Dear, Claude, Petey and Cameron,
Thanks to your team’s performance in Games 1 and 2 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinals playoff series with the Montreal Canadiens, a sadness fallen over the city of Boston. After a seven month regular season of hoping and praying, over the past five days those that follow the Boston Bruins have come to realize the fear we have had in the pit of stomachs all season was true. That despite their regular season success, this was once again a team not built for playoff success, but a team that would play to such a level all season that made us think they were finally ready to make that leap, only to let us down in the end.
Same old story.
The Bruins were dominated by the Canadiens in Games 1 and 2, losing 2-0 and 3-1, respectively, looking like the little brother flailing his arms while being stiff-armed by his older brother. Montreal beat the Bruins at their own game, playing the style of hockey that made the Bruins the 2010-2011 Northeast Division Champions, sitting back, not making mistakes, denying the Bruins very few quality scoring chances. The Bruins, in turn, looked lost. With the puck on their stick most of the time, the Canadiens were denying the Bruins any opportunity to do what made them successful.
Same old Bruins.
To make matters worse, although this season may very well be over for them in a matter of days, this is still a good team, so close to being a great team. They are also a team I would have told you a week ago I saw as likely to win the Eastern Conference as it was to get swept in the first round.
Same old frustrating Bruins.
For the Boston Bruins, the time to panic is now as they prepare to take the ice in Montreal for Game 3 on Monday night. Nothing they have done to this point has worked. They have not been able to intimidate the Canadiens. They have not been able to solve the riddle that is Carey Price. They have not been able to shake their nerves. Now their captain cannot get on the ice and the jury is still out on whether or not Zdeno Chara’s absence in Game 2 on Saturday night is a reason to question the Slovaks toughness and abilities. The players have not been able to get it done on the ice and the coaching staff has not been able to – or stubbornly just has not – made any adjustments to the game plan to give them an edge over their foes. They are down 2-0 in the series and there have been no signs pointing to any kind of comeback. If nothing they are doing seems to be working, what is it exactly the Bruins should do now?
Unleash Tyler Seguin.
Get the rookie out of the stands, into the line-up and give him big, top line minutes.
The 19-year old spent the first two playoff games of his NHL career in street clothes as a healthy scratch after an up-and-down regular season. He showed flashes at times, but Seguin did not quite live up to the pre-season hype that followed him to Boston. This, however, may very well have been because of how he was protected and handled by the Bruins staff, who were stingy with his minutes and not did not put the rookie into too many tough situations.
It was the logical decision to keep Seguin in the stands and go with the lineup they did for Games 1 and 2. Daniel Paille plays a style far more suited to mesh with Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton, while Michael Ryder, in spite of his shortcomings, does have the veteran playoff experience that made him a better choice to keep in the lineup of a team that five days ago was looking like a team that could advance far. At the time it was smart to keep the rookie safe and away from the pressure this team faced heading into the playoffs.
Things have changed drastically for the Bruins since the playoffs opened last week, but putting Seguin in the lineup could present the team with an interesting spark. One of Boston’s biggest issues in the first two games was creating quality offense. Despite outshooting the Canadiens 66-46 over the two games, many of the shots came from the perimeter and were easy for Price to handle. Though some are capable goal scorers, the Bruins forwards are not the kind of highly skilled players who will beat a defenseman one-on-one to get inside and generate a quality scoring chance. Though he is raw and unproven, it could be argued Seguin is the Bruins most skilled player and could be that guy. Where is the harm in getting him on the ice to see if he can create something out of nothing and give the Bruins offense a much-needed boost?
There needs to be some sort of shake-up for the Bruins heading into Game 3. Though there is a lot to be said about consistency and sticking to your game plan, after the way Games 1 and 2 played out, changes need to be made. Lines need to be changed and the game plan needs to be altered, and Tyler Seguin is an interesting wild card. If his skills live up to the billing that made him the #2 overall draft pick last June, Seguin can be the kind of offensive player the Bruins are in desperate need of right now. The pressure to advance that was once on the Bruins is gone with most having written this team off having fallen behind 2-0. There is no longer a need to protect him. Take the training wheels off and get the kid in there. It’s finally time to see what he can do.
About the Author
Written by Matt Preston
I'm no Heminway or Haggerty, but keeping the dream alive, even if I'm pretty sure my Nana is my only follower. Self-deprecation is key, grammar is optional.