Final complaints


Final complaints

By Michael Felger

You thought a berth in the Stanley Cup Finals would end the carping?

Think again, dear child.

And just so you know, were moving the mailbag to Fridays for the remainder of this series. Get your complaints in by Thursday morning.

Hey Felger,In a game where the Bruins were shut out and went 0-for-6 on the power play, Tyler Seguin on got 6:21 of ice time and only 1:20 of PP time. And people wonder why I hate Claude Julien. Marc Malden

Id like to know what Seguin did wrong between Game 7 against Lightning (playoff high 14:53 of ice time) and Game 1 against the Canucks (playoff low of 6:21). Did he miss a meeting? Fall asleep during a film session? Blow gas in the pregame locker room? It really doesnt make any sense. I think it might be time for another "organizational meeting."

Hey Felger,The Bruins don't play to outscore the other team. They play for the other team to score less than them.I know thats a bit of a weird statement, but I feel it describes the Bruins style. That's the problem with the coach. You can't get the most out of your players if they are playing not to lose. Very simple. Its a great regular-season mentality, but its different in the playoffs. Adam

In other words, I get the sense youd like to set the agenda for the "organizational meeting."

Topic 1: You cant win a game 0-0.

Topic 2: Its not the regular season, Claude. You dont even get a point for it.

Felger,You keep bashing Claude for lack of change. Ive watched every game in the playoffs . . . He did make changes and his team keeps winning.Shouldnt you be bashed for your lack of change in your approach?ScottMaynard

Youre right. I should follow the Claude Julien approach to change slow, reluctant and only done between (never during) shows.

To: FelgerSubj: InsanityDoing the same thing over and over again and expecting different resultsAlbert Einstein

Todays definition of insanity: Mark Recchi.

He has played exactly seven weeks of playoff hockey, spanning 19 games. After Wednesdays game he has now played precisely 49:28 on the power play. And he has yet to score a single goal or register a single assist. He has the third-most power-play ice time among Bruins forwards this postseason, and he hasnt produced a single point on the man advantage. Yet Claude gave him another 3:34 of power-play time on Wednesday and had him on the ice on the crucial 5 x 3 advantage in the second period.

This is nothing against Mark Recchi. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him. But is that the guy you would use on a two-man advantage when you had to have a goal with a championship on the line? Insanity.

Felger,Anyone who says the Bs would rather have even-strength play than power plays has no cred. The power play SUCKS, but who on earth doesnt want the Bruins have a man advantage? Robert
This guy.

Seriously, any time the Bs get a power play Im pissed. It usually guarantees two things: the opponent will kill it and gain momentum after doing so, and the referees will even up the call and ultimately put the opponent on a matching advantage. Seriously, every time the referee's arm goes up, its bad news for the Bs whether the call goes for them or against them.

Hi Mike,Regarding the apparent Vancouver strategy to attack Chara, I say the B's strategy should be: bring it on. Think of it as how the Pats have to handle a blitz. The more attention they give Chara, the less attention they are giving some other B's players. The B's have to find the holes that open up when Chara gets attacked en masse, and exploit it.ChrisThe Suburbs

Any way you slice it, theres a lot on Chara this series. He has to shut down the Sedins. He has to face down that tough Vancouver forecheck. He has to produce on the power play, both in the crease and up top. And he has to do it all while logging a grueling 30-plus minutes a night. Is that asking too much? Maybe, but its what the best defensemen in the game do at this time of year. And if Chara does it in this series, he will deserve that distinction.

Felger,Please don't beat this dead horse anymore! We get it, the PP has sucked. Claude is not going to make many or any changes, and we have to live with it. They didn't score on the PP and we didn't either. We are better 5-on-5 and in the end, you will have squawked for nothing. Bruins win the Cup. What do you say then, Felger? Claude sucks? You are so predictable.Joe

He doesnt suck, but he aint great. And his comment after Game 1, in which he said hes okay with being even on special teams with Vancouver, was repugnant.

Going 0-for-6 on the power play, including failures on a four-minute double-minor in the first period and a 5 x 3 advantage in the second period, is definitely not okay. When youre in a tight game and a championship is on the line, you simply have to score when you have a 5 x 3 advantage for 1:34. You had a chance to take the lead and put a tremendous amount of pressure on your favored opponent, and your team failed to do it again. Its why you lost the game.

Do you get that, Claude? Getting shut out is NOT okay.

Felger You DB!Well, that was a prime game for the Bruins to steal on the road. It's too bad they couldn't seal the deal. So now it becomes a matter of assessing blame.

Was it that Claude relapsed into the full Schultz? Was Boychuck too aggressive with the game poised for OT? Were the Canucks simply better? All of those are valid criticisms and absolutely up for debate. I, however, know one reason that is a rock solid unassailable fact. The Kaberle deal did nothing to improve this team. I know I have been bitching and moaning about the Kaberle deal nonstop. Make no mistake, Mikey, I want this team to win a Cup. If you told me that Kaberle was going to magically transform into Denis Potvin and lead the B's to a trophy, a big one, I would gladly take it and revel in my wrongness.But it's Chiarelli's smug attitude as he defends the trade which inspire the same sudden rush of rage and anger that came over me after we were told, post-Philly collapse, that the Bruins "were one of only five teams to make the second round two years in a row." Hold on as the Chiarelli merry go-round begins to spin . . . "I know hes added to the team," said Chiarelli. "Yes, he has been under heat, but what hes added to the team is something that we didnt have and something thats almost impossible to find at the trade deadline, and thats the ability to make strong plays with the puck offensively. Thats the ability to skate into a trap like we saw this past series."You mean the ability we saw in Game 7 of the Tampa Bay series, where Andrew Ference's rush broke down the 1-3-1 and set up the winning goal? No, what Tomas Kaberle added to this team was an out-of-shape finesse player with a regular-season game and a battle level straight out of Switzerland. He added another veteran presence that Claude would be beholden to play despite performance -- and he shoots less than Rondo on the power play. But it's not all bad, Mikey. His gutless turnovers behind his own net succeeded in adding an element of excitement every time the play moves behind Thomas. Given the fact that the B's D-to-D passing in their own zone was putting fans to sleep, that's quite an accomplishment. Kaberle was so bad, it left his D partner, the since-superhuman Denis Seidenberg, with a minus-4 rating after the first two games against the Habs. Last night he was on for 4:03 of power play ice time with no results.And before anyone points to his eight postseason points, Kaberle's eight helpers this postseason are of the secondary variety with the exception of one. This deal has been gnawing away at me since the trade deadline and Chiarelli's defense of it makes it even worse. One of the reasons why this team has done so well this postseason is that the Kelly and Peverley additions not only added depth, but their style of play suited Claude's system perfectly. So why overplay for the hockey equivalent of a one-tool player when the coach has no clue how to use it? A player that would have every weakness in his game exacerbated in the playoffs? There is no defending this deal. There is no way you ship a first, a top prospect and a second for a guy who is so flawed that, even strength, he's playing 100 minutes less than your third and fourth defensemen. Johnny Boychuck might not even be on the ice to make that mistake last night if Chiarelli got a defenseman that offered more resistance than the Pike EZ-Pass lane and Chara might not be suffering from exhaustion. Like I said before, I am begging to be wrong. I hope Kaberle channels Brian Leetch and the B's hoist the Cup. But there is no way that Mr. Magoo can piss in our faces and tell us it's raining in the wake of this trade and the power play's complete ineptitude. MikeAttleboro

Cant argue, of course. I would just add: What about the coach that keeps putting him out there? Just look at the power-play numbers. At the time they traded for him on Feb. 18, the Bruins power play was hitting at a rate of 18 percent. Since the trade, including playoffs, the man advantage is clicking at over 9 percent. Kaberle has cut the production in half. The sample size is now over 3 12 months long and still the Bruins continue to give Kaberle big power-play minutes. It never changes. Night after night. At what point are they going to acknowledge its not working? Ever?

Mike,You've suggested that Jacobs deserves credit for the recent change in direction contributing to the team's recent success, but consider the following:1) Are the Jacobses really interested in winning, or has the recent success of the other three local teams directly impacted their bottom line and put pressure on them to achieve the same success in order to stem the tide of dwindling revenue and be able to compete for local fans' entertainment dollar?2) The salary cap has allows the Jacobses to spend up against it and even go over a bit with long-term IR (e.g. Savard). But given that the Bruins have had the highest average ticket prices in the league for years, does this eally translate into a change of direction, considering that their profit margin is protected, or is it really just lip service recognizing the pressure they're under based upon the performance of the other local teams (see question 1)?I'm hoping that it is a change of direction and the Jacobses are committed to winning for winning's sake. But given how this owner treated the team's fans for decades, I'm not quite ready to give him the benefit of the doubt just yet.JohnLowell

Dont blame you one bit. This is Jacobs bed, and he has to lie in it. The only thing I will say in his favor is that hes done what he said he would do once he got his cap in 2005. Hes spent as much as anyone else in the league. Hes put the pieces in place to make a run at a title. That obviously doesnt erase what happened over the previous 31 years of ownership, but thats the way it stands today.

Felger,You are a total moron. Here's hoping the Bruins lose in FOUR. No more hockey talk. And how about some correct English grammar!!!??? "Tune in and listen to Tony and I?!?!?!?!"You total idiot. Its "ME!!!!" "Tune in and listen to Tony and ME." You are a total dummy!!!!! M

That you Dickerson? Tanguay? What's up Max? How you guys enjoying the NBA Finals?

Felgers weekly column appears Mondays. E-mail him HERE and read the mailbag next Friday. Listen to him on the radio weekdays, 2-6 p.m., on 98.5 the Sports Hub.

Morning Skate: Stamkos destined to wind up somewhere new


Morning Skate: Stamkos destined to wind up somewhere new

Here are the links from all around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while happy to be back in the city of Boston.

*The Buffalo Sabres don’t sound happy about the accusations against Evander Kane that cropped up during NHL Draft weekend, why would they be?

*NHL teams can now start discussing free agents, exchanging ideas with them and start the chase up to July 1.

*PHT writer James O’Brien has the biggest winners in the 2016 NHL Draft. Here’s a shocker: the Bruins aren’t among them.

*A good piece from Alex Prewitt on the importance of the land line phones on the draft floor during NHL Draft weekend.

*The Edmonton Oilers are another team that didn’t come out of draft weekend with a defenseman, and are still in search of their back end help.

*A nice piece on Philadelphia Flyers draft pick Pascal Laberge, who could have been plucked by the Bruins at No. 29 rather than Trent Frederic.

*Bruce Garrioch has his Sunday NHL notes, and says that Steven Stamkos appears destined to play somewhere other than Tampa Bay.

*For something completely different: Jonah Keri has TV critic Alan Sepinwall on his podcast, and one can only hope it’s to explain how and why he could have disliked last week’s episode of Game of Thrones.

Haggerty: Grading the Bruins Draft


Haggerty: Grading the Bruins Draft

BUFFALO – The Bruins knew they had some objectives heading into the 2016 NHL Draft at the First Niagara Center, and by their accounts they achieved them. The Black and Gold were looking to get bigger and grittier down the middle at the center position, they wanted to get faster and they knew they had to continue to add quality top-4 candidates to their organization defensemen corps depth.

Charlie McAvoy, Ryan Lindgren and Cameron Clarke will add to the defensemen within the Bruins organization, and both Trent Frederic and Joona Koppanen are big-bodied, gritty centers that take care of business in their own end.

Oskar Steen is the one departure as a small, skilled forward out of Sweden to add to the D-men and centers that now count themselves as members of the Black and Gold. Interestingly enough this was the first season in Bruins history that the B’s drafted an entire class of players without selecting a single Canadian player.  

The six player draft class wasn’t an overwhelming success or an abject failure, but something in between. It was a much more muted all-around experience for Don Sweeney in his second season running the hockey operations in Boston.

“You look at last year and we took three junior players right out of the hop. This year there were some college players,” said Don Sweeney. “We always identify the best players that we want, and positional need. In a perfect world it all lines up.”

With that in mind, here are grades and breakdowns for each of the six prospects that heard their names called by the Bruins this weekend:

First round: Charlie McAvoy (14th overall) – The Boston University D-man impressed scouts and college hockey enthusiasts all the same by playing extremely well as the youngest NCAA player last season. McAvoy’s explosive skating ability, quick decision-making with the puck on his stick and ability to execute the tape-to-tape pass practically ensure that he’ll have success at the next level, and his low center of gravity and feisty physicality at 6-foot, 208-pounds will make him well-embraced by Bruins fans. The Bruins scouting staff was split between choosing McAvoy or BCHL defenseman Dante Fabbro when both players were there for the taking, but McAvoy’s skating ability and playmaking confidence tipped the scales his way. McAvoy could be NHL-ready a within a couple of seasons, and immediately shoots to the top of the organization’s D-men prospects. Grade: A-. What the Bruins say: “We had a lot of discussion on a lot players, and those two players [McAvoy and Fabbro] we went back and forth on them quite a bit. They’re both good defenseman, but we really believe that Charlie has something that we really liked. Playing against men already at that age is a big thing, and we’ve seen him grow as a player. He can skate, he’s mobile and he plays physical. We feel like his style is what we’re looking for, and it’s up to him to take it to the next level.”

First round: Trent Frederic (29th overall) – The 6-foot-2, 210-pound center is a hard-working, strong player in the pivot that isn’t afraid to pay the price in the danger areas, and is more than willing to throw his body around. The offensive ability seems to be a bit limited, but he also played with an injured hand in the second half of last season that appeared to impact his placement in the final draft rankings. In a perfect world Frederic develops into a hard-nosed, gritty forward in the mold of his favorite players (David Backes, Justin Abdelkader), but he sounds eerily like a Chris Kelly kind of player taken in the first round of the draft. Clearly the Bruins were looking at size at the center spot, and perhaps they were a little thrown last minute when Tage Thompson got selected a few picks earlier in the first round. But it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to draft third and fourth line center prospects at the end of the first round when skilled players like Alex DeBrincat and Pascal Laberge were still on the board. If DeBrincat turns into a scoring machine in Chicago with Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin, the Bruins will regret this weekend in a big, big way. This feels like a reach with a draft pick the Bruins were hoping to move for a defenseman, but the likeable Frederic will have years at the University of Wisconsin to prove everybody wrong. Grade: D. What the Bruins say: “We needed some centers with some size and heaviness, and we really believe he’s going to a [Wisconsin] program where everything is changing for him. Even his teammates all talk him up. He’s not going to be top two line guy, and we all know that. He’s got some jam, and he plays hard. You want good people that are going to pay the price. He playing well during the year, and then he tailed off at the end because he had a broken hand. We liked his projection as a staff.”

Second round: Ryan Lindgren (49th overall) – The Minnesota native and Gophers recruit has recorded nine goals and 35 assists for 44 points and 145 penalty minutes in 116 games over the last two years with the US National Development Team Program. The 6-foot, 198-pounder isn’t very big, isn’t the fastest guy when it comes to skating and is far from the flashiest player that came through the Team USA pipeline over the last couple of years. But Lindgren is hard-nosed and competitive, and is a high character player that brings effort into every category of his game. Scouts rave about his leadership, character and willingness to sacrifice for the greater good of the team while quietly going about his own business, and the Bruins could use a solid defenseman like that. Lindgren will need to improve, but everybody that knows him thinks he’ll be able to do it. Grade: B. What the Bruins say: “He blocks shots. He’s not the most skilled guy like McAvoy or anybody like that, but he brings an element that we really liked as an organization. He really brings something as a leader, and we like those guys.”

Fifth round: Joona Koppanen (135th overall) – The 6-foot-5 center from Finland is big, strong and keen on playing with strength and effort in his own end, and has the kind of size at the center position that you just can’t teach. The problem right now is that the body type, style of game and limited offensive ability in a Finnish player reminds everybody of Joonas Kemppainen, who quite simply didn’t work out in Boston during his NHL audition last season. One has to hope that Koppanen can continue to develop his offensive skills to at least be a player with average production down the road, but nobody is expecting him to be more than a third or fourth line center at this point. Grade: B-. What the Bruins say: “He’s a big guy, and for a big guy he can really move around. He’s very good defensively and smart with his positioning. He plays hard. The skill is the one area that needs to develop, and we think it’s going to do that. He was a guy that we targeted because he’s a big guy that can skate, and is good in his own end.”

Fifth round: Cameron Clarke (136th overall) – The 18-year-old is a bit of a diamond in the rough out of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), who nonetheless got noticed in Michigan over the last year. Clarke played last season for the Lone Star Brahmas, and registered nine goals and 41 assists for 50 total points and 29 penalty minutes in 59 games during the 2015-2016 season. The 6-foot-1, 170-pounder is a bit on the gangly side and needs more physical development before he turns professional, and that’s something he should be able to focus on while heading to college at Ferris State. I like the off-the-beaten path Grade: B. What the Bruins say: “We knew there were teams that were there [ready to take him], and our guys really liked him. He’s gained a lot of weight in a year-and-a-half, but we know he’s going to take some time. We’re good with that. Our guys really liked him, so we took him.”

Sixth round: Oskar Steen (165th overall) – The 5-foot-9, 187-pound Steen is an undersized Swedish forward that plays a smart, versatile brand of hockey, and he does it while also showing plenty of flashes offensively. The 18-year-old played for Farjestad BK J20 of the SuperElit League for the past two years, putting together 15 goals and 45 total points across 69 games leading up to his selection this weekend. Clearly the size and lack of physical strength will be marks against Steen when he goes toe-to-toe against bigger, stronger competition in North America, but he showed enough smarts and skill to make his own mark. Grade: C+.What the Bruins say: “He’s got underrated skill. He can score goals and move the puck. He’s not the biggest guy, but we’ve seen him and we were excited to be able to draft him.”