Opening thoughts

lexrageorge

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2007
11,418
Some very premature thoughts after 1 game:

1.) With no Bergeron and two rookie defenseman, it's no surprise the Bruins found themselves in an early hole. But still credit is due to the rookie blue liners for recovering and playing well in the closing period when the game was still tight.

2.) I think we'll grow to like David Backes.

3.) I thought Claude had a good plan in terms of doling out the playing time, rotations, etc. Sure, the two rookie forwards found their way to the bench in the final period, but that move seemed justified last night.

4.) Marchand seems to be carrying over his World Cup experience.

5.) I'm glad Sweeney ignored the local mediots and kept Pastrnak, who landed 8 shots on net. Seems like too many people last year dismissed the fact he suffered a significant foot injury in training camp, a camp that would have been a crucial development period for him. He's the type of player you can build around, not one you trade for a bottom 6 forward and 3rd pairing defenseman.

Yeah, it's early. But last season's 0-3 start, which turned into a mediocre 8-8-1 run, loomed large by the time April rolled around.
 

SoFloSoxFan

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 14, 2005
2,172
5.) I'm glad Sweeney ignored the local mediots and kept Pastrnak, who landed 8 shots on net. Seems like too many people last year dismissed the fact he suffered a significant foot injury in training camp, a camp that would have been a crucial development period for him. He's the type of player you can build around, not one you trade for a bottom 6 forward and 3rd pairing defenseman.
This was a thing? I'm even more glad I don't read the Boston media then.
 

FL4WL3SS

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2006
12,096
Andy Brickley's potty mouth
After 2 games, Rask and the defense are very concerning. I'm hoping there is some improvement with the return of Bergeron, but he can only help so much.

We're going to have to get used to winning high scoring games and getting blown out of a lot of games where the offense goes cold. Basically just like last year.
 

cshea

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 15, 2006
27,163
306, row 14
The team will sink or swim with the blue line. I don't think that is much of a secret. They're going to score a lot, time will tell if the young guys on D can make a step forward and help keep the puck out of the net (and move it up the ice quickly). Carlo has looked good through 2 games, so there is some hope.
 

Red Right Ankle

Formerly the Story of Your Red Right Ankle
SoSH Member
Jul 2, 2006
9,825
Multivac
The team will sink or swim with the blue line. I don't think that is much of a secret. They're going to score a lot, time will tell if the young guys on D can make a step forward and help keep the puck out of the net (and move it up the ice quickly). Carlo has looked good through 2 games, so there is some hope.
Yeah, I think it will be more important than usual for this team to get out ahead rather than play from behind as they need that cushion with this defense.
 

lexrageorge

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2007
11,418
Rask may have hurt himself in the first game, so who knows who that may have affected him. The first 2 games did illustrate Bergeron's value to the team, not that we need any more convincing.

I'm hoping Carlo keeps the old&slow guys in the press box for a while.
 

biff_hardbody

lurker
Apr 27, 2016
206
I'm excited by what this Bruins team has shown so far. Carlo and C. Miller are head and shoulders easier to watch, even when they are making mistakes, than McQuaid and K. Miller. I think Chara has played well so far, hopefully he can stay healthy. Krejci looked better last night and Spooner even showed a little something. Marchand-Backes-Pasta is a legit top line. They look like they can play with speed. Rask was great last night.

That being said, they are going to have to win their fair share of games like last night to be a good team. I'm not sure their D can really keep up with the high end offensive teams.
 

TheRealness

Don't make him go all Lucic on your ash
SoSH Member
Feb 8, 2006
11,278
The Dirty Shire
I'm excited by what this Bruins team has shown so far. Carlo and C. Miller are head and shoulders easier to watch, even when they are making mistakes, than McQuaid and K. Miller. I think Chara has played well so far, hopefully he can stay healthy. Krejci looked better last night and Spooner even showed a little something. Marchand-Backes-Pasta is a legit top line. They look like they can play with speed. Rask was great last night.

That being said, they are going to have to win their fair share of games like last night to be a good team. I'm not sure their D can really keep up with the high end offensive teams.
Winnipeg isn't a patsy, but I have taken a few things from this defense.

Colin Miller looks like solid to me. His +/- is poor, but his CF% is 53.4, and he is passing the eye test. I think he looks more decisive and confident, so I expect his plus minus numbers to improve.

Carlo has been a revelation. He's steady, has solid possession numbers, is fluid with the puck in his own zone, and has really stabilized Chara.

With both of them playing well, I don't see how the Bruins put both McQuaid and Miller back. O'Gara has some refining to do, so I have no issue with him being sent down when McQuaid is ready, but I've been impressed with the other two.

And Pastrnak has been Pastrnasty. Yeah, I said it. I went there. What? You want to fight about it?
 

cshea

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 15, 2006
27,163
306, row 14
Winnipeg isn't a patsy, but I have taken a few things from this defense.

Colin Miller looks like solid to me. His +/- is poor, but his CF% is 53.4, and he is passing the eye test. I think he looks more decisive and confident, so I expect his plus minus numbers to improve.

Carlo has been a revelation. He's steady, has solid possession numbers, is fluid with the puck in his own zone, and has really stabilized Chara.

With both of them playing well, I don't see how the Bruins put both McQuaid and Miller back. O'Gara has some refining to do, so I have no issue with him being sent down when McQuaid is ready, but I've been impressed with the other two.


And Pastrnak has been Pastrnasty. Yeah, I said it. I went there. What? You want to fight about it?
This is why I absolutely hate the Kevan Miller signing. They said they were committed to the kids, and then promptly turned around and needlessly created a log jam in front of the kids. O'Gara likely goes down when McQuaid's ready, but I don't know what they're going to do in a month/five weeks when Miller is ready. Injuries may end up sorting things out, but they probably have to move a body out, especially if Carlo is still playing at a high level at that time. Anyways, agreed with the rest about the D. Carlo looks awesome. Colin Miller is interesting to me. I think you can make a case that he's the most talented guy the Bruins have on the blue line. He can skate like the wind and has a rocket of a shot, the question will be his decision making.

Pastrnak is primed for a monster year. His offensive rate stats have been comparable to some of the elite players in the league over 2 years, he just hasn't had the same amount of TOI or PP time. Stick him with Bergeron and Marchand and he will probably explode. I don't think 70+ points its out of the question. Pay him his money, Don. Sooner rather than later.

A more under the radar development over the first 3 games has been the 4th line. They got a goal yesterday and have spent more time in the opposition's end of the ice than their own in each of the 3 games. The 4th line has really been a problem since the 2013 season, so getting some value early out of the current group is very encouraging.
 

Eddie Jurak

Go Leafs Go
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 12, 2002
29,079
Melrose, MA
What do we see as the lines going forward? I assume Bergeron steps back in with Marchand and Pastrnak, with Backes going to Krejci's right and Heinen getting demoted (either to line 4 or to Providence). But I wonder if they should try something more creative.
 

biff_hardbody

lurker
Apr 27, 2016
206
Winnipeg isn't a patsy, but I have taken a few things from this defense.

Colin Miller looks like solid to me. His +/- is poor, but his CF% is 53.4, and he is passing the eye test. I think he looks more decisive and confident, so I expect his plus minus numbers to improve.

Carlo has been a revelation. He's steady, has solid possession numbers, is fluid with the puck in his own zone, and has really stabilized Chara.

With both of them playing well, I don't see how the Bruins put both McQuaid and Miller back. O'Gara has some refining to do, so I have no issue with him being sent down when McQuaid is ready, but I've been impressed with the other two.

And Pastrnak has been Pastrnasty. Yeah, I said it. I went there. What? You want to fight about it?
Winnipeg finished 11th in the West last year, has made the playoffs once in the last 6 years, and haven't won a playoff series. They have some good players, but they are not Chicago, Pittsburgh, Washington, etc. I agree with everything else you've said. I'd like to see McQuaid take O'Gara's place but C. Miller and Carlo should continue to receive big minutes. Kevan Miller was a horrible signing.


What do we see as the lines going forward? I assume Bergeron steps back in with Marchand and Pastrnak, with Backes going to Krejci's right and Heinen getting demoted (either to line 4 or to Providence). But I wonder if they should try something more creative.
I think we see what you've suggested with Backes giving the Krecji line some more toughness. I also agree there are other alternatives that could work and give the Bruins some more depth. Heinen has not been good to my eyes.
 

cshea

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 15, 2006
27,163
306, row 14
Spooner and Heinen were benched for the final 9 minutes of the Jets game. Heinen is somewhat understandable given he's a rookie and they are sheltering him. I thought Heinen played his best game on Monday. Spooner appears to be right back in Claude's dog house. He (understandably) doesn't trust Spooner at even strength.

Practice lines are:

Marchand - Bergeron - Pastrnak
Heinen - Krejci - Backes
Beleskey - Czarnik/Nash - Hayes
Spooner/Schaller - Moore - Acciari

I would think Czarnik and Schaller are the healthy scratches tomorrow, but it wouldn't surprise me if Spooner is on 9.

McQuaid is also back as a full practice participant. The team would have to make a roster move if they activate him for the game tomorrow.
 

lexrageorge

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2007
11,418
I would like to see Czarnik get playing time somewhere, as he showed he has some real upside during training camp. The concussion could not have come at a worse time for him (not that there's a "good" time to get concussed).

I'm assuming O'Gara is sent down once McQuaid gets activated, which I think we all agree would be good for the rookie. As for Miller, what's interesting is that the possession stats last season showed him to be much more effective than McQuaid, so that may have had something to do with the decision to resign him. So I'm hoping that McQuaid or (less likely) Lilles are the ones sent to the press box when Miller returns.
 

FL4WL3SS

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2006
12,096
Andy Brickley's potty mouth
I don't want to break up that 4th line, actually. I would rather have seen Spooner/Hayes in the booth for a few days.

They should keep that 1st line together, put Bergeon on the 2nd line and bump Krejci to the 3rd line. That would be 4 really strong forward lines.
 

cshea

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 15, 2006
27,163
306, row 14
Marchand/Bergeron has been arguably the best duo in the league for the past 2 seasons. No chance they break them up.
 

biff_hardbody

lurker
Apr 27, 2016
206
I don't want to break up that 4th line, actually. I would rather have seen Spooner/Hayes in the booth for a few days.

They should keep that 1st line together, put Bergeon on the 2nd line and bump Krejci to the 3rd line. That would be 4 really strong forward lines.
They broke up the fourth line last game by having Nash center the 3rd line, right?

Your suggestion is actually what I thought they would do when they signed Backes - have Bergeron, Backes, Krejci centering their top 3 lines. I still think it gives them the most balanced attack.

Edit: If you were going to do that my best suggestion would be...

Marchand - Backes - Pasta
Spooner - Bergeron - Heinen
Beleskey - Krejci - Hayes

You could likely switch Krejci and Bergeron, but I don't like Krejci and Spooner together and I think Krejci's game may play better with Hayes. Bergeron has always made his line mates better. Switch Bergeron and Backes if you want to keep Bergeron/Marchand together.
 
Last edited:

burstnbloom

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 12, 2005
1,907
Bergeron's main job function is to own the opposing team's best players. As good as he is, he's not going to be able to do that with Spooner and Heinen on his wings. Put him back with Marchand and let Pasta take advantage of their ridiculous puck possession ability. I'm happy with Backes so far but I think getting Krejci going is very important, and giving him Backes to create some room will certainly help that.

Marchand - Bergeron - Pasta
Heinen - Krejci - Backes
Beleskey - Czarnik/Nash - Hayes
Spooner/Moore - Nash/Moore - Acciari
 

RIFan

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
2,377
Rhode Island
Several years of high level partnership with an enormously successful world cup turn and people are seriously proposing breaking up Bergy and Marchand based on a 3 game sample size. smdh
 

FL4WL3SS

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2006
12,096
Andy Brickley's potty mouth
Yes, I am suggesting it. Why not roll with the hot line for a while until it sizzles out? There's no harm in trying something new and letting Bergeron get his feet under him.

This change doesn't have to be permanent, you all realize that right?
 

biff_hardbody

lurker
Apr 27, 2016
206
Bergeron's main job function is to own the opposing team's best players. As good as he is, he's not going to be able to do that with Spooner and Heinen on his wings. Put him back with Marchand and let Pasta take advantage of their ridiculous puck possession ability. I'm happy with Backes so far but I think getting Krejci going is very important, and giving him Backes to create some room will certainly help that.

Marchand - Bergeron - Pasta
Heinen - Krejci - Backes
Beleskey - Czarnik/Nash - Hayes
Spooner/Moore - Nash/Moore - Acciari
Respecting what you've said about Bergeron shutting down the opposing team's best players, I wonder if separating our best scoring line from our best shut down line is not a better use of resources. Also, that third line is terrible as it has been so far this season.
 

cshea

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 15, 2006
27,163
306, row 14
The 63/42/88 line combined for 23 shot attempts in the CBJ game. That has dropped to 10 over the past 2 games. I don't think Backes is suited to play 1C for long stretches these days. He should be a lot better on the wing, and Krejci has thrived with physical wings in the past. Backes to the Krejci line should have the trickle down effect we're looking for to stabilize things.
 

TheRealness

Don't make him go all Lucic on your ash
SoSH Member
Feb 8, 2006
11,278
The Dirty Shire
Yes, I am suggesting it. Why not roll with the hot line for a while until it sizzles out? There's no harm in trying something new and letting Bergeron get his feet under him.

This change doesn't have to be permanent, you all realize that right?
Because, as cshea points out below, they're not actually that "hot". Plus, I wonder if you're just looking for an internet fight. You've been very ornery lately.

The 63/42/88 line combined for 23 shot attempts in the CBJ game. That has dropped to 10 over the past 2 games. I don't think Backes is suited to play 1C for long stretches these days. He should be a lot better on the wing, and Krejci has thrived with physical wings in the past. Backes to the Krejci line should have the trickle down effect we're looking for to stabilize things.
I agree with this. I also agree with sending Spooner up to Level 9. I thought he was awful against Winnipeg, and he is still a disaster in his own zone. I'm done with him. Let's just move on already.
 

FL4WL3SS

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2006
12,096
Andy Brickley's potty mouth
Because, as cshea points out below, they're not actually that "hot". Plus, I wonder if you're just looking for an internet fight. You've been very ornery lately.



I agree with this. I also agree with sending Spooner up to Level 9. I thought he was awful against Winnipeg, and he is still a disaster in his own zone. I'm done with him. Let's just move on already.
Not at all and actually this comment surprised me. I've been very lighthearted in all my interactions, maybe it's not coming across.
 

lexrageorge

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2007
11,418
I'm liking this thread. Discussing the optimal hockey lines is a fun conversation to have. It's been far too quiet and morose around these parts lately.
 

Jordu

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 30, 2003
7,113
Brookline
The 63/42/88 line combined for 23 shot attempts in the CBJ game. That has dropped to 10 over the past 2 games. I don't think Backes is suited to play 1C for long stretches these days. He should be a lot better on the wing, and Krejci has thrived with physical wings in the past. Backes to the Krejci line should have the trickle down effect we're looking for to stabilize things.
Agreed. Krejci needs a big body at his side to give him space and time. Remember how good Lucic-Krejci-Lucic was? I'd move Belesky to the Krejci-Backes line.

That leaves the problem of the third line, unfortunately.
 

Eddie Jurak

Go Leafs Go
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 12, 2002
29,079
Melrose, MA
Agreed. Krejci needs a big body at his side to give him space and time. Remember how good Lucic-Krejci-Lucic was? I'd move Belesky to the Krejci-Backes line.

That leaves the problem of the third line, unfortunately.
That line would be short on scoring. I'd rather give Heinen or Spooner a look with Krejci and Backes.
 

TheRealness

Don't make him go all Lucic on your ash
SoSH Member
Feb 8, 2006
11,278
The Dirty Shire
Agreed. Krejci needs a big body at his side to give him space and time. Remember how good Lucic-Krejci-Lucic was? I'd move Belesky to the Krejci-Backes line.

That leaves the problem of the third line, unfortunately.
I must have missed the other Lucic brother when he played there, but I suppose Horton could be Lucic's older brother in another life.

I don't mind Heinen on Krejci's wing with Backes on the right, as Heinen is more of a possession player down low in a similar way to Krejci. Worth a shot for me, and Belesky can be utilized on the third well.

As for the 4th line, I agree with the effectiveness they had last game and the chemistry Schiller and Acciari had was clear. They signed Nash to play there, but Moore was a more effective player when out there. Interesting decision for Claude on Thursday. I would go with:

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak
Heinen-Krejci's-Backes
Belesky-Czarnik/Nash-Hayes
Schaller-Moore-Acciari/Nash

Defense will stay the same, sans McQuaid for O'Gara.

I'd really like to see some of what I saw in the preseason from Czarnik in the regular season. Hopefully we do, if not Spooner probably get a shot as the 3c.
 

cshea

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 15, 2006
27,163
306, row 14
The Bruins have scored 13 goals in 4 games. Brad Marchand has factored into 9 of them. The only 4 he hasn't factored into are the 2 ENG's, the Moore goal in Winnipeg and Carlo's goal, which he was on the ice for. A case could be made that he should've picked up an assist on that Carlo goal too, he was the last Bruin to touch the puck before Hellybuck poke checked it back to Carlo.

Unreal how good Marchand has been. They need the secondary scoring to come, obviously, but Marchand has been freaking amazing.
 

lexrageorge

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2007
11,418
I thought the Krejci/Heinen/Backes line had some good looks, but just got a bit stoned by Schneider. 8 shots in total, but 6 of them were by Backes, so hard to tell. I still think Hayes is an anchor on the 3rd line; if there's any consolation, it's that Reilly Smith has 1 assist and a -2 in his first 4 games.

I'm beginning to think that the World Cup was the best thing that could have happened to Marchand.
 

AMcGhie

Set Adrift on Memory Bliss
SoSH Member
Apr 11, 2006
3,425
Portland, OR
I'm beginning to think that the World Cup was the best thing that could have happened to Marchand.
It seems like the B's players who played in the WC (Marchand, Bergeron, Backes, Pastrnak, Rask) all showed up a step ahead of everyone else in getting ready for the season.
 

TFP

Dope
Dope
Dec 10, 2007
18,866
I too have been extremely impressed with Pastrnak so far. His ability to dig into the corners, be stronger on his skates, and skate in open ice is noticeably improved from last year. If he continues like this and stays with Bergeron and Marchand, that line has the potential to do very very big things this year. It could legitimately be one of the top lines in the NHL, and potentially the best production they've had out of one line in many years.

I think they should slot in Spooner for Heinen on Krejci's LW and either move Heinen to get some bottom 6 mins or some time in the AHL. He has great potential but he's not there yet and I think Spooner needs to get going for this team to be successful. I wouldn't change much up in the bottom 6 right now except for Hayes.
 

TheRealness

Don't make him go all Lucic on your ash
SoSH Member
Feb 8, 2006
11,278
The Dirty Shire
I thought the Krejci/Heinen/Backes line had some good looks, but just got a bit stoned by Schneider. 8 shots in total, but 6 of them were by Backes, so hard to tell. I still think Hayes is an anchor on the 3rd line; if there's any consolation, it's that Reilly Smith has 1 assist and a -2 in his first 4 games.

I'm beginning to think that the World Cup was the best thing that could have happened to Marchand.
Marchand is a top 5 player in the league right now, IMO. He's been an absolute studly stud of studdishishness.

I like Krejci and Backes together, and Heinen could be a match there, but he needs more time. I think that line is feeling the Vatrano absence, as he would have been great with them I think.
 

TFP

Dope
Dope
Dec 10, 2007
18,866
Am I right in thinking that this team is going to be better than the prognosticators think? Will they be more than just a fringe playoff team?
I don't think so. I think they'll slot into a similar spot as last couple years but hopefully get the couple extra points to slot into the 4-6 seed range rather than 7-9.
 

kenneycb

Hates Goose Island Beer; Loves Backdoor Play
SoSH Member
Dec 2, 2006
13,596
Tuukka's refugee camp
It depends on how the D holds up. Injuries will come and Carlo looks like he can be something but can he keep it up for a full season or will he hit a wall?

Edit: In addition, we're getting excited about close wins over Winnipeg, New Jersey, and Columbus. Not exactly the best of the best.
 

lexrageorge

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2007
11,418
I think we can reasonably hope that:

2016 C Miller > 2015 C Miller
2016 Pastrnak > 2015/injured Pastrnak
Carlo >> Seidenberg
Heinen/Czarnik/Vatrano > Spooner/Griffiths
Current 4th line >>>>>>>>> Rinaldo/Talbot/Connolly (which was really, really, really bad)
2016 Rask >= 2015 Rask

And Backes = 80% of 2015 Loui.

That's hopefully enough to get them the extra 4-6 points that makes the final game a tuneup instead of the "must win with help needed" crap we've seen the last 2 seasons.
 

TheRealness

Don't make him go all Lucic on your ash
SoSH Member
Feb 8, 2006
11,278
The Dirty Shire
It depends on how the D holds up. Injuries will come and Carlo looks like he can be something but can he keep it up for a full season or will he hit a wall?

Edit: In addition, we're getting excited about close wins over Winnipeg, New Jersey, and Columbus. Not exactly the best of the best.
The thing that impressed me was they battled back against Columbus down two goals to win, down to Winnipeg 1-0, and down to NJ 1-0 in the 3rd period. They didn't do that last year, and often gripped their sticks too tight and let the moment overwhelm them. I am getting more excited because they seem to be able to break through and step up when necessary, or as Felger says, they appear to have more balls this year.

I don't know if Carlo can keep it up, but he was a force last night on defense. He's been studly.
 

Lupe Whalewatch

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Aug 1, 2006
2,832
Worlds End
Rask seems to be playing through some sort of injury. Im assuming since he's played in 3 of 4 its nothing too serious, but something worth monitoring.
 

biff_hardbody

lurker
Apr 27, 2016
206
I think 2016 Chara > 2015 Chara as well, for whatever reason. Obviously it's early. If he and Carlo can continue to play at the level they have been, the Bruins are going to be better than people expected.

It doesn't hurt that Marchand is the best winger in the league right now this side of Patrick Kane.
 

kenneycb

Hates Goose Island Beer; Loves Backdoor Play
SoSH Member
Dec 2, 2006
13,596
Tuukka's refugee camp
The thing that impressed me was they battled back against Columbus down two goals to win, down to Winnipeg 1-0, and down to NJ 1-0 in the 3rd period. They didn't do that last year, and often gripped their sticks too tight and let the moment overwhelm them. I am getting more excited because they seem to be able to break through and step up when necessary, or as Felger says, they appear to have more balls this year.

I don't know if Carlo can keep it up, but he was a force last night on defense. He's been studly.
They haven't had Balls for a few years, technically speaking.
 

TheRealness

Don't make him go all Lucic on your ash
SoSH Member
Feb 8, 2006
11,278
The Dirty Shire
They haven't had Balls for a few years, technically speaking.
Technically speaking, it's literally speaking. Also, I didn't capitalize "balls" for a reason.

I think 2016 Chara > 2015 Chara as well, for whatever reason. Obviously it's early. If he and Carlo can continue to play at the level they have been, the Bruins are going to be better than people expected.

It doesn't hurt that Marchand is the best winger in the league right now this side of Patrick Kane.
I agree with this (RE: Chara). I thought he was a borderline 4/5 last year, but he seems back to being a top pair defenseman right now. I am pleasantly surprised.
 

FL4WL3SS

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2006
12,096
Andy Brickley's potty mouth
Technically speaking, it's literally speaking. Also, I didn't capitalize "balls" for a reason.



I agree with this (RE: Chara). I thought he was a borderline 4/5 last year, but he seems back to being a top pair defenseman right now. I am pleasantly surprised.
Carlo seems to fit his game perfectly and vice versa. It's becoming clearer that last year he was hindered by his pairing mates.

If Carlo keeps this up, I'm breaking up with Wideman.