Friday, December 19, 2008

Goals galore!

While I don't think coach Julien will be too thrilled with the overall team D last night, he has to love having the luxury of such a good offense. Sure, once it to 5-1, you me and everyone else thought it was going to be a blow-out. Problem is, nobody told the Leafs. To their credit, they kept coming at the B's and made a game of it. Getting it to 6-5 before the end of the second period was huge for them. But here's where this Bruins team is different than the ones we've seen for the last few years. They simply went out and scored two more to seal the deal. And thanks in no small part to Manny Fernandez, they kept Toronto off the board in the third. Amazing that they can seemingly turn it on and off at will. As much as I hate seeing them blow big leads, it doesn't seem like it bothers them too much. But, it has to be said that this trend lately of jumping out to big leads, then having to scramble to come away with a win could be worrisome. Is it just a fluke? Or is it a sign that things are starting to slip a bit? The bottom line is they are winning, but against much "easier" competition this month, they've seemed to be challenged more than they should be. Things just don't look as "sharp" as they did in November. Then again, they played nearly perfectly for a solid month. So that's a pretty tough act to follow I guess. In my last post I raved about Phil Kessel and how he's matured as a player this year. Well, I'd be remiss if I didn't do the same for Krejci. Remember the David Krejci we saw early last season? The guy that seemed to get a million chances, but just couldn't score to save his life? I think he's over that now. Classic example of a guy benefiting from being sent back to the minors to work on his game. We all know how good he looked in the playoffs, but he's taken it to another level now. All three of his goals last night were things of beauty, for different reasons. Obviously his second goal will (rightfully) be the one on the highlight reels. Incredible skill and patience on that one. Even he was at a loss to explain what he did. But the one that really sticks out to me, was the one that started the hat tossing fiesta. Savard made an incredible pass across the crease to an awaiting Krejci. Looked like an easy little slam dunk, right? Well, as Andy Brickley mentioned, that's a harder goal to score than some may think. Savvy FIRED a hard pass, so no simple tap in was going to work. As Brick pointed out, watch how Krejci bends over the stick to get max leverage on it. If he was softer on his stick, there is a good chance the puck would have deflected away. This is exhibit A of what I mean when I rant about players (Wheeler!) not "bearing down". If krejci had just assumed he had the goal based on his position, he would have ended the night with a nice 2 goal effort. But because he knows how to BURY shots, he skated off with a couple hundred hats (no bras) to add to his collection. It's these seemingly "little" things he does so well. His ability to slow things down when the situation calls for it is incredible. For a young guy, he has an incredible amount of poise. He can't compete with Kessel in terms of speed and shooting ability. But he's every bit Kess's equal in the thinking part of the game. He also has the same "natural scorer" gene. And frankly, throwing a guy like Krejci over the boards has to cause defenders migraines. One shift they're trying to speed everything up to keep up with Kessel and Savard. Next, they have to slow everything down to try and contain Krejci. Good luck with that. And finally, a plea. Can everyone PLEASE stop all the inane trade rumor/speculation? Dear Lord, I'll never understand why so many people feel the need to drum up some far fetched, short sighted trade scenario. Invariably, these Internet rumors end up being laughable when you look at the specifics. Everyone seems to think that team A will give team B anything team B needs for a bag of pucks. And the salary cap apparently doesn't exist in this fantasy world of non-stop "roster upgrades". For those of you not paying attention, the Bruins are in first place in the Eastern Conference. They've scored more goals than anyone in the league. They've allowed fewer goals than anyone else. What, exactly, is a glaring "need" for them right now? I've seen so many people talking about trading Manny Fernandez "while his value is high". Huh? First, everyone wanted him out of here because he was a "bust" or whatever. Now he's proving to be the goalie we all wanted him to be when he got here, and suddenly THAT is why he should be dealt? Last I checked, all the experts and everyone else will tell you that "Goaltending wins playoff series". Well, call me crazy, but doesn't having TWO top shelf goalies increase your chances of finding that "hot hand" during the playoffs? When was the last time the B's could realistically dream of making a long playoff run? Why would they make a move that could potentially take a position of strength and make it a weakness? What happens say, if they did trade Manny for a defenseman....and Thomas gets hurt in April? You're now entrusting this team, the team that had everything in place to be a threat, to Tukka Rask? Nothing against Rask, but that's an unfair spot to put him in. Obviously, as it gets closer to the trade deadline, Chilly will be listening to all offers. Any good GM would. That's called due diligence. But it would have to be a mind blowing deal, in my opinion, for Chilly to make any "significant" move. Chemistry, as I've said 100 times here, is a huge part of an NHL roster. And these guys have it in spades. All the pieces fit and work perfectly together. I see no reason...especially now, in December, to even engage in the "what if we trade X..." discussion. It's pointless. It's mind numbingly tedious. And all it does is serve to distract us from the good times we should be having watching these guys play. It's been a long bumpy road around here the last few years. Time to start enjoying the ride and embracing the possibilities. Does that set me up for failure? Possibly, but I'll deal with that disappointment if and when it comes. I refuse to let the fear of "what if" derail my enjoyment of watching the most fun team in the NHL. With a recession, layoffs and every other piece of bad news that gets thrown at us every day, I'm going to let hockey ENTERTAIN me, just like it's supposed to. I have enough stress without creating my own dooms day scenarios over my hockey team.
Go B's- Kynch

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