Bruins Report Card: Player-by-player review


Bruins Report Card: Player-by-player review

By Joe Haggerty Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
Overall, of course, they get an A-plus. How else would you grade a Stanley Cup-winning season?

But what about individual members of the Bruins? How did they perform, both in the regular season and the playoffs, in 2010-11?

Here are this season's grades:

David Krejci

Regular season: The Czech Republic center led the Bruins with 62 points, including 49 assists, and was tops among forwards with 18:51 of ice time per game while manning Bostons top line. He missed seven games with a concussion that kept him from reaching 70 points, and he also stopped shooting the puck with confidence in the second half of the year. Grade: B
Playoffs: Krejci was the leading scorer in the playoffs with 23 points (12 goals, 11 assists) and left a great deal of expectations as to how much better he could be during the regular season. Four game-winning goals in the playoffs is pretty tough to argue with. Grade: A

Next year: The only think separating Krejci from NHL stardom is consistency during the regular season.

Milan Lucic

Regular season: Looch hit the 30-goal mark for the first time in his career and began to reach some of the vast potential he showed entering the league as a 6-foot-3, 230-pound piece of raw power forward. He led the Bs with 121 penalty minutes and shot the puck with much more frequency, and spent much less time running around at the expense of his offensive game. Grade: A-

Playoffs: Lucic battled through a broken toe and a sinus infection and looked a bit slow in all phases of the game against some of the quick-skating playoff teams. It was a bit of surprise since Lucic had always performed well in the playoffs, but he still managed 12 points in 25 games and set up Nathan Hortons OT Game 7 winner against the Montreal Canadiens. He also finished second to only Maxim Lapierre with 63 PIM in 25 postseason games. Grade: C

Next year: Lucic simply needs to continue balancing the brawn and skill parts of his power forward game, and work on keeping his confidence up all through the year.

Patrice Bergeron

Regular season: Bergeron managed 22 goals and scored over 50 points in his best offensive season since suffering a major concussion four years ago, and was Bostons most consistent forward through 80 games. Bergeron centered the Brad MarchandMark Recchi line from January on in the regular season, and provided the kind of two-way punch offensively and defensively that Boston badly needed. Grade: A

Playoffs: Bergeron became close to a point-per-game player with 20 points (6 goals and 14 assists) in 23 games, battled back from a concussion suffered at the end of the Flyers series, bagged two short-handed goals, won over 60 percent of his faceoffs and was one of Bostons best players in the crucial Game 7 victory in Vancouver. Bergerons performance on the big stage should finally get him the recognition that he richly deserves. Grade: A

Next year: Bergeron and Marchand should be a dynamic duo for a long time in Boston, and a return to the 30-goal plateau isnt out of the question.

Nathan Horton

Regular season: Horton had himself a good regular season with 26 goals and a plus-28 rating in his first season for Boston, and he impressed by getting better as the year went along. Horton played his best hockey in February and March while showing a little bit of a nasty streak along with the offense. The right wing had been accused of not playing with a heartbeat during his time in Florida, but he found results all year aside from a stretch when he was paired with Marc Savard in December and January. Grade: B

Playoffs: Horton became Bostons Game 7 game-winning hero in the opening round and the Eastern Conference Finals, and was an inspirational figure after going down with a severe concussion in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals at TD Garden. It was remarkable how well Horton played for a guy in his first playoff series, and he finished tied for third on the Bs with eight playoff goals despite missing the final four games. Grade: A

Next year: Horton should be even better with a full Boston season in his system, and is another player that could stand some consistency after going hot and cold through the year.

Mark Recchi

Regular season: Recchi finished up an amazing 23-year NHL career with 14 goals and 48 points while missing only a single game and almost no practices during the regular season. The leadership influence that Recchi had on both Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron was palpable, and its no exaggeration to say the 43-year-old forever changed the Bruins room after his arrival from Tampa Bay. He showed real leadership when he helped shield Chara from the Montreal media frenzy at the end of the year. Grade: B
Playoffs: Recchi, who had 14 points in 25 games, appeared close to finished when he had trouble getting things going against the Lightning in the conference finals. But he came alive just when people left him for dead, and scored more points (7) in the Stanley Cup Final than Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin and Ryan Kesler combined. That is saying something. Grade: B

Next year: Recchi has called it a career while on top of the NHL world and will start planning his next move in management of an NHL front office.

Zdeno Chara

Regular season: Chara was nominated for the Norris Trophy for the second time in the last three years. He led the Bruins with a plus-33 during the season and chipped in 44 points in 81 games while acting as the defensive anchor. The stress level of dealing with the Max Pacioretty incident at the end of the regular season might have been some of the most adversity the Bs captain has had to deal with in his career and he came through with a strong finish. Grade: B

Playoffs: Chara averaged a team-high 27:39 of ice time, led the Bruins with a plus-16 during the postseason and managed to persevere through an illness in the first round that caused him to lose 10 pounds. The dehydration episode knocked him back, but once again Chara managed to rebound quickly despite feeling much less than 100 percent until the Philadelphia series got underway. Bonus points for the Arnold Schwarzenegger-style Predator scream when he lifted the Stanley Cup over his head after Game 7. Claude Juliens pairing of Chara with Dennis Seidenberg after Game 2 against Montreal was a turning point in the playoffs. Grade: A-

Next year: Chara is in a very good place in his career as long as he can maintain his current level of mobility along with the sizestrength package he brings to the table.

Michael Ryder

Regular season: One of the few minus players on the Bruins during the regular season, and only 18 goals in a full campaign isnt much to write home about. Ryder once again was hard to track down during the 82 regular-season games aside from the eight power-play goals, and there are way too many mental breakdowns during the grind of the long hockey year. Ryder just isnt consistent enough during the regular season. Grade: D

Playoffs: However, he always comes alive during the postseason and he did it once again while finishing fourth on the Bs with 17 points in 25 playoff games. His save against Montreal ended up helping to propel the Bruins to victory in that series, and he once again looked nothing like the streak guy prone to disappearing during the regular season. Grade: A-

Next year: Ryder is an unrestricted free agent, but could be back if the term (one year) and salary figure (3 million or below) are attractive enough for the Bruins.

Brad Marchand

Regular season: A true difference-maker this season with energy, skill, attitude and the feisty style that the Bruins had truly been missing over the last couple of years. He potted five short-handed goals, scored 21 goals overall, and teamed with Patrice Bergeron to form one of the most dangerous forechecking duos in the league with Mark Recchi riding shotgun. There was a learning curve for Marchand as he started the year as a surprising fourth-liner and finished the season as one of the most important catalysts on the Bruins. Grade: A

Playoffs: Marchand set a new rookie franchise playoff record with 11 goals scored and the Bruins were an amazing 9-0 when the Honey Badger as Andrew Ference has begun calling him -- potted a goal during the playoffs. Marchand has the ability to both create trouble and offense, and that is a difficult combination to stop. Grade: A-

Next year: Marchand is a restricted free agent headed into the summer, but hell be back with the Bruins ready to resume his role as pest and point-scorer with plenty of lessons under his belt.

Dennis Seidenberg

Regular season: Seidenberg had a solid, unspectacular season that kicked off slowly as he knocked off the rust from the forearm injury that kept him out of last seasons playoffs. He managed only a plus-3 in 23 minutes a night along, with 32 points during the regular season, and had some pretty tough luck with pucks bouncing off his body for untimely goals during the regular season. Grade: B-

Playoffs: The Bruins have talked about Seidenbergs ability to rise to the occasion in big games, and he became a true horse in every sense of the word once he was matched with Chara. Seidenberg was a minus-4 with no points in the first two games of the playoffs, but finished with 11 points and a plus-16 in the final 23 games. He also blocked 74 shots in 25 playoff games, and basically averaged three blocked shots a game in the postseason. The most underrated part of Bostons Stanley Cup title. Grade: A

Next year: Seidenberg is another player that will need to find greater consistency during the season, but also appears to gear up a notch or two once the playoffs begin. He likely wont be paired with Chara through the season and thats one of the many challenges.

Gregory Campbell

Regular Season: The perfect fourth-line center, penalty killer and role player willing to do anything to help the Bruins win games. Campbell isnt a fighter by nature, but hell mix it up with others as part of his responsibilities on the energy line. Campbell managed to total 29 points in a full regular season and should be in that neighborhood every season. He doesnt have the greatest hands or speed, but Campbell will give you ever last ounce of energy with plenty of defensive responsibility built in. Campbell turned out to be a very valuable piece that Peter Chiarelli held out for in the Nathan HortonDennis Wideman deal. Grade: B

Playoffs: Campbell didnt do a lot of scoring during the playoffs, but provided the tempo and energy needed for a fourth line that led the way in multiple games during the Stanley Cup Final. Campbell was among the handful of Bruins players that made the penalty kill such a weapon against the Canucks. Grade: B

Next year: More steady, heady play from Campbell is expected and finally he wont have to hear about favoritism with his father stepping away from his position as the NHL Sheriff.

Tyler Seguin

Regular Season: It was a season of learning and development for the 19-year-old puck prodigy as he absorbed the NHL craft on a stacked Bruins team that was poised to win the Stanley Cup. Seguin had his high points and low points during the regular season, and two things remained indisputable: the rookie had the best size and skill package of any Bruins player and he was also an incredibly raw hockey talent straight out of junior hockey. One huge positive: Seguin responded with a strong effort each time he was scratched or threatened with a return to junior hockey. That toughness bodes well for his future. Grade: B-

Playoffs: The production wasnt there on most nights, but it was there when it mattered most in a four-point second period against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 2 of the series. Boston needed a spark against the Lightning, and Seguin gave the first of many big moments in his bright Bs career. Playoffs: B

Next year: Seguin needs to hit the weight room, work out like a maniac and take a page out of the Book of Stamkos to get ready for a very important sophomore season where the Bruins will be expecting more out of No. 19.

Shawn Thornton

Regular Season: A career year for The Quiet Man gave Thornton 10 goals and 10 assists to go along with his work punching other players while keeping the ice safe and secure for his teammates. Thornton has become a player synonymous with the Bruins franchise after moving to Boston on a full-time basis and there might not be a better fit for the Black and Gold way of doing things. Thornton is a great leader and a player thats improved every season hes been with the Bruins while proudly earning his enforcer title. Grade: A-

Playoffs: Thornton took a back seat during the Tampa Bay series once Tyler Seguin went off offensively, but then helped lead Boston to wins in Game 3 and Game 7 with emotional, intense performances against a soft Vancouver bunch. Grade: A

Next year: There will always be fighting for Thornton, of course, but the hope is that the fourth line offense can be maintained.

Johnny Boychuk

Regular Season: The defenseman came into the season with a guaranteed job for the first time and battled consistency while still being a productive player in 20 plus minutes of ice time per night. Boychuks heavy shot didnt translate into much power play production, but he still brought the physical style he made his calling card in last years playoffs. A plus-15 rating and 16 points are nothing to sneeze about for No. 55. Grade: B

Playoffs: Boychuk had nine points and a plus-12 in 25 playoff games, but there certainly some tough moments including a stretch when he was on the ice for eight straight goals scored by the Lightning. But hell be best remembered in the Finals for crunching Ryan Kesler with a hit in Game 2 that the Vancouver center never fully recovered from. Playoffs: B-

Next year: Boychuk will keep smiling, keep hitting opponents hard with punishing body checks and keep attempting to curb his risky offensive instincts in Claude Juliens style.

Adam McQuaid

Regular Season: The affable McQuaid had 15 points and a plus-30 in 67 NHL games during his true rookie season, and gave the Bruins a fearsome defenseman capable of handling the fight business. McQuaid gained plenty of confidence to pinch in the offensive zone during the year, and that mindset along with his brute physical style should keep him in the NHL for a long period of time. A very underrated asset. Grade: A

Playoffs: McQuaid played his 13 minutes per night and paired off with Tomas Kaberle through the playoffs after fighting off a neck injury suffered against the Flyers, but was scaled back considerably during the playoffs. McQuaid might have been a little nervous in a couple of games in the last few rounds of the playoffs. Grade: C

Next year: The 24-year-old still has a great deal of potential to grow into and is Bostons kind of player given the need across the league for tough, affordable defenseman.

Andrew Ference

Regular Season: The Bs defenseman managed to stay healthy for 70 games this season and the results were his most consistent defenseman campaign in a Boston uniform amid some tough injuries. Ference had 15 points, but more importantly was the first player to respond in defense of his teammates all year long. Grade: B

Playoffs: Ference had 10 points and a plus-10 in 25 playoff games during the Cup run, and actually helped spark the team with his glove malfunction against the Montreal Canadiens. Grade: B

Next Year: Provided he can remain healthy Ference provides a valuable asset both on and off the ice.

Daniel Paille

Regular Season: Give the scrappy fourth-line winger credit for accepting a not-very-exciting role. Paille finished with 13 points during the season while playing less than 70 games this season, but his energies on the penalty kill and other special situations didnt go unnoticed with Bruins officials impressed with his work ethic. Grade: B

Playoffs: Paille has six points in 25 playoff games, and did a good job of simply embracing whatever dirty jobs the Bruins needed him to take care of in the big moments. Grade: B

Next Year: Paille is signed for one more year and should be in the same boat again this season.

Marc Savard

Regular Season: Ten points and a minus-7 in 25 regular-season games, and truth be told Savard will probably never be the same . . . if he ever plays again. Savard was knocked out for the season when he suffered another concussion when hit by ex-teammate Matt Hunwick during a road game against the Colorado Avalanche. Bad points: Both Milan Lucic and Matt Hunwick went into offensive funks while Savard was on the ice, and No. 91 didnt look very good at all. Grade: D

Steve Kampfer

Regular Season: The rookie defenseman showed a lot of promise with 10 points in 38 games for the Bruins, and looks to have the good-skating and strong stick skills players need to be considered puck-moving defensemen. Kampfer didn't played at all over the last two months while the Bruins set their defenseman rotation, but he showed he was ready for The Show during the year. Grade: C

Joe Haggerty can be reached at Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Nash scores a pair of goals in Bruins 2-1 win over Islanders


Nash scores a pair of goals in Bruins 2-1 win over Islanders

BROOKLYN, NY – The Bruins knew they needed to find stellar performances somewhere in order to come out of a must-win game vs. the Islanders with two points, and they got exactly that.

Riley Nash had his best game as a member of the Bruins with a pair of goals scored in a 2-1 win over the Islanders at the Barclays Center that snapped a four game losing streak, and pushed them back into the wild card playoff spot.

It wasn’t a perfect game for the Black and Gold by any means and it was nip-and-tuck all the way, but it was important for the Bruins to show they could pull out those kinds of games late in the season.

Things didn’t look all that great early when John Tavares cut through the Bruins defense in the first period, and whistled a wrist shot from the high slot that went through Adam McQuaid’s legs before beating Anton Khudobin. The Bruins responded, however, on the very next shift with Nash stealing the puck from Scott Mayfield in the neutral zone, and beating Thomas Greiss short side for the important game-tying goal.

It looked like the Bruins had their go-ahead score in the first period on a second-effort power play goal by Frank Vatrano, but that was wiped out by a coach’s challenge that ruled David Backes interfered with Greiss in front of the New York net.

So the Bruins needed to wait until the third period when Boston’s fourth line stepped up and won the massively important game for Boston. Dominic Moore fed Riley Nash hustling into the offensive zone, and he weaved through the Islanders defense before snapping a shot past Greiss for his second goal of the game and his seventh on the season for the Bruins. 

Bruins know they 'have to go all in' vs. Islanders to control playoff fate


Bruins know they 'have to go all in' vs. Islanders to control playoff fate

BROOKLYN, NY – The Bruins woke up on Saturday morning and found themselves out of the playoff picture for the first time in months by virtue of the one game in hand the New York Islanders have over the Black and Gold.

That makes Saturday night’s tilt against the Isles at the Barclays Center all the more important. A win will put the Bruins back into the lead for the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, and a loss would further drop them out of the playoff picture. It’s the biggest game of the season for the Bruins made that much grander in scale because Tuukka Rask is suddenly out with a lower body injury, and the Bruins will need a superior effort to snap a four game losing streak that has them teetering on the brink of playoff oblivion.

With all this swirling around, the Bruins know they can seize control of their playoff destiny with a win that will send them spinning off in the right direction. A loss will…well, that’s something the B’s don’t even want to entertain at this point after collapsing down the stretch in each of the last two seasons.

“With where we’re at right now, we can’t have any moral victories. Now it’s about doing the job and bearing down. We have to go all in tonight and have a big game. Hopefully the guys understand how important of a game it is and we have a big night,” said Brad Marchand. “I think we’re all excited. This is when we love to play when the game means so much, and it has a playoff feel. We’re fighting for our lives right now. It’s a great mood in the room, so hopefully we have a big bounce back.”

While the big picture can’t possibly be ignored given what’s happened with the Bruins this week, Bruce Cassidy also cautioned that simply viewing Saturday night as a two-point game was the best technique for success. Otherwise things could become overwhelming and packed with too much pressure when it should be something the Bruins are embracing rather than dreading.

“I hope our guys are creating some positive energy out there. This time of year you just need to have that mindset that it’s one game at a time,” said Cassidy. “You don’t look back, and you stay in the moment. That’s the message that gets conveyed to the group and for the most part they’ve done a good job with that. We just need to play our game and play it well.

“I truly believe they’ll bounce back. They didn’t have their best on Thursday and I think we’ve addressed that game. I believe they’ll take a lot of pride in their game tonight. Your leaders need to lead and your followers need to follow, and that’s a recipe for success for most teams. We’re no different and I expect that to be the case [against the Islanders].”

On the other side of the coin, it will be look out below if the Bruins drop a fifth straight game and continue a downward spiral as the Leafs, Lightning and Islanders are seem to be hitting their late season stride at the same time.