Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli took a few minutes out of his Easter Sunday to discuss the upcoming match up with the Washington Capitals in the first round of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
“I feel good about our team, I think we have more skill and I think our skill has matured more from last year”.
The Ottawa Senators may have been a more preferred opponent in terms of regular season play, with the Bruins showing more strength than weakness when the teams faced each other. With the Capitals, some difficulties have arisen throughout the season most notably twice this past month. While the regular season obviously factors into the grand scheme of play, it’s not always a deciding factor.
“Often times the season match up doesn’t translate into the post season match up”.
Obviously not quick to divulge too much of a game plan, before the team and coaching staff meet back up tomorrow; Chiarelli was willing to offer a small piece to the Bruins on ice puzzle.
“Chara against Ovechkin, Chara takes pride in shutting down Ovechkin.”
It’s safe to assume that it will be a battle of the Captains for both teams when then face off later this week.The Capitals are working with a young, slightly inexperienced goalie in Holtby and the Bruins will need to supply plenty of traffic and of course get pucks on net to survive.
While the goalie between the pipes for Boston is an obvious choice in Thomas, his back up is a question mark as of today. With Rask putting in extensive work to be playoff ready, and his 6 week recovery timeline ticking down to the day it could be anyone’s position.
“We’ll see how he goes the next couple days and we certainly have a capable backup in Khudobin.”
Bruins defensemen Boychuk and McQuaid are still day to day and Horton, although not ruled out is a long shot.
While the Bruins are looking to repeat and extend their Stanley Cup reign another year, it will be their confidence as defending champs that will lend a stick to another cup run for Boston.
“The experience that we’ve gained from winning, the ability to avoid panic is an attribute that’s carried over” commented Chiarelli. “We’ve gained a lot from winning the cup, having said all that it’s tough to repeat, so it’s going to be a challenge.”
Reigning cup champs or not, the match up between Boston and Washington should prove an exciting first round. Despite the odds stacking against them for a repeat, Bruins fans will mirror the sentiments of the GM that brought the city Lord Stanley’s Cup after so many years.
“I think we have as good a chance as any to come out of the east”.
After all, playoffs are a whole different kind of hockey and it’s anyone’s game.