B's powerless with the man advantage . . . again

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B's powerless with the man advantage . . . again

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

RALEIGH, N.C. It wouldnt have felt right if the Bruins power play caught fire and dominated their first game against former defenseman Tomas Kaberle in his new Carolina digs.As it turns out, they didn't have anything to worry about.

Kaberle was the quarterback on the worst power play in the modern history of the Stanley Cup playoffs while with the Bruins last spring, and -- in perhaps a tribute that only the Hurricanes defenseman could love -- the Bs PP teams went 0-for-5 Wednesday night in their 3-2 loss to the Canes at the RBC Center.

The futile power play this season has an eerily familiar feel - if in results mostly -to a Bruins team that ranked in the bottom third of the NHL inpower-play success last year, and was even worse during the postseason. Fact is, the Bruins probably would have won Wednesday night if they had a power play humming at close to full efficiency. Admittedly the puck movement and offensive chances for the B's man advantage has been better this year with Tyler Seguin, Brad Marchand and Joe Corvo helping move the puck more crisply and creatively. But the results still aren't there yet.Its a little bit of everything. Patience is one thing and you can only go with patience for so long, said coach Claude Julien, who is not looking forward to answering questions about the power play's lack of production again this season. But Im certainly not going to go there this year and start chirping about the power play all year long. We certainly want to make it better . . .

Our best players arent at the top of their games. The last thing you want to do is push power play troubles on these guys . . . Weve got to find a way to break that cycle.

Despite new personnel on the power play and a change in formation during the man advantage, the emotional focus has been inconsistent at best. It appears that, with only one goal in 18 attempts so far this year, the players are beginning to press, just as they did last year.

So what to do about it?

Many critics of the Bs coaching staffs including NBCs Mike Milbury during the intermission report feel there isnt enough movement among players with andwithout the puck. That'snormally an indictment of a power play without enough creative offensive players, or a group of PP players that are battling with their confidence.Given some of the offensive talent on the B's man advantage, it would appear to be the latter more than the former. The movement issues seemed to be addressed during one stretch midway through the game, but, in true Black and Gold fashion, something went wrong on the power playWednesday night when Johnny Boychuk tried to create some offense by cutting toward the back door.

Instead of executing an offensive play that might have helped them win the game or quiet the growing power play peanut gallery, Boychuk misfired on shooting the puck while speeding toward the slot and was called for goaltender interference once he collided with Carolina netminderCam Ward.

Pretty indicative of the first four games for the Bruins this season as no good deed is going unpunished for Boychuk and the Bruins.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Bruins don't poll well in latest New England Sports survey

Bruins don't poll well in latest New England Sports survey

It’s no secret Bruins fans are getting fed up with a hockey team in decline, one that’s missed the playoffs each of the last two years. Now there are numbers to prove it.

Channel Media and Market Research, Inc. came out with its annual New England Sports survey,  tabulating responses from over 14,600 polled, and, according to the numbers, the Bruins are dropping in popularity, fan support and faith in the current management group.

The B’s are holding somewhat steady with 16 percent of voters listing them as their “favorite sports team” behind the Patriots (46 percent) and Red Sox (29 percent) while ahead of the Celtics and Revolution. Claude Julien also ranked ahead of John Farrell among the big four teams in the “coaches/manages most admired” category.

But after sitting at a relative high of ranking at 27 percent for “ownership performance” in 2014 -- they year after their trip to the Cup Finals against the Blackhawks -- the Bruins now rank dead last in that category at 2 percent, behind the Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics and even the Revolution. Ouch, babe.

Also sitting at a lowly 2 percent is Bruins president Cam Neely in the “leadership performance” category. In "management performance," Neely has dropped from a solid 49 percent in 2014 to just 16 percent in this summer’s survey.

So B’s fans are clearly upset with a team that traded away Tyler Seguin, Johnny Boychuk, Milan Lucic and Dougie Hamilton, and has featured a decimated defense corps for each of the last two seasons. But do the B’s fans think that things are getting any better with prospects coming down the pipeline?

Not really.

In the “which team has done the best job making its product better.” category, the Patriots (35 percent) and Red Sox (31 percent) were resting at the top, with the Celtics (27 percent) a respectable third. The Bruins limped in at just 4 percent with a fan base that very clearly sees that, on paper, this upcoming season’s club doesn’t appear to be much better than last year's.

On top of that, only 13 percent of those surveyed believe the Bruins have gotten better over the last year, and 52 percent believe they’ve just gotten worse. A lowly 3 percent of those surveyed think the Bruins have the best chance of the five teams to bring a world championship back to Boston; the Patriots (79 percent), Red Sox (11 percent) and Celtics (5 percent) all ranked higher.

Finally, Zdeno Chara, Tuukka Rask and Jimmy Hayes were at the top of the list of the Boston athletes “who did not meet expectations” last season. None of that is a surprise, given the state of Boston’s defense along with Hayes’ subpar season.

The good news for the Bruins: They still have a passionate fan base. But they need to start reversing course immediately before they do lasting damage to the B’s brand.

Wednesday, August 24: B's dealing with post-Vesey aftermath

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Wednesday, August 24: B's dealing with post-Vesey aftermath

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading with the Olympics coming to a close . . .
 
-- FOH (Friend of Haggs) Kirk Luedeke sorts through the aftermath for the Bruins after losing out on Jimmy Vesey

-- Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland gave an interview where he said the Red Wings aren’t Stanley Cup contenders this season. 

-- Related to Holland’s comments, some of the media in Detroit aren’t taking the dose of reality all that well

-- It’s a big season for New Jersey Devils forward Kyle Palmieri, who will be starring for Team USA on the World Cup team. 

 -- PHT writer Cam Tucker says the Buffalo Sabres still have a strong group of forwards even without Jimmy Vesey.

-- Jamie Benn is giving everything to his Dallas Stars team, and that means that the World Cup of Hockey is taking a backseat
 
-- The Colorado Avalanche are nearing the end of their head coaching search as they look for their replacement for Patrick Roy.
 
-- For something completely different: NBC is making the argument that millenials watched the Olympics, but just not on the traditional formats