Old Friends, New Enemies: Preview of NHL Eastern Conference Final

Posted on May 30 2013 - 11:48pm by Mike Bagarella
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On March 27th at 10:59 PM I sent a text to a buddy of mine asking if the Boston Bruins really received Jarome Iginla in a trade from the Calgary Flames.  The response was brief: “Not officially announced but yeah.”  Only a few short hours later he angrily apologized for providing incorrect information.  Iginla would end up with the Pittsburgh Penguins, joining Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby to create a juggernaut of a team in the Eastern Conference.  Now, two months after losing Iginla, the Bruins have their chance to take down that juggernaut and move on to the Stanley Cup for the second time in three years.  Here are some of the big storylines of the series:

 

 

Jarome Iginla

Iginla is no doubt the most significant storyline surrounding this Bruins-Penguins series.  On the evening of March 27, 2013 Iginla did not dress for the Flames’ game against the division rival Colorado Avalanche and a trade with the Bruins was apparently in the works.  Allegedly, the Flames would send Iginla to the Bruins for a couple Providence Bruins guys (one of whom was Matt Bartkowski who is now playing significant time for the B’s depleted defense).  That all fell through when Iginla “preferred” to go to the Penguins.  Did Iginla not like Boston?  Did he think we did not have a chance to win the Cup? The frustration was felt throughout Bruins Nation.  The Bruins would not defeat the Penguins on April 20th, but Nathan Horton made sure to show Iginla how the Bruins and their fans felt about the future Hall of Famer:

Now we will truly find out if Iginla was the deciding factor in determining the best team in the Eastern Conference.

 

Jaromir Jagr

As Mario Lemieux sits up in the Penguins owners box his former teammate, Jaromir Jagr, is trying to get one last dance with the Stanley Cup.  The tandem of Jagr and Lemieux led the Penguins to two Stanley Cup Championships in the early 1990’s and would continue to play together for ten more years (Ironically, Jagr would score the game-winning goal in the 1992 conference finals against the Bruins).

jagr-lemieux

Jagr, since leaving the Penguins, has been something of a journeyman and has not really put up the same numbers he did while in the Steel City.  Jagr is not netting pucks since coming to the Bruins at the trade deadline, but he is doing his best to contribute on the second line (nicest way to say the whole Jagr thing in Boston worked out).

 

Matt Cooke

NHL fans know Matt Cooke is a punk and Bruins fans experienced it first hand when he essentially put Marc Savard into early retirement:

Jack Edwards, the NESN play-by-play announcer had some choice words for Matt Cooke after the Pittsburgh writers gave Cooke an award in 2012:

The bad blood has not subsided after three years and you can expect Cooke to dance with either Shawn Thornton or Gregory Campbell early on in the series.  Nothing would please me more than to see one of the Bruins enforcers pull an Evander Kane:

 

Prediction

Yeah, the seedings and regular season record (3-0 Penguins) would point to Pittsburgh winning this series, but I love the way the Bruins are playing recently.  Since the Game Seven comeback against Toronto in the first round of the playoffs the Bruins have been playing with an edge.  It was that edge in toughness that won them a Stanley Cup against a powerhouse, heavily favored Vancouver Canucks team in 2011.  The Penguins will be their toughest opponent yet, but with Sidney Crosby’s jaw looking the way it does I’m taking the Bruins in six.

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