Boston is known for a lot.
Wicked awesome accents, a sick sports market and as of late, an extremely frustrating hockey team.
After making priority number being their troubles on the blue line, Boston decided re-upping Kevan Miller and John Michael Liles was sufficient enough. Now, up to this point they were wrong since Miller and Adam McQuaid weren’t available to begin the season. Yet did they fool anyone with metaphorically sticking gum over a leaky pipe? Brandon Carlo has stepped in and played above average along side Chara where Torey Krug has left something to be desired so far this season.
A marvelous opening night performance against the Blue Jackets by Brad Marchand has proved, offensively, the Bruins are top heavy. Which, has placed them 6th in their division.
Since his return from injury, Patrice Bergeron has been largely spotless, including a game winning goal in his return to action. David Pastrnak has had the wheels churning since opening night, but has struggled to find consistency in his game offensively. As previously stated, Brad Marchand has carried the bulk of the load as far as total team offense goes while David Backes is fitting seamlessly into the teams style.
Oh, by the way Backes has undergone a minor “procedure” on his elbow and is expected to miss two games at the very least.
Tuukka Rask vowed to come back better than ever after a long off season of rest. Just to turn around four games into the season and sit due to general “soreness”. So backup Anton Khudobin took to the ice against Montreal, in a losing effort he would suffer an “upper body injury” requiring three weeks of shelf time.
In the absence of the primary two goaltenders, both Malcolm Subban and Zane McIntyre have been called up from Providence. Tuesday night offered the first look at Subban since being chased out of the net by St. Louis last season. History has an odd way of repeating itself as Subban was relieved of his duty for McIntyre after letting up 3 goals on 16 shots.
It would appear as if Boston is struggling to find its identity this far into the early portion of the season. Physically they haven’t lost a step, regularly engaging in altercations and fisticuffs. Yet, their Achilles heel has bled over from last season. Not only can they not seem to play with a lead at any portion of a game, they physically can’t score.
Allowing Columbus, Toronto, Winnipeg, New Jersey, Montreal and Minnesota to get on the board first, this just makes each and every victory/defeat increasingly difficult.
It’s not necessarily that Boston is playing bad or uninspired hockey, because from what I have seen, that’s quite the opposite. However, the game plan needs to change and the rhetoric needs reassessment from managements perspective. Don’t tell the fan base that this isn’t a rebuild if you fail to make the playoffs for an unheard of third season in a row. Also, save your breath when saying you’ve done all you can to put the best product possible on the ice. Lastly, don’t keep the same coach to kick a can all season and shove the wrong messages down players throats. No matter how many times you try and shove a square into a circle, it’s not going to happen.
Yet I digress, clearly none of what has been told to the public applies.
Now, considerable interest was placed on Cam Fowler who is currently employed by the cap constricted Anaheim Ducks. The 24 year old defensemen has made noticeable strides towards becoming a strictly defensive player.
Now, is Fowler the immediate solution? No, by no means is he Drew Doughty or Erik Karlsson. By all means he’s a noticeable upgrade from Kevan Miller and John Michael Liles. Furthermore he allows Julien the option to keep Chara on the bench, saving those 39 year old legs for better use.
Boston’s slow start last season spelled disaster for the latter portion as they failed to recover lost ground. With the addition of the injury bug plaguing the locker room, the trend seems to have returned.
Regardless of previous triumphs and failures, this season seems somewhat different. In the sense that unlike in years past, a new wave of youthfully inspired players have made and or gained considerable attention in the lineup. The future seems bright, but that’s the lamest cliché in the book.
Take-aways from the early stages of the season:
- Congratulations to <!– [if lt IE 9]>/asset-detail/assets/ie-76ee5ec7ff1a26974b983eaaa8e52d89.js<![endif]–>Austin Czarnik on netting the first goal of his career.
- Can’t establish/hold an early lead
- Can only beat teams who aren’t destined to make the playoffs
- Jimmy Hayes still stinks.
- This is going to be a long season