Boston Bruins: Don’t Expect Bruins to Play Heavier


Claude Julien’s post game comments following Wednesday night’s frustrating loss at the hands of the Flyers indicated some displeasure with the way the team went about its fundamentals.  Even though the Boston Bruins are the second highest scoring team in the league through the first two weeks of the season, their willingness to pay a physical price to create pressure on opponents is nowhere to be found.

“I think a lot of it is that we played a light game tonight…” Julien said Wednesday night.  “We had too many guys with light sticks, too many guys playing a light game, and that’s not how we’re going to have some success.”  What Julien means is that Boston barely gave the Flyers any push back when the momentum following Steve Mason’s phenomenal save on David Pastrnak started to swing in Philly’s favor.  It was a problem throughout the duration of the game, but the B’s need to nail down wins when they have a two goal lead in the final stanza.  We saw them blow a 3-1 advantage Saturday in Arizona, and again on Wednesday, in similar and quick fashion.

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  • This could turn into a trend going forward, because the Bruins simply don’t have the type of players on their roster anymore to carry out the task of physically dominating teams and imposing their will to suffocate any attempt at a comeback when they have a late lead.  Ryan Spooner and David Pastrnak are both highly skilled players who will score goals, but can’t be expected to forecheck well and lean on opponents down low.  Jimmy Hayes and Matt Beleskey are Julien’s best bet to get things going on that front, and you really can’t expect that from Hayes either.  His best hockey will come when he’s leaning on guys down low and winning battles, but he doesn’t play anywhere near as heavy as he is.

    On the back end, forget about it.  Gone are the days of Chara and Seidenberg in their prime, with Johnny Boychuk throwing his weight around as well.  The days when having a third period lead meant you could call it a night and chalk up a “W” are a thing of the past.  This year’s Bruins will continue to roll out a Zdeno Chara who has lost a step (as solid a defender as he still is) surrounded by a handful of young kids still learning the game.

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    Joe Morrow, Tommy Cross, and Colin Miller aren’t the type of defensemen Claude Julien is used to working with.  His weapons this year will have to continue to out-gun the opposition, and tighten things up on D.  They will have to possess the puck more, and not allow teams to run around late in games, rather than the using the old strategy of sitting back and suffocating offenses on their way to a win.

    The Bruins have to figure out how close out contests when they’re winning late.  Leaving points on the table like they did Wednesday night is the type of thing that snowballed last season and cost them a playoff spot.  This group needs to learn how to win, and they won’t do that by trying to play “heavier.”

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