Corvo: Bruins' system requires an 'adjustment'


Corvo: Bruins' system requires an 'adjustment'

By Joe Haggerty Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
BOSTON -- Joe Corvo isnt mincing any words when it comes to the transition in Boston.

The Bruins way of doing things defensively is a little different than anything hes used to, but Corvo is slowly and surely getting adjusted to the Claude Juliens Box-plus-1 system of zone coverage in the D-zone. Corvo had always played more of a man-to-man style of defense in Carolina, Ottawa and Los Angeles, and those instincts will more than likely cause some mistakes.

Im just trying to keep it all out of my head in terms of thinking it out, said Corvo. I just want to play out there and see what happens. If something goes wrong then Ill correct it. But it is a little bit of an adjustment.

Im quick enough to play man-on-man and its one of my tendencies on the ice. But obviously Im going to have to get used to being a little more patient and playing more of a zone. Youre dead in the water if you find yourself thinking your way through it and things seem like theyre going a million miles an hour. You get reps in practice and itll come.

The hope is that Corvos systemic gaffes come during the preseason, and that everything is down pat for the 33-year-old defenseman before the regular season begins against the Flyers next week at TD Garden.

One advantage over Corvos past: Hes got the entire preseason to orient himself to the Bruins personnel and playing style as opposed to parachuting in at the trade deadline as hes done previously.

Its night and day. Obviously I can sit down and watch video, and make mistakes during the preseason and its not going to count, said Corvo. The adjustment period is so much easier.

For a guy thats only played a single preseason game due to tightness in his groin, Corvo is eager to jump into a little more action this week to get the blood pumping and the adrenaline flowing.

Its good to have them at the end so I can get my pace back and get my speed back, said Corvo. I feel like Im getting pretty close. The timing is perfect because weve got a couple of games. Hopefully I get in at least one of them and then I'll just be ready to go.

Its a strong bet that Corvo will play at least one of the remaining two games if not both and the Bruins coaching staff wants to get a better sense of how the defensemens skills will blend in with Bostons defensemen corps. It was pretty plain to see how much of an upgrade Corvo will provide after watching one single game of the defensemen rapidly carrying the puck up ice and unloading heavy shots on the opposing goaltender.

When Corvo first came in the league he might have been a little bit more high risk, but he's really toned down his game a little bit, said Julien. He knows his strengths and weaknesses. I think he plays within his strengths, and one of the things that we like about him is that he skates well and moves the puck well.

He'll carry it when he has to carry it, he competes hard, he's a battler, he's got a great shot and he'll help our power play. So there are a lot a lot of assets and there's not much for us to complain about this guy.

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

Sources: Bruins engaged in trade talks involving Ryan Spooner

Sources: Bruins engaged in trade talks involving Ryan Spooner

This probably won’t come as a complete shock to those watching the way things have played out with him this season, but the Bruins have engaged in discussions with multiple teams about a Ryan Spooner trade, per multiple sources with knowledge of the situation. 

The 23-year-old Spooner was mentioned casually a few months ago as possible fodder in a Jacob Trouba deal with the Winnipeg Jets, but that deal never really materialized prior to the Jets signing their young, frontline D-man to a two-year deal. The Carolina Hurricanes, New York Islanders and San Jose Sharks have all expressed interest in Spooner, per one hockey source, as it appears that things simply aren’t going to work out for him in Boston. 

It’s been a challenging year for Spooner with pedestrian numbers of three goals and eight points in 24 games, but there are plenty of mitigating circumstances behind the slow start. Spooner has been pushed into playing left wing for the bulk of the season rather than his natural, preferred center position, and he’s been dropped to the fourth line by Claude Julien over the last few weeks. At times he’s also been pulled from the Bruins power play where he racked up six goals and 17 points working off the half-wall last season.  

Julien talked about the former second round pick in frank terms after this week’s win over the Carolina Hurricanes, which featured a Spooner snipe to the top corner during a successful shootout for the Black and Gold. 

“I think at times that [David Krejci] line goes quiet, other times it’s better. We’ve tried different guys on the left side right now and one [Spooner] might give them speed but doesn’t win as many battles,” said Julien of his search for stability at left wing alongside Krejci and David Backes. “The other way [with Tim Schaller] guys are a little harder right now, and they spend more time in the O-zone. So we’re really trying hard to find the right balance there.”

Trade talks have increased the past few weeks because A) the situation has worsened recently with Spooner’s prolonged stint as a miscast fourth line winger and B) the speedy, skilled forward will most likely be a man without a spot when 22-year-old left winger Frank Vatrano returns sometime around the mid-December range. 

According to one source, the Bruins are asking for a “top six forward” in exchange for a package including Spooner, and it’s a lead pipe certainty they’re looking for some goal-scoring given their 24th ranked offense this season. That represents a bit of an organizational sea change after the Bruins searched low and high for a top-4 defenseman in trade over the summer. The emergence of 20-year-old Brandon Carlo, and the Boston defense’s performance across the board, has lowered the Black and Gold’s priority list need to trade for a D-man. 

The Bruins have scored two goals or fewer in 18 of their 25 games this season and badly need somebody that can put the puck in the net from one of the wing positions. Unfortunately for the Bruins, there aren’t a lot of top-6 forwards readily available that could make an immediate impact. It’s highly doubtful any team is going to fork one over for an asset like Spooner that’s been downgraded due to the way he’s been utilized by the Bruins this season. He hasn't played with the same creativity or confidence this season after posting 13 goals and 49 points as their third line center last season. 

So it remains to be seen what the Bruins will get for Spooner after they offered him and a draft pick to Buffalo for rental forward Chris Stewart a couple of years ago. That was a deal Sabres GM Tim Murray turned down before trading Stewart for considerably less at the trade deadline.

The bottom line: the Bruins are working the phones discussing possible Spooner deals, and it feels like there is some motivation from B’s management to move a player that doesn’t seem like he'll ever be a proper fit in Julien’s system. 

Sunday Dec. 4: Zacha adjusting to life in the NHL

Sunday Dec. 4: Zacha adjusting to life in the NHL

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while marveling at the Bruins setting a franchise record this season for fewest practices in a regular season. Thanks compacted schedule due to the World Cup!

*Pavel Zacha is adjusting to life as a rookie in the NHL with the New Jersey Devils, and things are getting better as they go along.

*Manitoba Moose players relive their favorite Star Wars moments prior to the team holding their Star Wars Night.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Elliotte Friedman sits down with new Florida Panthers head coach Tom Rowe to discuss the massive changes in that organization with the firing of Gerard Gallant.

*Good for Anders Nilson putting a rainbow decal on the back of his goalie to mask to support some gay friends that have faced public resistance in their lives.

*Bruce Garrioch has his weekly NHL notes with several players, including Flyers defenseman Andrew MacDonald, potentially on the trade block if anybody wants them.

*PHT writer Cam Tucker has Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson suffering a broken leg that will keep him out 6-8 weeks.

*There was no blood for the Vancouver Canucks fans, but there was still plenty of drama in a win over the Maple Leafs.

*For something completely different: The World Baseball Classic works for everybody except for Major League Baseball, and that would appear to be a problem.