NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley made his weekly appearance with Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to talk about the Bruins’ 10-game win streak, Brad Marchand , Carl Soderberg and more. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page .
The Bruins have been on a tear recently, winning 10 straight games and outscoring opponents 41-15 in that span. Despite all their success, the team still is looking to improve.
“They’ve been able to do a lot of things really during this streak,” Brickley said. “But it’s amazing when you talk to the coaching staff and even to the players to a man, they say, ‘We’re not peaking, we haven’t hit our stride. Yes, we’re winning games because we’re playing team hockey, and we’re getting some good results, but we definitely have another gear.’ ”
Marchand has been quiet during the streak, only recording two goals and three assists. Brickley admits that while the 25-year-old winger has struggled at times, he has had a successful season.
“He’s having a terrific season really, on the whole, when you take a look at it,” Brickley said. “Certainly there were times, maybe, at different points in the season where it wasn’t going his way and he was kind of fighting it or searching for that balance.”
The B’s third line compares favorably to many of the third lines across the NHL . One guy in that line that has improved, according to Brickley, is Soderberg.
“Soderberg, when you break his game down, and you could take it back to the beginning of the year and the things that he’s doing differently now,” Brickley said. “Number one, he’s understood a little bit more about body contact and leverage and how to use his strength. He has a greater awareness on what’s going around him and by moving him to center, it’s created that must-have awareness if you’re going to play the middle of the ice. He’s got a better grasp on the defensive structure, particularly in his own zone, how to help out with the D, be that first forward down deep in that box.”
With the trade for Andrej Meszaros, the Bruins have more depth at defense which means guys like Dougie Hamilton and Torey Krug have been been healthy scratches. Brickley sees the Bruins sending a message to them, wanting more out of them.
“First it was Dougie Hamilton, he missed a couple games,” Brickley said. “Young kid still trying to figure it out as he develops. Not a bad time to send a message to a young guy that we need more from you if you want to play in the postseason. Next up was Torey Krug. Yeah, they had plans for him to be the No. 1 guy on the power play, but again another subtle message that, don’t get overly comfortable because we have guys now.”
On Saturday against Minnesota, Johnny Boychuk  injured his left foot after getting shoved into the boards by Wild winger Patrick Dwyer. While Boychuk hasn’t played since, Brickley isn’t concerned.
“It’s all about, probably, getting his foot into the boot of the skate, probably, and making sure that’s comfortable,” Brickley said. “If it was a playoff situation I’m sure he probably could have played. I have no concerns, I think it’s minor at this point. Certainly in a good mood every time you see him, so he’s not bothered by the little bit of time it’s going to take him to get healthy.”