Bruins Answer Lingering Questions by Getting Back to the Basics

Bruins Answer Lingering Questions by Getting Back to the Basics "I’ve been answering the same questions for three weeks."

That was what Bruins defenseman Derek Morris said to me when all the reporters left the scrum in the Bruins' locker room.

I laughed and responded, "I can only imagine. I’m not even on the team, and I’m sick of answering the questions, too!"

Welcome to Boston, Derek.

The bottom line is this: Start providing answers on the ice, and the questions won’t keep coming off the ice. It’s that simple.

In Morris’ defense, he and the Bruins have finally begun to provide answers, and it most recently started on last week’s road trip through Philly and Ottawa. A 4-3 shootout win over the Senators on Saturday night gave Boston its first big character win and answered a lot of questions for those searching for answers.

What was the prevalent difference between the win over Ottawa and — oh, let’s say, the Bruins' 4-3 loss to Colorado (a young team with half a roster full of unknowns) or their 4-1 loss to Phoenix (need I say more about a three-goal loss to a team that may not even be here in six months)? 

The Bruins kept things simple.

"We were trying to create too much, and the game plan got away from us," Morris said. "We had to simplify our game and build upon that. We can make excuses for losing games, but we all need to be better. Everyone needs to simplify instead of trying to make big plays all the time, with players like [Marc Savard] and [Milan Lucic] out of the lineup — guys we usually turn to for big plays."

Is it that easy, just a matter of simplifying the game plan? If it is, then what exactly does that mean?

"When you simplify the game, you know, we’re trying to do so much at the beginning, and maybe the expectations are so high that players feel like they need to do more," head coach Claude Julien said.  "So it was basically bringing us back to the basics."

The basics. Outworking other teams and competing at that level. Playing better defensively, not only on the defensive side but offensively, as well. These were Julien's suggestions as to how his team could improve its record. 

"Since I’ve been here, we’ve worked our way up, and now the expectations are high," Julien said. "You need to know how to handle  those things. It took a lot of work — and a lot of luck, at the same time — last year to have the season we had because we were relatively healthy. By trying to do more or not realizing how hard it is to stay on top, we got an early lesson. All of a sudden, we understood that we had to get back to our game and our identity and work from there."

The good news is it only took 10 games for the Bruins to figure it out. Hopefully, a lesson has been learned, and the Bruins will keep it simple and get their identity back. The enthusiasm on the team has greatly improved, and the players have had solid practices all week.

Boston's next opponent boasts the greatest goaltender of all time, Martin Brodeur. The New Jersey Devils also are 5-0 on the road this season, and the Bruins are hoping their hard work over the past week will help them hand the Devils their first road loss of the season.

If the B’s keep their game plan simple, they just might. If not, get ready for those questions again.

A season is full of questions and answers. Question is: How do the Bruins plan on answering them — on the ice or in the locker room?

The answer remains to be seen.

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