5 Offseason Changes Boston Bruins Must Make
Boston Bruins 5 Keys To Offseason Success
This offseason has been full of moves, unbelievable trades, and new talent.
For the Boston Bruins, they had their fair share of excitement and devastating heartbreak in the 2012-13 season. It ranged from staging one of the most memorable comebacks in all of hockey history, to watching their season slip away within the last 90 seconds of a Game 6.
The offseason does have one asset that fans will appreciate, and that is the ability to go over the tapes in order to see who produced and who didn't. It all comes down to rebuilding at this stage, and even though Bruins fans accept this with a heavy heart, we all knew change was coming.
The Bruins recently gave up on some key players. Some of those players left of their own accord and some seemed to be disbanded due to off ice actions. Regardless of how they left or why, the stage is set for some new blood. New blood is exactly what this club needs to spark certain areas of interest that have been lacking.
Bruins General Manager, Peter Chiarelli made some bold moves this offseason from letting some big name players go, to bringing in some big name players as well. The Bruins GM knows what’s good for the club, so in P.C. fans must trust. His decision making in conjunction with coaching staff has enabled the Bruins to be contenders in the playoffs every year where they once managed to win Lord Stanley’s Cup and more recently made it all the way to a Game 6 in the Final.
Here is what the Bruins need to do to continue to be a threat in the upcoming season.
Patience And Maturity
With the recent controversial trade of Tyler Seguin going to the Dallas Stars, there has been a big message delivered to the team. When you play for the Boston Bruins, you have to conduct yourself in a professional manner. It seemed to be easier said than done for Seguin. In addition to not producing on the ice, Seguin was a threat to the Bruins organization off the ice. The manner in which Seguin was conducting himself, in photos and on Twitter, transferred over to his time on the ice. For most of the playoffs the winger was quiet in terms of goal scoring. Even more so, Seguin didn't seem to be able to take the hint when he was moved down the lines. For the rest of the younger players, it speaks as a wake up call. Boston is not a place to take your time at maturing.
The Bruins will have to have patience with their young players but also must see maturity from their young players. Most would say the the decision Chiarelli made was an irrational one, but Seguin has been with the Bruins for three seasons and realistically only produced big numbers in one.
Let Loui Eriksson Play
The Bruins have a habit of limiting time on ice in favor of the team favorites. One mistake the Bruins can't make this upcoming season is to limit Loui Eriksson's time on ice. The fresh face in Boston is no stranger to playing big shifts. With an average TOI of 20 minutes, the Bruins will have to open their minds a little and allow Eriksson to get a rhythm.
When the Bruins acquired Jaromir Jagr they made this mistake. Jagr, who had seemed snake bitten from his inability to score a goal, was moved down the lines and saw limited time on ice. Even though Jagr was performing as an assist machine and demonstrating great puck control, the coaching staff focused only on the goals. With the signing of Jarome Iginla, it seems like there could be a small battle for ice time. The Bruins will have to allow Eriksson time on the ice to gel with his linemates. They should not opt for Iginla just because of his tenure. The decision will have to be made solely on skill.
Health And Consistency
Patrice Bergeron is the definition of consistency. Bergeron is the example that the Bruins should model their players around. Being arguably the best two-way player in the league comes with a price, however.
In the Stanley Cup Final, Bergeron played with a cartilage tear, injured rib, and a separated shoulder. There is no way to tell that if Bergeron was completely healthy the Bruins may have not lost in Game 6, but with his clutch overtime goals and key face-off wins it's something to think about.
In addition to Bergeron's injuries, Gregory Campbell suffered one of the most heroic injuries in the playoffs during a penalty kill. Suffering from broken right leg Campbell stayed on the ice for an additional 50 seconds to help his team stave off the Pittsburgh Penguins' attack.
The key here is that both are consistent players and are both willing to sacrifice a lot for their team. The Bruins will have to get healthy again during the offseason and come out consistent when holding the lead or trying to get it back.
One of the most iconic sayings in all of the NHL is "Don't poke the bear."
It seemed that the Bruins would try to make their opponents pay for poking the bear in another way last season. The Bruins seemed to focus more on play-making and goal scoring, while missing a big asset as a team. Hockey is 80% mental and 20% physical. However, one fuels the other and you can't be successful without both.
The Bruins seemed to lack the physical that gave them a mental edge over a lot of teams in the league. "The Big Bad Bruins", seemed to want to play a more skillful game this season, and there is no problem with that. However, the more we see Milan Lucic get hip-checked in front of the benches, the more he looks human. That's good news for the opponent.
When Lucic fore-checks and puts pressure on the defense in their own zone, they have a habit of giving bad passes for fear the train is bearing down on them. The Bruins need to exploit the value they have in larger than average players. Getting the right mentality and coming up with big hits fuels the crowd. The crowd plays a big role in the visiting team's mentality.
Dump and chase plays along with big bodies to the boards will give the Bruins back the intimidating edge they and the crowd thrive on.
Development Of Torey Krug
When Torey Krug made his debut with the Bruins, it was memorable. The 22-year-old logged four goals and two assists while having 15:49 TOI. The young Michigan born defenseman was no stranger to jumping in the play, nor was he afraid to skate back to the other end if caught out of position.
Although the numbers barely do him justice, he was impressive. From big hits to key plays, he is a player that the Bruins need to continue to develop. Okay, so he's a defenseman that can pinch and score goals. So whats the big deal? Krug is more agile and lightweight, so on top of having a great defensive mentality he can move. This makes him a scoring threat from the blue line that can unexpectedly take the puck right to the slot.
This makes him a double threat and maybe a triple threat because of his effort. I expect to see a lot more of Krug hitting the ice and practicing. The Bruins need to kick it into high gear and begin perfecting the 22-year-old on and off the ice. Regardless of if they want to start Krug in the lineup or keep him as a backup, having him ready for either scenario is a must. Krug gives it all he has on the ice time and time again. This is what the Bruins need more of and Krug fits with Bergeron and Campbell in terms of skating back, throwing hits, and blocking shots.