BOSTON (CBS) – They hoped that Tomas Kaberle would move the puck. They needed Joe Corvo to shoot. They even placed their six-foot-nine Captain in front of the net.
None of that worked for the Boston Bruins power play. All it equaled to was a pathetic average of 16.7 percent with a man advantage over a two-year period.
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We can go on with the numbers forever; the bottom line is that power play sucked. We get it. We understand the problem.
The hard part is finding a solution.
Does the lack of production come down to a flaw in coaching? Was it a lack of personnel? Or maybe, just maybe, it was something bigger; a poor philosophical approach — something that can easily be mended with a new, more aggressive perspective.
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After last year’s first round loss to Washington, Bruins’ president Cam Neely openly admitted that “I think it’s an area that absolutely needs improving, and we will improve on.”
It seems like that message has finally come across.
Nothing demonstrates this more than the two power-play “test units” rolled out during the Bruins’ first few practices. Group A consisted of Zdeno Chara, Tyler Seguin, David Krejci, Milan Lucic, and Nathan Horton. Group B was equally as intriguing with rookie Dougie Hamilton, Dennis Seidenberg, Patrice Bergeron, newcomer Chris Bourque and Brad Marchand controlling the zone.
Not to be over reactionary, but something about this attempt feels different. It feels aggressive; as if the Boston Bruins are finally facing the issue. Sure, it’s been attempted before, but when was the last time it seemed so urgent?
Nine months of no hockey and this is what Claude Julien chooses to address on day one? The first line “forward power house” alone indicates an assailing attitude that may prove to be the recipe for success. With Krejci on the point and Seguin’s ability to distribute the puck, the four skilled forward/one defenseman approach seems like a good strategy, at least on paper.
Is this power play solution part of the “Neely overhaul?” Could it be that Julien is finally focusing on his weaknesses? Perhaps it’s a bit of both. Regardless, it feels different; it feels fresh.
Facts are facts. During the “Claude Julien era” from 2007 until now, the Boston’s Bruins’ have ranked 16th, 5th, 23rd, and 20th with a man advantage, respectively, during the regular season. The power play philosophy, one that may have lifted them beyond mediocrity, has always been a needle poking at the sanity of every Black and Gold follower. With a seemingly “new and aggressive” approach, this may finally be the” turn-around” year for the Boston Bruin special teams.
Follow Mark Feldman on Twitter @Feldman985