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Northeast
Michael Farber
October 13, 2008
MONTREAL Canadiens
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October 13, 2008

Northeast

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KEY ADDITIONS
RW Michael Ryder

KEY LOSSES
D Bobby Allen, G Alex Auld, C Glen Metropolit, RW Glen Murray

DON'T MISTAKE these Bruins for the bruisers who famously carried the club in the 1970s and '80s, but this is the Northeast's most physical team, and Boston should bully its way to a second straight playoff berth.

Boston was 24th in the NHL in goals last season, something the addition of free agent Michael Ryder will help but won't cure by itself. The Bruins' real center of attention is mild-mannered pivot Patrice Bergeron (above), who missed all but 10 games of the Bruins' 18-point revival last season. He sustained a career-threatening concussion when he was hit from behind and driven into the boards by Flyers defenseman Randy Jones.

In the preseason Bergeron appeared back at 100%, trumpeting his return in the first game with a goal and three assists. If Bergeron, a two-way force who also mans the point on the power play, returns as the 70-point player he was, he'll relieve the pressure from Marc Savard, the all-about-offense No. 1 center, and the Bruins will be heard from—with the puck, and without it.

OTTAWA
Senators

LAST SEASON
43-31-8, 7th in East; lost in first round to Penguins

KEY ADDITIONS
G Alex Auld, Coach Craig Hartsburg, LW Jarkko Ruutu, D Jason Smith

KEY LOSSES
G Ray Emery, D Andrei Meszaros, D Wade Redden, D Luke Richardson, C Randy Robitaille, LW Cory Stillman

ANOTHER SEASON, another (yawn) coach. Welcome, Craig Hartsburg, the all-business ex--Blackhawks and Ducks head man who compiled an impressive r�sum� in junior hockey the past four seasons. He replaces Bryan Murray, the G.M. who fired John Paddock last February and took his second turn behind the Ottawa bench. Hartsburg is charged with making the Senators accountable. Good luck. Since Ottawa's run to the 2007 final, the team has underachieved—and the Stanley Cup window seems to have slammed shut.

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