Changing on the Fly: Help wanted for B's offense

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Changing on the Fly: Help wanted for B's offense

So whats at the top of the list for Bruins wants, needs and improvements as they ready for golfing season way too soon?

The single-biggest breakdown during the seven-game loss to the Washington Capitals was the offensive department. There wasnt enough finish when it mattered most and there werent enough offensive chances of the quality variety.

It was an eye-opening for a hockey club that thrived through the regular season.

The Bruins went from being the only team in the NHL with six 20-goal scorers on the NHLs second-best offense at 3.17 goals per game during the regular season to a gang that couldnt shoot straight once the playoffs began.

They dropped down an entire goal-per-game in the postseason, and a host of those 20-plus goal-scorers (Milan Lucic, David Krejci, Brad Marchand . . . were looking at you) couldnt even get a sniff.

We obviously didnt score a lot of goals, and you know coming from a team during the regular season that scored. We certainly had a lot of goals. A lot of them were in the front end of the year, but we certainly have the talent skill to score so credit to Washington, said Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli, who will be making the changes necessary this summer. I think defensively we had a good series. I think offensively, we didnt score at the time we had to score and I think that we could have. So I think thats an area well have to improve, I will improve that well figure out as the summer goes on.

Some of our guys didnt perform as we expected. We all have seen Looch do wonderful things with Krejci and statistically they didnt . . . but no one really did. Theyre two really good players and you want more from them. But theyre two really good players and theyve given us some really good things. So well delve into that and see where it takes us.

So what do the Bruins do from here?

It isnt the Achilles-sized weakness the Bruins experienced the season following the dismissal of Phil Kessel to Toronto, but it was an issue that cropped up when the season was at its most paramount.

Nathan Hortons injury was clearly a factor, and the Bruins never truly got back into their proper offensive state of being once he was removed. Rich Peverley is ideally a third line player that gives the Bruins incredible depth as he did during Bostons Stanley Cup run, but he was filling in for the 6-foot-2, 220-pound Horton on a line with Krejci and Lucic.

So good health will help the Black and Gold on some level, but what are the bolder and more likely solutions?

There are a couple of things: first hope that wunderkind Tyler Seguin turns into the 35-40 goal sniper theyre eternally in search of after jumping to 29 goals as a sophomore in the league. The 20-year-old has all the goods, but still has to prove he can snake through the toughest team defenses and solve the greatest goaltenders in the world. He started to show it toward the end of the playoff run, but it was too little, too late.

In the end you want to get production. Im sure there are lots of guys that feel that way on this team, said Seguin. Now having a first round of the playoffs under my belt I can take that into my future and my career.

Thursday, Aug. 25: Nearly two decades later, the Whalers live on

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Thursday, Aug. 25: Nearly two decades later, the Whalers live on

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while in disbelief mode that the summer is almost over.

*Good piece on the remainders of the Hartford Whalers organization in Connecticut trying to keep the dream alive for the Whale.

*Tyler Seguin sits down for a podcast this week that I freely admit I did not have the time to listen to. I wonder if Boston even rated a mention in the conversation?

*Rating the top NHL contracts, according to the fancy stats hockey analysts, sounds like an interesting exercise.

*Tracey Myers has Duncan Keith bowing out of the World Cup of Hockey while recovering from an injury, and getting replaced by Jay Boumeester.

*The “Da Beauty” Hockey League has kept players like Dustin Byfuglien, Ryan McDonagh and David Backes in hockey shape this summer while slowly getting ready for the season.

*The Arizona Coyotes make a historic hire by naming Dawn Braid as skating coach, making her the first female coach in the NHL.

*For something completely different: FOH (Friend of Haggs) Rich Shirtenlieb guested on the #DORK podcast this week, and it sounds like he didn’t love “Stranger Things.” At the very least he liked “Preacher” better. I thought Preacher was entertaining, but I didn’t even think it was in the same stratosphere as Stranger Things. Rich also has me wanting to watch “It Follows” now, however, after his endorsement.

 

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