BOSTON, MA --
Asked if the B's biggest oppenent recently has actully been the Bruins
, Boston captain Zdeno Chara
said, "You have to stick with the team concept."
As he cooled down from the Black & Gold's morning skate on Thursday, Chara warmed up to the discussion.
"I think the biggest thing right now is still to stick with the team game," explained Chara of the B's focus as they come out of an unevenly played January. "I find it when the teams are not going good and they’re really on the bottom, they face a lot of challenges to play a team game.
"But as funny as it might sound, the teams on top are doing exactly the same thing because you might be dominating some games, you’re at the top of the standings and sometimes you see guys getting away from the team game because [players think], ‘Hey, we can afford it or we can allow it because we’re still on top.’
"So, those are two extremes, but they face almost the same challenges," he said.
At first glance, those two extremes would be on display this evening in TD Garden, where the Carolina Hurricanes (18-25-9, 15th in the Eastern Conference, 45 points) face off against the Boston Bruins (32-14-2, 2nd in the East, 66 points).
But a closer read of tonight's press notes yielded the following info:The Hurricanes have won the first threee games of this season's series with a 3-2 win in Carolina on Oct. 12, a 4-1 win in Boston on Oct. 18 and a 4-2 victory in Carolina on Jan. 14.
When Chara talked about those three losses to the Hurricanes, he echoed the sentiments of his teammates on Wednesday when he said, "You know, all of those games -- and not to take anything away from them -- we beat ourselves and totally didn’t play the way we should’ve."
Yes, the B's captain also acknowleged the 'Canes superior effort on those nights versus Boston, but refused to turn away from the mirror.
"They had really good games against us," said Chara. "But we know any of those three games we didn’t play our best, we didn’t play the way we should’ve and that cost us against these guys.
"I hope that we learned from those three games and be a different story tonight."
Like his Head Coach Claude Julien, who this morning said that he doesn't want a robotic team, but wants his players to remain within the team structure, Chara seemed intent on reminding his teammates about the importance of that structure and the lessons provided by the B's setbacks versus Carolina.
"A team that plays so great when everybody’s on the same page and play the team way, but as soon as somebody says a thing like, ‘Hey, I can maybe think to just get...some more breakaways,’ boom it’s the cancer of the team," said Chara. "You just have to power on and keep playing the same way, the team way and if you do that you’ll be surprised how everybody is going to be contributing points wise, minutes wise, plus[minus] wise.
"Everybody’s going to do well, but you have to stick with the team concept."
But even the captain admitted that it's very hard, as an individual, to not overcompensate -- simply try too hard -- during lulls in the clubs concentration, effort or execution.
"That’s what sometimes is the problem," said Chara. "You see there is maybe a lack of coverage, lack of skating, then all of a sudden you want to help out and you end up being the guy who’s actually running out of your position to cover somebody else.
"As soon as one guy starts running around, you have another guy trying to cover his mistake, or his spot and then everybody starts running around.
"That’s why it has to be team, team concept."