7 Reasons Why Bruins Will Repeat as Stanley Cup Champions

Andrew RalphContributor IIIAugust 25, 2011

7 Reasons Why Bruins Will Repeat as Stanley Cup Champions

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    With the start of training camp for the 2011-2012 National Hockey League season starting as early as September 12th, each team is looking for every way to get better, with the hope that they might hoist the Stanley Cup aloft next June.

    There are a few free agents still left unsigned, but for the most part, each team knows what the roster is going to look like when the first week of the season comes around.

    The Boston Bruins, coming off their 2011 Stanley Cup championship, move into training camp with almost the same team as a season before.

    A few additions have been made in hopes of making the side even stronger, and a few players have left.

    There are a decent number of teams that have won the the Cup back-to-back years, and there are seven reasons why the Boston Bruins will do just that in this upcoming NHL season.

1. Goaltending

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    Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask are going to be big reasons why the Boston Bruins will repeat as champions.

    The 37-year-old Thomas is coming off his best season in the National Hockey League, when he went 35-11 with a 2.00 goals-against average which earned him the Vezina Trophy. He was sensational in goal in the Stanley Cup Finals against the Vancouver Canucks, stopping shots like there was no tomorrow.

    However, as he ages, he is going to need more and more rest every year to keep him fresh which is where Tuukka Rask comes into play.

    And 24-year-old Finnish goaltender, Tuukka Rask (sweet name, bro) will have a season like he had in the 2009-10 season after sitting out all of the playoffs.

    In four years with the Bruins, Rask has a record of 36-27 with a 2.55 goals-against average.

    There is no doubt that with both guys playing at the top of their games, the Boston Bruins will be able to have another summer with the same trophy they all held up before in Vancouver.

    **Stats off NHL.com, ESPN.com, or BostonBruins.com

2. Zdeno Chara

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    The team only plays as well as the captain does, and in the playoffs, the captain played great.

    Last season alone, Zdeno Chara had a plus-33 (+/-) ranking which just shows what he meant to this Bruins team.

    In the playoffs, most of the other teams' top scorers, such as Steven Stamkos, The Sedins and Ryan Kesler, were all kept relatively quiet.

    Chara just seems to get better and better every season, and with the majority of the team coming back, including the newcomer Joe Corvo, the defense should be just as strong in front of Tim Thomas.

    **Stats off NHL.com, ESPN.com, or BostonBruins.com

3. Tyler Seguin

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    Tyler Seguin was a project for the Boston Bruins most of the year as he was a healthy scratch for the last part of the season as well as the first part of the playoffs, playing 74 games in total.

    In the playoffs, however, Seguin was the one who single-handedly powered the Bruins by the Tampa Bay Lightning with three goals and three assists combined in Games 1 and 2 of the series.

    Seguin, only a rookie, was a spark for the Bruins, scoring 11 goals and tallying 11 assists.

    Although that is not exactly impressive, Seguin showed a lot of improvement as the year went on—especially in the playoffs—and that alone is a sure sign that this kid could be on the first or second line in the upcoming season.

4. Third and Fourth Liners

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    The third-and-fourth liners for the Boston Bruins were a huge part of the success last year during the regular season as well as in the playoffs.

    It should be more of the same this season, with the likes of Gregory Campbell, Shawn Thornton, Chris Kelly, Daniel Paille and Rich Peverley returning to the side.

    The Bruins also added another winger in Benoit Pouliot, which will help boost the bottom six to where they were in the Stanley Cup run.

    Gregory Campbell, Daniel Paille and Rich Peverley were also on the penalty kill which ranked the Bruins 16th at 82 percent. The bottom two lines give the top two relief and when you get 13 goals out of a fourth-line player (Gregory Campbell), it is really all you can hope for.

    Expect all of these players to keep it up and make the Bruins a force with all four lines rather than just two.

    **Stats off NHL.com, ESPN.com, or BostonBruins.com

5. The Big Three

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    The big three are the guys that the Boston Bruins rely upon heavily to do most of the scoring.

    Milan Lucic (30 goals, 32 assists), Patrice Bergeron (22 goals, 25 assists) and Nathan Horton (26 goals, 27 assists) are the guys that the Bruins look to in order to provide the spark or energy with a goal. When these three guys are slumping, the team usually slumps as well.

    However, that leaves room for other players such as Brad Marchand, David Krecji and even Tyler Seguin to step up and take over the scoring, which all three did perfectly last year.

    With the oldest player only 26 years old (Nathan Horton,) the group of players I just named have just more room to learn and develop which is going to be scary for teams facing the Bruins in the near future.

6. Big Bad Bruins Are Back

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    General manager Peter Chiarelli made sure he brought back the core of the 2011 Stanley Cup champions.

    Only two players have departed: Michael Ryder and Tomas Kaberle.

    However, the loss of those two players allowed a couple more to arrive: Benoit Pouliot and Joe Corvo.

    Pouliot, who spent his last year with Montreal, is going to be a perfect fit for the franchise in the bottom six as well as maybe seeing some time on the penalty kill.

    This is only going to make the team stronger and less expensive, as they finished paying Michael Ryder's huge contract.

    Joe Corvo, who came over in a trade from Carolina, is a veteran who was a force on the point for the Hurricanes last season.

    Many see him as the power-play quarterback we expected Kaberle to be.

    Corvo had 11 goals and 29 assists last year in all 82 games that the Hurricanes played. This should surely boost the defense as well as the horrid power play for the upcoming season.

    **Stats off NHL.com, ESPN.com, or BostonBruins.com

7. Other Teams Not Changing

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    With the free-agency market of this year not being as strong as it could be, most teams expected to contend remained relatively similar to last season's editions.

    This plays into the Bruins' favor. They beat the teams they needed to including the powerhouse from the Western Conference, the Vancouver Canucks, to capture the Stanley Cup.

    With the Boston Bruins getting more experience as they get older, they will be a force this year and that is why the Bruins will repeat as Stanley Cup champions.