There hasn’t been much of anything to complain about the Bruins coaching staff this year. Bruce Cassidy and crew made sure the team weathered an early injury storm and his line-up decisions have been pretty spot-on. But they fucked up royally last night in D.C. and likely cost themselves a point.
After Washington’s Lars Eller cut the Bs lead to 2-1 in the second, NESN replays showed the play was clearly offside but Butch must’ve gotten some shit intel from his video team because he inexplicably failed to challenge the goal. Instead of a 2-0 lead, the Bs essentially handed the Caps a goal and the momentum as Alexander Ovechkin tied the game less than two minutes later.
After a red-hot David Backes reestablished the lead, the Caps tied it again four minutes later. But this time, the Bruins decided to challenge the goal even though NESN replays showed the play was clearly onside. On a real iffy (read: losing) challenge, you risk giving them a power play right after they tie the game with less than 10 minutes left in the third. But on an obvious offside you don’t challenge it with a 2-0 lead in the second period when you can ‘afford’ to give up a goal. What the fuck?
I have no fucking clue what feeds the Bs staff get but if we’re seeing it in our living rooms, then surely the video staff should see the same thing. Just a pair of awful decisions that ultimately prevented the Bs from remaining tied with Toronto with two games in hand.
Additionally, the Bs would have been able to ditch the monkey that has been squarely on their backs since the 2012 playoffs. Washington has owned them since Braden Holtby’s post-season coming out party and it looked early like Boston might snap their 11-game losing streak. But for what was probably the first time all year, the players were let down by the guys not wearing skates and the streak is now at 12.
Now having vented, it’s December 29th and the first time I’ve bitched about the coaching staff so that’s an improvement over years past. Bad look, sure. But overall, Butch and Co. have been pretty stellar so far so hopefully they learn from this egregious shit and don’t let it happen again. The boys are back at it tomorrow against the bottoming out Ottawa Senators.
A few more buds for your New Year’s bowl…
*I mean, I kinda get why Butch went with Riley Nash on the shootout. He’s been one of the hottest Bruins lately and has shown some nice hands this season. But how does he not go to Charlie McAvoy as one of his three shooters after the rookie phenom beat New Jersey and Winnipeg on his first two career attempts? Ok, that’s two things to bitch about now.
*Brooks Orpik was back on his bullshit last night. After burying Tim Schaller with a hard, legal check, he only wanted to hug and dance with Sean Kuraly, he of zero career NHL fights before last night, after Kuraly engaged him after the brutal hit (well, until Kuraly’s sweater was over his face and then Orpik threw shots). Orpik has always played on, and over, the edge by deliver vicious, occasionally predatory hits throughout his career. But he never wants to answer for them unlike most guys who play that style or have his size. Even against guys who never fought. Weak shit.
*Backes scored twice last night to give him 7-6–13 in 19 games. The veteran forward is currently playing his best hockey since arriving in Boston and his line with Nash and Danton Heinen has been the team’s best lately.
*Speaking of Heinen, the smart rookie seemingly gets better every game and he added two more helpers last night to give him 9-17–26 in 32 games. His .81 points per game is third among rookies behind only Brock Boeser and Mathew Barzal and he’s tied for fourth in rookie assists. While other rookies are getting more shine right now, there’s still more than half a season left for Heinen to produce and contribute (as well as for other guys to hit the wall). And if he keeps improving at his current rate, he may well find himself splitting Calder votes with Chuckie Bright Lights.
*After hauling ass for quite awhile, the Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak line has been rather quiet lately on the offensive front. But the trio still hasn’t given up a 5-on-5 goal against this season, which is pretty crazy and impressive. It’ll only take them one game to get their mojo back though. Just a hiccup here.
*Matt Grzelcyk, the Charlestown Townie who is currently living out every Boston kid’s dream, has made it almost impossible for Cassidy to yank him from the line-up. Paired with Kevan Miller, Grizz has played a smart, solid game with very few mistakes and has chipped in with 1-4–5 in 18 games while averaging 15:30 TOI. It’ll be interesting to see who the coach does sit when Adam McQuaid returns to the line-up. Extra D-men is always a good problem to have.
*Non-Bruins Blog Item of the Week. I finally caught WIND RIVER and it was excellent. Jeremy Renner plays a Fish and Wildlife tracker who discovers a dead Indian women miles from anything on a reservation in the snowy Wyoming mountains and Elizabeth Olsen is the green Fed who comes to town to lead the investigation. With elements of both FARGO and SILENCE OF THE LAMBS present, the story sucks you in from the hop and doesn’t let you go until the credits roll. The cleverly revealed climax is both disturbing and well done. Veteran Native actors Graham Greene and Gil Birmingham both turn in excellent, lived-in performances that potently capture the modern reservation experience. It should see a at least a nom or two (Best Pic, Actor, Cinematography, and Screenplay should all be in the mix). While I’m admittedly behind on my Oscar bait, this was the best new flick I saw in 2017. A-