Morning Free Association: Taking the Next Step

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Ah, so the Bruins season is finally upon us. Tonight the hometown team takes on the 2017 Stanley Cup Runner Up Nashville Predators. However, this MFA is not about that. Instead it is about the players (aka the young guys) of whom much is expected.

First, The New England Hockey Journal had a write-up on the importance of both Frank Vatrano and Noel Acciari seizing their opportunities. With a lineup full of young guys who might be flanking veterans on the top two lines and anchoring the bottom two, it’s high time for every player to progress and make their mark.

“We’ve always stated that we want to be a deeper team, a deeper organization from top to bottom,” Sweeney said. “You have to have players that can push through and push other players out. We potentially have (open roster) spots, but we also have incumbents that don’t want to give spots up, players that broke through last year that are going to want to continue their own progressions.

“We’re excited about the competition.”

Both players spent time battling injuries last season — Vatrano with torn foot ligaments and Acciari with a knee — and had different levels of success last season. Vatrano is a scoring threat but a bit lost in his own zone, Acciari makes and finishes big checks, ending the year with his first NHL goal and an additional one to boot.

Here’s what Cassidy has said about both players:

“Frank never played a lot of pro hockey, so coming to the NHL from one year in the American League and some time in Boston, it was going to be a learning curve,” Cassidy said. “He was trying to catch up to the rest of the group or was chasing the rest of the group — at times that happened with Frank, but other times he was fine.”

“I like his game so far,” Cassidy said of Acciari. “You always know he’s going to give you 100 percent effort and finish all of his checks, so if he can round out where he’s a bit of a threat offensively, that would be great.”

It would seem that the two could be one complete player if combined. This season each player knows what they need to do to make the first step.

Another player (young guy!) in the spotlight this season is Anders Bjork. The 2014 fifth-round draft selection has had to drive hard, grow into his body and game to earn a spot on the right wing of the top Bruins line. Fluto Shinzawa believes that his comparable is Jonathan Drouin in speed and scoring ability. We’ll see how he handles the pressure of playing, or not playing if it comes to that.

You know, it wouldn’t be a piece about taking that next step if someone didn’t mention Ryan Spooner. Turns out, more is expected of him. (Shock! Gasp!) Apparently, Spooner has bulked up and become stronger as a result.

Despite his contract and experience, Spooner wasn’t guaranteed a job in training camp. Cassidy made it clear what he wanted to see from Spooner, often saying, “I don’t want Ryan Spooner to lead our team in hits, it’s not his game, just engage in those battles.”

Spooner took that coaching to heart and even had one preseason game where he was credited with two hits. But he’s going to have to continue his new approach when the season starts against Nashville on Thursday.

“It means they just want me to have ‘hard skill.’ They don’t want me going out there trying to kill guys, they just want me out there just being harder on the puck,” Spooner told CBS Boston recently. “I find for me that when I hit a little bit more it kind of gets me in the game a little bit, so I’ve been trying to do that. So we’ll see.”

“That’s never been my game before,” he continued. “I’m just trying to build another more of a layer to it and if I can finish maybe two or three checks a game, not go looking for it but if the opportunity’s there, I have a chance to do it, I should be doing that, right?”

I guess we’ll get to see his results starting tonight.

Lots of youth, plenty of veterans, hopefully three to four scoring lines. That would be a good start.

the german hammer

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Long-Winded Striped Mofo
Member
Long-Winded Striped Mofo

I could write anything now. Everyone is gone. GO BRUINS!!!!!!!!

Miss Muse
Editor

So have Tim and the Good Dr. been around here lately?

Long-Winded Striped Mofo
Member
Long-Winded Striped Mofo

No mucho.

Miss Muse
Editor

Aw. I hope they’re just busy, but like I should talk!

Satan 81's Sister
Editor

Satan81
Admin

omg the Bruins should totally claim Picard
pleasepleasepleasepleasepleaseplease

Thetallest81
Member
Thetallest81

comment image

Satan 81's Sister
Editor

comment image

Thetallest81
Member
Thetallest81

jinx

Satan 81's Sister
Editor

I would have posted it a few seconds earlier but I was busy chuckling at this:
http://kardsunlimited.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/e489f75b394286c40c41bd1dd68fe0a8.jpg

Thetallest81
Member
Thetallest81

haahahhahaahha

Satan 81's Sister
Editor

I’d say “Go home, Vegas. You’re drunk.” But that’s what you generally are in Vegas.

Thetallest81
Member
Thetallest81

” What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”

Miss Muse
Editor

True story!

Long-Winded Striped Mofo
Member
Long-Winded Striped Mofo

Hey Pals!
Still without internet – maybe I should pay the bill. \_O_/
Yay Bruins hockey!!! I’ll be on the ice (picked up another double – yay money!!!), but may check in from rinkside a la Pierre (except hopefully less douche).
Will be at Coddington Brew Pub Saturday with Mom. Any B2Bers in the area should show up!! Contact Schwartz for detaisl.
I am very excite for BU – Quinnipiac Sunday with Phony!!!!!!
Fuck the coffee – gimme bourbon, gimme gin!!

The London Bear
Member

For the second year in a row, no Bergy or Krug for game 1 sad

Miss Muse
Editor

Oh boo. Knew about Krug. Hope Bergy will be back soon.

Satan81
Admin

Blergh.

Satan81
Admin

Last night, Leo Komorov got a 2-min “illegal equipment” penalty for an improperly positioned visor:

http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/leafs-komarov-called-illegal-equipment-season-opener/

Long-Winded Striped Mofo
Member
Long-Winded Striped Mofo

The first year that they made refs wear visors, I wore mine up until advised by a supervisor (see what I did there?) To wear it properly. I got used to it.

The London Bear
Member

Good. It’s not like they weren’t warned. I knew they were going to be enforcing that rule so the players certainly should have. A racing driver wouldn’t be allowed to drive round with their visor wide open.

Thetallest81
Member
Thetallest81

on a side note…as much as i dislike Bud…..those goal glasses need to be in the US.

IntentionallyWidenberg
Admin

It’s about time. I for one am sick of him getting a free pass on the positioning of his visor.

Satan 81's Sister
Editor

Morning all. All the tired today because I did all the things yesterday. And today I want to watch all the sports things but will only be able to catch some of the sports things. But yay sports things today!

Satan81
Admin

I’m just gonna go to the B’s game. smile

Satan 81's Sister
Editor

I’m going to catch the end of ALDS game 1 then watch some hockey and then sleep.

The London Bear
Member

It’s a good problem to have!

Thetallest81
Member
Thetallest81

GUYS ITS ALMOST HOCKEY TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Satan81
Admin

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

Thetallest81
Member
Thetallest81

Wish i could have taken your offer on the spare ticket, stupid 2 hour drive. If you get the chance, feel free to send me an email with available tickets this year. I am definately looking forward to buying a few this year when im not in PIT.

UnstableElement
Member
UnstableElement

Morning!

-Hockey is back, bitches!
-It warms my heart to see the Penguins lose after raising their banner. That was an obnoxious opener and I’m still pissed they won last year – there were so many more interesting teams in that playoff bracket.
-After a really bizarre year of Red Sox broadcasters (fuck you NESN; bring back Don) it’s going to be so nice to have familiar voices again in Jack and Andy.
-I still have [bl]optimism, Bruins! Make it last longer than a minute after puck drop please!
-No matter what, it’s another glorious day to hate the Habs.

Enjoy the games, everyone. Likely will not be on the site tonight.

Miss Muse
Editor

It warms my heart to see the Penguins lose after raising their banner. That was an obnoxious opener and I’m still pissed they won last year – there were so many more interesting teams in that playoff bracket.

You beat me to it — I was so happy to see this morning that they lost in OT.

The London Bear
Member

It warms my heart to see the Penguins lose after raising their banner

Weren’t the Blues supposed to have no offence this season? Was this a sign the Pens D is lacking or just one of those games. I wonder.

Satan81
Admin

The Pens definitely looked like they were shaking off some rust last night. The Blues’ goals were almost entirely of the “left alone in the slot” variety, which is something they’ll certainly adjust. It looked a lot like the defenders just weren’t sure who to cover.

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