Friday, October 28, 2011

It Isn't a Stanley Cup Hangover

The term "Stanley Cup Hangover" will get thrown around a lot today and I just don't think that the Bruins are suffering from one. Why? Because they didn't win the Cup in 2010, and they still had stretches like this last season. This "hangover" notion is an excuse. They're simply not playing 60 full minutes of good hockey, the offensive guys aren't providing offense, they're not taking care of the puck, and their Power Play sucks.

Sound familiar? It happened last season. A few times. Two stretches in November, another in December, a long and painful one in March, it even happened in the playoffs. Games 1 and 2 against Montreal, for instance. And these lulls were not preceded by any Cup hoisting or parades. This Bruins team sometimes doesn't put in 60 minutes of effort, they have streaky players (Horton), and they are very vulnerable to a well-executed forecheck.

It's the player's fault. They have to play better. They did so in the 1st period. They sustained possessions in Montreal's zone. Then Price made an unforced error and it was 1-0. But the 2nd period saw less pressure, the 3rd saw next to none. We also saw the Bruins making casual passes with the puck in the 3rd. That led to Montreal's game-winning goal.

And if not for Price's mistake, the Bruins get shut out. The offense isn't functioning. Somebody besides Seguin has to score. He and Peverley lead the team with 3. They have 6, the rest of the team combines for 14. The Flyers and Jets scored more than that in one game last night (Winnipeg won 9-8).

Where is David Krejci? He had a great defensive play in this game but have you noticed him at all on offense? He has 1 goal and 0 assists. He and Horton are dragging this team down. The Lucic-Kelly-Seguin line is working nicely, the Thornton line started to show more energy last night, and while Bergeron and Marchand aren't scoring, they're at least getting shots on goal. Bergeron has more shots (29) than Krejci (12) and Horton (13) combined.

There are no pure scorers on this team. This offense succeeds when they get 2nd and 3rd chance shots on goal. When they stay in the opponents' zone for prolonged periods. Last night they struggled just to enter the zone. And then after the 1st, they struggled to keep the puck in. Even with their abundant Power Play opportunities.

It's frustrating. We've seen what this team is capable of when they decide to show up. Right now we're seeing giveaways, we're seeing careless neutral zone passes, we're seeing a pair of top line forwards competing with Shawn Thornton in the Shots on Goal category (Thornton has 10).

Maybe the Bruins feel like they can wait to turn it on when it matters most. But 1/9 of the season is over and the Bruins are 29th in the NHL. And they've already played 1/6 of their home games. You need points to make the playoffs, usually around 95. You need more points to win a division and get some home playoff series (the B's were 10-3 in home playoff games, 6-6 on the road), usually around 105 points. The Bruins have 6 right now. 6 points in 8 games with no injuries to any key players.

You can't just wait until January to turn it up. What if you're still in 4th place and you lose Thomas for 3 months? How do you dig yourself out of a hole then?

It's starting to get me concerned.

They should be well motivated Saturday night in Montreal. It's not a must-win. It's a must-show-me-something-so-I-can-relax.

Photo Credit:
AP Photo

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