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|Milan Lucic has been the Bruins' most effective player so far. Does anyone still think he's looking out of shape?|
|Dougie Hamilton's poise and polish might have even exceeded the Bruins' high expectations for the rookie.|
Q. Great job covering the B's! With this sprint to the finish, what area do you think the B's could improve on the roster? Also, why has the power play been so terrible for so long? How can a team that is one of the best at 5-on-5 be one of the worst on the power play? You would think just by luck over the last four years they would have gotten a little better? I think the bad power play could be their downfall. -- Pete (Tampa, Fla.) A. Pete, thanks for the praise and I agree with you on the power play. It's an enigma that a perennial Cup contender could be so woeful on the power play, but just look at the Bruins and Kings, both Cup champs minus a power play. So I wouldn't be too worried about it. I think the man advantage has looked a lot better this season, as they're moving the puck around better and not getting too cute. As for where they can improve, I'd say on the left wing of the third line. Also, I think the bottom three of their defense could improve.
Q. What's the deal with Marc Savard's impact on the cap? If putting him on LTIR would make cap space, why not do it? What am I missing? -- Brian (Anchorage, Alaska) A. Brian, according to an NHL scout I spoke to after reading your question, the Bruins have until the NHL trade deadline, April 6, to place Savard on LTIR and use that cap space. Not sure why teams don't just do it, but they can wait until then or when they need it.
Q. Barry Melrose says the Bruins look like they could have another championship year. Do you agree? I still worry about their weak power play and their goaltending depth. I don't really trust [Anton] Khudobin in big moments. Rask looks good, but won't he get burned out? Thoughts? -- JT (Lewiston, Maine)
A. JT, I'm not so worried about their power play as both they and the Kings proved you don't need one to win a Stanley Cup. As for goaltending depth, I agree with you on Rask. I am not sold on his durability, especially with a history of groin injuries. I'm also not sold on Anton Khudobin, either. But I do like what I've seen from Nicklas Svedberg and think he is the real deal, so there is some depth. Still, a veteran goalie could help as well.
Q. I thought heading into the season that the Northeast would be easy pickings for the Bruins, but with Ottawa and Montreal both off to fast starts (and the Sabres beating the B's), maybe not. Do you think anyone else in the Northeast will be able to hang with the Bruins for the whole season? -- Carl (Waltham, Mass.)
A. Carl, I actually felt it would be a lot harder than many thought. Both Buffalo and Montreal improved their team toughness and had skill already in place, and Ottawa had a great season last year and is a team on the rise with a strong core of youth. I think this is going to be a very competitive division, but I still like the Bruins to come out on top.