Morning Free Association: Tough Look at the Roster

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As I mentioned on Friday, Cam Neely spoke to the media regarding the Boston Bruins roster. Maybe both he and Don Sweeney have a bee in their respective bonnets, but both executives seem to be talking about the team with a fire that suggests that their seats are getting a little too hot for their britches.

Not

The short of it: Cam says they need to take a long, hard look at the the roster and determine which changes need to happen to win now and compete with the elite teams. For sentimentalists like me, who love players (sometimes irrationally), it means having to be prepared for roster moves that will piss me off/ make me sad.

live look

Two of the biggest names happen to be UFA defensemen: Torey Krug and Zdeno Chara. Neely’s comments on Krug seem to suggest that while they would love to keep him, they’re going to let him walk:

We love Torey. We love what he’s brought to the organization both on and off the ice. He’s turned into a fabulous leader for us. But at the end of the day, both sides have to do what they feel is right, us for the organization and Torey for him and his family.

I get it: it’s a business and players and personnel don’t take this personally. But as fans, we have that extra dimension of investment in the team, and especially the players so when I read or hear Cam’s words, I can’t help but think what I’ve perhaps known for months: they’re going to let Torey walk. I just hope he doesn’t go to a team that will immediately bite the Bruins in the ass.

Now, with Chara, it seems that there has to be an agreement on what his role would be. Neely describes Chara as being initially disappointed with being dropped from the first power play unit, then the second power play unit while remaining a key component of the Bruins penalty kill. For a player of Chara’s calibre, aging is a hard process; while he still trains in a way that puts other athletes to shame, he is losing a step. The months he had off showed a visibly slower Chara on the ice than he appeared in March. However, his leadership ability is priceless. Ultimately, Chara’s return hinges upon taking a lesser role, likely down in the pairing lineup, possibly giving up the “C” for an “A”.

Like Sweeney, Neely is vocal about his support for Tuukka Rask through this upcoming year. He wisely is only talking about the known term.

As for changes in the roster, Neely said they are examining the size of the current group of players, looking to probably improve there. He is hoping that younger players in Providence like Jack Studnicka and Trent Frederic will be ready to take the next step up with the big club, that that is one way the team is looking to fill holes in the roster.

One area of weakness he pointed to was 5-on-5 scoring. This is an area that has needed improvement for years since beyond the first line, secondary scoring has been a continual issue. Sure, we thought they solved it with the trade deadline in 2019, but when Marcus Johansson signed for a super reasonable deal in Buffalo while the Bruins signed the first of two Ritchie mistakes, it was apparent that this would continue to be an issue. Inconsistent scorers abound on the team; while David Pastrnak had a career year, Charlie Coyle solidly built off his postseason turn, the rest of the lineup was flat. The power play was another story with the B’s scoring nearly a quarter of their goals on the man-advantage.

Ultimately, the B’s inability to get through the large stacked Tampa defense is what caused them to lose. It could be the defense one game or a hot goalie another, the B’s having scoring issues which need to be addressed. It might not be done through free agency. It could be done through trades. It should happen from within.

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the german hammer

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The London Bear
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The London Bear

Hi folks.
Hope they don’t blow up the roster too much but it’s clear something has to change if they want to beat the best on the playoffs.

Hope the kids can step up.

Quaider4everwash
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Quaider4everwash

Yup, I’m hoping they don’t overreact to a very unusual year.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

It’s a familiar quandry – the team can get into the playoffs each year, but there’s always a rival who has their number. They can’t blow up the team too much or they kill their window, but they need to do something to break through.
Of course this season, they were the team of destiny up until the COVID break, then everything was up in the air again. I think they overperformed a little in the regular season and don’t think they can repeat that performance without a bit of a roster boost. Something needs to happen on that 2nd line, and I don’t think Ondrej Kase is it. As much as I want Jake DeBrusk to be part of the solution (and I really do, I like that kid), I suspect that the Bruins could upgrade there as well – he could find his stride, we see flashes of what he can be, but he’s been on the roster long enough that I’d want to see more by now.

IntentionallyWidenberg
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IntentionallyWidenberg

ARRRGH. It logged me out again. Why is Chrome so bad at password management?

Satan 81's Sister
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Satan 81's Sister

I agree with you on DeBrusk. He’s easy to root for because he does have a “oh man, hockey is so much fun!” vibe to him but it does seem he needs a constant kick in the pants to get him to be productive.

Quaider4everwash
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Quaider4everwash

Good Morning!!
I always have unreasonable feelings toward Bruin players. Some deserve those feelings, others not so much. Jack Studnicka should be on the big team next season. They need to put some muscle on him, but that kid is the real deal. Yes, promote from within! A key free agent here or there, but the answers are mostly in the system. Vaakaneinen, Lauzon, Frederic, Zboril? .. I’m glad i don’t have to make those decisions.
Lots of fun at Boatercross Saturday. No participation trophies, but there was local, organic apple brandy at the finish!!! Lots of stories over cold beer, as well.
If you can see the video on Schwartz’s FB page, i am the third boater in the second heat. That young fella who scorched everyone in my heat was the overall men’s winner. Maybe next year will be more normal… We want to do a series at different rapids.

Quaider4everwash
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Quaider4everwash
The London Bear
Member
The London Bear

I saw two people posted videos on the whitewater group, but only one of them would play for me.
It’s a mighty photogenic sport – some of the action shots are incredible!

Ah apple brandy … when I was 17 (it was a very good year?) I went on an exchange trip to France and the dad of the family I stayed with treated me to some of his local Calvados. Fabulous stuff!

Satan 81's Sister
Editor
Satan 81's Sister

Morning all Fun times Saturday night. Still chuckling about the audio and camera issues!

Got our first frost warning. Going to have some chilly nights this week!

Quaider4everwash
Guest
Quaider4everwash

JoAnn was very concerned about how her hair looked Saturday night. We laughed our asses off when we found out no one could see us!

Quaider4everwash
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Quaider4everwash

And the chilly air! I’ve been watching for frost warnings in Monrovia as the bulk of my “crops” are still unharvested

Satan 81's Sister
Editor
Satan 81's Sister

Hahahaha! JoAnn is the classy one of our crazy bunch!!

IntentionallyWidenberg
Admin
IntentionallyWidenberg

Her hair looked fine to me
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Satan 81's Sister
Editor
Satan 81's Sister

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The London Bear
Member
The London Bear

I finally managed to join with the third laptop I fired up. I didn’t even realise we HAD three laptops!

Satan 81's Sister
Editor
Satan 81's Sister

Ha! Nothing like technology. So helpful and also so very annoying!