Now officially in the second-half of the 2010-11 NHL season, TheHubofHockey.net takes a look back at each players’ first-half of the season and their respective midseason grades.
The Boston Bruins made a statement last night at the TD Garden for not only being a tough team to play against at home, but a team entering the last half of the season with a bang — slaughtering the Ottawa Senators, 6-0.
With the victory, the B’s are now atop the Northeast Division with 53 points on the season, and third overall in the Eastern Conference with their 23-12-7 record.
Here’s how the Bruins looked, as a team, after game 41, as well as their individual report cards — in order of points totals:
(42) 13-19-32, plus-16
The team-leader in points, while remaining the shutdown center on the team, Bergeron continues to be the quintessential three-zone-player. He does in all from goal-line to goal-line, power play and PK. No. 37 still remains on the front page leader board with a face-off winning percentage of 54.7 percent, while taking the 12th most draws (749) of any NHL player this season.
(41) 16-12-28, plus-11
Although his fights (2) are down, his offensive production has skyrocketed this season. His 16 goals, 104 hits, and 17,4 scoring percentage leads the B’s this season, but has hit his first major roadblock of the season; having posted just 1-1-2 in his last 14 games. Finally healthy through the first half of the season, Boston needs some offensive consistency from Lucic, while the fans would like to see bit more nastiness with his fists.
(35) 7-20-27, plus-11
Prior to last night’s game (42), Krejci was point-less in his previous seven contests while recording just three shots on net. In fact — other than Dec. 27, 2010, when Krejci netted two goals and six shots in their win in Florida — No. 46 hadn’t scored or registered more than one shot on goal in a single game since Dec. 15. Originally paired with Lucic and Nathan Horton on the Bruins’ top-line to start the season, a mild concussion sustained in early November as well as Marc Savard’s eventual return to the lineup, had the lines juggled a bit and shipped Krejci back with Blake Wheeler and Michael Ryder. Krejci needs to step-up his play — especially on the man-advantage —
(40) 12-14-26, plus-15
To say that No. 18 needs to be more consistent in the second-half would be an understatement. From 18 points in his first 17 games as a Bruin, to disappearing for nearly the entire month of December, we’ve seen the best and worst of Nathan Horton. If the 6-foot-2 power forward could put it together everynight, he’d walk away with an “A-plus” grade and a ticket to Carolina to the All Star game. Plus, the Bruins were 13-3-2 in the first-half when No. 18 registered at least one point.
(42) 8-17-25, plus-8
A power play cog (6 PPG), battling those ‘dirty’ areas, and killing penalties — all while being in the top-5 on the team’s scoring list and a plus player. Not bad for a man that’s over-the-hill. The future Hall of Fame veteran leader continues to be as durable as ever. Of Recchi’s 25 points, 17 of those have come on the road.
Oh, what an offseason filled with trade rumors and assignments to the AHL can do for a two-time 30-goal scorer. From scapegoat of last season, to the return of 2008-09 form, Ryder’s seven power play goals leads the B’s, and could be in for another 50-point season. The impending UFA may not get resigned for another $4 million, but at least he’s contributing a lot more in his final days in Boston.
(42) 6-13-19, plus-17
Third in the NHL among defensemen in shots on goal (135) and time on ice (26:23), Chara continues to see the opposition’s best on a nightly basis. His six goals (3 on the PP, 1 SH) are just one away from his ’08-09 total; seven of his 19 points have come via the power play (which needs to be more); and his plus-17 was best on the team after game 41.
(42) 2-16-18, plus-6
Prior to coming to Boston last year, Seidenberg’s last season with a plus-rating was his rookie campaign in 2002-03 when he posted a plus-8 through 58 games…and had his best points total in 2008-09 in Carolina when he posted 5-25-30 with a minus-9 in 70 games played. So having played is all 41 (now 42) games this season and 18 points to go along with it has been a real bonus on the Bruins back-end. No. 44 also continues his block party-play with a team-high 95 blocked shits through 42 games — that also ranks him eighth overall in the NHL.
(42) 10-8-18, plus-7
Is it me or has Blake Wheeler created at least one shorthanded scoring chance in virtually every game this season? After a relatively slow start (4-4-8, E, in his first 21 games) No. 26 has certainly found his groove (3-4-7, plus-5 in his last 12 games leading up to last night). He mentioned during the offseason that he wanted to shoot more, but his 78 shots on goal thus far has him averaging south of two per game. He’s using his large 6-foot-5 frame with a bit more aggressiveness this season, but it wouldn’t hurt to see him finish even more checks. Clearly one of the best wingers on the PK, Wheeler has been deserving of seeing more PP time.
(39) 8-10-18, plus-14
Entering this season, if you told me that Brad Marchand would be in the top-10 among NHL rookies in points while leading that group in plus-minus, I’d have you tarred-and-feathered from here to his hometown of Halifax, NS, Canada. The feisty winger has proven his spot on this team — whether in be fourth-line duties or top-9 action. The 22-year-old has been more than reliable on the PK, and his extra effort and hustle has rewarded him with three shorthanded goals on the season (tied for first in the NHL).
(40) 7-9-16, plus-4
For a kid who went from being the man in Juniors, to his first year in the pros — to gain experience, learn the game, being a small piece of the puzzle, and not being asked to do so much — I’d say Tyler Seguin is coming along just fine. It looks like No. 19 has realized that some of those fancy moves in Juniors won’t translate at this level, and is also becoming a bit more responsible on the other side of the puck. On pace for 30 points, Seguin has the offensive skill where he could go on a scoring streak or two during the second-half to push for 40.
(40) 4-8-12, plus-3
A solid penalty-killer, a physical player that finishes all of his checks and drops the mitts when he needs to, and chipping-in with a dozen points, Campbell has been the ideal fourth-line center. Paired with Shawn Thonrton, and Marchand or Daniel Paille, the energy line has continued to live up to that name, and Campbell and Co. have the time on ice to back it up.
(42) 7-2-9, plus-3
The two-year deal that general manager Peter Chiarelli awarded to Thonrton this offseason is looking like the deal of the century. I dare anyone to point out anything wrong with No. 22’s play this season. The left-winger continues to prove his loyalty to the team by fearlessly taking on any of the league’s heavyweights in toe-to-toe combat, all while lighting the lamp seven times ( a career-high). He’s relentless on the forecheck, and the Bruins will need him to play exactly the same way in the second-half as he did in the first.
(20) 3-4-7, plus-4
After a sensational training camp, Caron rightfully earned his spot on the team’s roster. But with salary-cap misfortunes and the return of Savard in early December, Caron took a few seats in the press box before being returned to the AHL Providence Bruins to continue daily play. A big, physical kid with great offensive instincts as well as being a viable component on the PK, Caron battled hard in front of the net and really went to work in those areas around the crease. Maybe sometime this second half he can get another deserving crack at the NHL level.
(42) 2-5-7, plus-18
Ridiculed last year for a contract that was too long and too much money for a guy who spent too much time on the IR, Ference’s play this year is putting those words to rest for now. He moved up from logging bottom pair minutes to top-2 ice time alongside Chara during Johnny Boychuk’s absence in Novemeber. He played an extra seven minutes than his norm, saw a lot of time on the PP, and stepped up his game without a glitch ever since. From groin injury to groin injury, No. 21 has been on the ice for every Bruins game this season, and his plus-minus is in the top of the NHL among defensemen.
(32) 0-7-7, plus-9
Three points, plus-3, and 11 shots on goal in his first five games of the season, Boychuk has yet to return to his former self since fracturing a bone in his forearm in late October. No. 55 has over 70 shots on net on the season, but he’s still searching for that first one to hit the twine. Boychuk was one of the stories of the year last season when he finally earned his mark on an NHL roster — and was rewarded with a nice two-year deal — but this year is a different story in itself. The B’s certainly need him to break out of this offensive rut this second half, and maybe even find that scoring touch that he possessed in the AHL.
Sure, we need to be patient and understanding of such a sever concussion that Savard sustained last season. But, having been cleared to play for over a month now (20 NHL games deep), Savard must find his stride asap. He seems to have a chip on his shoulder, playing the role of a pest after the whistle. Maybe it’s because of the reassurance of seeing No. 17 and/or 18 by his sides, but his antics need to cease immediately. Having made several bonehead no-look/behind the back passes (some that were in direct result of a loss) No. 91 is not the same 91 that first came to Boston, and who knows what to expect from him throughout this second-half…and beyond…
(19) 0-4-4, minus-2
Gifted with blazing speed and hands of stone, Paille still has trouble with finding the back of the net. With that speed and good defensive awareness makes Paille a great penalty-killer, but not much else during five-on-five. A healthy scratch for half the season thus far, Paille obviously hasn’t played consistently enough to dramatically improve or merit such a hefty one-year contract.
(29) 0-4-4, plus-10
It’s awesome watching McQuaid get better and better with every game. He plays with a physical and nasty side that has more than made up for the loss of Mark Stuart, but has also been more and more deserving of his extra playing time — sometimes upwards of 20-24 shifts and nearly 16 minutes of ice time. He’s fourth on the team in blocked shots, plays a sound defensive game, and should continue to be a solid blueliner this second half.
(16) 3-1-4, plus-5
Chiarelli is looking like a genius since the Bruins recalled Kampfer to the NHL level. A few natural hiccups to start, Kampfer could be that puck moving defenseman that the B’s have been harping on all season. Listed at 5-foot-11, he’s not the biggest player on the ice, but he brings an offensive dynamic to the Bruins back-end that has seen him with some regular power play time. Kampfer is going to make it awfully difficult for the Bruins to send him back down to Providence when Stuart is healthy enough to return.
(26) 0-2-2, plus-3
With a new one-year deal, this was the season for Stuart to emerge as a top-4 blueliner in Boston. But being limited to just 26 games with yet another injury, lack of offensive contribution (one assist in his last 16 games), and good substitution play from McQuaid and Kampfer, Stuart will have to regain his status as a top-6 defenseman on this club with an immediate impact upon his return to the ice.
19-4-6, 6 SO, 1.77 GAA, .946 SV%
Without Tim Thomas, there’s no way the Bruins would be where they are right now. An obvious front-runner for a second Vezina Trophy, Thomas has played exceptional throughout the first-half. The NHL leader in goals-against average, save-percentage, and shutouts, Thomas has looked like his ’08-09 self, and is on his way to his second All Star game this year.
4-8-1, 1 SO, 2.53 GAA, .927 SV%
Aside from a few bad goals and a couple of less-than-par outings (no thanks to the team playing in front of him), Rask has “slipped” to No. 2 status in Boston. Funny considering his save-percentage ranks him sixth overall in the league, and, as a tandem, have the lowest goals-against of 2.10 (88 total) in the NHL. Looking a bit ticked-off after getting pulled after 20 minutes of playing time in Buffalo, Rask remained quiet and diplomatic, and bounced back in a big way with a 36-save performace the very next game in Toronto. In his last three starts, the 23-year-old has posted a whopping 1.67 GAA and .947 SV%.
Kampfer’s gotta stay…makes Stuart expendable now. Perhaps for another draft pick?
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