**Note** This blog was originally posted on December 21, 2013. Due to site upgrades, we had to repost this on December 23.
Whenever a Chad Johnson comes to play in Boston, it never works, whether it’s Ochocinco or a backup goalie. If you didn’t watch the Bruins @ Sabres Thursday night, first of all, congratulations. Second of all, don’t get too worried about the team’s prospects based on this game.
I didn’t have much of a problem with the Bruins signing a backup goalie who cost somewhere near the minimum. I still don’t. They’re only under the cap because of heavy LTIR money from Savard’s contract (and now Kelly’s), and they’re over the bonus cushion. Spending too much in places that are unnecessary might cost them a few dollars on next year’s cap, especially if Iginla, Hamilton, and Krug all hit a good portion of their due bonus money (a pretty decent bet). So I have no problem with the Bruins paying Johnson 600k to be the backup instead of Svedberg at 1M, especially because Svedberg can now get more starts in Providence.
So, Julien has to rest Tuukka, who is in his first 82-game season as the starter and might see a lot of starts in Sochi. Julien has played Johnson against bad teams, which is why his save percentage is a respectable .911. But, as we saw last night, playing Johnson will cost the Bruins sometimes. I’m fine with it, because the Bruins aren’t here to dominate the regular season; they’re here to make a long playoff run, and nobody sees anybody other than Tuukka getting time in net in the playoffs, anyway. But it does suck to see the Bruins lose to a god awful team like Buffalo despite outshooting them 36-23.
As the shot differential indicates, the Bruins were the better team, and that’s the most important thing to take from the game as far as the team’s playoff prospects are concerned. The third and fourth lines didn’t look great, as playing so many AHL players might have finally caught up to them. But it was nice to see Marchand be a beast again and shut up the idiots who think that the Bruins should sell wicked low and trade him right now.
I just hope that Claude resists the urge to overuse Rask for the rest of the season. He’ll need rest around the Olympics, which isn’t too far away, and he’ll need rest late in his first full regular season. Bite the bullet, play Johnson. Call up Svedberg for a few starts if need be (and figure out how to not make it hit them hard on the cap), but don’t overuse Tuukka. Johnson isn’t as much of a backup goalie as a placeholder.