Kuraly on Right Track for Bruins
By Steve Conroy
During a practice drill Wednesday at Warrior Arena, Sean Kuraly streaked down the right wing, cut hard in front of Jaroslav Halak’s crease and roofed it over the netminder.
The move earned him stick claps on the ice from his teammates, even from head coach Bruce Cassidy.
One of those in a game would be nice for Kuraly or his linemates, Noel Acciari and Chris Wagner. But if they keep playing like they did against the Dallas Stars on Monday, then a tally or two should be coming their way. Kuraly has one goal this season, scored on Oct. 13 against Detroit and Wagner has one against Ottawa, scored all the way back on the home opener on Oct. 8.
It doesn’t have to be a pretty one like Kuraly scored yesterday in practice. A greasy one will be just fine.
“Oh man, you hope so, because it definitely makes you feel better about yourself and your game and it kind of gives some validity to what you’re doing,” said Kuraly, who scored six last year. “I think we’ve all been through something like this before. Really to me, I look at chances as the most important thing and I start to get worried when I’m not getting chances. I try not to let getting chances and not scoring bother me because you want to score. There’s no secret that it bothers me when I don’t finish on some Grade A chances. It does. But I think we’re getting closer and definitely our focus is bearing down on those.”
Goals may not define your fourth line, but the fact that the B’s got nearly 30 last year from the fourth unit fed into the team’s success. Tim Schaller, who’ll be facing off against his old teammates wearing a Canucks uniform Thursday night, led the way with 12 while skating in the left wing spot that Wagner now mans.
Coach Bruce Cassidy believes the trio can produce more by studying the top line.
“They’re used to being net-front presences, so one of them has to learn how to read off the other one to get to the slot so we get a few more looks from there,” said Cassidy. “Hopefully they go to school on how (Patrice Bergeron’s) line works -- low, net-front, slot. And they all kind of interchange. Now listen, they all don’t have that level of talent, so it’s not automatic, but if they start using them as guides, I think we should see more of that, and as a result a few more goals, hopefully.”
The droughts, though, will be more palatable if they can keep top lines on the defensive like they did on Monday.
“When you’re playing against the top line and you’re controlling pucks in the O-zone and Tyler Seguin’s standing there for 30 seconds in his own end and he wants to go their way, it’s frustrating. And that’s the idea,” said Cassidy. “Hopefully it translates into some more offensive production. But just the fact that they control the puck against those lines is half the battle.”
Now it’s a matter of the unit having that effect on opponents very night.
“It’s in our job description to make the positive impact on our team game,” said Kuraly. “It doesn’t always have to be a goal, so we don’t have that pressure, but we put the pressure on ourselves to have a positive impact and put a good shift for our team so that we’re setting up something for the next line if we’re not able to score. That’s kind of our job and something that we’ve got to do consistently.”