Monday, April 7, 2014

Jarome Iginla, Kevan Miller nursing "very minor" injuries; Bruins eye President's Cup

There is little doubt that earning the President's Cup could prove most propitious to the Boston Bruins, what with home ice advantage throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs at stake - and with a two point lead over the St. Louis Blues in the race for the league's best record and just four games remaining, one has to like their chances...

...particularly with a hefty seven-game advantage in the all important ROW (Regulation and Overtime Wins) category - and it would be particularly impressive given that Boston bench boss Claude Julien has chosen player maintenance over aggressive pursuit, trusting that the deepest roster in the league can get it done without the likes of greybeard Jarome Iginla and bruising blue liner Kevan Miller.
Bruins' tough guy Kevan Miller (AP photo/Charles Krupa)

Both players are traveling with the team to Minnesota for Tuesday night's match with the Wild despite being held out of the Bruins' rousing 5-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday with what Julien describes as "very minor" injuries - but he stopped short of saying that they would suit up.

"They're still, I say 'day-to-day,' so we’re just going to be cautious this time of year, we’re just not pushing it." Julien told beat writers on Monday morning. "But they’re coming on the trip and is there a chance they could play? Yes."

When pressed as to if they would be able to play were this a playoff game, Julien minced no words:

"Oh yes, no doubt."

But do they need to earn the President's Cup - or do they even want to?

The President's Cup has been awarded 27 times since the inception of the award, but only eight recipients have gone on to win the Stanley Cup - lending credence to the collective thought of the already paranoid and superstitious culture of professional hockey that the President's Cup is cursed.

Regardless, after playing at Minnesota on Tuesday night, the Bruins get teams in Winnipeg and Buffalo that have been eliminated from playoff contention and are playing out the string, then finish up with the New Jersey Devils who are currently three points out of the eighth wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference and may be just playing for pride by the time they host Boston.

On the other hand, the Blues host a Washington Capitals' team on Tuesday night that has an outside shot at a wildcard spot, then go to Minnesota before visiting a Dallas team that's clinging to the final playoff spot in the west before hosting a Detroit Red Wings team that should have a spot in the post-season sewn up by that time.

The Blues have the toughest row to hoe, so to speak, as they face three teams that are desperate and still have something to play for - and any combination of a Bruins' win and a St. Louis loss would all but assure Boston the best record in the National Hockey League.

So for Boston, it's just a matter of just doing what they do and staying the course, because if the President's Cup and home ice advantage in the Stanley Cup Finals is important to the St. Louis Blues, then all the pressure is on them...

...but if they think it's cursed or just over-rated in general, then they're all set

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