Boston Bruins Trade Deadline Analysis and The NHL’s Big Winners


In hockey, when it comes to questioning a team’s defense, the definition is never characterized solely by the six allotted defensemen. There is a team defense, there is defensive chemistry and there is puck control. If a team has an above average goals against, the six men playing defense are not the only men on the ice worthy of a pat on the back. With solid goaltending, fore checking and team strategy, these six players are aided in their efforts, and the team’s exploded statistics are the outcome. That being said, it has been my claim, that within a defensive structure, the Boston Bruins needed to keep every aspect of their team defense sharp. The first notable aspect is fore checking by their forwards in EVERY zone of the ice, which to their credit they still have, even after losing P.J. Axelsson and Stephane Yelle. This aspect can easily be seen by the consistent effort put in by players like Savard, Bergeron, Paille, and Krejci. The second aspect is moving the puck from the defensive zone to gain transition, which over the past year has been a complete failure, and hindrance on their ability to move offensively. The Bruins actually have finishers on offense; (Wheeler, Bergeron, Ryder, Sturm, and even Savard). These finishers cannot do a thing offensively, if their rushes and pressure don’t start from the “back end”. I quote the “back end” to reference Peter Chiarelli’s press conference today about the trades they made towards 2010 playoff preparation. He claimed that they wanted to “change the composition of their defense, and this has been, all year, an equal priority to improving their offense”. By getting rid of a less than worthy, however respectable defensemen in Derek Morris, they instantly added Dennis Seidenberg from the Florida Panthers, a better option to pair with Chara, and an offensive threat in his own right. To elaborate further on pairings amongst hockey defenseman, and for the sake of washing out Bruins’ fans memories of Dennis Wideman attempting to create offensive rushes by throwing the puck from one end of the rink to the other, when two defenseman can handle each other, time an offensive rush, and feed off of this rush, paring well within the two foot area above and below their offensive blue line, chemistry and math have created a valid back end offensive threat. This takes the puck and puts high percentage plays and shots on the sticks of the above mentioned finishers. The third and final defensive aspect is strength. Chara and Mark Stuart are strong men, and will check anything. I cannot say much for anyone else on the Bruins lineup right now, for the sake of trying to light a fire under Lucic’s ass, assuming he reads my posts, which he better. That being said, Seidenberg is a very strong gentleman, and though I gained a little respect for Derek  Morris today, as he shed a tear as he shed the black and gold, a respect I cannot and will not give to Phil Kessel, who can’t even show up for the Olympics, Morris was not a physical player.

In retrospect, the Bruins can openly justify their trade moves today, finishing only slightly more improved in an area I wanted to see them improve in, defense, yet adding nothing to their offense. Justify all you want Mr. Chiarelli, and though I agree with what is behind door number one, I do not see how door number two, adding at least one established shot at the forward position, while maybe giving up one of those juicy picks you acquired for little Philly last season, had to remain shut and was apparently too much to ask for from a team notorious for keeping their hands in their pockets. The biggest deal they made over the past ten years was when they GAVE UP a superstar, and I may have liked that trade then (argument for another time), but it’s slowly beginning to wear on me (Joe Thornton). If they can deliver, like they have promised in the wake of making no block buster deal towards improvement this season, I will chew my words, but the lack of movement left me a little paralyzed.

Side note: This “lack of movement” played to the Bruins unified strength last season, however amidst their struggling, I hope this similar move this year, does not have the inverse affect.


On to today’s winners:

This is not a hard or lengthy analysis. In direct response to my criticism earlier in the season, the Washington Capitals have been and remain the team to beat, the unstoppable force, and annoyingly dominant, and today, the rich got a little richer. In an all out bid to win the Cup, the Caps showed a lot of strength, adding defensive depth acquiring returning giant and Chara’s fellow Slovak, Milan Jurcina and veteran Joe Corvo, an intelligent, defensive-minded defenseman. They also added two two-way forwards in Scott Walker and Eric Belanger, a nod to the Kunitz and Guerin acquisition of the Stanley Cup winning Pittsburgh Penguins, last season. With Ovechkin, Backstrom and Semin, there was not much more they needed, however in sticking with Theodore without even hinting towards a goaltender, they indirectly strengthened this position.

The next team to come out of Trade Deadline Day stronger was the Phoenix Coyotes. In the middle of their strongest season since Gretzky arrived, and jockeying for a fourth or fifth seed, the Coyotes were the only team in the west to show strength, in an “Apollo Anton Ohno – like” last minute sprint to the finish line. The received arguably the hottest offensive threat on the table in Wojtek Wolski from Colorado, but were also involved in a league leading seven trades improving defense and offense. Down the stretch in the west, the Coyotes and the Kings will be the teams to watch.

 The third team to finish the day successful barely made any moves at all. The Montreal Canadians, however it pains me to say this, played it smart by not dealing Jaroslav Halak. Though I spoke earlier this season of a damaging goalie controversy, Halak may prove to be exactly what the Canadians need as opposed to the cry baby, Carey Price. “Lack of Movement” may have paid off for those sons of bitches, but only time will tell.

Lastly, and for the blatant reason of repeating myself, the rich get richer, as the Penguins acquire All Star defenseman Jordan Leopold and quick forward Alex Ponikarovsky, second hottest offensive threat on the table. The Penguins will be the team, quite possibly alongside the Devils if Brodeur remains ridiculously sharp, to compete with the Caps in the east this year, upon playoff time.

Final Notes:

1) After an exhausting two weeks off, and a wild, however uneventful trade deadline, with 21 games to go for the B’s, and with the Leafs coming into Bean Town, God help them, if Tim Thomas does not start on Thursday. Vezina Trophy winner, U.S. Olympian, ranked 15th in GA and SV% even after the slump, all around awesome individual…I absolutely digress on the situation. I cannot be ignorant, and have not been blind to Tuukka Rask’s performance this season. His ability as a playoff goaltender? Still in question. All I ask is that the Bruins not give up on Thomas so quickly, and not commit to Rask in disappointingly precedented fashion.

2) Thank you Team USA, for showing me but a faint glimmer of hockey hope. I will dream of Parise’s goal every night until the Playoff’s start.


2 Responses

  1. Corvo hits women more than he hits on the ice.

  2. …self “defense”…

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