Re: Analytical Observations
posted at 4/24/2013 9:21 PM EDT
Book, I completely agree with you that this team really looks one dimensional on offense; I said as much in the Seguin hockey-sense thread a while back and I remember you saying you we're thinking the same thing.
I share your observation that's it's been made blatantly obvious by Jagr's addition what we were talking about. The guy understands how to to create space for himself in the offensive zone--how to pull defenders out of position through subtle movements and by just looking people off. Brad Marchand (and to some degree David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron) are the only other players on the Bruins roster that apparently have this ability. It's a huge problem, not just because so few bruins have this skill-set, but because they don't even seem to know how to play with someone who does.
While Jagr is stickhandling and drawing defenders out of position, I don't see enough Bruins noticing this and making themselves available in dangerous areas that defenders have vacated. There isn't a sneaky player in the whole bunch. It's a waste of his talent to some degree because they are sitting there lead-footed waiting for lightning to strike. It's an infuriating brand of hockey to watch.
These are the players I'm talking about:
- Milan Lucic
- Tyler Seguin
- Rich Peverly
- Chris Kelly
- Nathan Horton
- I'm excusing all the 4th liners because they are 4th liners. The defenders are also implicated on this, but it's less obvious because the opportunities to sneak up into the high slot are rare.
That's most of the team!
In my past years, I would have just called it coaching. I would have said Claude is responsible because he beats the creativity out of his players by his tyrannical emphasis on system. I would have pointed out that only Savard and Jagr we're allowed to experiment offensively and escaped the suffocating Claude indoctrination process that the rest have endured. But now, I think a fair amount of it is Peter Chiarelli's doing. I don't think your players change very much, and PC put this team together because he wanted a physical, responsible, 5v5 hockey team. It's a good strategy to win that way in the post-season, but it requires that your players are actually playing physical! By physical I don't meean by body checking necessarily, but by winning battles to loose pucks in the corners and wearing down the other team.
In the last few weeks, the Bruins have looked inept because they are loafing, and unlike Alexander Semin who can loaf all day and still make you pay, there are several characters on the Bruins that do not have the hands, the vision, the hockey sense, or the goal scoring ability to be effective at 75% effort.
It's possible that we will see them look different in the post-season... the stakes of the playoffs are a better motivator than any impotent Claude-benching tactic or locker-room speech. But if the Bruins are one-and-done and look as inept as they were in last years playoffs, I'm looking at PC not to put all his eggs in one basket again stocking the team with big-bodied clones, and acquire some skill with the puck.
that means spooner should be centering the 3rd line, not kelly. Jagr should be resigned, Horton let go, and aquire someone... anyone with some damn hockey sense.
With all that being said. Im fully expecting to see the bruins back to their physical ways again in the post-season. We'll just have to hope it once again covers up how one-dimensional this team is on offense.