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Andy Brickley on M&M: ‘It’s the officiating itself’ causing more players to embellish

03.06.13 at 1:45 pm ET
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NESN’s Andy Brickley talked with Mut & Merloni on Wednesday about the Bruins’ overtime loss to the Capitals on Tuesday and about B’s coach Claude Julien‘s implication that the Canadiens dive more than most teams.

“From where Jack [Edwards] and I sit, it was more about what the Bruins failed to do,” Brickley said of the Capitals’ four-goal comeback Tuesday. “A 3-0 lead after one period, a game that you could certainly put away — the Bruins have the capability, it should be in their DNA by now. ‘€¦ Now it comes on the heels of giving a game away to Montreal in the third period, and over the last two periods plus overtime, to give that game away against Washington. It’s disturbing, it’s frustrating. And it shouldn’t happen in a season when points are at a premium, when it gets amplified.”

Brickley said that while it hasn’t hurt them much to this point, Tuesday wasn’t a big departure from the way the Bruins have been playing all year.

“When you really look at this team, they don’t do anything the easy way,” he said. “They don’t blow teams out, and they had an opportunity to do that last night, and even with the things that hurt them — mismanagement of the puck, turnovers, weak third periods of late, not extending leads even greater than three goals. … That offense needs to find some other gear. You’ve got to expect some shakeup on lines 2, 3 and 4.”

In response to a video that compiles various instances of the Bruins embellishing, Brickley noted that many of the plays in the video are against Montreal and Vancouver, and said the Bruins may have been diving in those situations to stay on an even playing field with teams that do it frequently. He added that he thinks players are embellishing more because officials aren’t calling penalties when they should.

“The problem isn’t so much about the embellishment,” he said. “It’s the officiating itself. If the officiating was of a higher quality, then embellishment becomes less of a part of your strategy as a team to get power plays.”

Following are more highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

On the defensemen’s struggles against Washington: “Those problems actually have existed for a lot of the season, even when the Bruins were putting some points in the bank on a pretty consistent basis. Up until this recent two-game losing streak, they were still making those kinds of mistakes, but they were playing inferior teams, really. Now they’re playing better teams, and you’re deeper into the season and teams are improving, and teams are desperate, and you combine all those elements, those mistakes that you make when you don’t protect the puck well defensively, or make more plays coming out of your zone when you’re trying to protect leads — they’re going to turn around and hurt you and you’re going to give up goals.

“And that’s what’s happening right now, and until they really pay attention and change and improve those areas, then you’ll see more of what you saw last night. The way that they lost, given that they pride themselves on beating that kind of team, is the disturbing part.”

On Tuesday night as a teaching moment for Dougie Hamilton: “Teaching moments occur almost on a shift-by-shift basis, certainly period-by-period, especially when you’re a 19-year-old defenseman. Even when you make a great play, it can still be a teaching moment for a young player like Dougie Hamilton. To single him out on the tying goal — I thought that was a pretty clever play by the No. 1 star of the game in Eric Fehr. It’s something that I remember trying to incorporate into my game ‘€¦ where you would just throw a little soft-toss at a defenseman’s shin pads while he’s backing up, and he has a tendency to look at the puck and bring his legs together to play the puck, and if he doesn’t corral it and handle it, now he’s flat-footed, he’s in trouble. Now, the puck doesn’t always come back to you or go to a teammate, but it causes problems. I think that’s what Fehr had in mind — maybe I’m giving him too much credit, but it worked perfectly.

“The other thing I liked about that second goal, in a negative fashion, was that Tuukka [Rask] took some accountability for it. He said, it was a soft goal, I should have had it.”

On the third line underperforming: “I generally try to use the eyeball test and not pay attention so much to statistics, particularly to plus-minus, but when you look at their plus-minus, as a line, its aggregate number, relative to, say, the [Patrice] Bergeron line and how dramatically different it is, that tells me there’s an issue there, as a threesome playing together. And it’s not happening. They’re not getting the desired results with that threesome together, and obviously I expect that to change tomorrow night with Toronto.

“The Bruins are on record saying they want to be patient with Chris Bourque. ‘We think he’s an NHL player — can he help us and make us a better team, but we want to give him the reps, we want to give him the games. He has the impressive AHL resume. He has nothing to prove at that level anymore. Can he be a consistent contributor at the NHL level? And we don’t want to give him 10 games, we want to give him 15 or 20.’ Well, now we’re getting into that area, and the question becomes, for the management team, are we good enough with Chris in that lineup on a consistent basis, or do we have options, maybe even outside the organization, to make our team better?

“You look at a guy like Chris Kelly. Great reputation, three-zone guy, defensive, faceoffs, kills penalties, but his game has been slow to come around this year, and then Rich Peverley, pretty good player, real good hockey IQ, but as a threesome it’s just not happening.”

On Daniel Paille or an AHL callup moving to the third line: “Seeing as it’s Toronto coming in and they changed their roster a little bit this year, like a lot of teams in the Northeast have done to get a little bit more abrasive, a little more sandpaper, my guess would be maybe Lane MacDermid comes to the lineup and maybe Paille moves a little bit, and maybe you switch [NathanHorton and Peverley. I think the [DavidKrejci line needs to get out of their staleness.”

On Alex Ovechkin’s style compared to Seguin’s: “Ovechkin is the type of player that, when he’s generating speed from center ice, he likes to increase that speed not so much in a north-south when he’s coming through center but he either likes to go left to right or right to left in order to increase that speed by those running turns. And he wants to take you wide. He feels if he can get a half step, because you’ll give him the outside, you don’t want to let him beat you to the middle — so you give him the outside ‘€¦ he thinks that’s to his advantage.

“As far as Seguin’s concerned, a lot of times he likes the middle of the ice, he really does. And if he lines up on that right wing and he gets a pass, a lot of time he’ll either be moving toward the middle, and as he moves toward the middle of the ice on the attack, good defense pairs — and that’s what they see, that line — will try to channel him back to the middle of the ice where they can corral him. If he could stay wide initially with his great speed, take a little bit of that page from Ovechkin where you drive wide and if you can beat your man wide ‘€¦ the better option is to take your man wide, have him commit, and then you pull up. [MilanLucic did it last night on the [ZdenoChara goal. ‘€¦ Those are effective plays, and that’s something that Tyler has to incorporate more into his game.”

Read More: Andy Brickley, Chris Bourque, Tyler Seguin,
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