Notes: Bruins turn attention to Flyers


Notes: Bruins turn attention to Flyers

By JoeHaggerty

BOSTON The Bruins are ready for Round Two against the Flyers.

After Boston survived seven games against the Montreal Canadiens and Philadelphia made it through a seven-game battle with the Buffalo Sabres, it allowed for a collision course between the Bs and the team that crushed their Stanley Cup dreams last season.

Worse than that it made Boston the equivalent of the Washington Generals in the hockey history books after they lost four straight games to the Flyers and blew a 3-0 lead in Game Seven.

But enough about a collapse that will be mentioned another million times between now and the end of the series. While the fast, skilled, flop-happy Canadiens proved to be a difficult matchup for the Bruins in the first round, the bigger, deeper, meaner Broad Street Bullies would seem to be a better match for the Big Bad Bruins over the course of a seven game playoff series.

A team that pulled the starting goalie three times in the first round series against the Buffalo Sabres would point toward a huge flaw on Philadelphias roster, but Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli knows that his team will be up against an evenly-matched foe.

Well theyre bigger, first and foremost. I think thats a huge difference. You saw that Montreal stretched the ice, and theyre always coming at you, said Chiarelli. These guys dont stretch the ice as much, but they can go to the weak side a lot in their neutral zone.

Theyre coming in rushes, but they dont stretch it as much. Theyre like North-South, theyre like us to a certain degree. Theyve got skill players, theyve got some heavy players. Obviously there are more similarities between us and them than there are between us and Montreal.

The Bruins set an NHL record by going a fruitless 0-for-21 on the power play in the first round against the Montreal, and are the only NHL team to win a seven game playoff series without potting a power play goal. Chiarelli said that the coaches and players are doing everything they can to put some life back into the man advantage, and saw some problems cropping up from making too many changes to try and spark scoring.

I was thinking about this last night. Trust me, this is a topic that we have addressed all year, every day. I see a group of guys that -- beaten down is the wrong word but weve been on them so much to succeed and have different looks, said Chiarelli. You reach a point where you are diminishing returns as far as trying to make changes, so its been a frustrating exercise. The give away that led to the Tomas Plekanec shorthanded goal we tried to change the entry to a delayed entry, and it didnt work.

Because were having trouble getting set up on the power play. So its frustrating for me to watch. I know these guys want to succeed at it. I know the coaching staff thats been at the top of their list. Its been at the top of your list too, everyones list. Were going to figure it out. I know Tomas Kaberle has been under some heat too and its not his fault. Hes in the mix with everybody and were trying to figure it out. Part of it I think is nerves. Part of it is maybe they are squeezing their sticks too much. Its not fluid and these players have some fluidity to their game as far as making plays. So we have to figure it out and its going to be an important component again in this next series.

Chiarelli indicated that the Bruins escaped the first round series victory over the Montreal Canadiens with their health intact, and dont have any notable issues heading into the second round.

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

Haggerty: Reports of Seidenberg's demise were greatly exaggerated

Haggerty: Reports of Seidenberg's demise were greatly exaggerated

Hindsight is always 20/20, of course, but it appears the Bruins made a mistake buying out veteran defenseman Dennis Seidenberg from the final couple of years of his contract. 

Seidenberg just finished up a wildly successful stint with host Team Germany at the IIHF World Championships, where he was named Directorate Best Defenseman (the tournament’s best defenseman) after leading all D-men with a goal and eight points. This came after Seidenberg, at age 35, posted 5 goals and 22 points in 73 games for the Islanders, with whom he signed after being cut loose by the B's, while averaging a shade under 20 minutes per game.  Seidenberg also had an excellent World Cup of Hockey tournament for Team Europe last summer (where he was teamed once again with Zdeno Chara), thus managing to play at a high level from September all the way through May.

A faction of Bruins fans thought he was on the serious decline after the 2015-16 season and, clearly, the Bruins agreed, opting to buy him out with two more years still left on a sizable contract extension. (They owe him $2.16 million next season and then will be charged $1.16 million on their salary cap over the next two seasons.) But the B's could have used a durable, defensive warrior like Seidenberg in the playoffs, when they lost three of their top four defensemen against the Ottawa Senators. A rejuvenated Seidenberg, able to play both the left and right side, would have been a better option than Colin Miller.

The Bruins made a conscious decision to hand things over to younger defensemen like Miller, Torey Krug, Brandon Carlo and Joe Morrow in cutting ties with Seidenberg. But they also perhaps miscalculated how much Seidenberg still had left in the tank after his best season in at least three years. 

“Well, at the time we felt like [Seidenberg's] game had really dropped off to where we thought he couldn’t contribute, and we wanted to see if some younger players could come in and help us out,” Bruins president Cam Neely said at the end-of-the-season press conference earlier this month. “I’ve got to say he played well this year for Long Island. But at the time we thought it was the right move. You can’t envision us having three of our top four D’s get hurt [in the playoffs]. We went through a lot of D’s in the postseason. You can’t predict that.”

Neely is referring to the decision made after Seidenberg’s second straight minus season in Boston, when back injuries and a major knee injury had seemed to slow him down a bit. It seemed the only way to properly evaluate some of their other, younger defenseman was to cut Seidenberg loose, but one has to wonder if the Bruins would have possibly done it had they known he was still capable of playing like he did this season for the Islanders. 

Either way, the buyout of Seidenberg is an extremely legitimate second guess of Bruins management in a year where they did a lot of things right. 

Monday, May 22: Senators all out of playoff magic?

Monday, May 22: Senators all out of playoff magic?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while feeling like we’ll be getting a Pittsburgh/Nashville Stanley Cup Final, which I suppose would be the best possible outcome at this point.

*You hear the name and it just gets you angry all over again if you grew up watching the Bruins. Ulf Samuelsson is in the running for an assistant coaching job with the Chicago Blackhawks, according to a report.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Chris Johnston says it appears that the time is running out on a Cinderella season for the Ottawa Senators.

*A taste of winning at the world championships with Team Sweden could fuel Alex Edler’s desire for a change from the rebuilding Vancouver Canucks.

*Interesting piece on a former can’t miss goaltending prospect with the Nashville Predators that ended up totally missing, and what he’s been up to in life since then.

*Guy Boucher explains to Pro Hockey Talk why he kept changing goaltenders in the Game 5 blowout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

*Don Cherry explains that he hates afternoon hockey during his Coach’s Corner from Hockey Night in Canada in the Game 5 blowout between the Penguins and Predators.

*A good piece from FOH (Friend of Haggs) Alex Prewitt on the Nashville Predators, and the evolution of the franchise into a team on the verge of a Stanley Cup Final appearance.

*For something completely different: What a win by the Boston Celtics in Game 3 in Cleveland, and quite an interesting, fired up interview with Al Horford afterward.