Thursday, December 11, 2008

Win streak kicks the bucket in DC

Well, I suppose it was bound to happen. The B's started slow last night against the Caps, and this time, they couldn't turn it around quickly enough to salvage a win or a point. The B's seems surprised early on by the pace the Caps were setting. Washington has loads of skill, and it was on display right from the start. By the time the B's got their legs under them and started to carry the play, they were already down 2-0. With Brent Johnson doing his best Gump Worsley impression, they were never able to catch up. But it wasn't just Johnson that kept the B's off the scoreboard for most of the night. Boston had too many quality chances that they just didn't finish. Wheeler, in particular jumps to mind. He (and Sturm when he's playing) are maddening to watch sometimes. I've never seen a kid "assume" he scored before the puck crosses the line. Last night he did it again. He deked Johnson badly and had an open net. But instead of bearing down and BURYING it, he lazy-assed it, and just tried sweeping it in. Of course, Johnson got his arm on it to keep it out. Brickley went on about how the puck was too far in front so he couldn't get leverage blah blah blah. BS. I'd bet you anything if you got Brickley off-record he'd agree that Wheels HAS to bury that shot. He's far from alone, but it was the most glaring missed chance. On the plus side, Wheeler seemed ticked off about it afterwards, and was much more physical for the next few shifts. The kid needs to play that way every shift, and stop passing up shots the way he does. As far as the rest of the game goes, I thought Lucic had a really strong game. He seems to step up to the challenge of playing against high-tempo teams like the Caps. His skill level seemed higher last night than normal, while still using his body well. Fernandez turned in another strong performance as well. Can't blame him for any of the goals. Now, this may be nit-picking, but Lashoff, again, got absolutely abused. On the empty netter, he got caught at the offensive blue line...AGAIN, trying to make a play. I understand it's desperation time then, but his first job has to be to not let AO get a breakaway on an empty net! Just another terrible decision in a long line of terrible decisions by the rook. Don't mean to bash, because hey, I want everyone in a B's jersey to succeed. But he's already a -3 in only 4 games. Normally I'm not a huge +/- guy, but in some cases it's a telling stat. One thing that has kind of caught my eye the last few games, is how chippy Savard is has been. I love it. Our top scorer playing with a little edge is a great thing. Last night he had a couple little exchanges with Poti and another with some other Cap at the B's bench. Now, as one of my buddies mentioned this morning, if anyone decides to call his bluff, he's screwed. But hey, run with it while you can I guess. On a similar note, Krecji started to get "mouthy" and was taking a couple shots at Brashear after the whistle last night. My first reaction was: "STOP IT!". It's one thing to push and shove with other "regular" players. But, and this is no defense of Donald Brashear, doing that stuff to a heavyweight is just....I don't know, wrong. Poking the tiger through the cage like that is uncalled for I think, and doesn't do anything to improve your reputation. All it did was put Brashear in a tough spot.What was he going to do? Drop the gloves and pound Krecji? Of course not, he'd be painted as nothing more than a bully and a goon. So guys like him have to take an endless amount of grief from guys that everyone KNOWS would never back it up. I've never been a big Brashear fan, but he's one of the "honest tough guys" in the league. And among those guys, there is a code. And part of that code is, you don't fight kids you will obviously hammer. You can be sure if Thornton or someone capable of defending himself had started on Brashear like that, he would have retaliated. Sorry for the off topic rant, but I just hate seeing Bruins do that crap. For reference, imagine if Koivu was doing that with Thornton. Would anyone say "wow, good for Saku"? No, we'd all be crucifying him because we know he has no intention of dropping the gloves. Leave that BS for all the little girls on the Canadiens. The Bruins are better than that. Anyway, looking forward to the home and home with Atlanta this weekend. Time for the B's to start another winning streak, and to get back to playing their game. It's been a couple games now that they've been just a little "off". Time to nip that in the bud before bad habits creep in. It's a fine line. Play their system, they're near impossible to beat. Stray away from the system, and they're vulnerable to anyone willing to skate and work hard against them. I have every confidence that Coach Julien has gotten that message across. Go B's-Kynch

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