Haggerty: Might be time for Corvo to hit the pine

Haggerty: Might be time for Corvo to hit the pine
March 2, 2012, 7:12 am
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BOSTON -- Its time for the Bruins to do whats best for the team and admit that things arent working out with Joe Corvo right now.

Perhaps Corvo will play a big role in a playoff series or win his spot back after a few days of stepping away from the pressure cooker, but the Bruins defenseman was a liability for the Bruins in their 4-3 overtime win over the New Jersey Devils at TD Garden.

Corvo finished with 17:18 of ice time with 23 shifts in the overtime game, but he didnt play the first six minutes of the third period. That was because Claude Julien had shortened his bench and gone with a five-man defensemen rotation leaving Corvo on the outside looking in.

Its easy to see why given the three-zone breakdowns Corvo suffered in the middle period. It started with Corvo turning a puck over in the neutral zone on a backhanded attempt, who committed the D-man task of failing to know who was where on the ice and his puck mismanagement led to Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise leading a successful odd-man rush in the other direction.

Unfortunately, it also appeared that Corvo wasn't exactly busting it to get back into the play after his neutral zone brain fart, and he was nowhere to be found around the net when Parise finally scored with Dennis Seidenberg hung out to dry.

Julien finally pulled the trigger on a move he had to have been mulling for a few weeks, and pulled Corvo out of the defensemen pairing with the German blueliner. That lasted for five minutes, and then Corvo and Seidenberg again got stung on a Patrick Elias rebound score at the side of the net after Andrew Ference went down with a lower body injury.

Corvo was once again nowhere to be found around the net hes supposed to be guarding, and Julien referred to soft goals surrendered in the second period. So it went from soft goals to the bench to start the third period for Corvo, and Julien wasnt shying away from it after the Bs overtime win.

I dont throw my players under the bus, but obviously Corvo had a bit of a tough outing, said Julien. But well use him again. Its not the easiest night for Joe, but at the end we needed him, so he came back out there.

Unfortunately for Corvo, there isnt enough offense to offset the defensive indifference. He had one shot on net and a pair of giveaways to New Jersey and his play leaves the Bruins in a true dilemma. There isnt anybody else on the Bs roster that can recreate Corvos skating and puck skills from the defenseman position, and quality point positions on the power play are an underrated asset.

But none of that matters if Corvo isnt playing effectively enough to generate offense. Instead, his defensive foibles allowed New Jersey back into the game in another atrocious second period performance for the Bruins, and forced Boston into an overtime victory dictated by David Krejci.

With the goaltending and overall team defense for the Bruins rounding into shape the Bruins are doing their best to augment their weak spots on the ice. Corvo is a walking bulls-eye for playoff-bound teams looking to exploit the Bruins prior to the playoffs, and it doesnt have to be that way.

The Bruins have options with newly acquired Greg Zanon, who looked tremendously comfortable in his Bs debut, Johnny Boychuk on the fast road to recovery from a mild concussion and Mike Mottau all adding to the teams defensemen depth. The Corvo experiment has lasted 60 games, but his season is most closely remembered for costly breakdowns consistently leaving Seidenberg to clean up his mess in the defensive zone.

Its high time to remove a weakness from the Bs lineup and tell Corvo to hang in there while others get a chance to show what they could potentially do during the postseason. After all its not a death sentence that hell never get back into the lineup, but the Bruins cant afford any more soft performance in the defensive zone like the one authored by Corvo Thursday night.

Maybe Corvo will get the call Saturday against the Islanders, or maybe hell be the healthy scratch in favor of Boychuk or Zanon after another rough effort against the Devils. Time will tell, but a strong case is being made that the Bruins are much, much better off with Corvo sitting out a few plays while Boston figures things out.