Bruins and negativity
When the Bruins began their recent three-game homestand last Saturday, the feeling was that with a solid home record of 16-6-4, the taste of home cooking would be a plus. They knew they needed to pick up some points and improve their hold on the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference standings. After all, coming off a very productive month of January, things would continue to keep getting better in February for Boston. Wrong, the team suddenly finds themselves with a single win in their last four games, (2-1 New York Islanders 2/4).
Following Tuesday night’s 5-3 loss to the Dallas Stars, it was obvious that feelings of negativity have started to creep back into the Bruins’ dressing room. Coach Claude Julien didn’t hold back in his assessment of what the major issues are – “I think carelessness is one of them. Lack of…poor work ethic on the power play. When you looked at even the second goal, you know, our coming back and our two guys back there are just flat-footed and just kind of lackadaisical and very soft, and real disappointing that our power play was like that tonight. So, we only have ourselves to look at and blame ourselves for this, not only the power play, but this loss. I don’t think we have enough guys right now playing to their, I guess to their abilities to win hockey games, and that’s been going on now. Like even if we won against the Islanders that’s been going on for at least four games where this month we don’t have enough guys going and we have a lot of guys that are very average for what’s expected of them and I got a good handful of those today.”
Defenseman Dougie Hamilton remarked on the power play that surrendered two shorthanded goals, after not having allowed a single shorthanded goal in the previous 53 contests. “Obviously not good when you give up shorthanded goals. I think we had some chances, but obviously the bounces went the other way, and it wasn’t a help for us.” When questioned about the team’s work ethic, his take was: “I think everyone was obviously frustrated by everything. I think it was just some bounces, a little bit no effort, and it’s obviously frustrating right now. It’s frustration, I think, from losing and effort and everything. So, obviously that’s what happens when you’re losing. We just kind of have to get back to where we were, winning and feeling good about ourselves. When you’re feeling so good, and everything is positive, and it kind of all goes the other way again…a lot of negativity in the room, I guess, this last weekend. And that’s what happens when you’re losing, and we have to find a way to change that obviously this road trip.”
Captain Zdeno Chara was asked about whether bad habits have crept back into the team. He responded with, “No, it is something that we have to sort it out. We know that we have been better the last little while but again the last two, three games again, we started to have mental breakdowns and started drifting away from the game plan. That is something we can’t go back to again. I think it is a combination of maybe a number of things. It is hard to really point at one thing. We know that when we play a certain way we are pretty effective and when we are not, we start doing something different and that is how we get into trouble. A lot of times we need better effort, we need better urgency, we need better mental focus. It is just a combination of all of those things.
Patrice Bergeron was both brief and direct in stating, “This team’s not in trouble. We obviously, just got to go back to what’s given us success in January and that’s it. Tuukka Rask, who relieved Niklas Svedberg and played two periods against the Stars, addressed the ‘negativity’ question with, “Well, I’m not going to start chirping my teammates. But everybody who watches the games and follow our hockey can make their own assessment. We just keep going back to the same mistakes we used to do and not keeping our heads in the game. If we don’t fix that now, it’s going to be too late pretty soon. So hopefully we don’t have to talk about it anymore.” Along with the thoughts of negativity creeping in, it was pretty evident that several players were of the mind that going on the road at this time, was probably a good thing for the team – so much for the ‘home cooking’ advantage!
The upcoming five-game road trip begins on Friday at Vancouver (2/13 @ 10:00pm), on to Calgary (2/16 @ 9:00pm), Edmonton (2/18 @ 10:00pm), St. Louis (2/20 @ 8:00pm), ending in Chicago, (2/22 @ 3:00pm).
Red Devils defeat
Essex Tech, 75-59
The Chelsea High boys basketball team kept its record at the .500 mark, the winning percentage needed to qualify for the post-season state tourney, with a 75-59 triumph over Essex Tech Friday evening at the CHS gym.
Essex came into the contest with the Red Devils, who now are 7-7, with an 8-4 record and battled Chelsea evenly through the first half. The Red Devils held slim leads of 16-13 and 34-29 at the first two junctures, but soon assumed control of the contest after the intermission, moving out to a 55-41 advantage after three frames.
Senior captain Eric Flores led all scorers with 23 points and sophomore Chris Torres enjoyed a break-out game with 19 points. Angel Alvarez also reached double figures with 14 points. Guillermo Zelata made a nice contribution with seven points, followed by Jahro Marshall and Moises Casado with three points each, and the duo of Eric Fernandez and Dom Hightower with two points apiece.
“We played very well at the offensive end, although our defense could have been better,” said CHS head coach Jay Seigal.
Two nights earlier the Red Devils dropped a 58-46 decision to a strong Arlington Catholic team. Flores paced Chelsea with 14 points, followed by Torres with eight, Casado with seven, Alvarez with six, Tyek Carter with five, and the trio of Fernandez, Alicea, and C.J. Sanabria with two apiece.
“Arlington Catholic is a very good team,” noted Seigal. “They have speed in the backcourt and size up front, which gave us some tough match ups.”
The Red Devils play at archival Revere tonight (Wednesday) for a 7:00 tip-off. They host Shawsheen Tech Friday at 7:00 for Senior Night and then will make up a game with Greater Lawrence Saturday afternoon at the CHS gym at 1:00. They trek to Greater Lowell Monday, to Whittier Tuesday, and to Arlington Catholic Wednesday.
Seigal and his crew need three wins in those final six contests to qualify for the tourney and and still have a shot at a CAC Large title if they can beat Greater Lawrence and Greater Lowell.