Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Bruins vs. Canucks: Takeaways

- Vancouver should definitely stick with the blue sweaters. They are by far the best uniforms they have ever had, and a major upgrade over the black. Seeing Edmonton's retro jerseys on Monday and then the Cancuks in green/blue on Tuesday was like being transported back to the NHL of the early 1980s... and that felt good.

- As expected the goaltending was superb on both ends. Luongo and Thomas are opposite ends of the goalie spectrum: Luongo is composed, has near-perfect form and smacks of Jean Girard-like confidence. Thomas is scatterbrained, has no form to speak of, and has a personality comparable to the fat goalie from "The Mighty Ducks". Luongo was born in Montreal; Thomas was born in Flint. Both were superstars last night. If a 0-0 tie was possible these days, it would have been a fitting outcome.

- The Bruins were very, very lucky not to be scored upon in the final 10 minutes. After 110 minutes of shutout hockey against two playoff-minded teams in hostile arenas 3 time zones away from home, things finally started to unravel. The Canucks repeatedly took the puck from their own zone to the Boston goal crease in less than 10 seconds. "Scrambly" was a fitting description for the Bruins defense, who seemed to simply chase the Canucks around.

- On the "breakthrough" front, Michael Ryder finally pots goal #2 of the campaign. He's generated some quality chances the past couple of games but been stoned by some really good goaltending. Nevertheless, he has to produce more to justify his cap hit and ice time. Ryder just isn't a good enough two-way forward to overlook a long goal-less streak.

- Hide the children -- Milan Lucic has his game back. Few players have the natural ability to dominate a shift with both skill and physicality; Lucic does it repeatedly throughout a game. He threw several large hits, and rang a snapshot hard off Luongo's mask in the third period... leading Brickley Jack Edwards (thanks andrine) to coin the instant classic: "He conked Luongo!".

- Chara is now a team-worst -3 and has only 3 points in 10 games, all assists.

- The Bruins now have 4 points on their 3-game road trip, making it a successful venture no matter what happens tomorrow night in Calgary. This brings the road record to 4-1-2, with nearly all of those games being in distant, hostile arenas. As mentioned Monday, the November homestand should be an opportunity to regroup and make some hay in the standings -- where the Bruins are only 1 point out of the division lead (overlooking a slight disadvantage in the GP column).

Other reviews from around the blogosphere:
Stanley Cup of Chowder
The Bruins Report
Cornelius Hardenberg and the Hockey Blog Adventure
The Bear Cave
Hub Hockey
Wicked Bruins Fan
Waiting for Stanley
Canuck Nation
Crashing the Goalie
Vancouver Viewpoint

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DR said...

I gotta say I don't get the Chara negativity...a guy who plays nearly 30 minutes a night is going to be on the ice for most of the goals. I've never really thought +/- was a great stat...granted his offense has been lacking, but his main purpose remains defense, and he's been huge (no pun intended) in that department. I can think of at least 3 occasions last night where he poke checked the puck away from a Canuck behind the net or on the halfwall, single handedly ending an offensive attack. I think the offense will come from him eventually, but the defense has been great so far.

Andie said...

ah, that was a jack edwards quote, not a brickley quote. if brick had screamed that, i would have probably choked on my beer and died.

andrewrice said...

agree with first comment. dont understand chara hate. the guy is still hurting from surgery most likely and still throws his weight around. hes the b's most important dman cuz of the minutes he eats and because he always matches up with the number 1 guys of the other teams

Tom said...

I distrust +/- in most situations, but it's never good when your top defenseman has a team-worst ranking. Not that I have time to go back and look at all Z's goals against, but I doubt he played a prominent role in many of them -- his minus is more the result of offensive invisibilty than his defensive game.

But let's face it, injured or not he has to be doing something on O. If he doesn't, no other defenseman will. And if we get nothing from the blueline our PP will eventually tank and the forwards will shoulder too much of the offensive burden. Chara has to find his game, especially his slapshot, not optional if the Bruins are going to be successful in the long haul.