As the horn sounded in Edmonton late Wednesday night, the Bruins skated off the ice in a familiar position: losing. To add more fuel to the fire, the Bruins had 12 opportunities to put the puck into the back of the net against a mediocre goalie before Martin Marincin ended it in the second-worst shootout ever. If anyone has followed my writing, then you know that I am not a big Tuukka Rask guy. I think he is a phenomenal goalie but, in my mind, anyone is expendable. However, Tuukka has played incredible for the better part of this season. The other 5 players out on the ice wearing black and gold, however, have drastically underperformed. You can blame the stars on this team underperforming, the young guys that have not developed like they would like, you can even put some of it on Claude Julien, but no one deserves more blame for the current state of the black and gold than GM Peter Chiarelli.
There is no doubt in my mind that Peter Chiarelli knows what he is doing. People tend to forget, but he did put together a roster that won the Stanley Cup in 2010-2011. However, Chiarelli fell in love with almost everyone who's name is not Tyler Seguin from that team. He locked up and overpaid talented players, such as Chara, Tuukka, and Krejci. While we cannot necessarily be blamed for signing talented players, overpaying for almost every member of the current roster does not set this team up for the future. Moreover, he started handing out no-trade clauses to mediocre players like they were penny candy. Guys like Kelly, Paille and Campbell can now dictate where they want to be traded.
Well, the future is here and it does not look pretty. The Bruins are in desperate need of a Top 4 Defensemen and a Top Line Right Winger, yet they cannot acquire these assets because they are in "salary cap jail" from overpaying these players. Because of this, he was forced to trade players like Boychuk and even Seguin to an extent in order to get under the salary cap.
Now the question has to be asked: is it time to fire Peter Chiarelli following this season IF they cannot make the playoffs?
Well, it looks like that question has already been somewhat answered. According to TSN's Darren Dreger, if the Bruins continue their downward spiral, "full front office change" could follow. This means that both Peter Chiarelli and Claude Julien will be evaluated at the end of the season. Although Julien's system of tough, defensive hockey is being pushed out of the NHL, that is the type of hockey that the Boston Bruins have always played. That is the type of hockey that won them a Cup. Chiarelli has not given Julien and his staff the right pieces to realistically contend for a Stanley Cup in 2014-2015. Unless a big move is made, which looks unlikely, this team needs a major renovation, starting with the front office and current roster in the offseason to return to hockey's elite.. Chiarelli needs to approach this Trade Deadline like his job depends on it, which it may already. This team's stars and management have become too comfortable with just being mediocre. Players such as Lucic and Marchand need to step up and if they don't, should be traded. A major shake up could be exactly the wake up call that this team needs.
by Pete Packowski @Pete_BBS