There’s no question that it’s going to be a dog fight for the Boston Bruins in the newfangled East Division for the 2021 NHL season. That’s one of five big questions facing the Black and Gold at the start of next month’s hockey season.
There are playoff caliber teams in the Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, Philadelphia Flyers, New York Islanders and New York Rangers along with the Bruins, and they will play each of those teams eight times during the 56-game regular season.
Your favorite humble hockey writer was on SiriusXM NHL Network over the weekend talking about the newly formed division due to the COVID-19 protocols and opining on the chances that the Boston Bruins might not even qualify for the postseason.
— SiriusXM NHL Network Radio (@SiriusXMNHL) December 21, 2020
The top four teams from each division will make the Stanley Cup playoffs this season, so a couple of very good hockey clubs will be out in the cold in the East Division at the end of this regular season.
Now, there’s also a benefit for the Bruins if they do make the playoffs in that they’ll avoid the Tampa Bay Lightning until the conference finals this time around. But it’s going to be incredibly difficult for the Bruins and everybody else in the East to push into the top four spots this season, particularly with a B’s team that might get off to a slow start this year.
It should be fascinating to watch. Now, on to the puck links:
*The San Jose Sharks are going to begin their training camp in Scottsdale, Arizona and it’s still unknown whether or not they’ll be able to start their season in San Jose come mid-January. (San Jose Hockey Now)
*None other than Gritty has floated a petition to be allowed into NHL arenas this season as “an orange light of hope.” (Pro Hockey Talk)
*Cool throwback story from the legendary Michael Farber about legendary Red Wings Swedish scout Hakan Andersson, who discovered many of the excellent Red Wings players during their Cup years. (SI.com)
*Could the Washington Capitals come calling for Marc-Andre Fleury now that Henrik Lundqvist has been shelved due to heart issues. (Vegas Hockey Now)
*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jeremy Rutherford asks how the Torey Krug in, Alex Pietrangelo out transaction for the St. Louis Blues is going to change them as a team. (The Athletic)
*For something completely different: Jon Favreau confirms that Mark Hamill did indeed shoot his scenes on set for the Mandalorian season 2 finale, which is pretty awesome. (Good Morning America)
— Good Morning America (@GMA) December 21, 2020