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NHL Preview 2007 - 08

Three things the Bruins need to do to make the playoffs

1. FORECHECK, FORECHECK, FORECHECK: Same as the old NHL, the new NHL is an easier game when played in the other team's end. Under Dave Lewis last season, the Bruins had a very passive, sometimes nonexistent, forecheck. It led to problems all over the ice. Funny how that happens. Some of the candidates for the forechecking game: Phil Kessel, Patrice Bergeron, Peter Schaefer, and Marc Savard. No matter what, they can't be worse at it than last season.

2. GET ZDENO CHARA TO PLAY HIS GAME: Big Z played 80 games like a Mini-Me version of himself, a 6-foot-9-inch, 220-pound tower of power playing like Bobby Lalonde with one hand tied behind his back. He didn't hit like his old self, and he didn't have a single fight, which he now says was by the coach’s orders. He had way too much point duty and no punching duty. Limit his role (especially on power plays), untie his hands, and let 'em rip.

3. CUT DOWN THE GOALS AGAINST: They ranked next to last, 29th overall, in team defense last season, allowing 3.42 goals per game (vs. 2.56 GPG at the other end). Remember that nonexistent forecheck? It led to their back end flooding faster than a Storrow Drive underpass. Early criticism of Tim Thomas was unfounded, because many nights he couldn't even see the puck, never mind stop it. They need to allow at least 50 fewer goals this season.

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