Bruins getting gritty on faulty power play

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Bruins getting gritty on faulty power play

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

WILMINGTON The Bruins are 0-for-13 on the power play dating back to the Saturday afternoon when Marc Savard went down in Colorado, and those adjustments along with Jordan Carons role within the lineup became very clear after Tuesdays practice at Ristuccia Arena.The Bruins moved Mark Recchi to the point of the top power-play unit with Zdeno Chara on the other side. Patrice Bergeron and Milan Lucic were camped down low, with David Krejci working the half-wall position normally occupied by Savard.The second unit had a very different look with Dennis Seidenberg and Steve Kampfer working the points, and both Brad Marchand and Gregory Campbell joining Michael Ryder off the half-wall.
The point, according to coach Claude Julien, was to add some grit and toughness to the power play while also placing Recchis calming influence at one of the point spots on the top PP unit.Its a function of still trying to make our power play better, said Julien. While our last game was one when you could say you werent pleased with the power play, we had a hard time getting it into the zone and we lost our share of battles once we did get it in.Weve kind of tweaked our personnel around and hope that we get better in that regard. Thats something that since the beginning of the year weve really been working hard to turn around to make it better. We put a plan together, but you have to make sure if youre one of our best players that youre at your best.The Bruins are tied with the Ottawa Senators for 20th in the NHL with a 16.8 percent success rate on the power play, and its seemed that all year the man advantage has had problems achieving consistency and at no point has really felt like a dangerous unit ready to strike at any second.With that in mind, it appears Julien is taking a bit of the roll up the sleeves approach and will instead put a couple of grinders out on the second PP unit to force the puck into the net rather than try finessing it in.
Conspicuous by his absence on either power play unit is Nathan Horton, who only got some PP time in practice when Johnny Boychuks chip attempt caught Bergeron in the chin.Were one of those teams that continue to work on that part of the game, said Julien, who admitted that the Bruins will open Wednesdays game vs. Montreal with the PP alignments from practice. What you saw is something youll see. Maybe we need a little bit more grit and a few more shots from the back end and maybe itll work with that.We feel like weve had some issues taking pucks off the wall near the blue line and making plays under pressure, and Recchi is one of those guys thats been pretty good in that area the few times weve used him there. If we dont try it, then well never know.Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Thursday, Aug. 25: Nearly two decades later, the Whalers live on

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Thursday, Aug. 25: Nearly two decades later, the Whalers live on

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while in disbelief mode that the summer is almost over.

*Good piece on the remainders of the Hartford Whalers organization in Connecticut trying to keep the dream alive for the Whale.

*Tyler Seguin sits down for a podcast this week that I freely admit I did not have the time to listen to. I wonder if Boston even rated a mention in the conversation?

*Rating the top NHL contracts, according to the fancy stats hockey analysts, sounds like an interesting exercise.

*Tracey Myers has Duncan Keith bowing out of the World Cup of Hockey while recovering from an injury, and getting replaced by Jay Boumeester.

*The “Da Beauty” Hockey League has kept players like Dustin Byfuglien, Ryan McDonagh and David Backes in hockey shape this summer while slowly getting ready for the season.

*The Arizona Coyotes make a historic hire by naming Dawn Braid as skating coach, making her the first female coach in the NHL.

*For something completely different: FOH (Friend of Haggs) Rich Shirtenlieb guested on the #DORK podcast this week, and it sounds like he didn’t love “Stranger Things.” At the very least he liked “Preacher” better. I thought Preacher was entertaining, but I didn’t even think it was in the same stratosphere as Stranger Things. Rich also has me wanting to watch “It Follows” now, however, after his endorsement.

 

Bruins don't poll well in latest New England Sports survey

Bruins don't poll well in latest New England Sports survey

It’s no secret Bruins fans are getting fed up with a hockey team in decline, one that’s missed the playoffs each of the last two years. Now there are numbers to prove it.

Channel Media and Market Research, Inc. came out with its annual New England Sports survey,  tabulating responses from over 14,600 polled, and, according to the numbers, the Bruins are dropping in popularity, fan support and faith in the current management group.

The B’s are holding somewhat steady with 16 percent of voters listing them as their “favorite sports team” behind the Patriots (46 percent) and Red Sox (29 percent) while ahead of the Celtics and Revolution. Claude Julien also ranked ahead of John Farrell among the big four teams in the “coaches/manages most admired” category.

But after sitting at a relative high of ranking at 27 percent for “ownership performance” in 2014 -- they year after their trip to the Cup Finals against the Blackhawks -- the Bruins now rank dead last in that category at 2 percent, behind the Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics and even the Revolution. Ouch, babe.

Also sitting at a lowly 2 percent is Bruins president Cam Neely in the “leadership performance” category. In "management performance," Neely has dropped from a solid 49 percent in 2014 to just 16 percent in this summer’s survey.

So B’s fans are clearly upset with a team that traded away Tyler Seguin, Johnny Boychuk, Milan Lucic and Dougie Hamilton, and has featured a decimated defense corps for each of the last two seasons. But do the B’s fans think that things are getting any better with prospects coming down the pipeline?

Not really.

In the “which team has done the best job making its product better.” category, the Patriots (35 percent) and Red Sox (31 percent) were resting at the top, with the Celtics (27 percent) a respectable third. The Bruins limped in at just 4 percent with a fan base that very clearly sees that, on paper, this upcoming season’s club doesn’t appear to be much better than last year's.

On top of that, only 13 percent of those surveyed believe the Bruins have gotten better over the last year, and 52 percent believe they’ve just gotten worse. A lowly 3 percent of those surveyed think the Bruins have the best chance of the five teams to bring a world championship back to Boston; the Patriots (79 percent), Red Sox (11 percent) and Celtics (5 percent) all ranked higher.

Finally, Zdeno Chara, Tuukka Rask and Jimmy Hayes were at the top of the list of the Boston athletes “who did not meet expectations” last season. None of that is a surprise, given the state of Boston’s defense along with Hayes’ subpar season.

The good news for the Bruins: They still have a passionate fan base. But they need to start reversing course immediately before they do lasting damage to the B’s brand.

Wednesday, August 24: B's dealing with post-Vesey aftermath

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Wednesday, August 24: B's dealing with post-Vesey aftermath

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading with the Olympics coming to a close . . .
 
-- FOH (Friend of Haggs) Kirk Luedeke sorts through the aftermath for the Bruins after losing out on Jimmy Vesey

-- Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland gave an interview where he said the Red Wings aren’t Stanley Cup contenders this season. 

-- Related to Holland’s comments, some of the media in Detroit aren’t taking the dose of reality all that well

-- It’s a big season for New Jersey Devils forward Kyle Palmieri, who will be starring for Team USA on the World Cup team. 

 -- PHT writer Cam Tucker says the Buffalo Sabres still have a strong group of forwards even without Jimmy Vesey.

-- Jamie Benn is giving everything to his Dallas Stars team, and that means that the World Cup of Hockey is taking a backseat
 
-- The Colorado Avalanche are nearing the end of their head coaching search as they look for their replacement for Patrick Roy.
 
-- For something completely different: NBC is making the argument that millenials watched the Olympics, but just not on the traditional formats