Dustin Brown and what may have been for the Bruins

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Dustin Brown and what may have been for the Bruins

One cant help but watch Kings Captain Dustin Brown dominate the playoffs with his upstart Los Angeles hockey club, and wonder what might have been for the eliminated Bruins.

Brown is third in the NHL during the playoffs with 11 points, he leads all players with a postseason rating of plus-9 and hes tied for fifth in the league with 39 playoff hits. Hes also played at least two fewer playoff games than the players above him on the registered hits list proof positive of his pit bull nature when it comes to playing hockey.

He plays a punishing, blue collar in-your-face style that practically screams out Bruins.So where does the connection with Boston come in?

Peter Chiarelli had mentioned after the trade deadline that there was an additional winger the Bruins had been pursuing, but in the end he hadnt been able to close the deal. Several sources indicated at the time that the 27-year-old Brown was the player that Chiarelli and the Bruins were shooting for.

But the price was deemed too step for a Kings team that was only exploring Browns value on the market.

At the time Los Angeles was struggling offensively and looked like they might be on the outside looking in when the playoffs started, so they were listening to potential message-sending deals for their talented hockey club.

The Kings also wanted Milan Lucic in exchange for Brown, and who can blame them?

The Bruins werent going to entertain a deal for a player so important to their success, and so vital to their overall style of play. Looking back in hindsight at Lucics 0-for-the-playoffs performance against the Washington Capitals -- or the Full Thornton as my Boston Glove colleague Kevin Paul Dupont is fond of saying -- perhaps some Bruins fans would have been ready to press down on the plunger to do the deal.
The trade never got past the initial discussion stages, but it brings up a couple of natural questions.

How good would a fiery player like Brown have been for the Bruins after getting shipped out of Los Angeles in a blindside at the end of February?

How different would it have been for the Bruins with Dustin Brown skating on the top forward line while allowing Rich Peverley to switch down into the third line role that suited him so well during last years playoff run (thats assuming the Bruins could have made the deal without giving up Lucic)?

Nobody will ever know the answers to these questions, but Chiarellis admission he wanted to get another winger at the trade deadline lets everybody know he wasnt quite sure he had enough offensive ammunition entering the playoffs.

As it turned out the GM was exactly right.

The Bs offense didnt have enough horsepower when the intensity was lifted in the playoffs, and thats one area Brown clearly could have helped. With the Bruins out so early in the spring, everyone is left to ask there kinds of theoretical questions while Stanley Cup playoff hockey rolls on without them.

B's determined to 'keep it going' during good offensive run

B's determined to 'keep it going' during good offensive run

BRIGHTON, Mass. -- The Bruins are going through a nice, little bountiful stretch of offense right now after a half-season of struggle.

The Bruins are averaging more than three goals per game in their last 12 contests, and have scored a whopping 22 goals in their last six games including dropping six scores on the Flyers Saturday afternoon at TD Garden. Combine that with the 7-for-25 performance on the power play during the month of January, and things are finally starting to catch up with a Bruins team that was all shoot/no score for months of frustrating hockey this season.

“If you want sustained success then you have to be good defensively, but you also have to score some goals. That’s definitely part of it and we have to keep it going,” said Patrice Bergeron, who has four goals and eight points in his last nine games after struggling out of the starting gate. “You’re not going to get rewarded every night like we did [against the Flyers], but you have to find that consistency where you’re close to having that every night.”

One thing nobody should expect out of the B’s, however, is to get outside of what they do well now that they’ve started slapping some numbers up on the board. Instead the Bruins are intent on their bedrock of disciplined defense and sensational goaltending with the added offense just making it much tougher to beat them these days.

“I don’t know if we can stand here and say we’re going to sustain that we’re scoring lots of goals. I think what we need to sustain here is winning more games than we lose,” said Claude Julien. “That’s what we’ve got to sustain. Whether it’s a 1-0 or 2-1 game, or it’s a 5-2 or 5-3 game it doesn’t really matter. It’s about winning hockey games much more than it’s about how much you scored, and how much you don’t score.

“Overall when I look at the scoring chances we’re giving up per game, that doesn’t seem to have changed. Goals allowed may have changed a little bit lately, but overall I think we’ve been very steady in that area [of defense].”

So now the Bruins will again be looking for that ideal balance of offense/defense when they take the ice against the Islanders on Monday afternoon for their second straight matinee at TD Garden. 

Morrow has 'confident feeling' as he readies to jump into B's lineup

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Morrow has 'confident feeling' as he readies to jump into B's lineup

BRIGHTON, Mass. -- It’s been a long month of bag skates and lonely practices for Bruins defenseman Joe Morrow.

That’s about to change thanks to injuries to both Kevan Miller and Colin Miller, who are both not expected to be able to play against the New York Islanders on Monday afternoon at TD Garden. That means Morrow will be in the B’s lineup for the first time since a Dec. 12 win over the Montreal Canadiens, a span of 16 consecutive B’s games that the 24-year-old has been watching from the press box.

Morrow skated in a pairing with John-Michael Liles in Sunday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena prior to Monday’smatinee, and obviously he’s looking forward to getting back into games given this season’s sporadic practice schedule.

“[Playing well after sitting for long stretches] isn’t necessarily something you want to be good at, but if you are good at then it’s a good tool to have in your bag. It’s a confident feeling that I’ll be able to come in [and play well],” said Morrow, who has an assist and a minus-3 rating in 13 games for the Black and Gold this season. “I’ve stayed in good shape and worked hard in practice, and that’s all I can do up until this point.

“Put simply, [this year’s compacted schedule] is exhausting. Countless times I’ve skated by myself, and anybody would tell you there’s nothing harder than skating by yourself on a sheet of ice. Mentally and physically it’s just exhausting. There haven’t been many practices and there haven’t been many game-type situations in the practices we do have. Skating with the whole team is almost like a pregame skate scenario. But you’re still skating every day, so it’s putting it upon yourself to go out there and stay ready for things.”

The one issue for Morrow, a former first round pick, over the last couple of seasons has been maintaining a high level of play once he draws his way into the lineup. It feels like there’s a drop-off in his play once he’s played a few games in a row whether it’s physical mistakes or mental lapses in his play, and that’s something he wants to avoid when given an opportunity to suit up.

“I feel like when I have played this year that I’ve been quite consistent and that I’ve played well,” said Morrow, the last remaining part of the 2013 Tyler Seguin trade still in a Bruins uniform. “I’m just in a situation that the cards are playing out the way that they are, so it depends on how many games I get whether it’s one, two, 30 or however many games are left [in the season]. It’s realistically entirely up to me. If I can shake the rust out in the first couple of shifts and start from there, it’s going to be a big positive in my book. It’s the really the only option I have left now.”

Given that Colin Miller began skating on his own on Sunday morning, it might not be a very big window for Morrow to impress upon the coaches just how badly he wants to play. But one would expect he’s going to bring his best on Monday against the Isles with the hopes that it will be somebody else sitting up in the press box when it once again becomes a D-man numbers game for the 7-8 players for six lineup spots.