WILMINGTON, Mass. – While playing in South Florida the last six seasons, Nathan Horton’s scoring slumps probably didn’t attract close to a dozen members of the media to his stall the way his current struggles did today at Ristuccia Arena.
After the Bruins held a pre-road trip practice, Horton handled the inquiries about his recent problems – one goal in his last 17 games, four in his last 30, and two turnovers that led to Buffalo goals last night – with the type of aplomb you would expect of a player that’s been in Boston his entire life.
“I made a couple mistakes there last game. It’s my bad,” said Horton, who wasn’t able to address his mistakes last night because he was receiving post-game medical treatment. “I take full responsibility for that. It’s my fault and I have to just try to cut back on those and hopefully start producing myself.”
A little bit of production (he has scored just 12 goals in 45 games so far) could go a long way toward canceling out any mistakes he makes with the puck and his recent scoring doldrums. While he might’ve looked broken and void of confidence during the 4-2 loss to Buffalo last night, today he returned his nose to the grindstone during practice and spoke about brighter days ahead.
“I’m trying. I’m working hard. I feel like I’m trying,” he said. “Things aren’t going my way, obviously and it’s just tough. I feel like I am trying, I feel like I’m working hard and I’m obviously not getting the bounces and not getting any luck now. But I’m going to keep working through it, I’m going to keep trying and hopefully sooner or later I break through.”
Although he missed a couple games earlier this month due to an undisclosed “discomfort,” Horton says he’s healthy. So Horton’s not on a search for excuses as much as he’s looking for solutions. He should be able to find them because this isn’t uncharted territory for the burly winger.
This current stretch is probably his worst group of NHL games of his career. But in 2007-08, he suffered through 32 games where he scored just five times. The year prior, he scored just four times in one 24-game stretch. And as a rookie he lit the lamp just three times during a 25-game span. He’s been here before.
“They’re eventually going to go in. I’ve never been like this before,” said Horton, basically admitting this is his rock bottom. “But I’ve never worked as hard either. So maybe I’m working too hard, where I’ve just got to relax and let it come and just try to have some fun out there and keep practicing.”
At least at this point, fears that the pressure of playing in Boston is getting to Horton are unfounded. His only nemesis right now is the puck and its refusal to cross the goal line off his stick.