Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Bruins' Comeback Falls Short

Unlike the Patriots and Red Sox, the Bruins' comeback effort fell short Monday afternoon. And I'm blaming the power play for the lack of offense. The B's were 0 for 5 with a man advantage, including an extended stretch of 5-on-3 play.

I think the Bruins coaches are trying too hard to get the power play to work. Gimmicks and tricks like putting Zdeno Chara in front of the net and keeping forwards on the point seem like clever ideas in theory, but they don't work on ice.

All the good things Chara does in the crease are countered by things he doesn't do. He's a big body, he blocks the goalie's vision, he's impossible to dislodge. At the same time, his massive wingspan works against him when pucks are around his feet. He's not able to work his stick properly in the closed quarters phone-booth environment of the crease. You also lose his blistering slapshot from the point and all the other dynamic things he does as a defenseman.

I don't mind putting forwards on the point, so long as you have enough talented power play worthy forwards in traditional positions. Unfortunately, the Bruins don't have surplus forwards to station on the point. And a few of the Bruins that saw power play time Monday don't deserve to. Jordan Caron (1:07 power play time on ice Monday) is NOT a power play forward. Nor is Gregory Campbell (1:22 PP TOI). And I don't think Milan Lucic (3:42 PP TOI) is either. At least not for nearly 4 minutes.

Lucic reacts very well to scoring opportunities, but he doesn't do well trying to create them. He's like someone who has great comeback lines, but struggles telling the initial joke. Lucic hasn't scored a power play goal since March 3, 2012. Let that sink in. March 3, 2012. The one spot on the power play I'd like to see Lucic play is in front of the net. He's good at those reflex-based, so-called "junk" goals. Better than Chara.

On the bright side of things, being in the same division with the Red Wings should produce tremendous entertainment this season.

Being in the same division as the Florida Panthers probably won't. And that's who the Bruins are playing on Thursday.

Photo Credit:
AP Photo/Elise Amendola

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