What was up with that game [Wednesday] night against the Sabres? I guess every now and then a team just runs out of steam and flops -- seems like the no goal, which was a brutal call, took the life out of them some. Really no excuse for that, but like I said, I guess it's going to happen a time or two over a season. That said, I think that Milan Lucic in particular needs to watch his temper some. I know he needs to play with an edge, but it seems like he lets his emotions get the best of him. -- -- Charlie (Hanover, N.H.)
Patrick Kaleta drives me as nuts as I'm sure he drives every other Bruins fan, but it seems like the B's need to find a way to not let him get in their heads. Seemed like once they got down [Wednesday] night, all they were focused on was trying to get at the Sabres. That's not how you want to play. -- Lawrence (Newton, Mass.)
A: Charlie and Lawrence, it's interesting you brought that up because on Thursday I wrote a piece about how the Bruins think just the opposite. I'm with you on this, but in the Bruins' eyes they're just policing out there and defending their teammates when they feel the opponent is taking liberties. But like you said, Lucic and other Bruins need to control those emotions because sometimes they can be a detriment, and I thought that was the case on Wednesday in the 6-0 loss to Buffalo. Patrick Kaleta definitely did his job, and if the Bruins are to succeed against teams that have players like that, they need to start taking numbers and pick their spots for revenge.
Q: What are your thoughts on Julien moving David Krejci down to the third line? As good as Krejci is, he's still maddeningly inconsistent to me. Hopefully this will light a little fire under him. -- Harry (Worcester, Mass.)
Unfortunately, I think David Krejci is just one of those players who is an amazing talent but decides when he is going to utilize that talent and put it on display. It's a God-given gift to have a talent light switch and be able to turn it off and on like that, but it's also dangerous because sometimes it can be abused and sometimes the athlete picks the wrong spots to turn it off. In fact, it should never be turned off, but he's human and everyone has bad nights. In Krejci's case, the bad and the good come in streaks, and while the good streak came in the playoffs last season, the Bruins need him right now and going forward.
Q: A month ago I would have said the Bruins just needed to add back-end depth (maybe a 6/7 d-man or a depth forward), but I'm starting to think they should try to do more than that. How often do you have a chance to win a Cup and a bunch of cap space? I say whoever the best players are that end up on the market, make a push to get them. What do you think? -- Bill (Springfield, Mass.)
Q: Jimmy, do you see any chance the Bruins make a push for Jerome Iginla? He has been rumored to be on the block, and if Nathan Horton's concussion symptoms linger, the B's may be a forward shy of having an elite roster. If so, how much would they give up? Is Dougie Hamilton untradeable to you? -- Derek (Boston College)
Q: With Horton's current health issues, is it more likely now that the B's will try to add an impact player up front? -- Jerry (Boston)
A: Bill, Derek and Jerry, I think you are all correct, and with the news Friday that Nathan Horton has suffered a setback in his recovery from his second concussion in less than a year, GM Peter Chiarelli has to be wavering now on whether this team needs not just a jump-start but someone to replace the scoring Horton brings. The problem -- given the logjam in both conference standings, with so many teams not yet knowing if they're in or out of the playoff race -- is that there really aren't enough definitive buyers and sellers. That will change in the days leading up to the deadline, but it's a difficult place to be in for any GM. Derek, just to comment on Jarome Iginla and his availability, he is not available for two reasons: He has made it clear he wants to stay in Calgary, and with the recent acquisition of Mike Cammalleri, Flames GM Jay Feaster made it clear he wants to make a run for the playoffs.
Q: If you had to pick a couple of under-the-radar players you think the Bruins should go after (sort of like Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley last year), who would they be? -- Rick (Hartford, Conn.)
Q: If he ends up a UFA, do you think the Bruins will make a run at Ryan Suter this offseason? -- Kelly (Natick, Mass.)
A: Rick and Kelly, those are great questions. Chiarelli's moves at the 2011 trade deadline were a perfect example of a team flying under the radar and securing needs with solid moves, and not just trying to make a splash. The acquisitions of Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley filled the needs for more speed and solid two-way players who fit the Bruins' system better, and that's what Chiarelli should look for. It's also important to look at what teams he has dealt with in the past. What might Brian Burke and Toronto have to offer the Bruins, or Chuck Fletcher and Minnesota? Both have dealt with the Bruins on numerous occasions during Chiarelli's tenure as GM. Wild defenseman Marek Zidlicky could be a fit given his puck-moving skills, but he's weak in his own zone. While St. Louis' Chris Stewart isn't a member of the Wild or Leafs, he reportedly is on the block and is also worth watching.
Kelly, if the Bruins still have enough cap space after the deadline, I don't see why Chiarelli wouldn't covet Ryan Suter if he becomes available. He is exactly the type of defenseman Chiarelli has always gone after and is one of the best puck-movers in the NHL. The problem is that 29 other GMs will be after Suter.
James Murphy covers the Bruins for ESPNBoston.com. Ask a question for his next Bruins mailbag here.