Friday, March 05, 2010
That's supposed to be a play on the word "counterintuitive." Because that's how the Bruins acted on deadline day this week. The team has struggled for offense all season (last in the NHL in goals scored, 16th in power play percentage). So on deadline day, they sacrificed offense to improve their defense? Why would you do that? Why would you weaken what was already your weakness?
#1: There was no way the Bruins could significantly improve their offense. Even if they'd dealt away every draft pick they had, traded every prospect, traded Tim Thomas and wrapped him in platinum and gold, there was not enough offensive firepower in the market. After Kovalchuk went to the Devils, there was no A-class type of forward out there. Nor were there a bevy of B-level forwards that could fill the Bruins' holes.
I look at the names that were shipped on deadline day. Clarke MacArthur. Scott Walker, Stephane Yelle. Alexandre Picard. Eric Belanger. Jeff Halpern. Hey, the Coyotes got Wojtek Wolski, and he has 17 goals. But do these sound like the guys that will turn the Bruins into a Stanley Cup contender?
#2: Seeing that trying to strengthen their weakness was futile, the Bruins decided to strengthen their strength
This team has allowed the 6th fewest goals in the NHL. It has the best penalty kill percentage in the League. Tuukka Rask has the lowest GAA in the League at 2.14. The Bruins can prevent other teams from scoring. And that's the best chance they have to win games.
It's frustrating to watch this team try to score goals. They look like they've never practiced together before. Centering passes will go through a crease that has 2 opposing defensemen in it, and no Bruins. Then, when a Bruin is in the slot, there will be no centering passes, no shots on goal in want of deflection. Either that or the player in the crease will be slow to react. They'll deflect the shot horribly wide, or miss it completely. Krejci is the best on the team at fucking up in this way.
But if the Bruins are to do damage in the playoffs, it'll be in 1-0 and 2-1 games. It'll be with hardwork goals, conservative neutral zone play, tough defense, and flashy goaltending.
The Bruins can put Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg on the ice at the blue line. Johnny Boychuk has been a pleasant surprise this season, and Mark Stuart is solid as ever. After that, it gets dicey, with Ference, Hunwick, and Wideman. But with defensive forwards like Bergeron, that can be counterbalanced.
Don't get me wrong, I'm as pessimistic as ever about the Bruins' chances to do anything in the Stanley Cup playoffs, if they even get that far. My friend in Vegas informed me that the odds for the B's to win the Cup are 15:1. That's too low for my money. I'd need 40:1 or better to risk a dime on that.
But at least the prospects for the future are largely intact. Seidenberg might be resigned, he might not. More significant trades can be made. I'd like to see a stretch of Tim Thomas playing so we can accurately gauge his value, and possibly trade him (or Rask) to get some scorers.
There's not much hope for the 09-10 Bruins. I don't know why fans are so pissed that there wasn't a savior for them on Trade Deadline Day. Saviors usually don't get traded. They're usually on winning teams already.