A light week for the Hagg Bag mailbag this week with the Bruins playing three games and readying for another one on Sunday against the Flyers that’s all of a sudden taken on greater importance. Coming off the half-hearted, terrible loss to the Red Wings in Detroit on Friday night, perhaps Bruins are too aggravated for words or suggestions.
But the truth is that the loss to the Red Wings, for now, is the outlier in what’s otherwise been an overwhelmingly impressive season, and it could just be a one-game hiccup after a pair of high intensity back-to-back games against Pittsburgh and Montreal. Or the last few games could be a sign that the Bruins are starting to get a little looser with their play and bad habits are beginning to creep into their overall game.
It remains to be seen what exactly is going on with the Black and Gold. As always these are real questions from real fans using the #HaggBag hash tag, real messages to NBCS Facebook fan page and real emails to my email@example.com email address.
Now on to the bag:
What do you think the Bruins are going to do about the logjam on D that they have? Obviously it’s good to have more bodies than you need for the playoffs. But once Miller and Moore are healthy they’ll have 9 guys capable of playing NHL minutes plus the guys in Providence they think are close to ready (Lauzon, Vaakanainen). They have to trade at least one of these guys, right? But will they be able to with both Moore and Miller have had somewhat pedestrian seasons, large-ish contracts, and now having injury concerns attached to them? What do you think they’re going to do?
JH: I actually don’t think they need to trade anybody unless it’s for cap reasons. They’ll certainly risk losing Steve Kampfer on waivers by sending him to Providence if they need the roster spot at the NHL level, and I think perhaps Connor Clifton could benefit from some AHL time as well given his recent level of play. I’m not sure whether it’s because Clifton knows Miller is close to a return and that means somebody is going to be the odd man out, or if he’s just struggling with consistency as a player that hasn’t completely proven they are an NHL D-man over the course of a full season.
Clifton has just one point in 14 games this season – the beauty of a goal scored against the Canadiens – and has been a defensive liability over the last couple of games while being a minus player in two of his last three games. He hasn’t really created much offensively to offset some of the defensive issues and truth be told he’s not doing a lot to differentiate himself while in the lineup. A healthy Kevan Miller would be much more of a difference-maker for the Black and Gold than Clifton, so perhaps they will risk losing him via waivers.
The bottom line: I don’t think the imminent return of Miller is going to force the Bruins to do anything major, but cap-wise and roster-wise the return of John Moore later this month may be a little more difficult to navigate for the Black and Gold. All that being said, you can never have too many quality NHL defensemen in the organization. The chances of everybody staying healthy through this month aren’t very good, so it could also be that an injury to somebody else comes around the same time that one, or both, D-men are healthy and ready to play.
Have we already reached the "Tuukka is slumping- time for Halak to start 10 in a row" portion of the year? Seems a bit early for that - no??
JH: No. I’m not ready to hit the panic button after the notoriously slow-starting Rask had one of the best months of October in his entire NHL career. Rask is still third in the NHL in goals against average (1.99) and fifth in save percentage (.933) even after the debacle in Montreal. He sucked against the Habs and let up three soft goals. There’s no two ways about it. But the loss in Detroit was not his fault on a deflection in front along with two PP goals for the Wings and an empty netter at the end. Historically, November and December are very good months for Rask so I’m going to give him a little rope to see if he can maintain his high level of play while liberally using Jaroslav Halak as the backup over the next few months as well.
I am certainly not afraid to kick up a goaltender controversy if the circumstances dictate it and Rask’s play goes into the dumpster, but we are nowhere near that right now with the goaltending. It’s one bad game for the B’s goaltenders and that’s it. They are entitled to one of those every once in a while.
If DeBrusk can go [against the Flyers] Cassidy should give Senyshyn a shot @ RW with Krejci. Everyone else on the roster has been given a chance. Senyshyn would add speed and size to Krejci's line. And playing with 2 superior offensive players may elevate Senyshyn's game. Can't hurt to try it.
--Mark Ierardi (@kram93291)
JH: If the Bruins continue to suffer injuries up front, I think you may see Senyshyn at least get a look with Krejci for a few shifts at some point during these games. But as good as he was against Montreal on Tuesday night, Senyshyn was unimpressive in his 7:58 of ice time against the Red Wings on Friday. He wasn’t strong on the puck, he wasn’t doing anything offensively and he wasn’t using his speed or size to any impact in the game. The third line with Senyshyn, Charlie Coyle and Anders Bjork wasn’t anywhere near as good in their second go-round.
Maybe Bruins are just overrated? ONE TOP line, great D, good goaltending, bad media.
JH: Bad media? Bad media? At least the Bruins have one top line. The Habs don’t have top lines and they don’t have great D. Instead they caught the Bruins playing their third game in four days after emptying the tank the night before against Pittsburgh at home, and were also extremely lucky that Tuukka Rask had his worst game in about two seasons. Nothing to puff your chest up about, anonymous Habs fan account.
Josh Brolin is the voice for Thanos. How the hell do you get an Oscar for that???
--Mike Lamonica (@MookieMarshmont)
JH: I thought Josh Brolin had one of the best CGI performances of all time as Thanos in Infinity War and Endgame. He was more deserving in Infinity War if you were going to talk about him for any kind of Academy Awards, but let’s be honest here: The only actor with any shot of Oscar consideration in Endgame would be Robert Downey Jr. in his Iron Man swan song. He was phenomenal in that movie as he’s been right along for his entire decade of work as the face of the MCU.
Best CGI of all-time and another Oscar-worthy performance: Gollum in the Lord of the Rings trilogy as brought to life by Andy Serkis. That was award-worthy acting in an epic movie trilogy, but those kinds of movies almost always get snubbed by the awards voters. I don’t see that changing anytime soon, especially with Statler and Waldorf (Scorsese and Coppolla) now openly complaining about comic book movies. As if cranking out mob movies one after another is any kind of artistic accomplishment.
Something I was always curious about. On a play like that with the [Torey Krug/Patrice Bergeron] deflection, if the official scorer isn’t sure if the guy deflected it do they get any input from the players themselves about who scored? The guys on the ice know who scored.
JH: Sometimes the referees will ask the guys on the ice who scored. Sometimes somebody from the team will notify the off-ice officials between periods and the NHL off-ice officials always review the video following the period to make sure they got the initial call right. That goes double for plays where it’s unclear on assists, or goals. Amazingly the goal in the Detroit loss was never changed from Torey Krug to Patrice Bergeron even though it seemed pretty clear on the video the puck changed direction after Krug’s point shot was redirected by Bergeron in front of the net. So even with all of the tools at their disposal, the right call still sometimes eludes the final score sheet.
What did we really expect from two refs from Quebec talking to a "situation room" in Toronto about a questionable call in Montreal against the Bruins?
JH: That’s some X-Files level conspiracy theory stuff, Craig, and I’m here for it. The bottom line, in my mind, is that Charlie Coyle had control of the puck once it hit his skate and was between his legs entering the offensive zone. David Pastrnak said it best the other day:
“When you have the puck under your control, you can skate backward with the puck [entering the zone], right? You can be out of the zone and still not be offside. We’re NHL players, so when you have the puck on your skates it’s pretty much under your control. It’s a tough call,” said Pastrnak. “We are not referees...but this is the NHL. We are all skilled players here. Once you have the puck on your skate, it’s pretty much under your control and it doesn’t matter if the puck is behind the blue line first or not. I think it wasn’t offside, but it’s just a tough call and there’s nothing we can do about it.”
So it never should have been called off-side at any point during the review, and saying that when it takes three minutes to pore over instant replays it’s probably time to let the play stand as it was called on the ice. Take it from the guy that’s on pace to score 30,000 goals this season for the Bruins.
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