Cassidy calls out defense after loss to Flyers
For most of the season, the Bruins have been getting by on the backs of their defense. With secondary scoring and issues scoring five-on-five plaguing them, it’s been their work in their defensive zone that has kept the Bruins afloat.
But now after three straight losses, and losses in five of seven, head coach Bruce Cassidy is seeing a change in his team’s defensive play.
And he’s not happy about it.
The Bruins were less than a minute away from taking a 1-0 lead into the first intermission, but the first of many defensive breakdowns allowed Claude Giroux to find his way behind the Bruins defense, where he finished the play with the breakaway goal.
But the breakdown came with a Charlie McAvoy shot attempt that missed the net.
“Well, there’s the first problem, right? Part of our D corps doesn’t have numbers because we don’t hit the net very often, so there’s an issue right there,” Cassidy said following the Bruins 3-2 overtime loss.
“Now, are you going to get mad at every player that misses the net every time? Of course not, but after two periods I think Philly missed the net once, so that’s partly on us. That is on the player to hit the net.”
The Bruins finished the night with 13 missed shots, the Flyers six.
Last night was arguably the most frustrated Cassidy has been since taking over behind the Bruins bench, with a majority of his anger sent towards his six defensemen.
If Cassidy’s words are not enough to get the message across, he has the fortune of extra defensemen waiting to get back into the lineup.
“Well, you can change the lineup. We’ve got extra defensemen here to get the message across. We can keep instilling what makes us successful,” said Cassidy.
“Right now, we’re I think the best defensive team in the Atlantic Division in goals against and I think close with the Islanders in the whole Eastern Conference, so if that’s not good enough for the guys then they need to understand. We have to make the point clear that that’s who we are right now until we start scoring and get more secondary scoring. Part of that is obviously the D.”
The more and more Cassidy fielded questions, specially about his d-core, the more uncomfortable he got. He didn’t hold back when talking about captain Zdeno Chara.
“He’s one that too has to – listen, he’s the captain of the hockey club, so that message has to come. He won a Stanley Cup here by being a defensive stalwart, one of the best penalty killers in the league, so yes, he’s part of that group, and the biggest part of it, so I would hope that, he’s a terrific leader that the next game he understands what makes us successful,” said Cassidy. “We’ll have a conversation about it.”
Whether it’s a conversation, or personnel changes, things have to get better in the Bruins backend. They’re not a team built with a ton of offensive talent.
But Chara wasn’t the other defenseman a frustrated Cassidy called out by name.
“Kevan Miller, I put him in that group too. They have to lead back there and understand what it takes to be successful right now for us,” added Cassidy. “Right now for us is team defense, good special teams and hopefully get some secondary scoring when the top line’s not on, so yeah that’s part of it.”
After being a healthy scratch in three straight games, John Moore returned to the lineup Thursday, and continued what has been a run of concerning play of late.
Moore was visibly emotional following the loss, shooting down the notion that his lack of playing time in the last few weeks has anything to do with how comfortable he was on the ice.
“I don’t think so. I think I’m a professional. I believe in what I can do. I’ve played in this league for a while, so I’m not questioning myself,” Moore said before a long stare at the reporter who asked him the question.
The Bruins are off until Sunday where they’ll head to Washington to take on the Capitals as they look to snap their three-game skid.
“Well luckily we have Washington coming up so we’ll just go there and get the points,” said Tuukka Rask who made 38 saves in the loss.
Picking up those two points won’t be easy, the Capitals have won 15 straight against the Bruins, dating back to March 29, 2014.