The Bruins have been a bit of a roller-coaster as of late. From losing four games in a row, then winning two out of three games on their California road trip. They have been hit hard by injuries all over the roster but no position has taken a bigger hit then the center position. Bergeron, Backes, Spooner, and Krejci have all missed time at one point or another this season. Along with the rotating players on the back end with McQuaid out for a long stretch, and Krug now is missing time. The defense in their own zone has been sub-par to say the least. But even with the Bruins beginning to get players back from injuries the team defense continues to be repulsive at times.
This is the easiest route to go down considering that the Bruins have been throwing out an AHL lineup the past month. But being young does not provide an excuse for frankly being lazy at points. The Bruins’ young defense man have been lackadaisical at times this year, allowing easy tip-ins or one timers from the slot/high slot on a simple man coverage scheme. Cassidy has not instituted a complex defensive system at all. Most of it is a simple zone keeping the puck rotating along the boards and out of the danger areas, or a man to man coverage. Yet somehow the Bruins’ defensemen continue to lose track of their responsibility and have allowed some retched goals through the first quarter of this season.
When the Bruins’ youth has been able to execute the scheme properly, they are still getting beat to the spot and allowing wide open shots on net. Maybe it’s because they played against AHL talent only a couple weeks ago, or that they lack the physical talent to deal with big talented NHL forwards. Either way The lack of grit on the back-end has been a problem all year and continues to haunt the Bruins in tight games. While the last two games have shown improvement, the Bruins the youth on the back-end to develop some grit real quick. After all the first quarter of the NHL season is the easiest, as the games begin to rack up all the sudden the hits come harder and your feet feel heavier. Let’s see if the youth on this team is ready to handle that.
Defensive errors have been to common on this Bruins team. It seems like every game a player is making a wild pass through the center of the ice, or a bad timed pinch up the board that have led to breakaways and odd man rushes going the other way. Even the inability to clear the puck when the Bruins have plenty of open ice in front of them, rather they get overwhelmed in their own zones way to often making for grinding shifts on the players, and a lot of high quality scoring chances for the opponent. The inability to make the simple plays that NHL teams should do in their sleep fall on the veterans.
Chara mainly on the back-end should be telling the young kids make the simple play and get back on defense. Someone needs to take control of the game and slow it down, and Chara needs to be that guy. Do not let the veteran forwards off the hook either. They need to realize that when you have a bunch of young kids on defense do not get caught behind the net. Too many times in the past month the Bruins’ forwards had a tendency to migrate toward the puck rather than playing zones. While it makes for a less entertaining game playing conservative is what the Bruins need to learn to do and quick.
Now with Thanksgiving right around the corner it’s go time. This is when the playoff teams separate themselves. Let’s see what the Bruins got.