(Source Joe Haggerty, CSNNE)– “It’s obviously frustrating the way it’s been going the last month in terms of scoring,” said Connolly. “But I’ve got to stick with it. It was the right move. It’s just one of those things where it hits the inside of the post. It went where I wanted it to, but it just doesn’t go in.” -Brett Connolly
It is kind of funny reading the comments to articles like the one referenced above by Joe Haggerty and just about everyone says that Brett Connolly is a bum, he sucks, Chiarelli was wrong, he is awful. Just about everything under the Sahara sun of his drought has been used to rip him. I get it. I really do get it. He has scored 1 goal in 30 games. It is one of the worst performance droughts I have seen in all of sports. The only thing I could compare it to is some of David Ortiz’s April’s.
I am in the minority on this topic. I look at Connolly and I see his size, I see how well he skates and I see how he can handle the puck. The scouting report on him is he has a great shot but we have not seen that much this year. He just has not been able to put it together yet. Connolly works his tail off he just has not received any puck luck. Any chances he gets are just not going in for him.
Connolly is only 23 years old. He will not be 24 until May 2nd. This season should be a launching pad for his prime years but it has not gone that way so far. At the beginning of the year he scored 4 goals in 5 games. If he is able to do something similar again the Bruins will be just a little over the mid-season mark and he will have 9 goals. That would put him on pace for probably 16 goals. I do not think it is out of the question for him to get hot and still end up with 20 goals for the season.
I know it doesn’t look possible that he could score 15 goals in the second half of the season right now but let’s give him a chance. Connolly has put himself in a predicament though. Now he is fighting to not only score goals, but to stay in the lineup. He’s even had long stretches on a line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand to get it going and that hasn’t worked. Fans wanted Claude’s head for scratching Frank Vatrano in favor of Connolly Mon day night. I understand the frustration. Vatrano has 1 more goal than Connolly in 13 less games, but Vatrano also scored 3 of those goals in one game. If you were take away Vatrano’s hat trick game he’d have scored 1 goal in the past 18 games and not registered an assist. In those same 18 games Brett Connolly has 3 assists. I think we are splitting hairs here between Vatrano and Connolly.
I am assuming that Connolly will be a healthy scratch tonight against the Flyers based on the lines at practice yesterday. Connolly was skating with Vatrano, Kemppainen and Pastrnak. Unless Pastrnak is taking a seat I would assume it will be Connolly. Maybe it is the best thing for him to take a seat and to clear his head because at this point the drought has to be weighing heavily on him both physically and mentally. The Bruins also probably don’t want Vatrano sitting to long either.
Connolly is too skilled to be like this for too much longer but he needs to continue to play. Claude changes his lineup as often as a Kardashian changes boyfriends. He needs a Jerome Iginla special and have one go in off his butt, but he needs to get to the net for that to happen. I see too much perimeter play from him.
Because of his age and will still be contractually under team control I could see giving him through next season to figure it out. Maybe after then we can say “why the hell did Peter Chiarelli give up two 2nd round picks for Connolly?”. But until then let’s give him a chance to get out of this funk and get on the right path for the Bruins and for his career.