This week, the Boston Bruins had their ups, downs and some serious changes.
While the week started fairly sour, the ending was...productive to say the least.
The Detroit Red Wings picked up where they left off and swept the Bruins on a home-at-home series. While the defeat was not nearly as ugly as the one in Boston, changes were coming.
The Toronto Maple Leafs came to town and defeated the Bruins. Phil Kessel got a huge monkey off his back with not just his first, but second goal against his former team since he left to go to Toronto. A goal by Mikhail Grabovski with just 1:01 left of the third period made the difference and handed the Bruins their third loss in a row and in regulation.
The Montreal Canadiens were hot on their heels but could only muster one point in this span to tie in points for the standings. The Bruins were still top of the Northeast Division by virtue of getting the same amount of points but in less games.
Boston then went to Long Island, New York, to Nassau Coliseum to take on the Islanders. The Bruins responded to the losses by accumulating six goals against New York's three. Tuukka Rask earned a rare win and well deserved after stopping 30 of 33 shots.
The Bruins finished off the week against the Ottawa Senators in Ottawa. Chris Kelly was traded to the Bruins and he stayed in Ottawa for the arrival of his new team. This was both Tomas Kaberle's and Kelly's debut as members of the Boston Bruins. The debut went well as the Bruins took the game 4-2. One of those goals should not have counted as Milan Lucic was clearly offside.
Kelly was an even +/- and Kaberle was a -1, not bad for two veterans who had to pick up to play in a different system. Kelly was playing well and Kaberle was demonstrating his puck moving ability which will come in handy. That was sorely missed by the departure of Dennis Wideman.
So the week ended in a 2-2-0 record and that adds up to a 5-4-0 for the month thus far. Three more games to play for the month in a West road trip to Calgary, Vancouver and Edmonton respectively.
The Bruins are currently in first place in the division and and opened up a three point gap on the Montreal Canadiens. They play in Calgary on Sunday, the 20th in the Heritage Classic to try and close in on the Bs.
While the Trade Deadline has not expired, the Bruins were busy.
Chris Kelly of the Ottawa Senators became a Boston Bruin on Tuesday for a 2011 second round draft pick.
Kelly played 57 games with Ottawa and has earned 12 goals and 11 assists for 23 points so far this season.
Friday, the 18th, The Bruins traded Forward Blake Wheeler and defenseman Mark Stuart to the Atlanta Thrashers for forward Rich Peverley and defenseman Boris Valabik
Peverley has played 59 games and posted 14 goals and 20 assists for 34 points. He is a gifted play making center and that can fill the void that Marc Savard has left with his season ending concussion.
Valabik, a big 6'7" 245 pounder, is just 25 years old and he was sent down the P-Bruins. I believe Valabik is a throw in for now to clear up space for the next trade.
Shortly after the Bruins/Thrashers acquisitions, Tomas Kaberle of the Toronto Maple Leafs is finally a Bruin.
The puck moving defenseman is just what the doctor ordered for the Bruins. His three goals and 35 assists for 38 points while with the Leafs in 58 games will allow the blue line to start lighting up the lamp or create space as Kaberle has good hockey vision and can move the puck very well to get it to the right players for a clearer shot at the net.
The difference? The Leafs simply did not have the same depth that they had years ago and this will be a welcome site for the Czech Republican.
The price seems a little steep but for a team that has the depth of the Bruins organization, it's doable. Joe Colborne, the Bruins' first round pick (2nd pick, 16th overall) in the 2010 Draft, is a 6'5", 190 pound Forward that was yet to play in the National Hockey League, but has shown skill and speed along with a large frame that will fill out as he is just 21 years old.
Along with Colborne will go a 2011 first round draft pick and a conditional second round pick in 2012. The conditions are either if the Bruins sign Kaberle after his contract is up at the end of the season, or if the Bruins make it to the Stanley Cup finals.
Not a bad week in terms of games. The Leafs took it fair and square, but I wish I had seen better defensive play on the Bruins' part. Grabovski should not have gotten that goal and the Bruins could have taken at least a point.
In terms of trades, GM Peter Chiarelli did accomplish a salary dump, but I'm leaving this on the back burner for now. I will say that Wheeler was not playing to his potential so removing his salary increase (which was not deserved) was a good move so far. Stuart being removed was a bit of a question mark for me. I liked Stuart's style of play and he was fairly responsible on the blue line.
I have heard good things about Peverley so it will be interesting to see how he fares in the Bruins' system.
Kaberle I have heard of for a long time. He is currently the second highest scoring defense man in Leafs' history. His role is not to get the goals, but to help get them and he has proved to be very successful at this year in and year out. While I like Kaberle's style of play, we need to see him play in the Bruins' system before bringing the jury out.
And there you have it. The Week of February 12 to 18 wrapped up.
The Bruins need to play better against the top teams as these could very well be the teams they will face in the playoffs. Either early or late in it doesn't matter, consistency is much needed down the stretch with just 23 games left.
The only saving grace on this grade are the trades and even that is tentative.
Next action for the Bruins will be in Tuesday, February 22 at the Saddledome in Calgary to face the Flames. The Flames are currently ninth place and are running a hot streak of 7-1-2 in their last 10 games.
This is Cory Ducey saying "Hit Hard, But Keep It Clean"