It should come as no surprise that Claude Julien is doing a little damage control on the power play with the media right now. It should also come as no surprise that he has to – because it’s been woefully bad for years now. About as many years as Marc Savard has been injured actually, but who’s counting?
I am, it’s been over two years and I’ll never be over it. Fuck you, Matt Cooke.
Just take a look and see, keeping in mind Savard played only 41 games in 2009-10 and 25 games in 2010-11. You guessed it though, that gorgeous PP% in 2008-09? Yup, his last full season with the team.
2008-09 – 23.6%, 4th Overall
2009-10 – 16.6%, 24th Overall
2010-11 – 16.2%, 20th Overall
2011-12 – 17.2%, 15th Overall
2012-13 – 5.0%, 29th Overall
The proof is in the numbers: they’re putrid, horrible and evoke feelings of what it’s like to be a Toronto Maple Leafs fan. Personnel has come and gone, units and formations shifted slightly, and yet we still deal with this problem.
The Bruins have have playoff success and regular season success despite all of this. But at some point you have to look at all the potential goals left off the board – such as the countless squandered power plays with monumentous consequence against the Capitals in the playoffs last year – and find some way to turn it all around.
Assistant Coach Geoff Ward
While the players and Julien take the brunt of the harassment for the failing PP, Coach Ward is the man who works closest with the two units. He joined the Bruins in August of 2007, bringing 12 years of experience in the OHL, AHL and even in Germany.
He’s obviously a Cup winner, with the Bruins in 2011. A Cup that was exponentially more impressive given the horrendous power play displayed for the first three series’ (the finals were under 20% as well). At the time, Ward applauded the Bruins for sticking to system, a system that was massively flawed.
I just don’t understand how a personnel change or SOMETHING hasn’t happened. Does he possess nude photos of Jeremy Jacobs? Is there a superstitiuous key to his presence on the team? He must be a massive contributor elsewhere, though he’s one of three assistant coaches, for his job to seem locked in.
The Bruins used a lot of their “training camp” prior to this season to work out the kinks in the power play, but through four games, nothing has changed and the media and fans are putting more and more pressure on Julien and the team.
The frustration is obvious. Just check out this quote from Julien (per Joe Haggerty at CSNNE.com).
“I could throw a lot of things at you whether it was LA winning last year without a [good] power play or Tampa Bay not even practicing the power play this year because they know you can’t win a Cup without strong five-on-five play. But I think people need to step back and maybe take a breath a little bit . . . and not make a mountain out of a power play. We want it to work well, but it’s not the end of the world. We’re still winning hockey games.”
You can almost feel the full-transformation from Julien to Bill happening as he speaks (picture the voice in your head, it’s almost sad). Almost a sad plea to just be happy with the two points and not to worry about all the bad stuff – like playoff series’ losses – he didn’t mention, and focus on stuff like a non-playoff team from last year who now have a top-5 power play.
There’s no quick fix, at least not in sight. It seems to be a ‘keep hammering the same units out there and something has to give…right?’ type of mentality.
Here’s a list of four things I’d like to see, or not see, from this monstrosity:
- Give Seguin free rein on the power play. Allow him to effectively run it, utilizing his creativity and vision, and work the half wall.
- More Dougie Hamilton! It’s clear this kid has what it takes to be creative and most importantly GET SHOTS THROUGH.
- Get Chris Bourque off the power play and never, ever try it again. I get it, he’s Ray’s kid, he’s not a PP guy in any way. Enough of this.
- David Krejci doesn’t work on the point, it doesn’t suit his play style and doesn’t allow his prowess down-low to benefit the guy(s) in front.
That’s it for now. Came on to publish this right after two terrible turnovers blew a two goal second period lead in Carolina. It burns…more on that later I’m sure.