The answer to the Bruins power play woes?
The last four years of the Bruins power play have been frustrating to watch. It has been nearly as frustrating as opening up your favorite hockey blog to see what is going on, only to be bombarded with story after story about Sidney Crosby…
But now it seems that an unlikely face is about to shake up one of the worst power play units in the NHL. Torey Krug has been playing the quarterback role on the first unit with David Kreji who in a video for NHL.COM said
“Every decision is the right decision. He shoots the puck when he has to, he passes the puck when he has to and it’s just fun to play with him.”
Hearing such high praise from such an influential player in Boston must just add to the confidence of Krug, who looks like he has been skating in the NHL for years.
Krug himself added that he is having an amazing time and is enjoying every aspect of the power play
“We have a lot of different skill sets on the power play. Whether it’s Krej with vision and his skill, Iggy’s one-timer, Looch’s ability to shoot the puck and to battle down low, and obviously Z can do all of that. There are a lot of different players on the power play but we’re having a lot of fun with it, moving the puck around and always trying to get better.”
Krug has been tipped for a possible Calder Trophy but with the likes of Seth Jones and Thomas Hertl stepping up Krug will have a battle on his hands. The Bruins have made two Stanley Cup Finals in the last three years with a lackluster power play. With a power play firing on all cylinders with a rookie defenseman who has taken to ice like a polar bear, the Bruins might be on their way to another Stanley Cup Final!
Today it has been announced that the Bruins have made their most important signing this off-season so far. Patrice Bergeron has been re-signed to an 8-year contract reportedly at $6.5 million.
“It would mean a lot,” Bergeron said on July 2. “That’s the goal since the beginning. It’s the team that believed in me when I was 18 and I was coming up. Now, it’s my home. I feel like it is. I love the city. I love the people. I definitely love the organization. It would mean a lot to me. Hopefully we can work something out.”
Bergeron had an unforgettable post season scoring 9 goals whilst playing with a monstrosity of injuries even for hockey player come playoff time. NHL players are known to play through the pain, but there are few that would have played with a fractured rib, torn rib cartilage, a separated right shoulder and worst of all a punctured lung! Now that is literally putting your body on the line for the team and nobody can question Bergeron’s passion and commitment to the Bruins.
This will also mean another 8 years of Bergeron causing havoc in the faceoff circle, after last year stamping his authority as the best in the league with a win percentage of 62.1%.
Bergeron also took home the Selke trophy in 2013 (which he also took home in 2012) awarded to the best defensive forward. He was also awarded the King Clancy award which is presented to the player who shows the best leadership qualities on and off the ice.
Bergeron is a shinning role model to the younger players coming through the franchise, who will be rubbing there hands at the opportunity to learn from arguably the best 2-way forward in the world.
With one Stanley Cup won and this seasons heartbreak in the Stanley Cup Finals there is no doubt Bergeron will be hunting another one, even if he has to discharge himself from hospital again!
Last night saw IIya Kovalchuck announce his retirement from the NHL, kissing goodbye the remaining 12 year $77 million contract. This now paves the way for a return to the KHL, leaving the Devils to clean up the mess.
The move clears up over $6 million in cap space meaning the Devils can be more active with free agency but Kovalchuck has left them having to pay $250,000 – $300,000 a year in cap-benefit recapture fees for each of the 12 years remaining on his contract.
The Devils did release a statement on the departure of Kovalchuck.
”This decision was something I have thought about for a long time going back to the lockout and spending the year in Russia.” Kovalchuk said “Though I decided to return this past season, the GM Lou was aware of my desire to go back home and have my family there with me. The most difficult thing for me is to leave the New Jersey Devils a great organization that I have a lot of respect for, and our fans that have been great to me.”
I am sure most NHL fans have their opinion on Kovalchuck. Some called him “Kovalchoke” and others screamed from the roof tops saying he is far better than he actually is (a bit like another NHL star we all know Sidney…)
But the truth of it is Kovalchuck posted some fantastic numbers during his 11 seasons in the NHL, including a season where the Devils took a run all the way to the final. Kovalchuck posted 19 points in 23 post season games, proving that he was a great player and one of the few that had his own individual class.
Kovalchuck’s 11 seasons in the NHL were marked with an overall 816 points in 816 games, the definition of a point per game player!
The Devils are going to miss him; although adding Ryan Clowe and Michael Ryder will help this will not compensate for the loss of Kovalchuck. This is especially true with the Devils also losing David Clarkson to the Leafs.
So although this is not a piece of tribute writing it is a goodbye to a great player that I will miss seeing in the NHL (especially on the PP).
After returning back just in time to spark an inspired playoff run for the Hawks, many would say that Crawford was near on perfect?
Looking at his GAA (which before the final stood at 1.74 and his save percentage which stood at .936) I would agree, but it seems the Bruins like to cause an argument to those stats as well as off the ice.
In the 2011 final it seemed that Roberto Luongo couldn’t cover a table with a cloth, let alone a net, but with Crawford in for the Hawks I was concerned for the Bruins. However it seems Danny Paille and Milan Lucic in particular have done their homework and targeted Crawford’s high glove side.
In game 1 Milan Lucic fired past Crawford’s glove side twice. The first goal I don’t think Ryan Miller, Jimmy Howard or any other goaltender in the league could have stopped. The second goal however was a clear display to any young inspiring goaltender how not to use your glove…
Then in game 2 Danny Paille fired another high glove side shot that Crawford yet again failed to stop and the Bruins went on to win in OT. The Hawks are faced with the dilemma that the Bruins are exploiting a known the weakness of Crawford before the puck was dropped in game 1, but how do they stop it? Their defense needs to step up the blocked shots or they need to outscore the Bruins if they are to win the Stanley Cup.
A separate question all together is how do they beat Rask? Being a Bruins fan myself and watching Rask all season I would say his glove is not the strongest area of his game. Get men out in front of Rask and open the gaps for slap shots though traffic. As it stand posting 4 goals in game 1 the Hawks are heading for a goalless streak (182:26 heading into game 4) so coach Joel Quenneville is going to have to do something to rally his players and they challenge the Bruins for every loose puck.
Part of this inspiration is going to have to include Crawford doing his part and stopping those shots that have come whistling in high on his glove side.