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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

4 Steps for a Successful Season

Last year was a bad one. It was a pain to be a B's fan and it was equally painfull to watch the product on the ice. So here's my 4 steps to assure a sucessful season in Beantown.

1- Stay out of the box:

Special teams... We knew it, way before the " new ' NHL re-lauch, one year ago, that this aspect of the game would be crucial to win. Last year, in this area, the B's were pathetic. Of course, having people like Hal " penalty machine " Gill, Ian " not so fast " Moran, Jiri " tripping " Slegr or Tom " let me hook you for a while " Fitzgerald didn't help your team to stay out of trouble. They were slow and quite frankly, helpless, against young and speedy forwards. Discipline was a huge problem last year mainly because there was no discipline, at all, behind the bench. Sullivan refuse, on a daily base, to make some players accountable for the bad penalties they were taking. The result was desastrous since everyone on that team seems to want a piece of that guilty pleasure. The lack of shape was a factor too and it was more evident against teams like Buffalo where the B's were outskated shift after shift . This year will be different since Chiarelli let go the dead wood and the fact that teams knows how the rules will be apply and will adjust their game to it.

2- 60 minutes

If there is any area where the B's were frustrating, last year, it's that one. How many fan were frustrated to see their team lose late in the third or in overtime because of a lack of intensity. In the mid- season, last year, the team lost, at least, 13 points because the final result was a tie or a loss in OT due to a lack of finish in the third. In a conference where things will be more and more competitive, the team cannot afford to lose those points. I think Dave Lewis will have to adjust the game plan and make sure that the team will play a full and intense 60 minutes. They also have to play those 60 minutes in the very beginning of the season. October and November are month where points are crucial and losing them, for the bad reason, can haunt you back late in the season.

3- Beat the conference

Another area where the B's have greatly to improve is their records againt their own conference. Last year, the B's have played, in the first two month, a lots of game inside their conference and the result was atrocious ( Buffalo and Montreal beat the hell of out them ). They basically sunk their season, right there, because at the end, they would be eliminated by the tie break. The B's were, probably, the most pro-active organisation in the offseason and i think it will pay off. No major moves were made inside the conference so there's no reason to see another atrocious result against our conference....

4- Be accountable

Last year was probably one the worst regarding excuses. Everyone was looking elsewhere to explain why the team was so mediocre. Some players refuse to acknowledge their lack of workethic, discipline or committment. It was the good'ol " blame game " where in a game it was the goaltending who let down the team; sometimes it was the defense who crumble. There was a "country club " atmosphere, largely generated by Sullivan's lack of discipline, who made players indifferent to the result. The arrival of Lewis is a well welcome change since he stated at the very beginning that every player on the team will have to be accountable or suffer the consequences. Accountability is the core of team spirit. If everyone face the problem as a whole, the problem will be quickly resolve.


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