Touching All the Bases

Seven Thoughts On The State Of The Bruins Because, You Know, We’ve Got A Game 7


1. The temptation here is to shrug off the Bruins’ 4-0 stinker of a loss to the Canadiens Monday night as Just One Of Those Things, a hardly surprising outcome given the venue, the opponent, and what was at stake. But we can’t dismiss Game 6 until we know how Game 7 plays out. The Bruins were both sloppy and unlucky in Game 6. The Canadiens’ first goal came courtesy of a bounce they used to get at just the right time in the old Forum, and while the Bruins buzzed and buzzed deep into the second period without anything to show for it, the reality is that they they didn’t deserve to win the game. Sure, the Bruins didn’t get the bounces and breaks — Milan Lucic missed a wide-open net, Loui Eriksson hit a crossbar, and a late potential goal didn’t cross the line. But they were also aggravatingly sluggish, even Zdeno Chara, and Tuukka Rask was indecisive at best and reminiscent of a toppling vending machine at worst, falling forward with no hope for recovery, bear claws scattered everywhere. They could use some luck in Game 7, but what they need is to play the way they did in Game 5. It’s certainly possible, perhaps even expected. But we need to see it to believe it.


2. I know this much: the Game 6 debacle had absolutely nothing to do with Shawn Thornton‘s decision to squirt some wiper fluid on P.K. Subban‘s visor late in Game 5. You know why they lost? They played a poor game on the home rink of a very good and desperate team. It’s frustrating, but it was hardly unexpected — remember, they lost Game 6 in Montreal three years ago as well. But should the Bruins lose this series, the narrative that Thornton’s silly action changed things or fired up the Canadiens or disrespected the game or something equally absurd will be inescapable, especially since it happened on the 35th anniversary of Too Many Men On The Ice and scolds do love their symmetry. Thornton squirted water on Subban. The water got wiped away and evaporated. They played another game. They moved on. I hope we’ll be allowed to as well.
3. Think there’s any chance we see Dennis Seidenberg in Game 7? Any chance at all? Nah, neither do I. He keeps himself in phenomenal physical condition — I suspect he was Chara’s Sherpa during that hike up Mount Kilimanjaro — but it’s just too much to ask to expect him to play his first game since December 27 in these win-or-go-home circumstances. It would feel desperate. Still, can you imagine how loud to roar in the Garden would be the moment he took the ice tomorrow night?
4. Presuming Claude Julien doesn’t find a way to sneak an agreeable Nathan Horton into uniform tomorrow night, the question becomes this: Who will play the role of Nathan Horton, the repeated overtime ace during the Cup run in 2010-11? It’s tempting to suggest it will be the accomplished if currently struggling player who has essentially filled Horton’s role on the Bruins. But I’m not going to go with Jarome Iginla. If it does come down to OT — and don’t you feel like that is destined? — I’m going with Carl Soderberg, who at times, including several last night, has looked like the best player on the ice.
5. At 36, Daniel Briere is a shell of the player he was even three years ago, when he scored a career-high 34 goals. He has a total of 35 in the three seasons since, including 13 this year. He was even a healthy scratch for Game 5 in this series. But I can’t be the only one who one who cringes when I hear his name at certain points. It’s not the shiver you get when, say, Kenny Albert says, “Over to Subban …” on a power play, but his name is a reminder of some frustrating times in the Bruins’ past, particularly the 2009-10 series with the Flyers. It figures he would be a Canadien. It’s a mild surprise they don’t also have Simon Gagne.
6. When the Bruins won the Cup three years ago, David Krejci was the unsung, consistent star, leading all postseason scorers with 23 points. When the Bruins damn near won the Cup again last season, there he was again, leading all postseason scorers with 26 points, just seven fewer than he had during the abbreviated regular season. This spring, Krejci has three points, all assists, in 11 games. If they’re going to accomplish everything that is possible this spring, he needs to stop looking for the perfect pass and start playing like the elite-skilled, big-game player he has been. No better time than Wednesday.
7. As for today’s Completely Random Hockey Cards:



A couple of No. 7s for ya. I consider these good omens. You should too.

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