record with a .914 save percentage and a 2.51 goals against average in 72 minutes of play.

Both goalies looked very sharp in practice this week, with both Tim Thomas and Toivonen going shot for shot, and save for save for most of the sessions.

Their friendly competition for net time continues to heat up as Thomas, in particular, seemed intent on putting last Friday’s loss behind him and looks forward to getting a start in one of the next two games after Wednesday.

Hannu looked calm, cool and collected as he prepared for the remainder of the trip.

The lines looked like this during practice earlier this week:


The fourth line, had an extra skater on it:


I am not sure about the defense pairings, so I am not going to speculate.

Defenseman Milan Jurcina is day-to-day with his elbow injury, while Mark Stuart remains on injured reserve after off-season knee surgery.

Scouting The Bad Guys
Atlanta is 2-0-1 and leads the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference.

Marian Hossa leads the Thrashers in goals, assists, and points, with a 3-2-5 line in three games.

The Thrashers own Finnish goalie Kari Lehtonen has been outstanding going 2-0-1, with a .976 save percentage, a 0.65 GAA and two shutouts.

Braydon Coburn is the lone Thrasher on the injured reserve list.

The last time these two teams met was April 15th of 2006, a 4-3 loss for the Bruins, but Boston has had major turnover since then and I do not believe that game has much bearing on this one.

By the way, I watched the Thrashers face off against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday and I believe that just like the game against Tampa, in order to win, the Bruins must score three or more goals and must continue their fine play, particularly in the third period -- and most-particularly against the speedy, skilled forwards of Atlanta’s first line.

The Bruins worked VERY hard in practice on their special teams the last few days and this reporter does not believe that the Bruins will have as much trouble on either as they had in the Florida loss.

Our Boys are just too talented and coaches are too good for that to happen that often.

Coach Lewis continues to be pleased with his teams’ progress, but has cautioned the media that he might not have a real handle on his personnel, and the team may not have gelled completely, until around 20 games into the schedule.

This was not to give us an excuse, because most of the writers would not have taken it, but there have been a ton of questions about specific players’ strength and weaknesses, as skaters, in certain situations, and in relation to other teammates.

So Coach was making sure we knew that his evaluation of the team was ongoing. And the Bruins continue to learn from and about each other, and are learning to play as a group.

You wouldn’t know it by looking around the room, however. And as you’ve read in this space -- I’ve been beating it to death, I know, it is a loose hard working group that General Manager Peter Chiarelli has assembled.

The bottom line: If the Bruins play the way they did in the 3rd versus Tampa, they can skate with anyone in the league. Period.

U.S.S. Doyle, More Good Stuff from the room
"Actually in my experience it was really unique to me, because my grandfather was in the Navy in World War II. And he’s told me tons and tons of stories [about his experiences] back then. About boat life, ship life, you know. But I’d never realized what the actual ship looked like and how small the runways were. And now I wonder how he got away with as much as he said he got away with…because it doesn’t seem like it’s big enough to hide what’s going on…[My Grampa, Warren Guinther] lives out in the boondocks in Michigan. I am very proud of him. He’s been a great roll model for my entire life and if I could be as good a man as he is, then I’d have had a successful life."
Grandson, Tim Thomas, on learning from the Greatest Generation

On a personal note: I miss my Grandpa, Ed Jaszek of Chicopee, Mass., who fought in the Army in World War II and passed away in 2004. I feel the same way that Tim does about his grandfather. Here’s a special Bish’s Blog "Thank You" to all currently active service members and vets. JB

"It was a great experience for sure…I’m just impressed with the commitment and how they run such a complex deal. It’s pretty impressive. They are disciplined guys for sure…How they gel as a unit, there’s 225 of them and everything runs so smoothly…there are 25 of us and we’ve gotta do the same thing, and come together as a unit."
Forward, Jeff Hoggan, on his trip to the Doyle

"To see those guys on the boat, so organized and so disciplined, totally dedicated to what they do, was a pretty amazing thing to see…You can always learn something from it. You’ve got to keep learning something everyday. When you see the guys on the boat, and they are there for a couple of months in a row, they really have to get along…support each other. It’s very similar to a team sport. You have to have that team spirit, help each other and support each other."
B’s captain, Zdeno Chara, on what the Bruins could take from the visit

"The work all together as 225 guys to succeed…a large group of guys, dedicated to what they are doing…the pride [they had] for working for the government and their country was tremendous. A lot of that stuff [correlates to the Bruins attempts at team building]."
Bruins Head Coach, Dave Lewis, on what he learned on the Doyle

A Little (MORE) Levity…
"Well, those sailors work 18 hour days. And their average age is Phil Kessel’s age…I was sitting with the Captain, myself, and Phil…the captain looke at me and said, ’Are there no standards for [hair styles on the Bruins]?’ So I said, ’Ya, Phil does need a haircut…you don’t have a spot here for Phil if it doesn’t go well, do ya?’ He said, ’We could always open a spot for him.’"
Lewis on the possibility of his #1 draft pick joining the Navy. Phil emphatically declined the invitation according to Coach. He seems to like it with the Bruins just fine…
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