Red Sox Can Learn From Bruins’ Lack of Scoring Punch

by NESN Staff

March 4, 2010

Red Sox Can Learn From Bruins' Lack of Scoring Punch The NHL trade deadline passed Wednesday, and while the Bruins were able to correct the Derek Morris mistake, they were unable to add a goal scorer to the roster. B?s GM Peter Chiarelli tried in vain to make something happen, but the asking price for legitimate goal-scoring help was just too much.

The team?s offensive issues have been well-documented this season. The Bruins are dead last in goal-scoring in the NHL, without a single scorer in the league?s top 50. In fact, Patrice Bergeron is the team?s top overall scorer with 37 points. That puts him in a tie for 102nd in the race for the Art Ross Trophy.

Last season, Phil Kessel led the Bruins with 36 goals but was dealt in the offseason. It was the right move. Kessel was unhappy in Boston and had an inflated value of his worth. Chiarelli got a good package of draft picks in return, so he did his job.

When Boston moved Kessel this offseason, they expected the remaining core of forwards to pick up that scoring slack. It hasn?t happened.

The hope was that Marc Savard, David Krejci, Blake Wheeler, Michael Ryder and Milan Lucic would all build on last season?s impressive run to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. It hasn?t happened.

In fact, all five players have seen their offensive numbers dip dramatically. In 2008-2009, those five forwards combined for 112 goals and 301 points. This season, with 21 games to go, they?ve totaled 53 goals and 129 points. That?s less than half the offensive production with about a quarter of the season to go.

In the meantime, the Boston Red Sox are trying to replace Jason Bay?s impressive offensive numbers from 2009. Bay led the Red Sox with 36 home runs and 119 RBIs last season, but will be trying to put up those same numbers with the New York Mets this summer.

There is no one bat that will replace that kind of production this summer, but the Red Sox believe they have enough depth in the lineup to overcome his loss. They are hoping David Ortiz, Mike Cameron, Adrian Beltre and Marco Scutaro can add to a lineup that already has Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, Victor Martinez and Kevin Youkilis. Call it offense by committee.

Ortiz is trying to bounce back from a brutal first two months in 2009. Cameron and Beltre had down years at the plate last season, but have had better years in the past. Scutaro is hoping to build off the best year of his career.

Cameron has had 20 or more homers in eight of his last 11 seasons, Beltre in seven of his last nine. Scutaro had a career-high 12 last season and is one of the best OBP guys in the game. Ortiz hit 27 home runs in the final four months of the season.

There is certainly reason to believe the three newcomers and a rejuvenated Big Papi can make this a strong lineup in 2010. Then again, there was reason to believe Savard, Krejci, Wheeler, Lucic, and Ryder would be better this season.

The Bruins are still hoping it can happen. Savard and Lucic spent a lot of this winter battling injury, and leading scorer Bergeron was out Tuesday with a groin injury suffered at the Olympics. As they head toward the finish line of this season, they?re hoping to rebuild the optimism of last May.

As the Red Sox head to the starting line, they?re hoping their optimism lasts throughout the season, and that they don?t suffer the same ?hiccup? that Cam Neely talks about when assessing this hockey season so far.

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