When you look at all the uncertainties coming into the season:
Rasks head or heart
Salary Cap woes
There’s not to much to be hugely upset about at the halfway point of the year. Sure there is lots of stuff not to like, but few things one should be able to work up a good tirade on. We’ll go into those in the second quarter grades.
The one thing I’ve come to revile about this years rendition of the Boston Bruins is localized in two players I really like overall: Zdeno Chara, and Milan Lucic.
Watching Chara this year is like a flashback to the Dave Lewis era, and Lucic is no better. For whatever reason Chara and Lucic both seem to have their gloves glued on. Sadly this means they are taking a big, big weapon away from themselves:Fear.
Both are big men capable of hurling their bodies at opponents like a wrecking ball. Both are at their greatest advantage when smaller, less aggressive opposing players try to play from the ends of their own shorter reach.
In the past the frequent spectacle of Milan Lucic slating to a puck only to have his opponents recoil from his footsteps well before they could feel one of his body wrecking hits was exciting. It was very nearly as invigorating as watching him turn unprepared opponents inside out. We don’t see that anymore. We also don’t see him dropping the gloves, pounding the enemy bloody and bringing the crowd to its feet as some poor fool has dropped to his knees.
Once upon a time, I used to greatly enjoy seeing players on the other squad scramble into the opposite corner from the side Chara was playing. At that remote point in history, it didn’t matter if it was Mark Stuart, who is no slouch himself, the zippy and feisty Andrew Ference, Aaron Ward or anyone else sharing the blueline with Chara. It was clockwork, opponents would look up ice, take in the behemoth and carefully, smoothly tuck the puck into the other corner where it was safer to go get it. Now, not so much.
So far this season guys like Mark Recchi and David Krejci who have formally been able to expect the mere presence of these two go a long way towards alleviating the types of dirty play they are subjected to this year. Entering this season Recchi hadn’t had a fight in years, he dropped the gloves against a member of the Senators. In his NHL career David Krejci had never taken an opportunity to take someone to the woodshed until he too was pushed beyond his tolerance by the shenanigans of Montreal’s Cammalleri. As the NHL’s oldest player, Recchi shouldn’t have to drop his gloves for any reason but excess moisture. David Krejci looks like he could be used to pick a lock at the start of the season, and by seasons end generally looks like no more than two first class stamps could provide his airfare back to Sternberk. While in the words of one of my favorite Fists of God, especially in comparison to Lucic and Chara Krejci and Recchi are “tiny but fierce”, both should be making opponents pay for their sins with slick passes and neat goals, not with their fists.
Both Chara and Lucic need to step up, tip the stetson back look the first man to step out of line dead in the eye and open up the gates of hell. Neither man, however much they contribute is giving their team their utmost if their menace, if at all, is all of the phantom variety.