Over the past few years, the Boston Bruins have been one of my favorite teams to watch – whether live at games with my brother at the Garden, or at home watching on NESN or NBCSN, I was watching a majority of their regular season games. Of course that excitement turns into an obsession once the Stanley Cup Playoffs start. Every year I go in assuming that the Bruins should win every game they play. Not could win. Should win. When they don’t live up to that ridiculous expectation, that’s when I go into that “keep sports radio away” funk.
The 2011 season was about as excited as you can get for a team. The 2013 season came close, but ultimately I was left in that funk. When I look back now, I feel better about it. They had an amazing run in those ’13 playoffs and were just bested by a better team. I guess that’s what happened last year as well when the Canadiens beat them in seven games, but I was much more pissed at the team for seemingly not even showing up for that game 7.
But okay, that season is over with. Here we are with a brand new 2014-2015 campaign. Clean slate. Start over. New mission. And yet? What do we have with these Bruins?
The first thought always is – are they good enough to get into the playoffs? Just to get IN to the playoffs. That’s a bit sad since literally half of each conference makes it into the playoffs each year. All you have to be is better than 9th place (out of 16 teams) and you’re in. Right now the Bruins are in 7th place. They’re in the mix, but they’re right on the cusp. They say that the goal is to be in the mix by Thanksgiving and those teams usually go on to get into the tournament – so at the very least I would be shocked and incredibly disappointed if the team didn’t make it into the playoffs.
But then what? Are they a deep enough team to make a run? I had trepidation about this team when I realized they were replacing Jerome Iginla with basically nobody. It was a question back in August, and it’s still something I don’t think was legitimately addressed.
Also, the Bruins just don’t have a real sniper. A real goal scorer. The Bruins top goal scorers are Brad Marchand and Reilly Smith, both with six goals each. The top goal score in the league has 19. Yeah that’s Tyler Seguin. Remember him? Of course his team is in 12th place in their division – so the Bruins get the last laugh again, right? Well, you have to wonder. Wouldn’t those goals look good for the Bruins? But would he get them in Claude’s system? Even with those 19 goals, Seguin is only a +3. I was told there would be no math, but that seems like a bit of a defensive issue. Claude does not approve.
After winning three in a row in mid-November, the Bruins have lost 5 out of their last 6 games, including three in a row out in California – with Tuukka giving up seven goals last night in San Jose.
Is this just a funk? Or is this who the Bruins are? Win a couple. Lose a couple.
Is this what we have to look forward to for the rest of the season and post season? Can we blame all this on injury?
Chara’s injury is a tear in the posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. Injury happened on the Tavares hit last night ^CS
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) October 24, 2014
Zedeno Chara left the ice on October 23rd and has not been back in action since then. He is their #1 defensemen and their #1 penalty killer.
David Krejci not making the trip, staying back to rehab ^CS
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) November 29, 2014
David Krejci is one of the main cogs on this team. With him and the Captain out, maybe the best thing this team can do right is just do what they’re doing. Stay afloat. Not able to get to far up – but able to keep things from going to far down.
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) December 4, 2014
Seeing this tweet yesterday gives me hope. Are these two guys coming back enough to save this team? Do they really need “saving?”
They need something, and maybe having two of their stars come back – healthy – can provide that. Even still, I expect Chiarelli to at least attempt to make moves to improve this team now up until the trade deadline. What exactly that means I have no idea, but I can’t expect Neely to just sit there with his giant hands under his smashed up knees. This team has too much talent on it still, right? I mean I say that – but do I believe it?
Ultimately – yes, I think this team for the most part is still in tact. They just have to stay healthy, play better, and maybe get some help along the way.
Then again, that’s the goal of every other team going forward. Only, I don’t care about any other team.
I care about the Bruins. And I want to care my ass off come playoff time.
Please let me care my ass off….