What better way to get to know your enemy than to ask a fan who has been following them for 20+ years? Evan from Stanley Cup Of Chowder was my latest victim and he did not disappoint.
Nucks Misconduct: The Bruins are 14th overall on the power play in these playoffs. Why the futility?
Stanley Cup Of Chowder: I don't think you can pinpoint one reason why the power play has been so awful. It is a combination of things. Starting out the playoffs so poorly on the power play has probably become a self-fulfilling prophecy for the Bruins. To use a worn-out cliché, they are gripping the sticks a little too tight. They are looking for that extra pass to open up the perfect shot instead of trying to create scoring opportunities when they get the chance. I also think part of the Bruins failure with the man advantage is Claude Julien's stubbornness and unwillingness to change things up. He is still trotting Mark Recchi out for significant power play time when he has done little in the postseason to warrant it. I will give Julien some credit for finally switching things up by stationing Zdeno Chara at the top of the crease on the power play, though. That is a look that I would like to see the B's use here and there to keep the Canucks' PK on their toes. Also, Tomas Kaberle either needs to become a threat to shoot the puck or they need to move him off the point. No one is falling for his fake shot and pass immediately back to the opposite point routine. They need someone on the point that is a threat to shoot that can stretch the PK out and create seams to move the puck.
Nucks Misconduct: I'm sure this will tie into question #1 somewhat but what is going on with Chara (2 goals and 5 points in 17 games, Kaberle (0 goals and 8 assists in 18 games) and Lucic (3 goals and 9 points in 18 games)?
Stanley Cup Of Chowder: Zdeno Chara had some health problems during the Montreal series and I don't think that he was playing at 100% for a while after missing that game with
a stomach bug. Chara has been a rock for the Bruins, though. Just because it isn't showing up on the scoresheet, doesn't not mean Chara is not a big part of the Bruins' playoff success. As for Kaberle, a lot of us here in Boston are starting to question whether or not he is the player that we thought we were getting. Milan Lucic for whatever reason has not been himself for much of the playoffs. He is starting to get his game back, but early on in the postseason, he looked to me like a guy that was playing through some pain.
Nucks Misconduct: Brad Marchand only scored 1 goal in the Tampa series but still has 6 goals and 12 points in these playoffs. I think he's a pit bull with lots of potential. Am I right? Please give us your insight on Marchand.
Stanley Cup Of Chowder: Brad Marchand is a pest extraordinaire. He will agititate, get in guys' faces, talk trash, and do whatever it takes to get an edge. He will probably be the guy you hate most be the end of the series. My first introduction to Brad Marchand was after the Bruins drafted him and invited him to rookie camp. I went down to the practice rink to check out some of the Bruins prospects and take some notes for the site. After a few battle drills, it was obvious that Marchand was starting to get under the skin of a few of the players. About 45 minutes into his first formal practice as a member of the Bruins organization, Marchand started trading slashes with Jordan Knackstedt (6'3" 195 lbs). Before you knew it both players had the gloves off and were swapping punches. From that point on, I knew Marchand was going to a pest. I just had no idea he was going to be this good offensively. One thing that I do worry about with Marchand is that he is getting a reputation as a diver. He had a few Triple Lindys in the last series. He is too talented of a player to resort to that. The last thing that Bruins fans want to see is a tough player like Marchand turn into a gutless puke like Maxim Lapierre.
Nucks Misconduct: Tim Thomas completely impresses me with his unorthodox never-say-die style of goaltending. Now, you were asking prior to game 7 against Tampa if the real Tim Thomas would stand up. What was happening with the Vezina finalist and what are Timmy's known weaknesses?
Stanley Cup Of Chowder: When Timmy is on, he is the best goalie in the NHL. When he struggles, he struggles. Probably his biggest weakness is that he is very reactionary. He will get caught out of position at times and be forced to make that big scrambling save. If Game 7 is any indiction, I think Tim Thomas is the least of the Bruins' worries.
Nucks Misconduct: How is your confidence level with the Bruins in the Finals? Prediction?
Stanley Cup Of Chowder: I thought the Bruins were going to be out in the second round. So, what the hell do I know?
Yankee Canuck has a great preview of the Bruins here.