The Boston Bruins are currently half way through the 2012(not really)-2013 season. At present, the Bruins are 17-4-3. They are second behind the Montreal Canadiens*shudder*, and are ranked fourth in the conference. The way they are playing (barring an Ottawa-grade disaster), the Bruins should have a very easy time getting into the playoffs as a top seed(if not #1). Here at Causeway Crowd, we’ve come up with a mid-series report card to show what we think of the individual players’ performance to date.
Nathan Horton – 7 goals (12pts) +/- +1, 4 PIM, 69 SOG. Grade: B- . Horton has proved he is back from the concussions that took him off the ice last season. While he is third in overall goals for the Bruins, the dynamic hard play that classified Horton isn’t as prevalent this year. Horton has also not logged a fighting major. This is not necessarily a bad thing, we were just hoping for the force of nature he was in the 2011 season.
Milan Lucic – 4 goals(14pts) +/- +3, 57 PIM, 33 SOG. Grade: C+ . Milan Lucic is one of the faces of the franchise. It hurt a little to give him such a low grade, but it’s a fair one. Lucic has not been much of an offensive powerhouse this season. The same can be said about the whole starting line. We’ve been hoping to see Looch do what he does best. The hitting is there, but the fore-check isn’t where it should be. Granted, some of the penalties he has incurred this season seem to be reputation penalties, but they’ve partially hurt his production on offense, and have certainly caused frustration for him.
David Krejci – 6goals(20pts) +/- +3, 12 PIM 42 SOG. Grade A-. Krejci has been a producer for the Bruins. He’s been steady, and not prone to show frustration in his line’s poor performance. Three of his goals have been game winners, and he’s consistent every night. He makes few mistakes and does an excellent job of correcting those few he commits.
Brad Marchand – 12goals(21 pts) +/- +16, 10PIM 44 SOG. Grade A. OK, who among you had Brad Marchand as the leading scorer going into the second half of the season (I did!)? We were expecting more of the chirping, instigating, and borderline obnoxious Little Ball of Hate. What we got this season was the Little Demon that can Skate. He does his job. These kind of numbers would find the entire second line as the primary line on most NHL teams. He still chirps and instigates. He’s just grown up to the point where he does it between whistles. He has been included to see more time on special teams(with 3 goals on the power play) and has four game winning goals. He’s become a smaller version of Nathan Horton.
Tyler Seguin – 9 goals(20 pts) +/- +17, 10PIM, 80 SOG. Grade B+. Tyler’s grade was kind of low earlier in the season. Thankfully, he has shaken off the European rust and has gotten back to what the Bruins needed of him. He ties Marchand with 3 power play goals(and a game winner), and is getting better every game. His physicality has improved as well. Tyler is no longer hesitant of putting the hit on the body, and is willing to go in there and out muscle other players for puck possession.
Patrice Bergeron – 6 goals(22 pts) +/- +18, 8PIM, 73 SOG. Grade A. It is hard for me to say it, but I have to seriously wonder if the ‘C’ would be more appropriate on his jersey. A certain percentage of Marchand and Seguin’s development has to be given to Bergeron. Last year’s Selke winner has been everywhere doing everything. He plays three zone, two way hockey. He is the biggest reason why our penalty kill is the best in the league. How many times have we seen him tie up three or four of the other team by himself eating up entire penalties? He’s a great technical player, and is one of those people who stands by his team on and off the ice.
Chris Kelly – 2 goals(6 pts) +/- -6, 12PIM, 30 SOG. Grade C. Chris Kelly may likely be out for the rest of the season due to the broken leg he suffered in the game against Ottawa. Kelly’s line has one of the disappointments of this season. A lot of people thought it was due to Chris Bourque being there, but as they played without him, things didn’t get that much better. Kelly does have a power play goal to his name, but the third line’s anemic production has hurt the Bruins, and hopefully we’ll get him back on the ice soon.
Rich Peverley -3 goals(8pts) +/- -8, 6PIM, 33 SOG. Grade B-. Peverley’s grade has improved of late due to his recently splendid work on penalty kill. It’s been argued by some of us here that he might actually do a better job as a defenseman rather than a winger. The addition of Jordan Caron might help production with this line, but with Kelly’s extended absence, Peverley will need to lead this line.
Daniel Paille – 5 goals(9pts) +/- +1, 8PIM, 29SOG. Grade B+. For a grinder, this guy can play. His production supercedes the third line, and he has more goals than Lucic. Paille works hard on the ice, and plays solid hockey. Paille is performing better than expected, and his goals( a short handed and a game winner) have been part of the Bruins’ overall success. He gets promoted to the third line on occasion(perhaps the Bruins should consider that in the wake of Kelly’s injury), and he time he does he performs well on that line.
Shawn Thornton -2 goals(3 pts) +/- -2, 39PIM, 22SOG. Grade B. Thornton is doing what Thornton should be doing. He does his part on the fourth line. He skates well, and doesn’t commit too many errors on the ice. He is very physical, and he is one of the few people who is brave(or crazy) enough to willing march into battle against the likes of the Buffalo Sabres’ John Scott. Thornton will drop the gloves and he will fight. He just chooses his battles a little better now(for the most part).
Gregory Campbell – 2goals(5pts) +/- -3, 31PIM, 26SOG. Grade B-. Campbell does a good job centering the fourth line. It could be argued that the Merlot Men have nearly a hive mind mentality when they play on the ice. Campbell is solid all the way around. The grade reflects only his lack of point production. Campbell will likely be connected with the various members of the ‘scratch line’ (Spooner, MacDermid, Pandolfo) as injuries accumulate this season. We expect his grade to improve the same way Paille’s did.
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