My name is Paula. I'll explain myself to you later. Forgive me for not taking the time to formally introduce myself, as "1-7-1" has been forcefully etched into my mind and more importantly, my heart. The Bruins are 1-7-1 in their last 9 contests. And I find myself asking, WHY????
Some (probably more than a few..) would say.. "Wideman". During Saturday's tilt at the Garden, an Ottawa Senator scored and someone in my section blamed Wideman. Amusingly enough, he wasn't even on the ice. True, Dennis Wideman has not been the number two defenseman we saw last year. To put it bluntly, he's been absolutely brutal so far this year. In the 08-09 season, Wides put up extraordinary numbers. 50 points- 13 goals and 37 assists. Not to mention an almost-Norris-worthy 32 +/- rating. Where has that man gone?? Now, here we are, 51 games into the season and that number 2 d-man is nowhere to be found. Instead, we find ourselves plagued with a discouraged, disoriented man on skates.. who ends up shooting the puck into the legs of opposing defenders, or breaking the thumbs of his own teammates, or crashing into a ref producing a breakway for Cheechoo..etc etc etc. The list goes on. I feel bad for the guy, I really do. But suprisingly, do I think that Wideman is to blame for this mid-season slump? Nope. I don't.
Ok, maybe I blame Wideman a little....but perhaps only because it is so easy. He's in a rut right now, his game is completely off. However, I have faith he will climb out of it, because I've seen what he can do when his game is on. I think there's a reason why myself, and others, are so quick to blame Wideman. Probably because it is so hard to realize that there is a bigger, deeper problem with the team that we saw skyrocket to the top of the Eastern Conference last season. The injury bug has really hit the B's hard, losing top guys such as Savard, Lucic and Bergeron for long stretches of time has messed with team chemistry. Their passes aren't connecting, they're powerplay is out of order as well as sloppy play in the neutral zone resulting in turnovers. Right now, injured Bruins include Marc Savard, Marco Sturm, Byron Bitz, Steve Begin and Andrew Ference. The replacements from Providence have worked hard and I can't say enough about the work ethic of Vladimir Sobotka who I think deserves a spot on the B's roster, for good this season. (But I'll get to that at another time)
The B's need to start playing with their hearts. But unfortunately, a team can't win on "pure heart" alone. Over the past three games before Sunday's utter disaster in Raleigh, the B's were starting to show some promise. They seemed to be hustling faster, moving the puck with more ease and finally shooting the puck. Still, no dice. The Bruins need to find a way to put the puck in the net, and they need to do it fast. Only time will tell as their injured players are healed and return to the lineup. If the return of Savvy and Sturm doesn't jumpstart the B's offense, I don't know what will. And in that case, I think GM Peter Chiarelli should start making some phone calls. Unless, of course, he wants his summer vacation to start in mid-April..