Corvo ready to shoot for the Bruins power play


Corvo ready to shoot for the Bruins power play

By Joe Haggerty Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
Joe Corvo can guarantee one simple thing.

If he gets the puck while manning the point on the power play with a sliver of an opening, Corvo is going to let the puck fly.

The Bs power play was an exercise in futility and frustration last season while struggling through the regular season, and things really bogged down with the passive Tomas Kaberle on the man advantage. Everybody knew that Kaberle looking pass as his first, second and third option, and wasnt going to tee up any slap shots from the point even with a clear lane to the net.

Kaberle looks for the pass and looks to set guys up, said Corvo. If the shot is there Im going to take it most of the time. Power play goals arent usually those cute tic-tac goals. Power play goals are rebound goals and the more you hit the net and put it on goal, the more guys are going to be around the net and scored.

The Bruins coaching staff has pinpointed the passive point approach as one of the items to be improved on this seasons power play, and the former Carolina Hurricanes and Ottawa Senators defenseman is somebody that can help in those areas.

Obviously weve tried to bring in some personnel that we think is going to help us with the power play, said Claude Julien. Joe Corvo is a guy with a very heavy shot and hes always been known as a good power play guy. This past season it was a combination of things. It wasnt about pointing the finger at one thing or one person, but it was about a bunch of different things.

The one thing that we did see was the shooting from the point. We werent doing enough of that in certain games and we were encouraging certain players to do that. We saw that when we did that it worked for us.

Corvo fired off 191 shots while potting 11 goals for the Carolina Hurricanes last year, and has managed double digit goals three times in his career as a skilled offensive blueliner.

Armed with a nice heavy shot, Corvo will serve that role on the power play and would have ranked third in the Bruins in shots attempted last season behind only Zdeno Chara (264) and Patrice Bergeron (211) if hed been with the Bruins.

That kind of aggressiveness is exactly what the Bs are looking for and should get from Corvo provided the 34-year-old veteran can stay healthy long enough to skate somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 games.

From what I hear Im expected to play some power play time and bring some power play shots, said Corvo. Just moving the puck and skating the puck, and bringing some offensive flair to it while working with some of the offensive skill guys.

That in and of itself should allow the Bruins to improve a power play that succeeded only 16.2 percent of the time during the regular season and scored on only 10 out of 88 chances during the postseason.

The pressure shouldnt be all that high on Corvo because its pretty difficult to be any worse than that for the duration of this season, and good power play days should be dead ahead for the Bs.

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

Haggerty: Bruins get chance to show good results weren't just short term

Haggerty: Bruins get chance to show good results weren't just short term

The mission for the Bruins on their four-game road swing through the West Coast is certainly to keep the momentum going, but it’s also to quell any talk that the positive results will be short-lived following the coaching change.

The Bruins won there first three games interim head coach Bruce Cassidy headed into the five-day “bye week”, and they’ll come out on the other side with a potentially dangerous road swing through California that will finish up in Dallas next weekend. 

The Black and Gold have gone into death spirals before on the Cali trip, so that’s always a danger when going coast-to-coast to face tough teams in the Sharks, Ducks and Kings.

There’s also the fact that NHL teams are 3-10-2 as of Saturday afternoon in the first game coming back from the five-day midseason vacation. That means the B’s are going to face a stiff uphill battle on Sunday night against the Pacific Division-leading Sharks. 

The challenge is going to be there for the Bruins to answer all of those challenges when they’ve shrunk away from such adversity most of the season. It gives the Bruins yet another chance to show that the three games aren’t merely a sugar-high after cages had been rattled and is instead something that Boston sustains over the season’s final two-plus months.

“Our thinking is to try to win every game. We know the standings. We know it’s pretty tight. We put ourselves in some of the games in tough situations. Now, we’ve got to climb up and fight for every point,” said Zdeno Chara. “It’s going to be very important that we do that and play that way until the end.

“We can look at the standings as much as we want. I think that we really have to focus on how we play, how we want to go into every game, and what we can do to get as many points as possible.”

The good news for the Bruins is that the teams chasing them in the standings really haven’t gained ground on them, and they enter Saturday still in a playoff spot. So, the mathematics don’t look as dire for Boston as they did going into their rest period, and now they should be energized, recharged and highly motivated headed into the final 24 games of the season.

There’s also the fact that the Bruins were playing exciting, aggressive and winning hockey due to some of the tweaks made by Cassidy after taking control of the team. He finally got some production from the third line after putting forwards Frank Vatrano, Ryan Spooner and Jimmy Hayes together, a combo he never truly gave a look because he didn’t trust them to do the job defensively. Cassidy immediately placed 21-year-old Peter Cehlarik into a top-six role with power-play time straight from the AHL. That’s something one almost never saw happen with rookies and inexperienced guys during Julien’s run.

The B’s defensemen corps scored four goals in the three wins and showed aggressive, timely risk-taking to produce offense when playing it safe was normally the call of the day under Julien. The forwards were avoiding the low-to-high passing to the point that so often resulted in perimeter shots from the Bruins in the offensive zone, and instead attacked the net down low with the forwards looking to put some anxiety into the opponent’s D-zone coverage.

It all worked and it all looked remarkably different from the way the Bruins played in the opening 55 games.

“It’s something we need to bottle up and not change our approach, not change what we’re doing, make sure we’re moving [during the bye] and not just sitting idle and getting rusty,” said David Backes last weekend headed into the bye. “Make sure that mentally, we can have those same sort of mindsets for every guy to be contributing. It’s something that doesn’t show up on the score sheet, but guys are recognized in here for doing those things and that’s winning culture. That’s what we’re building.”

The Bruins now get their chance to prove this is a permanent change to a winning culture rather than a short term, three-game adrenaline rush after watching their longtime coach get fired. It won’t be easy, but it shouldn’t be for the Black and Gold if they’re finally going to earn their way into the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time in three seasons. 

Saturday, Feb. 18: NHL more likely in Seattle than NBA?

Saturday, Feb. 18: NHL more likely in Seattle than NBA?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while hoping that Purple Passion doesn’t try the same comeback as Zima.

*A Seattle investor says that an NHL team coming to that city is much more likely than a return by the NBA to the Pacific Northwestern city.

*Gare Joyce writes eloquently about the loneliness of a hockey scout, and how that world can sometimes come to a crashing halt.  

*Good piece from Arpon Basu giving the sights and sounds of Claude Julien’s second stint behind the bench with the Montreal Canadiens.

*The agent for Russian player Maxim Shalunov says there is a “10 percent chance” that he’s going to sign with the Chicago Blackhawks.

*Mike Babcock says not to expect any big trade deadline deals from the Toronto Maple Leafs as they push for a playoff spot.

*Henrik Zetterberg reflects on a difficult season with the Detroit Red Wings where it looks like things might finally come down to a crashing halt.

*The Minnesota Wild have underrated depth on their team, and the Hockey News says it might just be their scariest attribute.

*For something completely different: as referenced above, it looks like that Zima drink of the 1990s is trying to make a comeback. I was in college when the Zima people were seemingly flooding campuses with advertising and samples back in the day.