What can you say about the 8 losses in the last 9 games? The Bruins actually played pretty well until very recently. They adopted a scrappier, faster game that created a lot more space and scoring chances. But most the time the puck still refused to go into the net--and lately every good scoring chance at the other end of the ice seems to result in a rush the other way and a goal. The fact is that if you can't consistently score more than two goals per game you aren't going to win a lot of them, particularly when your defense is stepping up in an effort to help. The last game against Carolina (on January 24th) was the final straw. Jack Edwards wanted to see some passion--and so did I-- but it didn't happen. They could have at least gone down fighting!
I had believed that after the Winter Classic the Bruins would go .500 until the Olympics. They have played like a team that was just getting by until the playoffs all year and I expected that to continue until all of the distractions were over. But this latest slide... it is starting to look like the end of this team as we know it.
So who's to blame? The GM for trading Kessel? The coaching staff? Too much success last season too soon? Is there someone poisoning the room?
The Thomas haters haven't wasted any time showing their hate again, claiming irrationally that the coach hasn't played Rask enough. What's wrong with those people anyhow? What ugly broken excuses for human beings they are. Anybody who isn't blinded by hate can see that Rask hasn't fared any better. One thing about Tim Thomas--if the team gives up in front of him he'll hang in there with the big saves in a game for only so long. After a while he gets "uninspired" by the play of the rest of the team and quits too. Some may fault him for that, but I say, "So what?" He's not the root cause of the problem.
We've got nine games to go before the Olympic break. They face the Caps, Canucks, Kings, Lightning and Panthers. They play the Sabers and Canadiens twice. The simple fact is that if they don't get a winning streak going before the break the season will be over. If that happens it's going to get really ugly. Julien may have to go, which would be a shame. And if you are thinking trade then think again--the only players who are truly trade able are the ones who are still playing their hearts out or have spent most the season injured, like Bergeron, Thomas, Rask, Chara, Stuart, Ference, or Savard. In other words, good luck trading Wideman (-12) or Wheeler (-8) for a good return!
I have watched nearly every game starting from the 2005/2006 season. That's almost 400 games. I have seen this team struggle. I have seen the rookies make mistakes and slowly come into their own. I have watched this team break out, and seen it run off the tracks in last year's playoffs. Throughout they have always improved. But now this season comes. Is this how it ends?
The next few weeks are going to determine if the Boston Bruins as we know them will survive intact.