BOSTON — The Boston Bruins added better than 500 career NHL goals to their line-up when they added Mark Recchi in a trade Wednesday.
Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to add to register his first tally in black and gold tonight in a 2-1 loss to Phoenix at TD Banknorth Garden. And unfortunately none of the Bruins’ supposed star scorers were able to light the lamp either.
The evening started with two guys that scored five of the Bruins’ last 17 goals in the press box as healthy scratches. With Byron Bitz and Matt Hunwick not in action, it was imperative that the Bruins’ top snipers pick up the slack. But instead some lengthy droughts got even drier.
Blake Wheeler? Six games without a goal. David Krejci? One goal in his last 12. Marc Savard? Goal-less in his last 10. Former first-unit power-play performer P.J. Axelsson? I won’t even both looking it up, but I’m pretty sure W was still in office.
Even in the two games the Bruins won in their last five, the goals came from unusual sources. Five from Bitz and Hunwick, one each from Aaron Ward, Stephane Yelle and Mark Stuart. Sooner or later, the guys that are actually paid the big bucks to score the goals have to start scoring them.
If it’s any consolation, the Bruins’ players seem to understand the problem.
“It is very frustrating. It’s in here, it’s not even against who we play; it’s just really about us right now,” said alternate captain Patrice Bergeron. “And we have to figure out what’s going on and really bear down and work hard, win battles.”
Winger Milan Lucic returned after a two-game injury absence and registered six hits. But, alas, he didn’t get any shots to go on net.
“I guess it is frustrating, but I think the best way to look at it is we’ve just got to build off how we finish,” he said. “We had a lot of chances in the third, but we’ve got to keep things more simple. Sometimes we’re trying to get too cute, too fancy. It’s evident around the league that most of the goals are scored by going to the net hard and chipping away and chipping hard around there.”
But as head coach Claude Julien bluntly said: “Talk is cheap.”
Recchi brought more than his goal-scoring prowess with him to Boston. At 41 and with almost 1,500 NHL games under his belt, he has some Yoda-like wisdom tucked away in his 5-foot-10, 195-pound frame. So maybe the new voice in the room will get his words through better than the ones that were already around before the trade deadline.
“Let’s hope this is now and it ends and we start figuring it out. We played 30 (minutes) out of 60 tonight and I think we realize that isn’t going to be good enough, especially this time of year. The guys will figure it out and they understand now we’ve got to take it to the next step now.”
The right guys have to start doing it, or they might have to give a cut of their salaries to the guys adding extra responsibilities to their resumes. Or they might find themselves swapping spots with Hunwick and Bitz.