Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Bruins Puckbag: An Assortment of Observations on Boston and Providence

With their elimination from playoff contention, the Providence Bruins of the last two seasons have officially followed a pattern reminiscent of a routine from Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

In an episode that follows the exploits of a Michael Palin character traveling across Europe via bicycle, the protagonist soon finds himself in the custody of Soviet authorities. An altogether petty and inadvertent crime lands him in front of a firing squad, which inexplicably fails to gun him down.

After the second of two failed attempts, each followed by Palin’s return to his prison cell and the squad being ordered to work on their accuracy, an officer played by the estimable John Cleese makes a stern pledge to his prisoner.

Next time, definitely!”

The fact that first-year Providence head coach Bruce Cassidy is working with Boston’s 11 Black Aces virtually confirms he will get the second chance he deserves in 2012-13. All he needs is more consistent health and a more assertive autumn out of his pupils.

Claude Julien made a can’t-hurt maneuver by flip-flopping top-six centers Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci after the entire top half of his depth chart went pointless in the first two games of the playoffs. But isn’t there some way he can shuffle things without prying Bergeron apart from Brad Marchand?

Upon trading sudden-death strikes in the first two games of their ongoing series with the Washington Capitals, the Bruins have now lost at least one overtime decision in every playoff run under Julien. They are 8-6 overall in overtime games in that span, spreading their eight wins over every year except for 2009.

The P-Bruins finished fourth in AHL regular-season attendance for the second consecutive season, averaging an audience of 7,817 per night. And even with the decrease in home games from 40 to 38 that went into effect this season, the cumulative 297,037 spectators still constituted the most in a Baby Bs season since the 2004-05 NHL lockout year.

The P-Bruins also just missed beating Providence College basketball for the second consecutive winter. The Friars averaged 7,883 witnesses in 17 home dates at The Dunk during their 2011-12 campaign.

Ever since he tallied a 3-3-6 transcript over Games 1 and 2 versus Tampa Bay last season, Tyler Seguin has no goals and one assist on 26 shots on net in his last 14 Stanley Cup playoff games.

The Bruins’ top two prospects could meet one another in the Ontario League championship. Top defenseman Dougie Hamilton’s Niagara Ice Dogs and forward Jared Knight’s London Knights are in their respective conference finals.

Raffi Torres’ egregious hit on Marian Hossa in Tuesday night’s third game of the Chicago-Phoenix series evoked memories of the Marc Savard-Matt Cooke incident on multiple levels. In particular, the fact that the perpetrator was not penalized on the ice is proof that referees should start reviewing injurious plays the same way they do questionable goals or non-goals.

Zdeno Chara’s winning goal in Game 3 Monday night was the Boston captain’s first clinching strike since he snapped a 1-1 tie en route to a 4-1 triumph over New Jersey on March 22 of last year.

Of the Bruins’ two longest tenured AHL mainstays, and the only holdovers from the P-Bruins’ last Calder Cup playoff appearance in 2009, Zach Hamill was not listed among 2012 Boston’s Black Aces while Andrew Bodnarchuk was. I’m not saying anything here. I’m just saying…