May 30, 2013

Opening Faceoff: Thursday, May 30

By Andrew Merritt

Patrice Bergeron and the Bruins say they're ready for a Penguins team everyone is picking to win the Eastern Conference Final. (Getty Images)

Today on NEHJ

We’ll begin previewing the Eastern Conference Final showdown between the Bruins and Pittsburgh, which kicks off with Game 1 on Saturday night at 8 p.m. (NBC)

Good reads

So, do the Bruins have a chance in this series? Adam Kaufman says it’s going to be tough, and the Bruins will need a 2011-like effort to pull it off.

On the other hand, Steve Buckley says we shouldn’t dismiss the boys in black and gold – er, the more local ones – in the series.

And for what it’s worth, despite all the prognostications and on-paper predictions about the series, as Mike Loftus reports, the Bruins aren’t conceding anything.

Quick hits

Merrimack hired its new athletic director yesterday, and it’s someone with strong hockey ties. Jeremy Gibson comes to North Andover after 16 years at Harvard, where he became Senior Associate Athletic Director, tasked with oversight of the men’s and women’s hockey programs. Gibson’s hiring comes as Merrimack works to move all of its sports to Division I.

Looks like old friend Michael Ryder is out of work again, after Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin indicated the Habs won’t pursue him as he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 5.

The NHL, somewhat unsurprisingly, is standing with referee Stephen Walkom after his controversial call that nullified a Chicago goal Wednesday night, and nearly caused a full-scale riot in the Windy City.

History lesson

On this date 21 years ago, Acton, Mass., native Tom Barrasso picked up his second career shutout to lead the Penguins to a 1-0 victory over Chicago in Game 3 of the 1992 Stanley Cup Playoffs – Pittsburgh’s 10th straight playoff win.

Entirely off-topic

There are great wedding proposals, and great wedding invitations, but this might be the greatest wedding party photo of all-time.

Twitter: @A_Merritt