The Bruins rollercoaster start to the season isn’t what players, coaches, or fans were hoping for. The Bruins win one game, lose the next trend has to stop if they’re going to be considered an elite team in the Eastern Conference. They have been very Jekyll and Hyde thus far. They will put together a great game and bomb the next. There are a couple of problems I believe the Bruins need to fix to right the ship.
The first problem is the play of Tim Thomas; he is way too inconsistent right now. He plays a hybrid style; throw your body at the puck with reckless abandon, as compared to a butterfly style goaltender that has a more technical approach to the game. With goalies like Thomas it’s more luck then regaining their game. Even the best hybrid goalie ever—Dominik Hasek— hit bad spells where he was just flat out awful, but more often than not Hasek was brilliant. Tukka Rask has filled in admirably for the Bruins, but for the Bruins to make progress in the standings they need Thomas to be at the top of his game. While watching recent games it looks like Thomas is regaining that Vezina Trophy form he had last season.
Another player that needs to be better is their rock on defense Zdeno Chara. Chara’s defense is solid, especially since he goes up against the other team’s best forwards day in and day out. But what the Bruins need him to do is regain that blast from the point. Through 13 games, Chara hasn’t registered a goal yet. Chara is clocked with the fastest shot in the NHL; so why not use it. He needs to start shooting more from the point. Forwards are literally scared to go down and block one of his shots, he should use that to his advantage to shoot or set up other teammates who may be open. With the loss of Marc Savard, Chara is the man on the power play; he is the key for the power play to start clicking. I have confidence that Chara will have at least ten goals by season’s end.
Another reason for the erratic start is not of the Bruins doing, but the injury bug has hit the team hard. Losing two forwards from their first line, Milan Lucic (broken finger) and Marc Savard (broken foot). With these losses the Bruins needed players to step-up and so far to this point no one has been able to fill Savard’s shoes. Their most impressive line to this point of the season is the forth. Byron Bitz, Shawn Thorton, and Steve Begin have been playing a rough and tumble style of hockey that endears them to Bruins fans. No offense to that line, who I love to watch, if they continue to be the best line it will be a long season for the Bruins. Getting Savard and Lucic back will help, but it will remain to be seen if it can put them over the edge.
The season is still young, but if the Bruins continue on the path that they are on, it could lead to a long summer break for a team that was supposed to dominate the Northeast Conference.