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Hockey Happenings

With the New England Patriots and Boston Celtics taking the sports spotlight right now, the recent run of success for the Boston Bruins is going a bit under the radar for most Boston sports fans. With the Pats in pursuit of another run of back-to-back Lombardi Trophies and the Celts off to the NBA’s best start a quarter of the way into the season, that’s understandable. But, the B’s deserve some attention as well.

They’ve won six out of seven games heading into tonight’s big test in Nashville against the Predators. At 12-8-4 through 24 games, Boston sits just one point out of a playoff spot. Their 24 games played is currently the lowest number of any team in the league. They have as many as four games in hand on a few of the teams in front of them.

On their recent run, five of the Bruins last six victories have come against teams currently in a playoff spot. That’s all with significant players missing time during the streak. But, now that Brad Marchand and David Krejci have returned to the lineup, things are looking up. Both goalies are playing very well at the moment, as Anton Khudobin won four straight starts to begin the streak. After the one stumble, Tuukka Rask picked up a shutout in Philadelphia on Saturday and looked back to regular form.

All of this is good for a team that has some incredibly young and inexperienced players in key spots. Because of that, the Bruins will have some tough moments ahead in the season. If the Black and Gold is able to continue to beat good teams, while also beating teams they are supposed to and keeping the down nights to a minimum, they should be on track to be a playoff team once more.

The Maine Black Bears picked up three of a possible four points at home this weekend against the Vermont Catamounts in Hockey East this past weekend. After coughing up a two-goal third period lead on Friday night and settling for a tie, the Bears responded with a convincing 6-2 win on Saturday.

The Black Bears are 4-4-1 in Hockey East and tied for sixth place. While a top-four spot is seemingly unlikely, landing in the middle of the league standings would be a step forward in Red Gendron’s fifth season. I’ve been highly critical of Gendron’s stewardship over the last few years, but there are signs of improvement this season. I don’t think they are close to contending for conference and national titles again, by any stretch of the imagination, but getting back to respectability this season will be a victory in and of itself.

Portland’s soon-to-be new ECHL team, the Maine Mariners, unveiled its new logo last week to a mostly warm reception. It’s a big departure from recognizable stylized M with a ship helm, but it’s a unique and recognizable mark.

It has elements our state within it, including a lighthouse outline embedded into the “M,” a head of the trident next to the “M forms a stylized letter “E.” The middle prong of the trident is tipped with a pine tree, and the Dirigo Star from the state flag also found it’s way into the mark. The blue, green, and white color scheme fits with the colors many of us think of Maine with: blue for the oceans and waterways, green for forests, and white for our winter snow.

Opening night is still 10 months away, but the day when our state has pro hockey back is getting closer. That’s a good thing!

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