Kukla's Korner Hockey
"I think there's a lot of frustration right now. I think the guys, everybody's feeling the heat we feel that's been put on us, and it's up to us to work through this and find ways to overcome those kinds of things."
"It's part of being a professional, it's part of the game. So it's up to us. We have higher expectations. In that dressing room, coaches and ourselves, we have higher expectations than what we've shown right now."
"So we're not going to hide behind disappointment and stand here and think that we're doing OK. We're underachieving right now and our game's got to get better. I still feel we've got the group in there to make it better, so it's up to us to take charge."
-Claude Julien, head coach of the Boston Bruins after a 4-3 shootout loss to the Edmonton Oilers. More from Caryn Switaj of BostonBruins.com.
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
Of course, Chiarelli’s dilemma runs deep. There isn’t a GM in hockey — and he’s one of the best, IMO — who would submit to this obvious trend and deal Chara now. Not with a playoff spot still a very real possibility.
But the decline has begun, and here’s why we are mighty sure that the Bruins are not Detroit, a team that has bucked the trend: Look at the Bruins drafting record since 2007, and you’ll find the answer to why their opponent tonight has fallen on such hard times. It’s why Calgary is rebuilding. It’s why the Canucks are no longer an elite contender. And it’s why the Maple Leafs are as bad as they are.
Boston, an organization that once drafted and developed extremely well, has hit the skids on that front since 2007. The year before, in 2006, Boston drafted Phil Kessel, Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand, who have played a total of 1,215 NHL games. From 2007-2012 (we won’t count the past two seasons), the 37 players drafted by the Bruins have played a grand total of 960 games. Tyler Seguin, now in Dallas, accounts for more than one-third of those games.
There is a dearth on this roster between the age of 26 and 20. Torey Krug, Reilly Smith and Dougie Hamilton are all good players, but not enough to fill the void. Then Johnny Boychuk was dealt for a pair of second round draft picks, and this summer Chiarelli will be in cap jail again — but now with an eighth place team that doesn’t scare anybody anymore.
added 8:25am, from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
from Joe Haggerty of CSNNE,
The Bruins have lost four games in a row for the first in three years, the fans are upset with the team, the team is teetering on the edge of once again falling out of the playoff picture and there is doom and gloom surrounding the Black and Gold everywhere you look. This sounds like a perfect time for a HaggBag mailbag to get to the bottom of the issues....
If the B’s plan to keep Tuukka why not trade Subban in a package for a top 6 winger?
JH: There is no reason for the Bruins to trade Tuukka Rask, and I’ve never understood the logic there. He’s the reigning Vezina Trophy winner in his prime and has an ironclad no movement clause to start, and that is reason enough to keep him around. But just look at trades involving goaltenders, particularly those with term still on their contracts, over the last four or five years, and the returns aren’t very good. Washington trading Semyon Varlamov to Colorado for a first round pick and second round pick was among the best, and Roberto Luongo was dealt to the Florida Panthers for a fading goalie prospect in Jakob Markstrom and a roster player in Shawn Matthias. That’s it. Ryan Miller had to be packaged with Steve Ott in order to get Chris Stewart, Jaroslav Halak, a first round pick and a prospect from St. Louis, and I wouldn’t call that any kind of package that would entice me to trade Rask. No superstars or multiple first round picks being sent in exchange for goaltenders, so there’s no reason to think there would be an inflated market for a goalie like Rask.
Instead you’d be taking pennies on the dollar for one of the best goalies in the NHL, and that would be poor asset management.
Malcolm Subban, on the other hand, has some value given his cachet as a former first rounder and top prospect expected to be a franchise goalie at the NHL level, and he’s got the added bonus of already being a bit of a Canadian icon given his hockey family bloodlines and history in the Canadian World Junior program. He won’t be traded for a top six forward rental, or some kind of Band-Aid solution for this year’s team. The only way Subban is dealt is if it’s for an impact player that would become a part of the B’s corps moving forward, and preferably a young player with some cost certainty involved with him.
more Q & A...
from the CP at TSN,
TJ Brodie scored a fluke goal with two seconds left in the extra period as Calgary overcame a two-goal, third-period deficit to edge Boston 4-3 for its league-leading 10th victory when trailing after two periods.
"I don't know what to say anymore. Those guys never quit," said Flames coach Bob Hartley. "We always have the feeling that we can pull out those comebacks."
From near the corner, Brodie sent the puck towards the front of the net where it deflected off the stick of Brad Marchand, fluttered high in the air and ended up behind Tuukka Rask.
"I knew there wasn't too much time left, I was just trying to get the puck to the net. It took about three or four bounces and luckily it went in," said Brodie.
Rask tracked the puck OK but couldn't squeeze it.
"I tried to bend myself and grab it and it hit my glove, hit the top of the net, bounced back," said Rask.
read on for more on the game...
Watch the T.J. Brodie goal below...
Earlier in the week, Insider Joe Haggerty suggested the B's could kickstart the teams future by trading captain Zdeno Chara.
Haggerty discussed the idea on Cross Check.
"I think this summer it's something they absolutely have to look at and they should do," said Haggerty. "He's signed on for three more years at a $7 million cap hit per season and you can still get some value for him. I think you've got to make that move now before you're watching him really deteriorate over the next couple years."
Mike Milbury agreed that the team needs to bring in some new blood, and no one on the roster should be safe from a trade.
more and below, watch Haggerty and Milbury discuss the options for the Bruins...
from Joe Haggerty of CSNNE,
The Bruins looked discombobulated, disorganized and fairly disenchanted with the whole “compete level” thing in a 5-3 loss to the Dallas Stars on Tuesday night at TD Garden. It was their third loss in four games during the month of February, and a third defeat in four tries against opponents built on speed and skill that attacked the Bruins like a pack of hyenas taking down a big, old, slow, injured elephant in the jungle.
The Bruins now sit just four points ahead of the Florida Panthers in the Eastern Conference wild card standings. It appeared just a week ago they were leaving Florida in the dust, but that’s clearly not the case with Florida still holding a pair of games in hand against a Boston club freely giving up ground they worked extremely hard to gain last month.
It was enough to bring a truly negative vibe into the B’s dressing room on Tuesday night that some of the younger players certainly picked up on.
added 8:04pm, video below...
from Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe,
It’s something that has become nearly routine for the Bruins this season, and in recent years. They are once again last in the NHL in power-play chances, far behind the 29th-place team. The Bruins have had 122 chances this season. New Jersey, in second-to-last place, has had 147 entering Monday. Tampa Bay, in first place, has gone on the man advantage 196 times.
Sunday’s game marked the third time this season that the Bruins received no power-play opportunities; it also happened Nov. 4 against Florida and Dec. 2 at Montreal. It was the 28th time the Bruins had gotten two or fewer power plays in a game.
And it’s something that’s clearly frustrating them.
Asked about his team’s penalty kill after Sunday’s game, coach Claude Julien said, “That’s all we can talk about, right, is our PK, not our PP? They did a good job. Our PK did a good job.”
When the issue of not having any power-play chances was followed up on, Julien said, “It’s always nice to have a PP sometimes. Gives you momentum.”
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
The Bruins have 28 games remaining in the regular season. That’s still enough for things to go sideways.
Chances are likely, however, that the Bruins will remain among the top eight in the Eastern Conference and qualify for the playoffs. The ninth-place Panthers lost to the Predators in a shootout Saturday. The Panthers are 6 points behind the Bruins, a deficit that will be difficult to wipe out with just over two months remaining until the postseason begins.
Assuming the Bruins make the playoffs, they could face off against the second-place Canadiens in the first round. This would not be a good thing.
The Canadiens have the Bruins’ number. They swept the four-game season series Sunday at TD Garden with a 3-1 win.
Last year, they stopped the Bruins’ march toward the Stanley Cup. They could send them golfing yet again this spring.
“It can’t,” coach Claude Julien answered when asked if Montreal presented a mental block for his team. “We can’t allow it.”
from Joe Haggerty of CSNNE,
“We weren't executing well enough to deny their speed,” admitted Patrice Bergeron. “We'd seen that wide side pass all game...it was kind of obvious.”
That sounds eerily like the laments of the Bruins from last spring when they knew exactly what the Canadiens were going to do and yet still fell to the Habs in the second round of the playoffs. It remains to be seen what the B’s can do to improve their overall speed among their defensemen group leading into a trade deadline that’s less than a month away, but the answer is likely “not much” outside of a course-changing deal for a D-man like Andrej Sekera or Keith Yandle.
It’s difficult to see the Bruins changing much about their DNA makeup when it comes to their defensemen given how heavily they rely on defensive size and strength around the front of the net. But it’s also difficult to avoid seeing that as part of their ultimate downfall this season in a year where they certainly look like a playoff team, but don’t really have the look of a dangerous playoff team in losses that expose their weakness like the Wednesday night rivalry game at Madison Square Garden.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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