Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Your Mid-Week Bruins Roundup

So the Bruins are now 2-1-3... a record which is cheering in that we've only had one real loss (at the hands of the Wild) and frustrating in that, like last year, we remain unable to pull out wins past regulation time (thus far, we've dropped in shootouts to the Habs, the Pens, and the Sabres).

The good: Phil Kessel is averaging a goal per game with 6 on the season, including 3 PPGs and one game-winner against the Senators. The former Masterton Trophy winner was bumped up to share the first line with Marc Savard during Monday night's home opener. Savard now has 5 goals and 4 assists on the season for 9 total points, and the combination of his playmaking ability with Kessel's hot stick on the first line (along with Milan Lucic's dominant physical presence) makes for a fearsome offensive presence that, in last night's game against the Sabres, was able to consistently control the puck and outskate defenders (Kessel, Savvy, and Lucic combined for 6 shots on goal). I spent a great deal of last season complaining about the Bruins' reliance on the slap shot (I know, I know, everyone loves 'em but you have to use them judiciously dammit) and it's heartening to see Claude Julien sticking to his guns and encouraging the B's to concentrate on making plays and to be more judicious with their shots.




The bad: Frankly, this defense worries me. They've demonstrated an ability to shut down key players like Montreal's Alex Kovalev and Buffalo's Thomas Vanek, but opposing teams across the board have been able to sustain offensive pressure without much in the way of challenges for far too long each game. Andrew Ference has been the only consistent playmaker thus far, and both Tim Thomas and Manny Fernandez have both been way too busy in the net. It's great to see Thomas getting 30 saves a night, sure, but I'd rather not see him getting 33 shots on goal a night. (Those of you who are really super amazing at math will note that this means 3 goals per night.)

Upcoming games against the Leafs, Thrashers, Oilers, and Canucks should hopefully mean a chance to boost our record over .500 as we close out the first month of this season.

Play of the week: Not that it ultimately did us any good, but David Krejci scored an absolutely beautiful goal in the 3rd round of the shootout last night: he moved in at super-low speed, cool as a cucumber, and flipped a textbook wrist shot up over Ryan Miller to keep the Bruins alive in the shootout. If -- and this is a big if -- the Bruins are to overcome their persistent shootout woes, the key will be shots like this: quick, reflexive, and simple. Krejci's up at around the 2:54 mark:

Fight of the week: Our very first (!) fight against Montreal of the season, just seconds into last Wednesday's game. Shawn Thornton takes on Georges Laraque:


stanley cup of chowder said...

Finally! Nice work!

It's funny that you had the Phil Kessel look-a-like. I'm actually working on a B's look-a-like post right now and I couldn't figure out who Kessel looked like.

futuremrsrickankiel said...

I've been sitting on that for a while, actually, and this post seemed as good a time as any to work it in. I do love me some Phil Kessel, but my lord he is an awkward-looking young man. He's no Vladi, anyway.

Hazel Maes Landing Strip said...

Wasn't he in 2ge+her?

Thanks for the Bruins wrap up, your one post has more Bruins coverage in it then all of the other Boston Media sources combined.

The A-Train said...

you have to admit though, that was a pretty sweet move Vanek put on Fernandez.

Shaun said...

Shawn Thornton will eff up anyone, period.

Except like, Zangief. Dude powerbombs bears.

Rocco said...

What, Vanek's "around the world" move? Ehh, most of the time it's not that effective. It was a sweet top-shelf shot though. "Top shelf where momma hides the cookies!" if you're a fan of Rick Jeanneret. Krejci is a stud.

GHABB,Y~! said...

@shaun - I dunno, I think Dhalsim's reach and "fast slap" maneuver may at least annoy Thornton into giving up.

And YAY for hockey posts, because god knows no other site/radio station/newspaper covers hockey anymore.

Rocco said...

Thought I think Krejci's SO goal was 5 hole or low stick side.

futuremrsrickankiel said...

Couldn't really get a good angle on it, although Miller was pretty far in front of the crease... placement is not so much what I liked about that shot as execution, though. Doesn't Chara realize they KNOW to expect a slap shot from between the rings every time from him? No way a goalie as good as Ryan Miller is going to let that get by him... plus Savvy getting tripped up for the last goal in the sudden-death round was positively cringe-worthy. Sigh.

I should really get up a video of Mark Stuart being skipped during the home opener introductions...