Friday, February 5, 2010

OK Peter, It's Time To Do Something

I'm going to start this by saying that I have consistently been a Peter Chiarelli supporter. He hasn't signed the franchise-killing contracts that so many other GM's have and he hasn't mortgaged the future for the quick fix and realizes an organization needs to build from within. It remains to be seen if he hit on any of the draft picks during his tenure (Hamill, Colborne, Caron), but overall, I'd give him a solid B on his body of work up to now.

Unfortunately, there are now signs that this grade is in jeopardy. Has anybody been watching Miro Satan lately? The Bruins are 2-9-3 with him in the lineup (2g, 2a in those 14 games), and he is part of the problem. He is not strong on the puck, he's slow, and he typically loses possession whenever the puck finds him in the offensive zone. I said at the time of the signing that it was fine because it didn't cost the Bruins anything and could potentially help. Well, the results are in Peter, you gambled and lost on Miro. Time to scratch the guy and find a wingman for Savvy because he is being completely wasted playing with Miro and Lootch right now. You have the assets to go out and get some help. You don't have to overspend to do it (See: Ponikarovsky, Alexei or Torres, Raffi). Just get the Bruins to the playoffs and see what happens. Missing the playoffs is unacceptable and the ship is sinking right now.

Another glaring weakness that Peter could address without spending too much: Matt Hunwick. It is obvious he is not a top-4 defensemen in this league and it is also obvious he's not the same guy he was last year (join the club). Last night, Sergei Effing Kostitsyn outraced him for a puck to nullify an icing. That was his game - speed and the ability to recover quickly. He also got the patented Hal Gill Pylon Treatment in the third period, but Derek Morris thankfully bailed him out. A solid NHL defenseman to log 20 minutes a night could be had without breaking the bank. The good news is here, that post-Olympics, Ference and Stuart should be back in the lineup and Hunwick can get healthy scratched.

There are good signs right now (I have to focus on these things because between the Vikings loss and this losing streak I have considered taking up ballet and yoga and abandoning sports fandom). Krejci-Ryder-Wheeler has consistently been the Bruins best line since the West Coast trip. The numbers aren't there yet, but you can see things coming together for them especially if opposing teams have to deal with a threat from Savvy's line as well (only if Miro is removed from it). Did you see the shiftiness Krejci displayed on the 2nd Bruins goal last night? I think you could say he's close to being fully recovered from the offseason surgery. Derek Morris and Dennis Wideman have both been moving the puck extremely well lately - there is a reason they took the play to Washington on Tuesday and registered 47 shots last night.

I'm with the Mayor though - no team play, no jam, no toughness, no grit. This is what Peter was supposed to bring to the table. Raffi would inject the Bruins with some of that. And goaltending has been a problem too. Montreal's second goal last night should not have beat Tuukka. The "timely" save hasn't been there during this streak.

Sidebar on Kovalchuk. You saw what the Devils gave up for him. To match that, the Bruins would have had to include Krejci, a prospect and Toronto's 1st pick (MAYBE the Bruins 1st and Toronto's 2nd in lieu of Toronto's #1). Case closed, that was not the answer for Boston.

Peter, we're not asking you to go out and make a Kovalchuk-type deal, but it's time to do something.

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