Our playoff hangover has just about subsided, thanks mostly to “Jumbo” Joe Thornton and the Sharks losing yet another playoff series and taking some heat off of the Bruins collapse. Finally talk can leave how the Bruins are the new FAIL and back to how Thornton’s performance declines during the Spring and Summer. We send Mrs. Thornton our condolences. Chiarelli has been talking a lot about “Change” since the Bs playoff run ended. We’re interested in seeing what type of change he brings. He spoke of “change” last summer and what did he do? Bring in Morris (who?) and shipped Kessel Lt. Dangle out to Toronto for Hall(or)Seguin. So, over the course of the week we’ll be grading the Bruins (by position) on how well they did during the regular season and playoffs and what “change” we’d like to see. And, by all means, feel free to tell us how wrong we are. After the jump, we look at Bergy, Krecji, Savvy and Vladdy. Wow. We just realized all of the Bs centers have “ee” nicknames.
Boston Bruins Report Card — Centers
Patrice Bergeron With a team riddled with injuries, he was a saving grace for the Bruins. He picked up his game and ended the season with 52 points, was a plus-8 and led the team in game winning goals. At times it seems like Bergeron was the only Bruin who knew what the back of the net looked liked. We’ll put it this way: Bergy started off the regular season as the Bruins number three center, behind Savard and Krejci and ended the playoffs as the number one center. Funny what eight months can do to a team and players. And unlike some players on the Bs, Bergeron was one of the few guys management and fans could count on to give it his all every game, every shift. In the playoffs, Bergeron did well, knotting up 11 points in 13 games played, second only to… WTF… Wideman? Yep. But despite the numbers, we felt like Bergeron disappeared a little bit during the Flyers series (who didn’t on the Bs during those finals games), so we can’t give him an A. Sorry, no grade curve here at Days of Y’Orr. We think Bergy would make a great captain for the Bruins which is kinda funny since there’s talk that he would be traded should the Bruins draft Seguin instead of Hall.
Final Regular Season Grade: A-
Final Playoff Season Grade: B
David Krecji We love Mr. Krejci, however, during the regular season he wasn’t spectacular. He only got 52 points for the Bruins and was a plus-8. Wait; we know what you’re thinking. We gave Bergeron an A- and Krejci a B+, but Krecji’s numbers are similar if not better. Clearly we must be drunk. Well, yes, but that’s besides the point. Bergy excelled when the Bruins were struggling as a team, often taking the Bs on his slender Canuck back and dragging them through the first half of the season. Also, after signing a sweet new contact, we expected more offensive output from Krecji (the Bs did, after all, favor him over Lt. Dangle). The grade difference is minor anyways, so suck it. Krecji did pick up his game toward the end of the year (more than half of his points came in 2010), and into the playoffs. He had 8 points in 9 games and was a plus three. We don’t need to remind you the team’s record in the playoffs this year when he was out of the line up. OK, we’re going to go cry now.
Final Regular Season Grade: B+
Final Playoff Season Grade: A-
Marc Savard Poor Savvy Savard had a rough season this year. He was injured a lot, including a concussion at the end of the year. He played only 41 games this season (that’s 50% of the scheduled games for those playing at home) and had 33 points during those games. Sadly, he struggled in 5-on-5 situations, but (as a plus, we suppose) excelled on the PP, getting 17 points while being a man up. During the playoffs, we saw Savard go from hero to zero. He fought hard to get back into the line-up and for that, we applaud Savard. But his shining moment by scoring the game winner in OT during Game 1 will probably (and somewhat unjustly and somewhat justly) be overshadowed by his boneheaded “too many men” debacle. And there were a few times during the Flyers series we felt Savvy was more worried about calling Flyers out for their cheap play than trying to get it done on the ice. Also, his failure to take the blame for the “too many men” call shows a deep lack of leadership and responsibility in the locker Bruins room, something Savard should be leading the charge with since he, too, has a nice new contract. And as a #1, Savard needs to man up. With all that said, we have faith that Savard will bounce back in 2010-2011.
Final Regular Season Grade: B
Final Playoff Season Grade: C
Vladimir Sobotka From the sounds of it, we’re cutting little Vladdy a generous break with our grades, so maybe we really are drunk. While Vladdy didn’t impress us when the coaching staff bumped him up into higher lines, he did pick up his game towards the end of the season (like most of the team. He ended the regular season with 10 points and was a minus-7 for the year, but he’s a fourth line center, so we’re not expecting Oviechicken-esque numbers. He played the agitator role that the team hoped Begin would’ve filled and seemed more comfortable banging bodies then shooting on net. He had only 67 shots this season and, to put it in perspective, Mr. Shawn “Wayne” Thornton had 119. Vladdy was a physical force in the playoffs, throwing all 180 pounds of him around on the ice. He was, alas, a minus-10 for the Bs in the playoffs and only had two points. But again, he’s a fourth liner and you can’t expect offensive numbers when he’s on a line with Begin and Thornton. Their role is to wear and tear, not lamp lighting. Vladdy can be a good grinder for the Bs, and we hope he’ll continue being more physical next season. However, he’s a RFA this season and if the Bruins draft Seguin instead of Hall, do the Bruins need five centers? Probably not, and there’s already talk that Vladdy could be shipped out to Edmonton to help the Bs secure the #1 spot and get Hall. All this is speculative BS at the moment, though. We don’t want to be like KPD, so we’ll believe it when we see it.
Final Regular Season Grade: C+
Final Playoff Season Grade: B
Tomorrow we look over Left Wings.