Here are four quick thoughts on the Bruins’ weekend against former Western Conference pals Columbus and Detroit.
- It was good to see Loui Eriksson get on the board, notching his first two goals as a Bruin. The first goal (on Saturday) was a beauty, a “how did that go in?!” backhand whack that somehow eluded Sergei Bobrosky. Truthfully, his second goal, the one scored yesterday, probably should’ve been his first as a Bruin: the fluky, tipped-off-the-knee goal that every player in a slump seems to score. Eriksson has been solid thus far, fitting in well with Patrice Bergeron. There had been some grumbling within the fanbase after Tyler Seguin’s big night the other night, but Eriksson has been just fine, and the goals will continue to come as he gets more and more comfortable with his new teammates.
- Brad Marchand, on the other hand, is struggling. Marchand was demoted to the third line on Saturday, skating some shifts with Jordan Caron and Chris Kelly while Reilly Smith saw action on the second line. Marchand spent all of yesterday’s game on the third line as well. Perhaps most damning, however, was Claude Julien putting Caron and Smith on the second power play unit over Marchand late in yesterday’s loss. It’s clear that Julien isn’t happy with Marchand’s game. Marchand’s case is a bit different from that of Jarome Iginla, who is getting the puck on net and making good plays but can’t seem to get a bounce. Marchand isn’t really doing much of anything, and Julien’s demotion is definitely meant to be a wake-up call. Marchand shouldn’t really be lost. Sure, best bud Seguin is out of town, but Marchand is still playing with the same center, which would be a much bigger change. It’ll be interesting to see if Marchand gets the Lucic Healthy Scratch treatment if his struggles continue, as Carl Soderberg should be ready to go any day now.
- It was interesting to see Dougie Hamilton get sent to the press box this weekend. I don’t think it was so much a message being sent as it was Julien wanting to get Matt Bartkowski in a couple of games. Hamilton has been fine since the season started: he hasn’t done anything to earn a seat in the press box, but at the same time, he hasn’t done much to solidify his spot on the ice. Dougie is still learning the NHL game, and the Bruins have the luxury of having an extra NHL-ready young defenseman on hand at all times. I’d like to see Hamilton in the line-up, as that’s how he’ll improve, but it makes sense to get Bartkowski some reps as well.
- The power play is back to being…well, the Bruins’ power play: failure after failure after failure. The B’s went 0-for-5 with the man advantage yesterday, also wasting 1:53 of a two-man advantage early in the third period. At first, it seemed like the B’s new power play strategy (Iginla on the side, Chara at the net-front) was working, but the B’s have fallen back into their powerless play ways. Is it time for a shake-up? Probably not yet, but at some point, the B’s have to stop the whole “maybe this time it’ll be different!” approach and go with something else.