Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Bruins Puckbag: An Assortment of Observations on Boston and Providence

• Everybody with a certain stake in the Bruins, from the coach to the captain to the crease custodian to the crowd, stepped out of line at various points Tuesday night. It’s that simple. The best Bruins buffs can hope for is that it goes down as an outright anomaly for the rest of the season, which for the most part, you can safely assume it will be.

• Through the first half of Tuesday’s 4-1 loss to Carolina, fourth-line center Gregory Campbell had gone 5-for-5 at the face-off dot. Over the latter 30 minutes, he went 1-for-7.

• Can you imagine what Tuesday’s combustible confrontation and all of its repercussions would have been like if the Hurricanes were still the Hartford Whalers?

• Of those who have played in all six of Boston’s games so far, four have kept their noses clean with an unhatched goose-egg in the penalty-minute column: Joe Corvo, Andrew Ference, Daniel Paille and Shawn Thornton. That’s right, Shawn Thornton.

• Including his six-game amateur tryout last spring, P-Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller has already engaged in two scraps in 11 AHL games. And he has been on the starting unit in four of the team’s first five ventures this season, meaning he should continue to see substantial ice time and more scrappy situations. That points to the potential to become a fan favorite.

• Second-year stand-in blueliner Matt Bartkowski is the only active Boston Bruin with no shots on goal to his credit yet. And there seems to be a broad consensus among the regular TD Garden press corps that Bartkowski ought to be returned to Providence.

• Naturally, returning Bartkowski at this time appears less than practical with Adam McQuaid and Steven Kampfer still recovering from injuries, but why not give Colby Cohen a shot? Other than Andrew Bodnarchuk, who especially with his recent injuries is anything but ready for a call-up, Cohen is the most seasoned and sizeable of active defensive prospects. Not to mention, he is tied for a Providence team lead with 11 SOG.

• But speaking of Bodnarchuk, his icebreaker in Sunday’s 3-2 shootout win over Portland effectively makes him the only P-Bruin in the plus/minus black as of this week.

• Milan Lucic has thrown only 14 hits in his first six games, the fewest of his career at this point in the season since he was still wearing No. 62 and playing less than 10 minutes a night.

• Naturally, this is sheer coincidence, but Tyler Seguin’s only two pointless performances in the young season have also been Tuukka Rask’s only appearances in Boston’s cage.

• Rookie Providence pivot Carter Camper had no shots on goal until after his first night as a healthy scratch last Friday. He still doesn’t have much, but he took one SOG on Saturday and Sunday, also tacking on his second assist of the year.

• Similarly, Tyler Randell had landed nothing on an opposing cage in his first three twirls prior to Sunday. That was when he went 1-for-3, his goal temporarily renewing the Providence lead. Please stand by to see if another one of Randell’s limbs cracks out of his chrysalis sooner rather than later.

• With the Toronto Maple Leafs and the seventh return of Phil Kessel to TD Garden on Thursday, there is doubtlessly another tempest of “Who won the trade?” debates on the horizon. This author says give it a rest.

So far, the Bruins have won a Stanley Cup a little help from their No. 2 draft choice, aka Seguin, who is now leading the team with five points and could have more if his linemates could just stave off the hangover. Kessel is likewise tops on the Toronto leaderboard with a 6-3-9 log. If each youngster stays with his respective club and ultimately wins at least a Cup or two, which is a more-than-possible eventuality, why should it matter who “won” the trade back in 2009?