Cam Neely knows that he hasn’t seen the best of his team yet. Injuries to key players like Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron and Charlie McAvoy have prevented the team from putting their best lineup on the ice so far this season. Still… it’s the excuses are starting to catch up to the Bruins and Neely has seen just about enough.
Following Tuesday night’s terrible 5-0 loss to the Florida Panthers, Neely just couldn’t hold back his contempt any longer.
“I just didn’t like a lot of the way we were playing. We could certainly tighten and try to eliminate the amount of scoring chances we’ve been giving up the last couple of games,” said Neely.
“And then, you can’t beat guys 1-on-4 and 1-on-3. It’s not going to happen. Our power-play’s got to do a much better job of understanding you’re not going to beat guys on a regular basis like that. You’ve got to be a lot smarter. If there’s no opportunity to carry the puck in, then you’ve got to chip it in and go get it. I just didn’t like the amount of turnovers we had, both on the power-play and inside our blue line 5-on-5. Those are mental mistakes that you can correct pretty easily I think.”
Neely didn’t name names, but if you’ve watched the Bruins the past week it’s not difficult to figure out that he’s talking specifically about Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak and David Krejci.
“You’re offensive players and you’re relied on to help the team offensively and score some goals,” said Neely. “But you start drifting away and start playing more individually and you’re trying to beat guys when maybe the smarter play is just chipping it in and going to get it. I think you’ve got to recognize what the situation is at that particular time and not force things. And I see some of those guys forcing too many plays and forcing too many individual (plays), trying to beat guys 1-on-3 at the blue line just doesn’t work in this league.”
Neely would go on to say that the team may need to work in some more youth, indicating that maybe a call up or two from the Providence Bruins is in the works.
“We’re constantly talking about what we can maybe do and what the options are,” said Neely. “Providence, we’ve had guys come up and down and we’ve had guys playing more than we anticipated them playing this year from Providence. But that doesn’t mean we’re done with that. We have to look at all our options to see how we can get ourselves playing a little cleaner. But let’s be honest. We’ve got a tough stretch coming up.”
In the end though… the Bruins just need to get down to work, simplify things and start doing the little things that win hockey games.
“Simplify your game and see where it takes you,” said Neely. “Because playing that way isn’t working.”
Source: Boston Herald
Photo Credit: Zuma Press