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Bruins walk tightrope against Chicago

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan  June 24, 2013 06:05 AM

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Larry Johnson Illustration.jpgBlades better keep his balance in Game 6. (Larry Johnson illustration)


Talk about "do or die."

Nik Wallenda showed nerves of steel and cannon-ball-sized nads traversing a skywire across a 1,400-foot slice of the Grand Canyon Sunday night, even "Tebowing" along the way.

He was actually kneeling to stabilize himself against stiff winds. Much like Tebow, Wallenda offered praise to Jesus throughout his terrifying journey. Both survived, Wallenda walking 1,500 above a gorge in Arizona with no net or parachute. Tebow playing a season with the Jets.

It was must-see TV and put a whole new spin on the garbage that we call "reality television."

Also walking a tightrope today: the Boston Bruins, Aaron Hernandez, Danny Ainge and the Red Sox bullpen.

If Wallenda really wanted to impress us, he would have walked back, too. After Wallenda's walk, Discovery premiered a show called "Naked and Afraid." We hope that's also the condition of Blackhawks in their locker room tonight at about 11.

The Bruins are walking their highwire at TD Garden tonight, facing certain hockey death with a loss (8:20, NBC). It's the second time this postseason the Bruins were straddling above the grand canyon of playoff elimination. The Bruins were hanging from that wire with just one hand in Game 7 against Toronto, trailing 4-1 in the third period.

They found a dose of "Boston Strong," pulled themselves up and you know the rest.

And, as we've seen about 150,342 times on Twitter since Saturday's slapdown in Chicago, the Bruins were in the same situation against the Canucks two years ago. That team had Patrice Bergeron and Tim Thomas.

First, Beregeron. The injury surrounding Bergeron remains shrouded in mystery. What what's been reported, it appears to be some sort of damage to his spleen or an internal organ, which may have been caused by a cracked or broken rib. Claude Julien was mum on the injury and no one is able to pinpoint the specific play or hit when it occurred. Bergeron pulled up in the second period, but only saw 5:17 of ice time in the first.

The Bruins have done nothing to tamp speculation that the injury was present before Game 5 and the issue was avoided when Julien was asked about it Saturday night.

When Gregory Campbell broke his leg, there was no doubt what happened, when and why. And the Bruins confirmed reports that his leg was broken before the game was over.

Keep an eye on this one, especially if the season sadly ends tonight.

But Bobby Orr isn't coming through that door, at least in uniform, neither is Espo, Ray Bourque. The Bruins Monday are leading us to believe Bergeron just might still. Wherever and whenever the cause of Bergeron's injury. Brad Marchand, Tyler Seguin and David Krecji will be in uniform tonight. But they'll have to play like it in order for the Bruins to have any hope of repeating 2011's comeback against Vancouver.

"The Little Ball of Hate" has dissolved into a tiny grain of apathy against the Blackhawks. Saturday night, Marchand had zero points, one shot and one hit in 17:14 of ice time. The Blackhawks haven't been given enough credit from these quarters for their ability to negate Marchand in this series. In 1:09.54 of ice time against Chicago [more than a full game] in the Stanley Cup Final, Marchand has no goals, no assists, just nine shots and is a minus-3.

Seguin has been slightly less unimpressive. His flaccid stick cost the Bruins a sure open-net goal in the second period Saturday. His play has improved slightly during the course of the series, but he has lost whatever ability he once had to plant his shot and shoot decisively at the most important moments.

Chara.jpg

Krecji, like the rest of the Bruins offense, was completely taken out of his game Saturday. He was able to feed Zdeno Chara for the Bruins' lone goal. It was one of the first times in this series Chara was able to fully wind up and take one of his patented, blistering slap-shots.

The Blackhawks talked a lot about going after Chara before Game 5. But what they really did was stay away from him. Instead of poking the bear, they wore him out. Chara was out of position on both of Patrick Kane's goals Saturday. The Blackhawks kept moving and Chara and Dennis Seidenberg were too slow and had to be split up.

Again, the Bruins remain on the tightrope, they haven't fallen off. Writing them off without Bergeron is almost too easy. It's no different than saying just shoot at Corey Crawford's glove side and you'll score every time. How'd that work out Saturday? Crawford's glove remains a liability (see 2011 Red Sox) but the Bruins cannot hope themselves into a Game 7 or Stanley Cup by aiming at it and nothing else. One or two passes at most on each possession would create more shots and more opportunities to test Crawford on all sides. The Bruins need to crash the net, shoot more than five times in the second period (like they did Saturday) and most importantly, score first.

The beauty of this series is that, thus far anyway, we've gotten exactly the opposite of what we expected courtesy of the "insiders and experts" before each game. Games that were supposed to be high-scoring, were low-scoring. Tuukka Rask was Tim Thomas, then Andrew Raycroft, and back to being Thomas all in the span of three games. Kane and Jonathan Toews were no-shows, until they powered Chicago to victory in games four and five.

Carl Soderberg was a one-eye-Swedish punchline. Now he's the great very white hope for the Bruins' second line.

Tonight, no one knows what to expect.

Just like Wallenda walking his skywire, the Bruins will put it all on the line tonight facing certain [hockey] destruction if they fail.

If they go the distance and play mistake-free hockey, avoid any more injuries or bad bounces, get some goals from anyone not named Bergeron or Paille, they'll make it to the other side.

Just in time walk it all back again on Wednesday.

___________

In case you missed it because you were watching Hernandez buy gas last Thursday, here's a link to the interview and column posted here on possible future Celtics coach Stan Van Gundy.

Van Gundy would made a great coach in Boston, especially with a young and rebuilding team. He won't take crap from the players, but at the same time has experience in dealing with petulant, immature superstars [see Dwight Howard], so Rondo won't be too much a problem for him.

Van Gundy is very happy and settled in Central Florida. It's unlikey his family would move noth with him, but he did coach at UMass Lowell for four years and loves the Bay State. It's likely he'd be just like his predecessor Doc Rivers, live outside Orlando but coach in Boston.

Join us tonight at 7:30 for our live in-game chat on Boston.Com and ChicagoTribune.Com. If you've got any more cool Stanley Cup art or photos, pass them along and we'll post them here, or on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page and @realOBF Twitter feed. You can also e-mail me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com. Go Bruins!

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Obnoxious Boston Fan offers a fun, unique and biting perspective on the Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins, Patriots and whatever else people are talking about in the world of sports. We More »
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