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MHH Previews the Lesser 29: Boston

Welcome to a new installment where we will preview each of the other NHL teams who simply make up the bulk of the league the Avalanche play in. Today, we preview the Boston Bruins.

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

DISCLAIMER: I apologize for any immediate biases there may be in this article. Some of you might know my least favorite sports fandom is that of Boston fans. I hate the New England Patriots with a burning passion (Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are both fraudulent cheaters), I'm still bitter the Red Sox swept the Rockies in the World Series in 2007, and I don't like the Celtics either. Nor do I like the Bruins! Onto the preview!

Their head coach: Claude Julien, an extremely good head coach who always looks like his dog just pooped on the living room carpet. Proof! 

Julien has led the Bruins to a Stanley Cup which came in 2011, and to another Cup Final which was back in 2013. Let's remember how that turned out for them!

Their captain: Zdeno Chara, one of my least favorite players in the league. I maintain he's one of the dirtiest players in the league, and to show that I'll use what I referenced in the Montreal preview, this hit on Max Pacioretty. Chara is getting old; he's now 39, and that's good news because it means once he retires that many more players won't have to worry about getting hit cheaply and possibly being injured. It's not his fault he's tall, I get that, and he uses that to his advantage, which I would too, but not to the extent he does. There's a line between being physical and clean (Adam Foote), but Chara crossed that line a long time ago.

Their 15-16 season: Very similar to that of their 14-15 season. They just barely missed out on the playoffs, but this past year was different in that they seemed to be a postseason lock going into March, but they played the last 2 months of the season with a 8-8-3 record and allowed the Red Wings to continue their playoff streak, which only makes me hate the Bruins more. I wanted them to make the playoffs to that Detroit could stay out. You guys couldn't do that. Damn it.

How did they do against the Avs? Very well in the October game in Denver. The Bruins won that game like 5 minutes in because of how dominant they were that night. Colorado got a nice comeback win in the game at TD Garden later that fall, and I thoroughly enjoyed that.

When do they play the Avs this season? In Denver on November 13th, and at Boston on December 8th.

Will they be good? I would think so. Brad "Ratface" Marchand went off last season and had a career season. I suspect he'll keep that form up, and Patrice Bergeron is always accountable to have a nice year and be a consistent contributor. This definitely isn't a Stanley Cup team. That window closed a few years ago. Boston just doesn't have the depth, especially defensively, to make it all the way to the Cup Final now in my estimation. Having said that, I do think they're 1 of the 3 best teams in the Atlantic along with Tampa Bay and Florida, so I do predict they return to the playoffs this season.

3 Questions with their SB Nation Blog, Stanley Cup of Chowder:

-What kind of difference do you hope David Backes will make that this team has lacked the last couple of years? To be honest, David Backes is a smokescreen. Backes came with the impression that Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand are great players to play with and he wanted to play with them. And everything he said is right. What he neglected to tell you, or what most media outlets neglected to tell you, is that quite literally anyone or anything could play with Bergeron/Marchand and be considered “good”. If a player NOT named Patrice or Brad are on a line together with him, they are passengers. They can be good, maybe even great, players. But they are not the best Center-Winger combo in the NHL. The third player on this line exists to make sure the league does not put a stop to 25 uninterrupted minutes of Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. Sure, he’ll bring that “fiery” leadership and grit and all that which is always nice to hear about and experience, but the Bruins have more pressing problems than “leadership” and have a number of players starting to show leadership on their own.

I think he’ll do fine, and he'll be a good power forward the brass can use to sell the team, but he will not be the missing piece that suddenly fixes the real problem, and it wasn’t with the forwards.

-Claude Julien to me is one of the best coaches in the NHL. Do you all actually think he’s on the hot seat? We’ll gladly have him in Denver, if you can him. Coach Julien once said that he’d been “the coach for 8 years and had been on the hot seat for 7” a couple of years back, so he’s used to the idea that fans have high expectations, have had time to think up issues with his coaching, and MAAAAYBE have a bit of a skewed perspective. But no, I don’t think he’s on the hot seat. I’m fairly certain that every human being in the organization has said at some point that Claude, while familiar and full of the same old problems we tend to see (or project) onto his teams, is one of the best coaches in the NHL and losing him would be a massive downgrade. The fact that he just passed Art Ross for all-time wins as a Bruins coach should say all that you need to know: Claude’s likely gonna stick around a lot longer than people think or hope.

Enjoy Patrick Roy, though! (SIDENOTE FROM MISTERFISH1. These questions, and the answers to them, came before the Patrick Roy resigning last week.)

-Are the Bruins going to be back in the playoffs this season? They were this close to the playoffs last year and the year before, and finally some of the deader weight on defense and at forward (WHO SHALL GO UNNAMED) have been cast off as ballast. If this is the year where the “Transition” finally stops happening and the Bruins make their triumphant return, this would probably be the time to do it. The division is weaker than it has been in years, with only two real genuine contenders, and that third spot and the wild cards are basically up for grabs. I say at best they get really lucky and claim that third spot. At worst? Second Wild card.

Thanks to Sky W. for taking the time to answer!