With the Bruins looking to get things a bit more fired up tonight on the physical side of things, they’re shaking up the lineup just a little bit.
Tyler Seguin will be scratched tonight in favor of physical force and locker room good guy Shawn Thornton. Seguin, who appeared to break out against Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference finals with a pair of great offensive games, has gone quiet since then and hasn’t earned a point in the Stanley Cup finals.
Thornton has not played since Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals and has just one assist through 13 playoff games. Thornton has averaged 6:30 of ice time through the playoffs and don’t expect him to see a boatload of minutes in Game 3 tonight either as he’s due to play on the fourth line with Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille. Rich Peverley figures to be promoted to the third line.
The choice to put Thornton in is curious as he’s not a quick skater like Seguin and the Canucks speed has been an issue. Thornton also doubles as the team enforcer but with fights being so rare in the playoffs, in the Stanley Cup finals especially, that’s not likely to happen. If the Bruins think intimidation and further physical presence is in their best interests they’re playing with fire.
After the Bruins insisted that they needed to keep playing the same way this subtle change is curious. If it pays off for Boston, don’t expect to see Seguin again the rest of the series.
Would benching Tomas Kaberle be the right move for Boston to make?
One of the big figures in the playoffs this year is defenseman Tomas Kaberle. After being dealt from Toronto to Boston in mid-February, Kaberle was hailed as being the answer to the Bruins puck-carrying worries as well as an elixir for a power play that was inconsistent at best during the regular season. In short, Kaberle was meant to be the missing piece for a Bruins team poised to make a deep run in the playoffs.
Things haven’t quite gone according to plan for both the Bruins and for Kaberle. Since joining the Bruins, Boston’s power play has been clicking along at a 9% success rate in the regular season and playoffs (11-118) and in the playoffs, the Bruins have found ways to win in spite of a terrible power play (4-52 in the playoffs).
However, after Game 4’s effort from Kaberle that saw him get outworked and out-muscled by Sean Bergenheim leading to the game’s tying goal in the second period in what turned out to be a toothless affair for Boston in a 5-3 loss.
CSN New England’s Joe Haggerty has a gutsy solution for the Bruins to solve what ails both the team and Kaberle. He says it’s time for coach Claude Julien to bench Kaberle in favor of either Steve Kampfer or Shane Hnidy to shake things up for the Bruins and get them back to playing “Bruins hockey.”
No matter what Julien says publicly about Kaberle and the team’s belief in him, it’s clear the coaching staff has lost confidence in the player as he’s relegated to a bottom pairing defenseman. No amount of public spin and positive feedback can cover up the stench left on the ice after Kaberle’s shift has concluded and another round of mistakes have to be cleaned up by his teammates.
He hasn’t surpassed 20 minutes of ice time since the opening playoff series against the Montreal Canadiens, and his pairing with Adam McQuaid was a flammable liability in Saturday’s loss to the Lightning.
It’d make for quite the gutsy move to do that and given that he’s seen his minutes reduced to playing just over 12 minutes and 11 minutes in the last two games respectively as a third-pair defenseman, the case to be made for benching Kaberle is strong. Even though coach Julien won’t be sitting him out, is it the right move to try and spur the Bruins to victory? Let us know in the comments and vote in our poll to let us know your thoughts.