Friday, October 14, 2011

Bruins’ Bad Fruit Lands Directly Beneath Tree In Providence

As it stands in the first full week of the 2011-12 game schedule, the state of the Bruins family is purely akin to a middle-aged adult with an iffy driving record giving the keys to his/her barely old-enough, barely proven son or daughter.

If you think the elders are the epitome of ineptitude, take a toe-curling gander at how the heirs-apparent of the franchise are handling their business.

You thought it was hair-whitening to see Boston kickstart its Stanley Cup title defense by scraping out only two points in three straight road games?

Hey, at least those games were close and after 180 cumulative minutes, the Spoked-Bs had actually outscored their adversaries, 5-4. And at least none of these were virtual four-pointers against Northeast Division cohabitants

Conversely, after starting their own season with three unanswered dates at the Dunkin Donuts Center, the Providence Bruins are thoroughly barren. They have been outscored, 15-3, by a troika of Atlantic Division rivals en route to a 0-3-0 start.

You think Boston’s power play is comically incompetent, having converted on its very first try and whiffed on each of its last 16 opportunities for a 5.9 percent success rate after four games?

Hey, at least the Spoked-Bs have yet to surrender a shorthanded goal.

Conversely, the P-Bruins have now been outscored on their power play, 2-1. Overall, they are 1-for-14 with the man-advantage, including 23 seconds worth of 5-on-3 time to curtain Friday night’s 7-1 stinker against Manchester.

In his Providence debut, veteran AHL sizzler Josh Hennessy made a promising impression by converting the team’s first man-up opportunity to saw a 2-0 deficit in half. But afterwards, the visiting Monarchs countered with their own power-play strike via Justin Azevedo for a 3-1 edge.

Manchester’s second dose of insurance came from Slava Voynov, who joined St. John’s IceCaps captain Jason Jaffray as the second man to beat Anton Khudobin with a shortie in as many Fridays.

One period after head coach Bruce Cassidy pulled the overcooked Khudobin, the presupposed savior who reeks of Chad Erickson with his 5.09 goals-against average and .851 save-percentage, impressed backup Karel St. Laurent nearly authorized his own shortie. But in a rare, altogether meaningless reversal of fortune, St. Laurent denied Manchester veteran Marc-Andre Cliche on his breakaway in the ninth minute of the third period.

You think Boston’s strike force is slow to thaw out?

Hey, at least former Providence fan favorite Brad Marchand, linemate Rich Peverley and the much-hyped Tyler Seguin can all lay claim to a multipoint outing. They all did that last Saturday in a 4-1 throttling of Tampa Bay.

The P-Bruins, on the other hand, has no multipoint scorers to speak of in an entire span of three games. They have had three different goal-scorers―one and only one per game―and four other men claiming credit for an assist on one and only one of those tallies.

Noteworthy non-scorers so far include captain Trent Whitfield, mainstay winger Kirk MacDonald and 2007 first-round NHL draft choice Zach Hamill.

In fairness, Hamill is shooting the puck in the young phases of the season. But that isn’t saying much considering this team has thrust only 72 stabs at opposing netminders for a precise nightly median of 24.

And of the four skaters tied for the team-high with seven SOG―Jamie Arniel, Colby Cohen, Hamill and Max Sauve―only Sauve has tuned the mesh.

Meanwhile, the opposition has taken a more substantial average of 33.67 shots at the Providence cage. And they have combined for 36 individual point-getters, including six multipoint efforts, for a three-game average upshot of 5-1.

The Monarchs only escalated the issue on Friday, thrusting 39 shots at Khudobin and St. Laurent, who filled in for an injured Michael Hutchinson on the bench and then succeeded Khudobin at 13:25 of the middle frame.

Linden Vey assisted on the two bookending goals and Azevedo inserted two doses of insurance. On top of that, Richard Clune logged a 2-1-3 outing while blueliner David Kolomatis went 1-2-3 on the night.

At this hour, Azevedo and Cliche, who charged up his first career hat trick last weekend, each have as many goals as Providence has as a team. So do 11 other AHLers.

Center Andrei Loktionov, who set up Voynov’s shorthanded strike, now has as many assists as all of the P-Bruins put together. So do seven other AHLers.

As an aside, Bruins buffs are strongly advised not to turn around and face in the direction of Toronto. Joe Colborne, the prime piece of compensation that brought Tomas Kaberle to Boston, has a 2-1-3 log in two games with the Marlies so far.

And Colborne had a penchant for burning the Monarchs when he was a P-Bruin last year, scoring six goals in as many meetings against Manchester between Nov. 21 and Jan. 23.

You think Boston is out of sync as it struggles to “turn the page” from its title? At least a notable number of its players are performing, particularly the goalies and the younger forwards.

Conversely, all of the Baby Bs are in a deep red as they try to build upon last year’s 12-6-1 homestretch.