CHICAGO The Bruins have had about enough of the whole Stanley Cup hangover thing, and the season is only four games old.
The Black and Gold roll into the United Center for a Saturday night meeting against the Blackhawks that should press down firmly enough on the Bs emotional buttons. But its also appropriate theyre going up against the poster children for the Stanley Cup hangover.
Tyler Seguin came up with the line of the day, but it typified how everyone in the Bruins dressing room was looking at things after a couple disappointing losses to Carolina and Colorado.
I liked part 1 and 2 of the movie The Hangover, but this catchphrase isnt something we want sticking with this team, said Seguin. Its getting annoying and we dont want to keep it over our heads.
So how does somebody put the hangover chatter to bed?
Its pretty simple:
The Bruins have lost focus largely at the beginning of games, but at certain points throughout in three out of the four games played this season, and its cost them. Theyve been a little light on the physical side, without a fight in any of the four games, and they haven't stirred memories of the Big Bad Bruins.
But the NHL will still assume that Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis and Bradley Cooper have been smuggled onto the Bruins roster unless the reigning Cup champs can find a way to minimize the struggles. It starts with upping the intensity and focus and continues when pride starts getting involved with players that know the Stanley Cup party is pretty much over at this point.
Of course there are effects from winning the Cup, but I wouldnt call it a hangover, said Tim Thomas, who hasnt shown any hangover effects in the early going and seems the likely choice as starter on Saturday. By talking about it and by having it brought up in the media all the time, it brings it up into your conscious mind. It gives you an excuse or it allows you to think that way.
The battle as a player is to not waste your time thinking in negative directions like that, and instead stay positive and in the moment. That was last year and this is a new year. If you want to have success, we need to focus on what each of us need to in each individual period and each individual game.
The Bruins are working on simple, fundamental things like transition passes, forechecking and special teams during their Friday practice in Chicago, and its about hammering home the basics for the coaching staff. Claude Julien believes his players have the will to win, but that needs to translate into the kind of Bruins hockey that everyone is accustomed to.
For a lot of people the hangover seems unavoidable, but we dont want to be accepting that, said Julien. If anything, wed like to be the exception to the rule and battle our way out of it. Right now our mental state is whats probably hurting us the most.
Its not clicking right now whether its the transition game or our forecheck. The attention and the will seem to be there, so its just finding a way to push ourselves past that zone and find our game again.
A couple of power-play goals wouldnt hurt; the Bs havent notched a man-advantage tally since their first goal of the season on Oct. 6 against the Flyers when Seguin hit Brad Marchand with a home run stretch pass.
It seems to be a pretty good signs that the Bruins players are getting a bit peeved about the Stanley Cup hangover talk, and the next step is doing something about it by winning some games.
The Bruins continue their effort to find the cure for the common hockey hangover Saturday night against the Blackhawks.