The final two games of the Bruins scheduled 82 were a perfect representation of the season as a whole: Hold a playoff-contending team to a handful of shots in the last half of the game and come away with a win. Then in the next game, play a non-contender and get blown out of the water.
I’d also like to mention this one thing: Tuuka Rask had it coming out of both ends. From what I could put together he was slumped over a toilet that he also had to sit on. He can’t play if he’s glued to the toilet seat. That’s all I’m saying with that.
The Bruins came out in their absolutely-must-win game against the Senators the right way with a goal by Pasta:
After that there wasn’t much to brag about other than the decent third period. But when going into the second up one after Goose stopped seventeen shots, the B’s should have answered with shots of their own. Instead they allowed the Senators to post up FOUR GOALS because of defense like this:
The playoffs were available for the taking, and for the second year in a row the Bruins opted out of trying to make it to the post season by giving close to zero effort when it was needed the most.
There are a fair amount of reasons for the collapse of Boston’s season. The unfortunate majority of finger-pointing is being aimed towards Bruins head coach, Claude Julien. Ever since their recent loss against the Carolina Hurricanes, Julien’s future has been in question.
The blame for that shoot-out loss arguably could go to Claude, but the game shouldn’t have gone to a shootout to begin with. Just like every other time points were an absolute must-have, the team seemingly just gave up at some point in the game. Coaches aren’t there to teach effort; they’re there to move players around in his chess-match with the coach on the other bench.
The players that Claude had been given this season weren’t that fantastic to begin with. He had at most two D-men that don’t even pair together, and six competent forwards. That’s more or less only two lines to put out there for 82 games. Too many of the players on the bottom six went through slumps more often than not or hit guys high all of the time.
The best part is whenever the camera would pan over to the Bruins bench in games they were losing (but ABSOLUTELY had a chance to come back), half of the players on the bench would all look like their pet died: no pumping each other up, sad faces, general lack of interest in being there. There’s no effort or leadership, which makes the lack of actual skill that much worse.
Effort can easily come from players pumping each other up. As cliché as that sounds, it’s true. Part of having leadership is being able to yell at the guy next to you to actually skate and not slump it to the puck. Patrice Bergeron and Chris Kelly are the only players (that I can notice) that ALWAYS get on anyone who isn’t going 100%. I want to say Matt Beleskey leads because he works like a dog and is a perfect Bruin, but I can’t see behind the curtain to know that for certain. Guy’s that went to the media after the game put the blame on the themselves and the rest of the players, and that’s exactly where it should be:
*Krejci: "No excuse for that. We are professionals & we should get up for every single game, no matter what game it is — Game 1 or Game 82."
*Krug: "Group in here had the capability. Weren't able to play to that down the stretch."
*Kevan Miller: “It’s about the result as a team, and right now we have some reflecting as a team to do.”
*Zdeno Chara: “We all should feel responsible for where we’re at.”
*“It’s unacceptable, the way that we showed up, and you can’t win games if you do that,” said Patrice Bergeron. “So, we got it coming I guess, by not showing up. We did score the first goal, and we should’ve kept going at them, and we didn’t. We let them get back in the game.”
Julien had to make a team with the players that were given to him. The lineups he put together all had the ability to make it to the playoffs. They might not have made it very far in the bracket, because the team still lacked overall depth and were a mediocre team at best, but we’ll obviously not have the opportunity to see what could have happened. Bottom line is Claude isn't the reason that his players are going to be watching hockey from the couch.
To answer the question that Dan Cantone brought up last week: the fans wanted the playoffs, but not all of the Bruins did.
Also, on top of David Krejci's recent injury update, there's plenty more to come back for on this off-season so stay tuned.
P.S.: Here's to the good ol' days.
*Quotes courtesy of the Boston Bruins