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Know Thy Enemy: a conversation with Stanley Cup of Chowder

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Here’s the perspective from the other bench

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Columbus Blue Jackets at Boston Bruins Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Once again, it is time to have a chat with a colleague from the SBNation NHL network. Today it is Dan Ryan, the manager at Stanley Cup of Chowder. Note: questions were sent prior to Game 1 but answered after the game.

The Cannon: Do you think rest or momentum is more important in this series? That is, will Boston benefit from being in rhythm or will they be hurt by facing a young, well-rested Columbus team?

Stanley Cup of Chowder: It’s probably not going to matter much after Game 1. For the Bruins, I’d rather them get right back to it after that uplifting end to the Toronto series. It’s only the second round, so the B’s should still have plenty of gas in the tank. The Bruins aren’t a super old team either, and many of them have been here before.

For Columbus, it would have been better for them to get right back to it too. Imagine the high of sweeping the top seed? You want to carry that with you. Instead, they had to sit around and wait.

Still, now that Game 1 is out of the way, I expect things to be pretty normal going forward.

Are you at all concerned about this match-up after what Columbus did to Tampa? Or do you think Boston matches up better than the Bolts did?

Concerned isn’t the right word. I, and most of the people on my site, have a healthy respect for Columbus. I loved that Jarmo (not going to try to spell his last name) went all in at the deadline; that rules.

Seeing Columbus sweep a team that many thought the Bruins wouldn’t be able to beat should be an eye-opener, but for me, it’s not. You and I both know that Tampa is soft. They were a front-running team all season, a team that didn’t face any adversity. It almost seemed like once the Blue Jackets punched back a single time, Tampa didn’t know what to do.

That won’t happen with the Bruins.Several of these guys have played in a Cup Final, with a handful winning it. The Bruins can handle Columbus’ heavy game a lot better than Tampa could.

Having said that, I think the Blue Jackets are a good team, and it should be a great series. I’m not expecting a cakewalk for either side.

The regular season stats look pretty even between Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak, with a slight edge to Halak, even. Yet Rask was the man for the Toronto series. If things start to go poorly, will Cassidy be tempted to have a quick hook, or will he ride or die with Rask?

I don’t think so. Rask would have to completely implode. You can’t play with the head of a goalie and yank him from the net after a bad start. The numbers have been close, but I think Rask, at his core, is a better goalie than Halak. You want to roll with your best players, and to me, that means Rask.

If he goes out and allows 5 in three games in a row, you might have to give it a thought. But other than that, leave Rask in there and let him do his thing.

We’re always happy to see Central Ohioans reach the Show, so we’re proud of Dublin’s Sean Kuraly. How would you describe his game? Is he a career bottom 6 player, or does he have a higher ceiling than that?

He’s a cult favorite here. He has developed a knack for scoring big goals (playoff OT vs. Ottawa, Winter Classic, etc), and plays with a great deal of energy. He’s fun to watch. He’s responsible with the puck, great on the PK, all that stuff.

I don’t know how high his ceiling is, to be honest. He could probably play on a third line at some point, but I don’t see him being suited for a top-six role. Things could change, of course. But he’s great in his fourth-line role.

What’s the deal with Brad Marchand? He’s obviously a great player, but will he always be a pest and a face-licker?

He has toned it down this season, actually. He cracked 100 points this season, and avoided any weird incidents. He has to play on the edge to be effective, and sometimes does little things just to keep himself involved (like stepping on Cam Atkinson’s stick before a faceoff in Game 1).

However, he seems to have mellowed out a little this season. Clearly all the flack he got during the playoffs last year resonated, as he has cleaned up his act. It shows in the results too: you don’t get 100+ points by just being a pest.

He continues to be a great player. If he can keep the other stuff in check, he’ll terrorize opposing defenses for years to come.

Thanks again to Dan for taking the time to answer these questions. Be sure to check out Stanley Cup of Chowder for more coverage of the series from Boston’s perspective.