NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley made his weekly appearance with Mut & Merloni on Wednesday, following the Bruins’ 4-3 loss to the Maple Leafs on Tuesday night. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page .
“I’m a little disappointed that the Bruins didn’t get the two points that they should have gotten last night,” Brickley said. “It’s the only game at home that separates five games on the road against some tough teams. A game that should have put two points in their pockets.”
The penalty kill — or lack thereof — was blamed as a big reason for the loss.
“You can’t just single out one aspect of your penalty killing that’s letting the Bruins down right now,” Brickley said. “I think it all starts with decision making, when you’re not making the right decision there’s a drag in your decision making, in other words you’re making it too late, a stride, a stride and a half too late.
“You’re playing against the top players on the other team, guys that make up the power plays, and your decision making is not there or there’s a drag, you’re going to give up quality scoring chances, and if you don’t get the saves you’re going to give up goals, and that’s where they’re at right now. This is not ebb and flow, this is a bad bad stretch of allowing far too many goals. You can win with a power play in the lower third of the National Hockey League , but you can’t win consistently when you’re only killing from the same place.”
One factor that appears to be hurting the penalty kill is the absence of Dennis Seidenberg , who tore his ACL and MCL on Dec. 27.
“The loss of Seidenberg definitely affects your penalty killing, but a little more importantly it affects the makeup of your entire team,” Brickley said. “That is the single most important issue that the Bruins are going to have to address right now. If you talk about, ‘How do the Bruins win more consistently?’ you say, well, you need more production from the [David] Krejci line. They carried the offense for the first 2 1/2, three months, but they’ve been quiet lately. They had unbelievable opportunities last night, didn’t finish. It was only the Bergeron line that was scoring goals, basically.
“They need to settle or figure out how they’re going to answer the loss of Seidenberg. When [Johnny] Boychuk is your number three, [Dougie] Hamilton, [Torey] Krug, [Adam] McQuaid make up your four, five six, [Matt] Bartkowski, [Kevan] Miller are your depth guys, now you’ve got a real good group. But you’ve lost a guy who’s playing 24-25 minutes who is an absolute horse back there, he’s physical, smart, experience, versatile, strong, well conditioned, understands his role, relishes his role. When you lose a guy like that, in the system that the Bruins play, as good as the other guys are, your team takes a big hit unless you can bring in a guy that’s not exactly like a Seidenberg, but someone that allows you to do some of the things he can do.”
Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Bruins news, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins .
On the struggling power play: “Their power play needs to be far more effective, far more productive, far more consistent than it’s been. They’ve had the personnel. We’ve given them kudos all year long for how good their power play is relative to years past because of the different personal and the different mindset with [Zdeno] Chara in front of the net, with [Milan] Lucic there, that double-barrel action, when it’s working well, having two units with two different looks. They got some good looks, but there were other power plays at critical parts of the game where they got nothing.”
On Tuukka Rask ‘s workload: “What is the optimum work load for a guy like Tuukka Rask . He’s not a guy that’s played 65 games in the National Hockey League , you’re a little unsure. So you try and make a best guess, maybe it’s 55, maybe it’s 60 games. The expectations are that he’s going to be the No. 1 goaltender for Team Finland, that means his workload is increased. He’s only 170 pounds, soaking wet, and what can he handle for a workload? And that begs the question does the Bruins have the confidence with their No. 2 goaltender, whether it’s Chad Johnson , maybe it’s Niklas Svedberg down the line, but are they comfortable playing them maybe more than they originally thought they were going to play their No. 2.
“Tuukka will tell you, he hasn’t been as sharp. There are pucks that have gone through him where he was making saves early in the year. From where I sit it’s more about how fresh and how sharp based on how much he’s playing.”
On Tyler Seguin ‘s high scoring numbers: “That doesn’t surprise me, in fact I expect those numbers each and every year throughout his career. What kind of player can he be? What kind of player will he be? Where is that maturation process and how far will it take him? Those were the unknowns when you deal a guy that young, that skilled, that talented, when you just don’t think he’s the character that you want with this group. You’re trying to win right now, it’s tough to make those deals.”