Coaching B+, the Bruins are first in an admittedly thin division. They are six points out of first in the east. The two biggest areas of opportunity on the ice as far as pure execution are the powerplay, and the shootout. True, any game that’s decided in the shootout might as well be decided by a coin toss, but it still important to the standings. The powerplays biggest failures this season have been: Marc Savard when both absent and on the ice and David Krejci. Neither has a powerplay goal this season.
Relatively speaking Savard has been the better of the two on the powerplay putting up his two assists in his 19 games, while Krejci has played all 41 and accumulated the same two assists. Savards weaknesses have been clearly recognized and addressed. In recent years he’s been a part of the penalty kill on a regular basis, this season he’s not seen more than a couple minutes of time short handed. Krejci on the other hand spent most of the first half between Horton and Lucic while they lead the team in goals, and still didn’t manage many goals of his own even with those two drawing a lot of attention.
For comparison, Milan Lucic who hardly saw the powerplay units from anywhere but the bench before this season has 2 goals and 4 assists with the man advantage this season. Michael Ryder, has been leveraged and is the powerplay stud, seven goals and four assists while fifth in PPTOI isn’t too shabby for someone who was expected to be in Providence or bought out.
Even as weak as the powerplay has been for stretches this year, its been incomparably better than last years edition, while Savard’s injury was bad for him and the team then, I’m not sure it’s as bad for the team now as it has been for him. Last year when Savard went down, no one knew how to be the powerplay general. In the past several months, Bergeron, Recchi, and Ryder of grown into the role, and currently stand as the top three in powerplay points for the team. Even with all the criticism one can level at the powerplay, it is still clicking along better than last years edition.
Goaltending has been handled very well, the current consensus pick for the Vezina and Hart candidate, has had the lions share of the work and been spelled by a guy who has played in fits and starts, getting more play in denser parts of the schedule and less in lighter runs. Not surprisingly the Bruins once again own the goals against category.
Goal scoring. Last season the Bruins were dead last in this category, for most of the seasons they’ve been in the low teens, and today sit in tenth.
Management: C+, not a lot done during the quarter. Good soldier Marco Sturm was shipped out for the cost of several pieces of fax paper and in return the Bruins received only cap space. Two young defensemen were called up, and it looks like both trades from late last year are working out well, as Kampfer has probably earned his way into the top six even if everyone is ever healthy again, and Bartkowski didn’t look out of place against the high flying Penguins.
They also made a pair of minor league moves shuffling off players who will clearly never make the Boston Bruins for a couple players who may never make the Boston Bruins and a draft pick.