Friday, July 12, 2013

Day 103: Bruins Secure Some Big Names for Some Big Money

Shortly after the Boston Bruins' season ended, we saw some big name players depart—Nathan Horton, Tyler Seguin, Andrew Ference and Jaromir Jagr. Then we saw some new big name players come in—Loui Eriksson and Jarome Iginla. Then everyone kept wondering what was going to happen with Tuukka Rask who had signed just a one year deal for the 2012-13 season as a sort of "let's see if this kid can man the pipes full-time."

Well, the answer to that question is obviously yes considering what Rask did not only in the shortened regular season, but also in the playoffs. And his hard work has paid off in the form of an eight-year, $56 million contract that will keep him with the Boston Bruins until he is 34. The contract sets him atop the NHL, joining Pekka Rinne of Nashville as the highest paid goalie in the league.

One of the big questions after Tim Thomas opted not to return to the net this past season was if Rask had the confidence and skill to get the Bruins to another Stanley Cup. He did, and while the team came up short in the end, it was little fault of the young goalie.

During the regular season, he posted a .929 save percentage with a 2.00 goals against average and recorded five shutouts. His postseason stats where even more impressive—his save percentage rose to .940 and his GAA dropped to 1.88. Not only that, but his impressive third round play against the Pittsburgh Penguins where he gave up just two goals in a four-game sweep was nothing short of phenomenal.

The Bruins also secured Patrice Bergeron with an eight-year contract extension worth $52 million this week, keeping him in black and gold until the 2021-22 season and most likely through the end of his hockey career. Bergeron said in an interview earlier this month that his goal was to be a lifelong Bruin.
“It would mean a lot,” Bergeron said on July 2. “That’s the goal since the beginning. It’s the team that believed in me when I was 18 and I was coming up. Now, it’s my home. I feel like it is. I love the city. I love the people. I definitely love the organization. It would mean a lot to me. Hopefully we can work something out.”
Some would say that had Bergeron opted to ride out his current three-year contract and hit the open market, he would've made more money but was willing to take a bit less to stay in the city he loves, with the team that took a chance on him as an 18-year-old. He had 10 goals and 22 assists in the 42 game 2012-13 season and stepped it up a notch in the postseason. Bergeron scored nine goals and six assists in 22 playoff games including two critical goals in the Game 7 rally against Toronto in the opening round. He scored both the tying goal in the third period as well as the winning goal in overtime to overcome a 4-1 deficit and win the game and the series.

Also, Bergeron is one tough son-of-a-bitch. This guy played most of the Stanley Cup finals with some type of injury that would keep most normal people off their feet for days. Torn rib cartilage, broken rib, separated shoulder and a punctured lung and never missed an entire game? That's insane. The big thing we have to worry about with Patrice is the concussions. He's had four in his career, one serious one in 2007 that ended his season.

It will be interesting to see how all the off-season changes shape this team going into the 2013-14 season. Hell, I might even have to start watching more than just the playoffs...maybe shed my "pink hat" status!

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