BOSTON (CBS) – It was easy to not know exactly where Bruins coach Claude Julien was directing his venom after he was asked if his players were squeezing their sticks and lacking confidence in the shootouts.
The Bruins had just lost their seventh straight shootout, which capped a 4-3 defeat to the Calgary Flames on Thursday at TD Garden.
“They suck. They suck,” Julien replied. “Yeah, that’s my version of shootouts.”
But did he mean the actual shootouts suck or his players, who have scored six goals in nine shootouts this season, suck?
“Yeah, shootouts,” he said.
Good save, Claude.
Whether he meant to ridicule his players or the ridiculous post-overtime gimmick the NHL instituted in 2005-06 so people who probably don’t even watch hockey until the playoffs won’t have to see a tie, Julien was right on both counts.
Luckily for the Bruins, the Florida Panthers also lost a shootout Thursday. That preserved the Bruins’ two-point lead in the race for the second Eastern Conference wild card. In the long run, the Bruins’ inability to win a shootout since they prevailed in their first two of the season might not cost the Bruins a playoff spot. But they’re certainly making it more difficult on themselves by squandering these extra points.
“Yeah, I don’t know, like I said, it’s just having the confidence of scoring especially in the shootout there,” said Bruins forward Milan Lucic, who is now 0-for-2 this season after missing against the Flame. “Like you said, there’s no shootout in the playoffs and we’ve been a pretty good overtime team this year, but we can’t bank on that right now. We still have a ways to go until the playoffs start and we got to make sure we earn our spot, earn our playoff spot.”
In overtimes the Bruins are 7-3. But as overtime winds down and it appears the Bruins, who typically used three forwards and one defenseman to go for the kill during the 4-on-4, won’t avoid the shootout, you just want to scream “watch out” like you’re watching Wile E. Coyote head toward the edge of a cliff.
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