(Source: CSNNE.com) – Clearly there was frustration with the same old breakdowns in the defensive zone and B’s defensive stalwarts Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron getting their hats handed to them for four goals against apiece (vs. San Jose)… “We have good enough players that we should be playing better, and we should have a better record.” Chara said. “It’s a process. Things don’t always go the way that you wish, and that’s why we’re practicing every day, watching videos and correcting those mistakes.
Frustrated? Yes. Anxious? Yes. Worried? At least on my end, not really. The Bruins, after giving away a game to San Jose last night with undisciplined play, are 8-8-1. And despite that game, and the 3rd period collapse Philadelphia game, the blown 2-0 lead at home to Colorado, and the late mind cramp against Montreal, and… (you get the idea), they’re 2 points out of a playoff spot. They’ve been the best charity to their opponents I’ve seen in recent memory.
Last season, they just didn’t have the jam, the fight. This year, they never quit, they always fight. But they don’t always think. I don’t blame Claude. He was told to adapt to the new NHL style of speed, press, and attack and did so. It hasn’t fully worked. Their offense is up as hoped but their defense has suffered as well. I don’t blame Tuukka (recently) because he seems to have found his game. So what is it?
Talent. They’re just a hair off. I’d venture to guess they’re about a legit top-4, 25 minute a night defenseman, with a healthy David Pastrnak back in the lineup away from from an 10-6-1 record. I honestly believe that. Matt Irwin was atrocious to start the season and hurt them tremendously. He’s gone. Dennis Seidenberg was out to start the year and their penalty kill was brutal as well. It’s trending upward rapidly since he returned. Little things like that hurt them badly. But even with all the nice young developing talent on their blue line they still need that guy on defense.
And don’t start with the Dougie Hamilton talk. Yes, he would help but it’s the Johnny Boychuk style of game they really miss. Dougie has been pretty bad in Calgary. He’s a -7 in 20 games in Calgary with only 2 goals, one of them scored on the powerplay in the second game of the season. Colin Miller on the other hand, plays a similar offensive style as Dougie and has 1 goal for 7 points and a +5 for the Bruins in only 14 games played and he’s a rookie.
I’m not sure where this team ends up this year. I still think they’ll beat out the Ottawa’s, Detroits, and Florida’s of their division and get in the playoffs. I really do. Because I think Don Sweeney is not going to give any young player any more time than they need to prove themselves before he makes the trade he feels will bolster the defense. By using patience, he’s letting the team figure it out for him to an extent. He’s not throwing Claude under the bus, he’s not overly vocal in the press, and through this early season rollercoaster the Bruins have rode on they’re still in it with games in hand on the teams in front of them.
Don’t give up on this team yet. The big picture is what Don Sweeney is focused on. And if they do screw up this year because they are their own worst enemy it’ll be on the players. Because next summer ol’ Donny knows what kind of cap space and draft picks he’s working with. But depsite some early frustration, don’t give up yet.