Monday, January 11, 2010


The Bruins and Rangers have played each other pretty close. Lots of 1-0, and 2-1 games. And as frustrating as those losses can be, they're at least exciting to watch, and the Bruins typically register a good effort. Neither of those things were true Saturday afternoon.

You can blame the injuries all you want, and the Bruins have had their share and a half. But injuries don't excuse Dennis Wideman's inability to consistently handle the puck. They don't excuse Michael Ryder's stilted and deliberate shooting (in high traffic areas, he doesn't one-time the puck, he catches it, handles it, then tries to shoot. Of course, by that point, a quick reacting defenseman has poke-checked the puck away). They don't excuse David Krejci's puck ignorance in the crease. They don't excuse a defensive scheme that surrendered the neutral zone without a fight, and yielded the defensive zone almost as freely. Saturday afternoon, the Bruins' supposedly vaunted layered defense looked more like the French in WWII.

From now on Dennis Wideman's new name is Harvey Dent, because he's a Two Face. He flips a coin, and half the time he does something clever with the puck, the other half he does something wholly moronic.

David Krejci is a premature ejaculator.

Derek Morris is back to being Derek Useless.

And I'm starting to think that Michael Ryder is the reason the Bruins acquired Miroslav Satan.

How many Too Many Men violations have the Bruins made this season? 10? Isn't anything higher than 2 at this point far too many? If you want tangible evidence for a team not focused, look no farther than their obscene amount of Too Many Men penalties.

At the game, some people around my seats kept yelling for Rask. Talk about treating the headache by taking some Pepto-Bismol. The goaltending is not the problem on this team. Nowhere near the problem. Injuries and good players playing like bad players, that's the problem. These "Tuukka Time" people are the same guys who wanted the Pats to put in Michael Bishop.

Nothing against Rask. I'd venture to say that he and Thomas are close to equals. And I don't really mind who is in net. But mostly that's because when the defense forfeits the zone so easily, it doesn't much matter. You could have Vladislav Tretiak and Patrick Roy's lovechild in net, and you'd still give up bad goals.

The Bruins have a West Coast trip that might help them get their heads back in the game. But how many times have I had to write something like that this season? "Hopefully this gets them focused," "Maybe now they'll get their act together," "This trip is what they need to get back on track."

It's January.

Bruins @ Ducks Wednesday at 10 Eastern.


Photo Credits:
AP Photo/Mary Schwalm


"'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door -
Only this, and nothing more."

Just like the narrator in Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven," I and perhaps some of the Patriots, underestimated that little birdie pecking outside the window.

Perhaps one of the worst quarters of football in Patriots history. And blue-hats out there can attest that this is quite a powerful statement. But how much worse can you get than the 1st quarter of this game? Two interceptions, allowing an 83 yard run, and amassing only 20 yards of offense.

You know what, I hate sportsisms like the one I'm about to roll out, but the Patriots simply didn't want it. Whether it was overconfidence, or Baltimore's preparedness compared to the Pats', or total effort, or teamwork, whatever. I blame the coach, I blame the players.

All season long, there was no killer instinct on this team. When they got leads, they eased up on offense, played back on defense. They let the Colts slip away. And the Jets. And the Broncos. And the Texans. And the Dolphins. There was nothing stopping them from being a 14-2 or even 15-1 team except their own severe disinterest in victory.

It's pathetic. Absolutely pathetic. That a Bill Belichick team, led by Tom Brady, with Pro Bowlers on both sides of the ball, can not only lose a home playoff game, but to a team they'd played AND BEATEN earlier in the season.


The bright side is that there is still potential in Foxborough. And that's really what gets me so frustrated about this team, this season. This isn't a bad team. On paper. They didn't play above their heads this year. Instead, they played at their skill level and with no passion. This is a talented bunch of players, who didn't execute ON THE FIELD as they should have.

A Super Bowl Championship may have been a bit much to ask for. In 2006, and 2007, they may have choked, but they choked and fought at the same time. Those were close, well fought games they lost. Same goes for 2005 in Denver. And the 11-5 squad last year with the 9-7 team in '02, those teams played with balls.

It should be an interesting off-season in Foxborough.

"And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted - nevermore!"


Photo Credits:
AP Photo