Dustin Brown and what may have been for the Bruins


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.

Bruins need to "find a way to start playing with a lead"

Bruins need to "find a way to start playing with a lead"

BOSTON -- There’s only so long that a team can hope to thrive, or even survive, in the NHL if they’re constantly chasing the game on the scoreboard, and chasing the puck after digging themselves a hole. The Bruins have been that team in the first couple of weeks during the regular season, and made it five times in five games that they’ve given up the game’s first goal in an eventual 4-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens at TD Garden.

It’s a pattern that is long past getting old to Bruins head coach Claude Julien, who can’t seem to play the front-runner this season despite three comebacks that have allowed for a 3-2-0 record overall this season.

“I hope it’s not a habit. It’s certainly not what we’re looking for, but there’s no doubt. I think it’s pretty obvious that with the amount of games we’ve played, five games, we haven’t scored first,” said Julien. “We talked about that this morning, trying to get that first goal, and it hasn’t happened yet.”

The start to the game wasn’t really the problem on Saturday night as it’s been a couple of times this season. Instead the Bruins enjoyed a handful of quality scoring chances in the opening 20 minutes against the Habs, but couldn’t come through and finish off those plays when it might have meant an early lead.

Instead it lead to what Julien termed a “terrible” second period that was flat, full of mistakes and ended with the B’s trailing Montreal by a couple of goals. The Bruins scratched and clawed their way to making it a one-goal game in the third period, but that was as close as the Black and Gold would get in losing their ninth straight home game to the arch-rival Canadiens.

“It’s kind of been a story about how things are going for us this far, we’ve got to find a way to start playing with a lead. If you don’t capitalize on your chances, you see what happens when you come out [flat] in the second period,” said Torey Krug, who finished a game-worst minus-3 in the loss for the Bruins. “We had another poor second period and you know it’s kind of… you got to make sure that we put our hand on that and it doesn’t become a thing for the team this year. You see that when you don’t capitalize on chances early, that’s what’s going to happen.”

It’s been a positive development that the Bruins have shown the willingness and backbone to fight back into games after early deficits, and they showed that quality once again on Saturday night by scoring a couple of goals in the third period to keep things close. But the Bruins would be best served if they can start lighting the lamp a little earlier in these games, and see how the other half lives by playing with a comfortable lead every once in a while.