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


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.

Spooner responds positively to healthy scratch


Spooner responds positively to healthy scratch

BOSTON -- It wasn’t perfect by any means, but Saturday night represented a step in a positive direction for Ryan Spooner.

The 24-year-old speedy forward was scratched for the home opener against New Jersey in classic message-sending fashion by Bruins coach Claude Julien, and deserved it based on a passive lack of production combined with some costly mistakes as well. So he stayed quiet, put in the work and then returned to the lineup Saturday vs. the Montreal Canadiens where he scored a power play goal in the 4-2 loss to the Habs at TD Garden.

“He was better,” agreed Claude Julien. “He was better tonight.”

Spooner could have had even more as he got a couple of great scoring chances in the first period vs. Montreal, but Carey Price was able to turn away a couple of free looks at the Montreal net. So the Bruins forward felt he possibly left points on the ice after it was all said and done, but also clearly played his best game of the young season after going from the press box back to the lineup.

“Yeah, I had like maybe four or five [chances] that I could have scored on,” said Spooner. “I’ve just got to bear down on those [scoring opportunities], and a lot [of them] in the first period. It’s good that I’m getting those looks, but I have to score on them.

“I’m just going to go out there and just try to play. I can’t really think about [fighting to hold a spot]. I’ve just got to go out there and try to play, I guess, the game I can and try to use the speed that I have.”

The Spooner power play strike was a nifty one with the shifty forward and David Backes connecting on a pass across the front of the net, and the young B’s forward showing the necessary assertiveness cutting to the net from his half-wall position.

Spooner had five shot attempts overall in the game, and was one of the few Bruins players really getting the chances they wanted against a pretty effective Montreal defensive group. Now it’s a matter of Spooner, along with linemates Backes and David Krejci, scoring during 5-on-5 play and giving the Bruins a little more offensive balance after riding Boston’s top line very hard during the regular season’s first couple of weeks. 

Sunday, Oct. 23: Hall fitting in with Devils


Sunday, Oct. 23: Hall fitting in with Devils

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while waiting to find out which Walking Dead character got brained by Lucille in last season’s cliffhanger. I’m going with Abraham.

*The SI roundtable talks about the future of Jacob Trouba, and where he’ll end up going when his current situation resolves itself.

*P.K. Subban is apparently getting very comfortable in Nashville, and enjoying life in a city with NFL football.

*Fun conversation between Yahoo’s Josh Cooper and Brad Marchand about a whole range of random topics.

*A cool father-son story where they became the goaltending tandem for the Ontario Reign through a series of dominoes falling after Jonathan Quick went down with injury for the Los Angeles Kings.

*Pro Hockey Talk has Taylor Hall serving as exactly what the New Jersey Devils have needed for the last couple of years.

*For something completely different: FOH (Friend of Haggs) Dan Shaughnessy says that the MLB playoffs couldn’t have played out any worse for the Boston Red Sox.