It was an interesting weekend for the Bruins. Against the Blackhawks on Saturday the B's had a good strong effort. The Hawks are a very good team, although it seemed apparent why their reputation doesn't match their record. It seemed to me that the Hawks played like a young team often does; they showed a high talent level but a lack of consistent play. Look for these guys to be a force next year.
The game on Sunday was a weird one, in part because it was on NBC. It's always fun to watch those guys put their own spin on a game. They made the choice before hand to concentrate on Chara and Recci for the B's and Avery for the Rangers. The very idea of making Sean Avery the focus of their positive attention made my skin crawl. It is also funny to watch Milbury squirm in his NBC gig. He's clearly very uncomfortable. Given how he sometimes intimidates his NESN coworkers, making them uncomfortable at times with the sheer force of his personality, it was sort of fun to see him squirm. On the other hand I felt sorry for him. That kind of sums up my feelings about Milbury: it's a love-hate sort of thing. On the one hand I like and admire him, and on the other I think he's a big jerk. Mostly, I'm thankful I don't have to work with him! Been there, done that, with his sort of personality.
As for the game itself, the B's played very well and very likely would have won had it not been for their goaltending. Fernandez had a nightmare of a game. He failed to hold close enough to the post on one goal, and actually put the puck into the net with his own stick. Then he foolishly spun around in the crease when he lost the puck, kicking it into the net in the process. And for a finale he tried to kick a wide shot to the corner and missed. When the puck took a weird bounce and came out the other side of the goal to a Ranger he was completely out of position. That last goal in particular really hurt, coming late in the game when it was tied and the B's were dominating the Rangers in the offensive zone. In retrospect I'm sure the coach wishes he'd pulled Fernandez or even started Timmy two days in a row.
But I'm not about to write that Fernandez sucks or that Julien is an idiot. I'll leave that to the juvenile posters on the Bruins boards. All goaltenders have bad games, or I guess at least most of them. It's been so long since Timmy had one of these games I can't even remember when it was. But he's the exception. I once saw Patrick Roy shoot the puck into his own net and then play like he was completely disinterested afterward. Patrick Roy obviously did not suck, but he sure could have a bad game.
Likewise I'm not going to second guess the coach's decision to leave Fernandez in. Had the B's won that game, and they almost did, it would have helped Fernandez regain his confidence. Leaving him in was a gamble, and when you gamble, sometimes you lose. Maybe Fernandez will battle back. Maybe they will bring up Rask. Either way, I think it imperative not to play Timmy too much going into the playoffs. He does have a tendency to burn out late in the season if played too often. Once the playoffs start it will be too late to rest him.
All-in-all it was an entertaining weekend, and the B's look fine to me. No worries. Fifteen games to go.