Boston Bruins Impress in Western Canada Swing

Jonathan ArnoldContributor INovember 1, 2008

The Boston Bruins went 2-1-0 on their recent western Canada swing through Edmonton, Vancouver, and Calgary, winning their first two games 1-0 against the Oilers (in overtime) and the Canucks, while losing their last one against the Flames 3-2. So what did we learn about the Bruins?

  • Zdeno Chara is getting better, but still annoys far too often. He wears the captain's C but still gets caught chasing the puck behind the net too often and makes too many head scratching passes on the break out.
  • Tim Thomas is the No. 1 goalie. Manny Fernandez was to share top billing with Thomas in the net, but Thomas' play should give him the lion's share of the work in the near future, and garner him Defensive Player of the Week honors.
  • The fourth "NYT" line (Nokelainen/Yelle /Thornton) showed just how much an energy line could contribute.
  • The Bruins still need a sniper and Michael Ryder isn't it. Maybe the Canadiens knew something when they let the 14 goal scorer go, but he missed several golden opportunities on the swing and just hasn't impressed so far.
  • Andrew Ferrence continues to impress. He is tied for the Bruins lead in plus/minus and always seems to take the right line on defense. At only 5'11", he still plays a physical game and has a strong skating style, and so far has proved to be the better part of the deal that also brought Chuck Kobasew.
  • Dion Phaneuf is a monster. Fellow runner up with Chara to Lindstrom's Norris trophy last year, he is only 23 and he had better make room for a few of those shiny trophies.
  • The Bruins can make the most journeyman of goalies look like Patrick Roy. Like the Red Sox, who can make the most average of pitchers shine like Cy Young, the Bruins are all too friendly to nondescript goalies like Dwayne Roloson of Edmonton, who turned in a sparkling 35 save effort against the B's.