Boston Bruins: Defensive Breakouts Only Half the Battle


Earlier this week, coach Claude Julien unveiled how the Boston Bruins will devise their adjusted defensive breakout in the 2015-16 season. Julien stressed the vitality of the shift early in camp, and the team has quickly begun crafting it.

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But it will take time to master.

The Bruins will not see results overnight. With stay-at-homers on defense, Boston will plateau. They will not be peaking via the breakout until defensemen such as Zdeno Chara, Dennis Seidenberg, Adam McQuaid, and Kevan Miller adjust. Adjust to the speed and the mindset to think offensively as puck carriers when joining the rush as a fourth attacker.

The objective is to have cleaner looks in the neutral zone and beyond, past the blue line. Julien has become cognizant of Boston’s scoring deficiencies from the prior season. Nonetheless, defensive breakouts will not solve the scoring woes. That comes down to individuals.

Boston failed to score last season because the forwards could not put the puck in the back of the net. They allowed goals because they played defense on islands, essentially allowing Tuukka Rask to fend for himself.

The Bruins posted a dismal goals for total of 209 in the 2014-15 campaign. Toronto posted 206 goals and finished with 68 points.

Brad Marchand lead the Bruins in scoring last season with 24 goals. The Bruins relied on a 20-goal scorer to pace the team offensively. That will not bring the Bruins back to the playoffs with leverage as in years past.

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  • Julien may see a glimmer of hope from the three-week grind that is training camp. It can also claim the coach with recency bias. It may appear D-men such as McQuaid can bolster up the legs to effectively, and efficiently, join the rush as a fourth attacker in Wilmington, but come Oct. 8 when the Bruins square off against Winnipeg, it may be a different story. In training camp, it is tested veterans vying with novices. Julien simply anticipates his D-core adapting to the high-paced breakout by working on their legs in camp.

    Preseason hockey will indicate premature credence to Julien’s newfound modifications on the breakout. Time will tell if the adjustments will carry over into the regular season.

    Regardless of defensive transitions, the Bruins must find a rhythm offensively this season. Marchand cannot lead the team in scoring two consecutive years. The chief reason the Bruins had trouble scoring last season was not due to the defensive breakout. The defensive breakouts only fight half the battle. The latter derives from inability of the forwards to score.

    Loui Eriksson has finally adjusted to Julien’s scheme. During prior seasons in Boston, his experience was inauspicious, resulting in two concussions. Julien assigned Eriksson to stay wide on breakouts, playing along the boards. In Dallas, the two schemes clashed. The Stars played an overloading brand of hockey. The Bruins do not

    Eriksson is just one of many Bruin forwards needed to step up next season. David Pastrnak is paced to have a lucrative Sophomore season. He’ll be an asset on the defensive breakout. The right-shot, 19-year-old could play a pivotal role on the breakout as the strong-side winger. It would be his job to direct a pass to the overloading, weak-side winger crossing the middle of the ice. Then, the attack is on.

    Regardless of the blueprints, the game planning, and the whiteboard draw-ups, the Bruins’ main priority is to score. Whether it derives from the defensive breakouts or not, the B’s must increase scoring.

    Boston narrowly finished ahead of rival Toronto in scoring last season, indicative of what has to be prioritized for the Black and Gold.

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