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Bruins ‘experimenting’ with Chara in front of the net on power play

Sep 14, 2013, 10:35 PM EDT

New York Rangers v Boston Bruins - Game One Getty Images

He’s big. Huge, actually. So it would seem to make sense that Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara would be placed in front of the opposition’s net during the power play.

At 6’9″ and 255 pounds, he not only provides a massive screen for opposing goalies, but would prove difficult – perhaps impossible at times – for defenders to try and get him out of the way.

“We’re tinkering with that,” Bruins head coach Claude Julien told the Boston Globe.

“We’re going to have a look at that. We have some guys that we feel can shoot the puck from the back-end. Z is probably one of our best guys at screening with his big body.

“We’ve known that for a long time. It was probably what we feel like we didn’t have for the back-end. It’s something we’re experimenting with.”

This isn’t some kind of miracle breakthrough, however.

You’ll recall – and as the Boston Globe’s Fluto Shinzawa reports – Chara was in front of the Leafs net, causing a screen, when Patrice Bergeron scored the game-tying goal in the third period of Game 7 in that first round series.

The Bruins went on to win the series.

  1. govtminion - Sep 14, 2013 at 10:38 PM

    OK, I see the point to it, but… you have some of the league’s best guys for this job already, in theory (Lucic, Marchand, Iginla, etc.), wouldn’t you want to keep the big booming slap shot back at the point so the big forwards can get rebounds?

    I’m not saying it’s a bad idea, but it seems like as good as he might be at making screens and such he’d be better used for what he does best already.

  2. caniac4ever - Sep 15, 2013 at 12:18 AM

    Experimenting? Seen it quite a few times.

    • imleftcoast - Sep 15, 2013 at 2:04 PM

      Akin to saying the US is experimenting in Syria. Amiright Timmy Thomas?

  3. Moop - Sep 15, 2013 at 1:07 AM

    I’m in support of any adjustments to the power play that the Bruins make. The past few years it’s been horrible and only began to look lively again at all with Torey Krug on the blue line during the playoffs this year.

  4. hockeyflow33 - Sep 15, 2013 at 2:48 AM

    Great idea, why put a guy with hands who can score in front of the net?

    And they wonder why the PP is one of the worst in the league

    • supercoop8 - Sep 15, 2013 at 10:51 AM

      Lucic has been ineffective as a net front presence I don’t see how exploring the idea of putting Chara up there retroactively reinforces their poor power play of the past few years.

      • hockeyflow33 - Sep 15, 2013 at 4:40 PM

        Right, I said a guy with hands

  5. killerpgh - Sep 15, 2013 at 8:46 AM

    I’ld rather have his shot from the point. Sure Chara is tall. But the crossbar is only 4′ off the ice. When most goalies are in their ready position their head is probably around the 5′ ball park. So if you’re 6’2″ or 6’9″ is doesn’t really matter to the goalie trying to see though you.

  6. nunan - Sep 15, 2013 at 9:06 AM

    Agreed. You can’t really say it’s a bad idea and they NEED him at the point bc that’s been the strategy for years and it has resulted in a terrible to mediocre pp. A canon of a shot is useful at times but I would say a hard, accurate, and well timed shot is much more valuable on the PP. add to that having Chara battling in front of the net and setting the screen, the Bs should be able to bounce on plenty of loose pucks. That’s their specialty. ‘Cleaning up the trash’ as the coach from D3 so elegantly said. I think putting him in front and surrounding him with talented offensive guys (iginla, loui, Krug, Krejci, etc) is a good start. To me, this at least shows some real urgency in trying to finally fix the PP. maybe it doesn’t work but it kind of shows that they’ve had enough of this BS and want to actually have a good PP.

  7. amityvillefun - Sep 15, 2013 at 10:50 AM

    It’s not just about his ability to screen the goalie, it’s also about opponents being unable to move him. Also, big Z has pretty good hands and skill around the net. Last year he had a spin o rama goal that clearly showed his talent. Besides, that big blast from the point doesn’t really seem to work all that well. He does better when he picks his spots.

    The Bruins have to make changes with their power play. They been successful over the past few years in spite of a dreadful PP. If they get that clicking, then they just might be unstoppable.

    Honestly, I’d like to see Chara play a little meaner too. He not a “Baby Huey” player like Hal Gill but I do think his game is elevated when he gets angered. Those who watch him all season long know that on most nights Chara is a “gentle giant.” I’m sure Montreal fans will disagree with that, but most of the time it’s true.

  8. giantssb42champs - Sep 15, 2013 at 10:53 AM

    Clearly the experiment in the Stanley Cup Finals where he stands on the ice like a statue didn’t work so well.

  9. swenny19 - Sep 15, 2013 at 11:06 AM

    Pretty hard to rip a 109 mph slapper from the front of the net

  10. girouxed - Sep 15, 2013 at 11:28 AM

    I’ve always said chara should have been a goalie.

    • themagicman1223 - Sep 15, 2013 at 12:46 PM

      Then you’re an idiot.

      • girouxed - Sep 15, 2013 at 12:47 PM

        How so?

  11. blomfeld - Sep 15, 2013 at 11:59 AM

    IT’S ALIVE !

    So the Bruins are going to ‘experiment’ with some ‘human experiment’ gone wrong eh ? Well, you guys can speak for your own teams. But rest assured, if they try this crap with our ‘glorious’ LA Kings, then they’ll be sorry as hell ! First and foremost, Quick tends to maintain a much lower field of vision to the action compared to most goalies, which affords him with a vastly ‘superior’ ability to react (pro-act) in any given situation … “la surveillance de leur chaque mouvement” as Napoleon once said. Therefore Quick will simply be looking right through his legs at knee height, given the absurdity of Chara’s ‘beanstalk’ height. In fact, the only way this would even have a chance of working would be if Chara got down on his knees in front of our net. But of course he’d then be a ‘dead’ man as Doughty, Mitchell, Martinez and crew would have the idiot for dinner ! Therefore the bottom line is that the only teams this crap would have a chance against are those with ‘beanstalk’ goalies themselves, including but not limited to:

    1) Canucks … Luongo

    2) Rangers … Lundqvist

    3) Coyotes … Smith (compulsive liar)

    4) Predators … Rinne

  12. themagicman1223 - Sep 15, 2013 at 1:01 PM

    @girouxed Because you’re saying that a hall of fame d-man who was the top d-man in the entire league for a long time should’ve been a goalie. You’re like the anti hindsight.

  13. tdrusher225 - Sep 15, 2013 at 1:10 PM

    I’m excited to see Krug and Hamilton man the points together on the power play. I think you’ll see immediate payoff letting those two play together.

    • killerpgh - Sep 15, 2013 at 2:00 PM

      So you’re saying the Bruins are going to use 3 d-man on the PP. Interesting technique to say the least..

      • hockeyflow33 - Sep 15, 2013 at 4:42 PM

        With Claude you never know.

      • tdrusher225 - Sep 15, 2013 at 5:06 PM

        I never said they would all be out there together. They have plenty of talent on that team to do that and still put out two good PP units. They also have plenty of forwards who can man the point on the PP if needed.

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