We're in St. Patrick's Day week!
What can I tell ya? The Maple Leafs keep winning, which means the whole draft pick thing will go down to the wire. Give them credit- Brian Burke moved more out at the deadline than he brought in, but those guys are competing hard and getting the goaltending.
Anyway- the New Jersey Devils are just two points behind them. That's the good news. The bad news is that Jacques Lemaire and company have a brutal stretch of four games in six nights and seven games in 12 days overall coming up, which could very well decide whether they catch the Leafs and improve the Boston pick by one, or stay just behind them the rest of the way. They'll have to play five of those seven games on the road, including one next week against the Bruins at the TD Garden.
Went to Devils practice today and asked coach Lemaire about his mindset going into the stretch, and he said that it was about giving his players a rest so that they are prepared mentally and physically for the coming grind. The team's season comes down to the next 10 days or so- he knows that and so do they. That's why it was so encouraging to see how loose they were at practice today. They were skating well, but not uptight and looked like they were having fun.
"It's no fun coming to the rink when you're losing hockey games all the time," veteran forward Brian Rolston told B2011DW after practice today. "We've done a much better job as a team over the past several months and I think a lot of us are realizing just how rewarding it is when you're competing hard and getting results. We're playing with a lot of confidence right now and I think you've seen that in the way we're approaching things, whether we're talking about actual games or practices."
Either way, given where the Devils were back on New Year's Day when they were in the midst of dropping eight of their first nine games under Lemaire, who replaced John MacLean behind the bench just before Christmas, it's amazing that they are even pushing Toronto in the standings at all.
And that's the weekly NHL commentary. Now, for the picks update:
2011 Boston Bruins draft picks as of 14 Mar (6 total picks plus one pending conditional 7th from FLA)
8th overall- Toronto (70 points; 30-29-10)- Completes Phil Kessel trade.
44th overall- Minnesota (77 points;35-27-7)- Completes Chuck Kobasew trade.
80th overall- Phoenix (83 points; 36-23-11) - Completes Derek Morris trade.
114th overall- Boston (85 points; 38-21-9)
144th overall- Boston
174th overall- Boston
185th overall- Florida (conditional 65 pts; 28-32-9)- Jeff LoVecchio, Jordan Knackstedt to Panthers for Sean Zimmerman, cond. 7th
Traded Picks- 2011 (4 Boston 2011 picks traded in Rounds 1-3, 7)
25th overall- Boston pick Traded to Toronto for Tomas Kaberle
55th overall- Boston pick Traded to Ottawa for Chris Kelly
85th overall Boston pick traded to Florida; Completes Nathan Horton deal
205th overall Boston pick traded to Chicago (Zach Trotman)
Boston Bruins 2012 Draft Picks
2nd- Traded to TOR; conditional: If BOS makes Stanley Cup final or Kaberle re-signed, pick goes to Leafs