Into the Boards: Brent Burns Made Bank, the Las Vegas Team Name Sucks, the Sabres are Still Bad and More


Gooble Gobble, you nerds! Hopefully you all took Turkey Day to chill out, get your munchies on and enjoy some holiday puck. Here at Into The Boards, Scott and I have a lot to be grateful for, and getting a chance to do these articles every week is one of those things. So thank you to the readers out there on the interwebs and anyone who comments below that keeps us honest.

Let’s dive into the action that Week 6 brought us. Brent Burns made bank, Las Vegas finally unveiled all we needed to know, the Sabres are still bad, and we see what’s going down in Beantown.

Eastern Conference

Bruised up in Buffalo

At the end of the 2014-15 season, the Buffalo Sabres finished as one of the worst teams in the NHL, providing an excellent chance to win the Connor McDavid sweepstakes. They ultimately lost to the Edmonton Oilers, but the consolation prize was a hell of a player named Jack Eichel. With the addition of 20-year old phenom Jack Eichel under the veteran leadership of Brian Gionta and Ryan O’Reilly, Buffalo looked to the future and had high hopes for 2016-17. This past offseason brought the signing of long-time New York Islander Kyle Okposo to a seven-year, $42 million dollar contract, proving that the Sabres are looking to win sooner rather than later. However, fans up in the northeast are going to have to wait quite a bit longer. In an incredible feat of untimeliness, Eichel was injured in the final practice before the start of the season, leaving a big fat zero in his “games played” column. Combine this with injuries to Evander Kane and Zach Bogosian along with recurring bang-ups to Ryan O’Reilly and Dmitry Kulikov and you’re left with a depleted Sabres team. While the Sabres wouldn’t have fared very well this season even as a healthy squad, matters have been made much worse with some of their most talented players sitting in the press box for most of the season thus far. To this point, Buffalo sits only on top of the squirming New York Islanders in the Eastern Conference, leaving head coach Dan Bylsma searching for answers. The Sabres will be alright, but this is certainly not the year to be praying for a miracle. Your time will come, Buffalo.

Buckled Down Beantown

A rather intriguing story so far in the early going of the 2016-17 season is the Boston Bruins. For better or worse, the Bruins have hung around the last few years despite a slow fall from greatness. A Stanley Cup victory in 2011 progressed to a Stanley Cup finals appearance in 2012, which turned into less and less success with every passing campaign. Bruins fans began to call for head coach Claude Julien’s job a couple years back as their team slipped, but his ability to ice a competitive team despite a less impressive roster with each passing year has proven that he is the furthest thing from the problem. I sense a little bit of “Rangers Syndrome” in Boston in that there is an unwillingness to die and rebuild. Last year’s trade deadline came packed with rumors of captain Zdeno Chara or all-star center Patrice Bergeron being moved, but Don Sweeney opted to hang onto them both in a failed effort to make the playoffs. This year seems no different as the Bruins sit just two points out of a wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, again hanging around in the middle of the pack. Maybe it’s because I’m an Islanders fan and I’m used to losing a lot, but I think it’s time for the Bruins to retire their 2011 core and start from the bottom up. Julien has proved he can do a lot with a little, so perhaps it’s time for Boston to dismantle and start over. The Bruins aren’t making a Cup run any time soon, so I’m not sure that there’s a whole lot of use in sticking around the wild card picture for this long. Today’s NHL winners build championship teams from the draft, so it’s worth taking the lumps. Regardless, the pesky Bruins have proved that they still have enough left in the tank to challenge for a playoff spot.

Western Conference

Big Money Burns

The San Jose Sharks are currently on a five-game homestand and they are off to a great start, going 2-0 [As of the time this piece was written. -Ed.] with victories over the Devils and Blackhawks. Goaltender Martin Jones has been stellar in his recent performances, shutting out the Devils and stopping 33 out of 34 shots against the first place Hawks. The Sharks are currently keeping pace in the Pacific division, just barely tailing the Edmonton Oilers for that number one spot. San Jose also inked an eight year, $64 million dollar contract extension with their all-star defenseman Brent Burns. Burns is now the highest paid player on the Sharks roster and will be with the team until the 2024-25 season, which could help shape the contract terms that fellow defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic may see in 2018. This is a big move for San Jose and it’s clear that Burns will continue to be a franchise player and help lead the team into a successful future. With a win against the struggling Islanders and an upcoming contest against the lifeless Coyotes, it’s very possible that the Sharks will continue to stack points and take the lead out west.

Vegas Gold

This week the NHL hosted the long awaited unveiling of its 31st team. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman addressed the audience gathered at Toshiba Plaza and revealed the new name and logo to be the Vegas Golden Knights. For a place as popular as Las Vegas, the Knights will be the city’s first major-league sports franchise. The majority shareholder of the team, Bill Foley, told the press “we selected ‘Knights’ because knights are defenders of the realm and protect those who cannot defend themselves. They are the elite warrior class.”

I am beyond stoked that there is another team being added to the league, and I anxiously await to see who they will select to build their franchise, but “The Golden Knights” sounds like these dudes came up with this name after a night of binging Game of Thrones and one too many rips from the bong. “The Golden Knights” sounds like a name you give your team when making a franchise in Madden 2001 (the one with Eddie George on the cover), a name you thought would be sick at 11 years old. The logo looks like it was ripped too, like something out of a bad 300 comic, generic and boring… but you can wipe your ass with my words. Take a look for yourself and let us know what you think in the comments section.

Las Vegas Golden Knights

Player of the Week

Vin: My top dog of the week is none other than Jeff Carter of the Los Angeles Kings. Carter had a monumental week, with 4 goals, 2 assists, a +3 rating, 2 PPP, 1 SHP, and 3 GWG’s making him a fantasy god for anyone who has him on their team. With his goal against the Anaheim Ducks, Jeff finally was able to join the 600 career points club.

Scott: Hate him all you want, but my POTW is Sid the Kid. Crosby completed Week 6 with 4 goals and 2 assists for 6 points, proving again that he is the best player in the world whether you (or I) like it or not.

Top Plays

V: My top play of the week goes to the Toronto Maple Leafs rookie Mitch Marner. Check out this triple deke as he dangles Panthers defenseman, and puts it home.

S: The top play of the week has to be Alexander Radulov’s sensational individual effort against Ottawa. Watch here as he undresses Ottawa forward Mike Hoffman (who gets caught covering on defense) and then drives to the net for a beautiful finish after picking up his own rebound.

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