Every day, we have a "Staff chat" on GChat where we shoot the shit about things that have no reason to ever see the light of day. Most of the time it has to do with video games or comic books or something completely offbase that would have the FBI or CIA knocking at our door. Today, though, Justin posed a question that I felt would be perfect for our first round table of the year.
"What's worse -- the Bruins third line or the Bruins PP?"
Now, it's no secret that the Bruins power play has been a complete disaster. You can head to NHL.com and look at the stats and see that the Bruins currently rank 29th in the NHL with a 5% success when up a man. This also conincides with a Bruins team that has been bad on the power play for a few years. I recently looked at the Bruins offense and power play in the recent seasons:
|Year||Offensive Rank||Power Play Rank|
So we're not talking about a power play that has been lights out for years and has suddenly fizzled, we're talking about a power play that has consistently been in the bottom half of the league (outside of 2008-2009 [Hello Marc Savard]).
When this season began, not many people believed that the power play would improve past their 15th rank last year. You're bringing back the same team with a few relative changes. What caught people by surprise has been the play of the Bruins 3rd line. The 3rd line as been relatively atrocious since the season began.
|Name||Goals||Assists||Points||Plus/Minus||Shots||Time On Ice (TOI) per Game|
Yikes. How bad is this line playing right now? 13 combined shots in 4 games, a minus 8 and they all (almost) play 13 minutes a game. The fucked up thing about this? Bourque averages 3 minutes on the power play too.
So we threw the question out to the group and this is what came back...
Jon: Definitely the PP. Kelly, Pevs, and Bourquerinds haven't been great, but at least you see some scoring chances and get the feeling they could break out soon. With the PP it's like watching Helen Keller compete in a Spelling Bee. You just feel awkward watching and it's so painful and you just can't wait until it's over.
Justin: Short term the third line; long term the Bruins PP. The third line will eventually click. They're a solid line defensively and are great on the PK. The scoring will come. We got used to the third line sometimes just taking over the offensive responsibilities for the team last season, especially after Horton went down for the year and I'm sure it'll happen again. They're just snake bitten about as hard as Seguin is right now. If Chris Bourque lands that open net things are probably a little different for the team. Third line will figure itself out. What bothers me more is the Bruins PP -- hands down. Never has there been a team so good on 5vs5 and an annual Cup contender and be so abysmal on the power play. We've covered it a few times and the numbers don't lie. It's awful and it makes life harder on the Bruins. Imagine if they could score on the PP? Imagine how much easier it would be for the team to win games during the regular season and the playoffs? Man, it would be a huge game changer for an already strong team. And the fact that nothing's really changed on the Bruins PP just screams more of the same. That has me more worried than the third line.
Greg: I'm going with the third line. Man, they're BAD. When the Bruins won the Stanley Cup it was because they had 4 lines playing as a well oiled machine, but now the third line is just a rusty cog. It's become pathetic in these four games, actually. Yes, Bourque hitting the open net would put him on the board in terms of goals, but he has only registered one shot so far this season. One!
I'm sick of the boner people have for this kid because his dad is an NHL Hall of Famer. He'll never be his father and in this young season he's wasting everyone's time out there. The Bruins would be better off just going 4-on-4 when the opponent takes a penalty because Bourque isn't bringing anything to the table.
I have faith in Kelly and Peverley, at least. They've been there, they've done it, they've played in big games and they've been (somewhat) consistent during the season. It may seem like I have an ax to grind against Chris Bourque (and I kind of do, but that's a story for a different time) but he's never proven he can play in the NHL.
The power play has a flawed philosophy that will only change when Claude is gone, that's why I don't think it's in trouble. That third line though? They have no one who can fill in for Bourque's shit bag waste of a spot (except for Caron, who didn't prove to be anything special last season).
Pizz: When I see the Bruins' 3rd line, I think "Man...they've gotten off to a slow start, when are they going to get their act together". When I see the Power Play come out I wonder if TBS is playing an episode of Family Guy that I haven't seen 500 times yet so I can get through the next 2+ minutes without frustration (the answer to that is usually a resounding "no" btw). The PP has been an ongoing issue for too long now. It was cute and funny two seasons ago when they won the cup, it was annoying last season, and if they continue this trend throughout the rest of this season then the next STH event should be the opportunity to have a picture of you taken while kicking the PP coach in the junk.
So what say you? Bigger problem, 3rd line or the power play?