After watching his young an inexperienced defense struggle with their breakout again in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Philadelphia Flyers, it appears Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy is surrendering to the reality that as late NFL Head Coach Dennis Green once said:
‘They’re what we thought they were!’
No one said it was going to be easy inserting the likes of rookie defensemen Jeremy Lauzon and Jakub Zboril into the lineup in place of longtime Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara and the Bruins best breakout man on the backend and one of the highest-scoring defensemen in team history, Torey Krug. However, with the Boston Bruins have stuck in quicksand and clinging to the final playoff spot in the East Division by just three points now, it appears his frustration that things on his blue line aren’t going to likely change this season are becoming accepted as well.
As the always blunt Boston Bruins bench boss usually does, Cassidy didn’t pull any punches when describing the youth and inexperience on defense that once again factored into another Bruins loss:
“Listen, we’ve had trouble below the blue line all year, we don’t have those guys. …I’ll use an example here,” Cassidy replied. “Late in the game Sean Kuraly made a hell of a play. Down low, kind of recovers a puck below the goal line as a center. He makes a little hesitation move, a little deception, and then drops it to, I think it was Lauzon, who in that particular case, the open guy. So it’s just some confidence; probably a guy who’s been in that position before and it’s just a really nice play to put out a fire so to speak in terms of a forecheck and we just don’t have enough of that back there right now.
Guys are working on it but some of them, it’s not in their DNA as much as others. I mean, Matt Grzelcyk’s been excellent at that since he walked through the door here and we’ve encouraged that. As long as he doesn’t get. …sort of, in the crosshairs where he can’t away and it’s a good, forecheck angle and a bigger, physical guy but in general, we need a little more of that and a little deception. Maybe a better read so we execute the right read and the right play, but that’s still a work in progress back there. …and it will be. It will be until guys are more comfortable and that’s a fact of life for us. So, we’ve tried to build some support in from the forwards knowing that this could happen. It’s about being better on the walls and situations where we can create a battle up higher so it’s out of the neutral zone and we start over but that’s just something we have to keep working through.”