It's the 4th of July, I've chowed down on hot dogs, hamburgers, potato salad, and have drank my liver to death over the past few days, so tonight I packed it in early in hopes that I won't find myself waking up on someone's lawn with a nice mixture of morning dew and regurgitated hamburger/Sam Adams Boston Lager all over my face.
So instead I thought I would dust off the keyboard and do what I do best: talk.
July 1, for those who don't subscribe to my Twitter account,was an active day for the NHL as Free Agency got underway and the Bruins were no different.
Sure, they didn't sign Marian Hossa, Marian Gaborik or any other of the "sexy" free agents out there, but they did make some noise signing Steve Begin, Mark Recchi and Byron Bitz.
For what it's worth, I absolutely love all 3 signings for different reasons. Yeah, it's always nice to see a sexy free agent come to down like when Chara signed here, but when you get down to it, a hockey team isn't just about the star players anymore.
The Bruins went out and signed role players (from July 1 to July 4). First on the list:
I made mention of Bitz in an earlier post regarding Boston's RFAs. I feel like Bitz had a pretty good regular season, despite having 4 goals and 3 assists (7 points), because he added a physical nature that started with Lucic on the 1st line, Wheeler on the 2nd line and Bitz on the 4th line (and a mix-up of that throughout the season).
Bitz only played 35 regular season games, but it was in the playoffs where his energy and rough-house style seemed to energize Boston. After a poor first 4 games against Carolina, Bitzy was inserted into the line-up for Blake Wheeler. Although he played 5 postseason games with Boston, he only posted 2 points (1 goal, 1 assist).
For 2 years and 675K a year, this is great signing for Boston.
Recchi made it known that once he playing in Boston, he loved Boston.
"The reason I like Boston is 99 percent of the guys on that team really want to win a Cup and that's the most important thing in that dressing room." - Source
It apparent that Recchi enjoyed his time here and his contract proves it. Recchi recently signed a 1 year deal worth $1M and already stated that this is probably his last run at a Cup.
So why do I like the Recchi signing? A couple of reasons.
1. Positioning. He can post himself in front of the net and tip in pucks. We've seen it, we've heard about it, he just kinda plants himself there and refuses to move.
2. Leadership. Face it, this is a young team and a seasoned veteran like Recchi is something every team needs. To go along with guys like Savard and Chara, Recchi will undoubtedly be an on/off ice leader.
3. Playoff experience. This may just be "one of those things" that is said, but I believe playoff experience in hockey is a HUUUUUUUGE ordeal. Look at Boston in the 2nd round against a Carolina team that has plenty of playoff experience. At times they looked lost, timid and downright awful. Recchi bring another year of playoff experience to a team that has gone through the ringer once.
Right price tag, right role, right signing.
Look at the picture, it should say it all. Begin is a sonofabitch, but everyone I talk to loves him. My friend Cole sent me a message the other day that said "I loved Begin on the Stars, and you'll love him in Boston."
My buddy Steve on Thursday 7/2: "Begin is the only guy in Montreal I have ever liked."
He's a gritty player that doesn't take any shit. Begin is a gritty player and isn't afraid to drop the gloves. A line of Begin, Thornton and Bitz? Sign me up. Chiarelli has said that Begin is basically taking the spot of Stephane Yelle, which saddens me, but the guy has some pop in the glove.
“I guess if you look at it, Steve effectively replaces Stephane (Yelle) if you want to get to the nitty gritty. If you want to look at him and how he plays, he’s a versatile player, he’s a useful player and he’s a gritty player,” said Chiarelli.
Of course, you gotta love a guy who says "Now I’m going to be on the right side (of the rivalry) now."
Again, they may not be "pretty" signings, but they add substance and depth to a team that will surely compete for the top seed in the East once again.
Oh, by the way, my source leaked a picture of Hal Gill walking into Montreal:
Although I'm a Sox fan, everyone needs to watch this at least once in their lifetime:
"This city is such a great sports town, you want to be part of it for a long time...it's been a great experience."
-Milan Lucic during his press conference (10/07/2009)
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