As part of our gameday coverage, we had a few questions relating to the Bruins before puck-drop later today.
With that, here is our pal Cornelius Hardenbergh from Stanley Cup of Chowder in today's instalment of Gameday Questionnaire:
1. With Nicklas Lidstrom having retired this past off-season, is Zdeno Chara the best defenseman in hockey?
Yes. For fun, dig up some Ottawa stories about him in the training room. I'm pretty sure at at least one year's entry physical, they just wrote "a lot" next to how many reps he did of some leg exercise or another. With that leg strength he's a lot faster on his skates than you expect. See also the pirouette goal against Florida, which seemed to surprise him as much as anyone. That and his core strength gives him the hardest shot in the league, and he keeps that shot pretty low, too. Without him our defense would totally fall apart.
2. What is it about the Boston Bruins that makes them such a difficult match-up for their competition?
The Bruins make a big show of being tough and push people around and don't get pushed around a lot. The secret to their success is to also have immensely skilled players all over their lineup. The Marchand/Seguin/Bergeron line is probably the best forward trio in the NHL right now, Chara is the aforementioned best defenseman in the league, and Rask is creeping up the goaltending leaders stat columns. If Krejci isn't dead, we'll be in great shape. If he is, we're looking pretty damn weak at center. Upside is that we're playing a bunch of centers at wing.
3. If you had to ballpark Tuukka Rask's next contract, what would it look like?
3. Depends if it's Chiarelli's turn for a too-big contract (Ference) or an incredible one (Chara). If it's a too-big contract, uh...6 million for a bunch of years, I guess? If it's incredible, the floor's the limit. We're hoping for the latter. He's still an RFA after this year, so it won't be too too ridiculous. It’s pretty important for the Bruins to keep as many salaries down as possible in as many places as possible, because that’s how you keep a cap team competitive. They don’t want to lowball too hard, though. Otherwise you get things like Phil Kessel off to Toronto, and that totally didn’t work out, did it?
Ed. Note: We thank Cornelius for his for his time in this edition of Gameday Questionnaire. Look for our next edition Thursday with our pals at Japers' Rink.