Friday, December 17, 2010

Providence Home Record Unexplainable

Veterans Need To Lead

by Thomas Chace Jr.
December 16, 2010

The Providence Bruins are playing as well on the road as any team in the AHL. Only league leading W-B/Scranton has performed any better this season. The Bruins have lost only twice all year in 11 games on enemy ice. The problem is that through 15 games at the Dunkin Donuts Center, home of the Providence club, they have been on the winning side only three times. Obviously, this is of great concern to Head Coach Rob Murray, who stated that “we can’t be satisfied by the way we’re playing at home, it’s embarrassing. I feel bad for our fan base, it’s not like we’re giving them a good game and losing. Teams are coming in here and walking away with two points. We are a big team and we don’t intimidate anybody. We don’t make the other teams’ defensemen pay by getting in on the forecheck and finishing our hits. Our home record is embarrassing.”

The fans are still coming to watch the Bruins however; they are third in the league in attendance despite their abysmal home record. On December 9th the Bruins traded three players from the Providence roster. They acquired forward Juraj Simek in exchange for feisty winger Levi Nelson. They also moved Jordan Knackstedt and Jeff LoVecchio to Florida for defenseman Sean Zimmerman and a 7th round pick in the NHL 2011 draft. There are plenty of veterans on the club and Murray says, “it shouldn’t be solely up to me to get the team motivated and ready to play. If I keep yelling at them I’m gonna lose them. There has to be accountability within the team itself.”

There is a long way to go but making it more difficult for the opposing teams to play in Providence is paramount right now. You want to continue to get the fan support and nothing helps more than winning. The team does not score enough goals despite being fourth in the league in shots on goal. With a lack of scoring it produces terrible power play numbers. But once again the record is unexplainable. At home they are last in the AHL with a pathetic 7.4% success rate. On the road, they are 8th in the league at 20.5%. Overall they stand at a 12.5% power play record. Providence actually kills penalties better at home than on the road. The goaltending has been another matter. Rookie Michael Hutchinson has played more games than veteran Nolan Schaefer and sports a respectable 2.90 GAA and has been the winning goaltender in 7 of their 11 victories. None of this makes any sense which is why Murray is beside himself with his team right now. The AHL schedule is not going to change. They play 80 games and 40 are at home, so at some point this home madness is going to end. Everyone likes to be home for the holidays; the sooner Providence realizes that, the better.

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