01 June 2011
I 'met' Mark last series when the Lightning played the Bruins and we were giving opposition views on the series on The Buzz by the Pulse Network. He knows his Bruins and runs an awesome blog at The Hub of Hockey, you can follow him on twitter here. It doesn't have any gnome photoshops but do check him out because he has some great coverage and previews to the series already.
So here is Mark's take on this series on his confidence in Claude Julien, the travel aspect of this series and of course his three words on Kaberle.
What has be the biggest strength for Boston in this series against the Canucks?
Their "system" which is defense-first. Their blueline has been solid all throughout with Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seideneberg, and even Andrew Ference has really stepped it up. Their forward will need to continue to backcheck on those dangerous Vancouver forwards. Boston's penalty-kill has been very good, and especially good last round against Tampa Bay. And finally, Tim Thomas. He can steal games, and they'll need him to be tip-top, no doubt.
What has be the biggest weakness for Boston in this series against the Canucks?
The biggest weakness without a doubt has been their power play; they're way under 10-percent this post season and had zero PP goals in Round 1 vs. Montreal. They've seemed to rectify that a bit, however, by placing Chara on the top of the crease, down low, on the man-advantage. If they stick to that -- which has shown some promise -- by making a minor adjustment (replacing Tomas Kaberle for Patrice Bergeron on the point) we should see a better success rate.
Last series people were questioning Julien's coaching ability for not taking a time-out in one game against the Lightning. How confident are you in Julien going into this series?
There's always going to be skepticism and questions surround certain plays. What concerns me the most about the coaching issues is when Boston gets an early lead, north of a one-goal lead, then takes their foot off the gas pedal, plays back on their heels,only one forechecker in deep, and allows the opposition to play their game.
Also he's very rarely made the necessary in-game adjustments, We'll see the occasional tweak of the lines, sometimes, but nothing major. ie: shaking up the PP units, shortening his bench, etc.
But bottom line, he's got them this far. Players bought into the system and his tactics -- whether we like them or not -- have worked.
Both teams are getting a long rest before the SCF, how do you think that will affect Boston's momentum?
None at all. It's a couple of more days than Vancouver, so I think it's even. Players whom have been logging killer minutes -- Chara, Seidenberg -- can take a breather...as can 42-year-old Mark Recchi. But I think there are enough veterans and experience on this team to help make the layoff a non-factor.
Three words to describe Kaberle
Soft. Disappointing. Free-agent.
Boston doesn't do a lot of travel out of their own time zone as compared to Vancouver. How will the travel between Boston and Vancouver affect the team?
I think it's going to be big. Very big. Looking at the schedule, Games 1 & 2 won't affect them nearly as much as Games 3 and beyond. They'll fly out tonight for Game 1 on Wednesday, and have two off-days to practice and get even more acclimated for Game 2. They all leave late Saturday night/early Sunday to be back in Boston for Game 3 (Monday) and Game 4 (Wednesday), to only fly right back out West for Game 5 (if nec.) Friday.
Then again, albeit in the same time zone, they've been pretty solid on the road.
And finally: Predict the series
I'd lose 99.999% of my fans if I don't -- Bruins in 7