Monday, January 25, 2010
WEEKEND WALK OF SHAME
The Bruins don't play again until Friday. And I for one am glad. My liver could use a break.
The Bruins have lost 5 in a row, 8 of their last 9, and have collected a mere 7 points in the month of January, with only 2 more games left to play. They've slipped to 9th place in the East, and could plummet as far as 13th by the time they take the ice against Buffalo on Friday.
This weekend, the Bruins lost a close one to Ottawa, and were then obliterated by the Hurricanes in Raleigh, 5-1.
Injuries can be blamed only so much. No Savard means no power play. No Begin or Bitz means much less muscle along the boards. But as I've said before, a lack of Savard cannot pardon a Blake Wheeler turnover, or a missed assignment by Dennis Wideman.
Does Michael Ryder know that he can work out in a weight room to get stronger? Maybe then he'll be able to win more than 5% of his battles and perhaps maintain possession of the puck in traffic. I'm so glad I don't have a #73 trampstamp on my lower back (long story).
Thank God for guys like Daniel Paille. Where would the team be without him?
The real question is: what to do?
Some have suggested picking up a "stud scorer." And that'd be nice, but at what cost? Trade your future to rent Ilya Kovalchuk for 1/3 of a season?
Kovalchuk would be nice, and certainly less frustrating then watching David Krejci flail at the puck like an alcoholic, or Michael Ryder aim his shots at the goalie's chest.
But the price would probably be too much for what would amount to help in only one category.
The Bruins scored 274 goals last year (3.34 per game, 2nd in the NHL). They've scored 126 this year (2.52 per game, 30th). The problem is too large to be solved by just one player. And if you got Kovalchuk, that's likely all you'd get at the deadline.
The Bruins need extended possessions, not just one-shot rushes. They need physical players that know how to win battles for the puck. Right now, too many possessions are ending with a Bruin being outmuscled at the halfwall or in the corners. The Bruins can't dumpandchase because there's a 70% likelihood (or so it seems) that they'd dump the puck in, then chase the opposing forwards back up the ice.
And maybe it's time for the Bruins to get a little dirty. The one thing the Bruins have working for them is their Penalty Kill, at 87.7%, it's 2nd in the NHL. Why not take advantage of that fact? Slash a few ankles, make roughing penalties really rough.
Perhaps the Bruins should acquire some antagonists, some punks. They really don't have any. Lucic is the closest thing to one, but he's too clean of a player for the goon's role. I'm talking a guy like Sean Avery here. A real prick that even Bruins fans don't like.
Get other teams flustered, get them as emotional and desperate as we are. Then make them pay.
Bruins @ Sabres Friday night.
AP Photo/Gerry Broome