Thursday, March 7, 2013
Third line hoping to improve play
By James Murphy
BOSTON -- Bruins head coach Claude Julien indicated to the media Thursday following his team’s game day skate that there very well could be some lineup changes when his team hosts the Toronto Maple Leafs Thursday night. He wasn’t lying as within two hours, the Bruins announced that they have waived forward Chris Bourque who along with his linemates Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley, has struggled on the third line.
Waiving Bourque likey means that Jay Pandolfo or Daniel Paille will slot in on the left wing of that line, as Julien tries to jumpstart a until that brought depth and scoring last season when Kelly (20 goals), Peverley (11 goals) and former Bruin Benoit Pouliot (17 goals) combined for 48 goals. This season Peverley (3), Bourque (1) and Kelly (1) have combined for just 5 goals.
As Peverley (prior to Bourque being waived) pointed out after the skate Thursday though, it wasn’t necessarily Bourque that was the anchor preventing him and Kelly from setting sail.
“He’s stepping in for a guy that scored 17 goals last year so … and even for a guy like ‘Kells’ [Kelly] him and I had decent numbers. But sometimes chemistry doesn’t start right off the hop,” said Peverley. “It’s simplifying the game and that will really help.”
Julien called out the trio following the Bruins’ 4-3 overtime loss to the Capitals on Tuesday, which saw the Bruins blow a 3-0 lead.
“Absolutely he’s right,” Peverley said. “We’ve heard that for a few games now. We’re working and I think we still gotta be a lot better. If we can get one then everybody’s confidence gets up. I think we’ll be alright but I think right now it’s just that we need to really work hard and play a simple game and hopefully everything will come.”
Kelly and Peverley pride themselves on a solid defensive game which they can then translate into offensive chances. But lately, Peverley feels that maybe there has been too much of an emphasis on the defensive side and as a result some missed opportunities offensively.
“I felt like we were trying to pride ourselves so much on defense and being good defensively that we ended up shorting ourselves offensively,” Peverley said. “We weren’t getting that many chances and I think now we’re on for a lot of goals against the past couple of games, that burns as a line and that sucks. I hate that. So we just have to put our heads down and keep working hard and like I said, I think we gotta simplify our game.”
Julien was asked again about the third line Thursday and said that there needs to be more commitment there.
“I think it’s both. I think they’ve struggled in both ends is my assessment on that,” Julien said. “Whether they spend more time in the offensive zone, that will certainly help the defensive game, and if they score that will help their offensive game. It kind of makes sense in a way. Right now, they’ve just got to go out there and play and do the things that they have to do. There’s certain things that we see from them that needs a little bit more commitment in those small areas to make it happen. That’s what we’ve been kind of showing those guys.”