Tag Archives: Milan Lucic

Bruins showing promise — Still need scoring help

Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli

Trade deadline #1 has come and gone with no movement from the Bruins. Another, more well known blogger, said that the past few weeks acted as  a “dress rehearsal” to what will occur once the trade freeze lifts at midnight on the 28th of February — a good deal of posturing and market testing. The sellers didn’t like the offering price, so we’ll have to wait until March for something to go down.

Rumor has it that the Bruins are pushing very hard for the services of Ray Whitey from the Carolina Hurricanes — Carolina is reportedly looking for a roster player and 1st round pick in return.

Sure, the Bruins have won 3 in a row and are starting to find some real chemistry, but they’re still much closer to the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings then they are to the top. That’s not a good place to be in February. The five goal outburst in the first 25 minutes of last night’s game in Tampa surely appears to be an abberation. Still dead last in scoring,  the Bruins have scored 5+ goals just six times (or 10% of their games) this season; compare that to a whopping 16 times (or 37% of their games) at this point last season. Clearly, the Bruins need scoring, and need it badly.

Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli has been very tight lipped with the media all season regarding potential trades/player movement, so I wont begin to openly speculate about whom they might acquire.

That being said, there have certainly been some positive things happening with this club lately — leading me to believe that a quality acquisition could propel the Bruins into at least a 2nd round match-up.

Here a few players that are catching my eye:

Milan Lucic:

At times since Lucic’s return on Jan 7th, he seemed unwilling or unable to take the body. Combine that with his modest offensive skills, and you’ve got a player who isn’t doing much more than taking up space.In the past handful of games he has returned to his body banging ways and even had a bout of fisticuffs with Adam Mair of the Buffalo Sabres. As I’ve been saying all season, Lucic’s physical game opens up tremendous amounts of ice for playmaker Marc Savard. Quite simply, he’s a beast — he’s a game-changer. One of his thunderous hits or ferocious bouts can change the complexion of an entire contest. As much as the Bruins have struggled to score goals, the physical play of Milan Lucic is something the Bruins cannot live without.

Marc Savard

Like Lucic,  Marc Savard’s season has been marred by injury. He appears to be back to full health now with 9 points (all assists — as they should be) in his eight games since returning from a knee injury sustained in that same Jan 7th game against Chicago. Having a healthy and productive Savard on this team seems to have raised the confidence level across all four lines. He is just so calm on the puck. While other Bruins players seem to be squeezing the stick, or feel that the puck is bouncing just out of their reach, the Sultan of the Saucer Pass allows the game, and opposing defenders to come to him — where he picks them both apart.

Tuukka Rask

“Two U’s, Two K’s, Two points.” Seems like I hear Jack Edwards (the Bruins play-by-play announcer) utter this phrase a few times a week now. The young Finnish goaltender has been nothing short of SPECTACULAR this year. Still a rookie, Rask is 3rd in the league in save percentage (.928) and 2nd goals against average (2.09). In a year when reigning Vezina Trophy winner has found himself richer both in salary and goals allowed, Rask has been incredibly solid. In fact, last night’s 5-4 win in Tampa Bay was Rask’s 5th start in a row (3-2, 2.20 g.a.a.).

One more game before the Olympic break. The Bruins will try to make it four in-a-row when they take on the Panthers in Sunrise, FL on Saturday.

Bruins fans — I’ll leave you with a clip I found of the best (or worst) Jack Edwards moments!!

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Postgame: Will a Bruins goal scorer please stand up?

Before the game, I said that it wasn’t going to be enough for the Bruins to merely compete; they needed to win.

They competed, and in many cases, OUT-competed the Buffalo Sabres in most aspects of the game. Boston was physical, caused turnovers, was pretty responsible defensively and showed tremendous effort. BUT – They can’t score. At all.  31 shots, including a 12 shot third period were not enough.

I was looking for Milan Lucic to bring his physical game – I’ll give him a B minus. He was there, but he looked more concerned with playing the puck (weakness) than doling out some back-alley justice (strength). His goal was great, but Boston can’t rely on their enforcer to fill the net. Of particular concern was the amount of rough stuff by Buffalo after the whistle that went largely unanswered; 3 first period penalties will have that effect on a team.

Marc Savard looked good given his eight game layoff – he flubbed a few passes, and hesitated a few times, but overall looked to have his wits (and more importantly his legs) about him.

Tuukka Rask looked pretty shaky all night – he was fighting the puck and had shoddy rebound control. He was able to pull himself together enough to keep Boston in the game, but is certainly capable of better play.

CLEARLY, the Bruins need a bona fide scorer (hmm, I think I said this last week….). Boston should get rid of Ryder, Wideman, and their own 1st round pick, which is currently 9th overall. This should fetch them something. Landing Kovalchuk, it appears, will cost at least that 9th pick, and someone like Bergeron or Krejci. I’m willing to part with Krejci if it brings Kovalchuk to Boston. It’s time for the front office to show that they care about the team, the town, and the fans. It’s time for a BIG move.

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Bruins Week in Review — 10/25/09

Bergeron_RyderThe Boston Bruins faced their toughest test of the season this past week. With Milan Lucic and Marc Savard sidelined for the next month, and Chuck Kobasew gone to Minnesota via trade, the Bruins relied on some new faces, and saw the resurgence of an old one.

Being forced to face adversity this early in the season can only serve to help Boston down the road…provided they can win these games.

Over the past three games, the Bruins have shown a great deal of heart and determination — although they have had their share of mistakes, perhaps caused by all the new faces, the boys in black collected 5 out of a possible 6 points,including an improbable shootout victory Saturday night in Ottawa.

This win comes on the tail end of a win in Nashville and a shootout loss to Philadelphia, continuing Boston’s win,loss,win start to the 2009/10 season.

Last season, the Bruins cruised to a comfortable 116 point showing, never having to face serious adversity. Now, with Kessel in Toronto and Lucic and Savard injured, last year’s top line is gone, forcing the remainder of the squad to elevate their game.

One member of the Black and Gold who has picked up his play is Patrice Bergeron. His T.O.I has increased from less than 16 minutes against Phoenix (Lucic’s last game) to 21:01 on Saturday night. He has an unimpressive 2 points over that span, but the effort, intensity and confidence that Bruins scouts saw in him is finally back. Bergeron knows that they spotlight is now on him, and he is not shrinking.

For all of the criticism that the Bruins have been taking (I’ve been giving my fair share) thus far this season, they are only 2 points shy of where they were at this time last year. That’s not to say that these are the same old Bruins:  To date, the biggest concern for this team continues to be special teams, which not only failed to score a power play goal, but allowed its 3rd shorthanded goal of the season. Sheesh!

They simply need to get better in this department. First of all, STOP DUMPING THE PUCK IN! Carry it into the zone with speed, please.

Never fear, Claude Julien is here. Boston’s special teams will improve.

I always find myself getting to end of my articles without mentioning Tim Thomas. How dare I!?Senators Bruins Hockey

He was simply stellar this week. Making a number of key saves and giving the Bruins not just a chance to win games, but giving them the confidence to do so.  After the Bruins came back to take the lead against Nashville, Thomas shut out the Predators and after a day off on Friday, came out with his most complete effort thus far. He was in true Vezina form when he robbed Daniel Alfredsson.

The next month will be a true test of character for the Boston Bruins. They’re being forced to play tough, grinding hockey, which will only benefit them come April.

HOT: Daniel Paille – You have to love his tenacity and hockey sense. He’s very creative with the puck and never gives up. A definite upgrade over Kobasew.

NOT: Dennis Wideman – Boy, when he’s bad, he’s REALLY BAD. A number of turnovers tonight (well, every night really) and just looked lost. To Providence, perhaps?

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More Breaking News — Lucic placed on injured reserve

Milan Lucic has been placed on long term injured reserve and will miss the next 10 games. The Boston Bruins have recalled Guillaume Lefebvre, Brad Marchand and Vladimir Sobotka from their AHL affiliate in Providence.

Lucic suffered a broken finger last week in Boston’s 3-0 win in Dallas.

Now, this is purely speculation on my part (and it’s my blog so I can do whatever I want), but it s0unds like Lucic’s injury may require surgery. This is not good news for a Boston team that is struggling to find it’s identity.

milan-lucicLucic was held out of Saturday night’s game against Phoenix, a 4-1 loss for Boston.

Vladimir Sobotka nearly made the team out of training camp and will have no trouble fitting into to the Boston system where he played 25 games last season.

At this time, there is no reason to believe that the Kobasew trade with Minnesota had anything to do with Lucic’s injury, since the players acquired in the Minnesota trade will (most likely) not be playing with the Bruins any time soon.

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Quick Hits – Julien shakes up Boston lines

Milan Lucic

Milan Lucic

Milan Lucic skated with 2nd liners David Krejci and Blake Wheeler in Wednesday’s practice. I believe that the 1st line will now have Marco Sturm at left wing (his natural position) and Michael Ryder moving up to play on the right side. Blake Wheeler could move to right wing on the second line.

I don’t see this as a demotion, but rather as a warning.

Thus far, Lucic just has not been the game-long physical presence that has earned him hero status in Boston. Lucic has said that enjoys being on the top line, and the hope is that re-aligning him will re-ignite the drive and competitiveness that makes him so enjoyable to watch.

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Bruins Week in Review 10/04/09

Milan Lucic

Milan Lucic

With the new slogan for the 2009/10 season, “Big and Bad are Back”, the Bruins gave their marketing department cause for concern opening night by portraying only one part of that slogan with a downright depressing 4-1 loss on Thursday night to the Washington Capitals.

From my seat in section 320, the Bruins appeared to have the jump on Washington for the first 10 minutes, but whatever pre-game adrenaline had been coursing through the veins of last season’s Eastern Conference Regular Season champions quickly faded. After Boston had a goal disallowed on quick whistle, the wheels simply came off. Continue reading

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