Monday, March 12, 2012

Pain Filled Weekend for Bruins

The Pittsburgh Penguins are the dirtiest team that is never called dirty. From Matt Cooke to Geno Malkin. They play with reckless abandon. And fine for them, but karma will keep concussing Sidney Crosby until the Penguins repent and change their ways.

The Malkin hit on Boychuk probably won't result in a suspension. Brendan Shanahan will make a video explaining how the head wasn't specifically targeted, Boychuk dropped his right shoulder, Malkin's a great guy, and the lack of a center redline was somehow the true culprit.

All that aside, the Bruins didn't respond to the hit. That pissed me off more than the hit itself. I wanted to see Shawn Thornton on the ice the second Malkin was released from the box. Charge him. Crosscheck his Bolshevik face. Malkin remained literally untouched for the remainder of the game. I'm not saying the Bruins should have tried to injure him. But make him pay a higher cost than just the paltry 2 minute minor and the friendly phone conversation he'll have with Shanahan. Make him feel some pain.

The B's felt pain all weekend. And watching them was equally torturous.

Why the hell did Tim Thomas start both games? He's shown clear signs that his energy levels are below 100%. At his best, he moves around the crease with ferocious grace. He's never out of the play because he's so quick to recover his balance. Actually, he never seems to lose his balance, no matter how he contorts himself. Lately, he hasn't been able to recover and make that second save. He needs rest. More importantly, the Bruins need him rested. The playoffs start in less than a month.

If Thomas doesn't get some rest right now, all the Bruins will have plenty of rest in May.

Turco did well. The silver lining of Thomas and the Bruins struggling in yesterday's 1st period was that now we all know Turco isn't a liability. He's a windmill. Before the Bruins signed him, he was working part time as an obstacle on a mini-golf course.

So with Turco, Thomas can rest. There are 15 games left, I'd like to see Thomas play about 8 of them. 10 at the most. This team is finding ways to lose no matter who is in net.

David Krejci's afternoon in Pittsburgh was a good summary of the Bruins' struggles. He scored 2 goals, but his +/- was 0 for the game. His offense was excellent, but he was inconsistent on defense. He got mesmerized by the puck, forgot to cover Kunitz in the slot, and a goal resulted. He won 12 of 22 faceoffs, but was utterly dominated by Malkin (who won 15 of 20). A nice 2 goals, but a costly mistake, and a failure to do some of the little things that win games.

That's been the Bruins since the start of 2012. Occasional brilliance mixed with inexcusable breakdowns.

Maybe the Bruins are tired from playing 107 games last year. Maybe the Bruins are suffering from injury.

The Canucks played 107 games last year too. They have the 3rd best record in the NHL. And the Penguins have been without Crosby for some time. The Rangers are without Callahan. The number of injuries for the Bruins right now is considerable, but when this stretch of poor play started they were quite healthy.

The Bruins were outmuscled yesterday. Worse than that, they're making horrible decisions. They haven't scored a timely Power Play goal in what seems like months. Every good period of play is sandwiched by two periods of bad play.

The Bruins are 2 points ahead of Ottawa with 2 games in hand. And right now those 2 points are the difference between the #2 seed and the #7 seed.

The B's are in Tampa Tuesday night.

Photo Credits:
AP Photo

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