It’s 36 games in and the Bruins are sitting at a just-OK .500 (18-14-4) record, good for third place in the Atlantic. It’s Christmas break for the boys and I still just cannot get a solid read on this team.
This season was destined to be a roller coaster and it’d be an accomplishment just to make the playoffs. But this team is as inconsistent as my golf game. They’ll go through stretches where they look like they can run with the top teams in the league, shutting down high flying offenses and putting up four, five, six goals, but then will string together three losses and make me think they need to gut the entire roster and start over. This Bruins team is dragging our hearts through the mud and I don’t hate it.
With all the success the B’s and Patriots have had over the last seven years or so, you sometimes forget being a fan is the most fun when you have someone to point the finger at and something to complain about. Let’s drill down and see if things are looking up:
I’ve been one of Tuukka’s biggest critics since he took over the starting job from the greatest flash in the pan of all time: Tim Thomas, but give credit where credit is due. Rask has been great this year. He’s played 26 of the 36 games so far with a 17-6-3 record, posting a 1.87 GAA and .930 save percentage, along with four goose eggs. With the B’s not known to be a high flying offense, I love that 1.87 GAA mark, any time you can hold your opponent to under two goals a game, you should win the game. Carey Price is up to his usual best goalie in the world tricks and Devyn Dubnyk has been having an outstanding year thus far out in Minnesota, but if Tuukka keeps it up he’ll for sure be in the Vezina hunt. HOWEVER the one major blemish for the B’s netminders is that there is nobody else but Tuukka who can stop the puck! Khudobin STINKS! The dude is 1-5-1 with a 3.06 GAA and a .885 save percentage. That is just unacceptable for a back up goalie. Tuukka is known to run outta gas when March, April, and May roll around, so we need a tendy who can come in every now and then and give the B’s at least a fair shot at winning and right now none of their goalies can do that. Zane McIntyre will be good but isn’t there yet, but Malcolm Subban is the worst player to ever play in the NHL.
Zdeno Chara stinks. Had to put that out there right away. And it pains me to say that because I love the guy, he was a HUGE contributor for both B’s cup runs, but the Chara ship has sailed, and it is LONG gone. The fact that Boston didn’t trade him three years ago to a contender for some young talent while he still had some worth is bananas. He was supposed to show Carlo the ropes and help him out when he makes rookie mistakes, but it has turned out to be the other way around, Carlo is constantly bailing Chara out becuas ehe just doesn’t have the legs he used to have. It’s sad to see because he was such a critical member of those Bruin teams, but his time in Boston has come to an end, he’s officially become a liability. Other than Big Z the D-core has been fairly solid. Quaider is subject to a costly turnover every game, but his grittiness makes up for his decision making ability. I like what I’m seeing from Carlo a lot, looks like he’s the new Dougie Hamilton (RIP in Peace to the Dougie Era). I’d love to see Krug step up his offense a little bit, but as long as he keeps that +/- down, I’ll live.
Two Words: David Pastrnak. Talk about the electric factory! Pasta has been having his coming out party this season racking up 19 goals in 29 games (tied for second in the league) He’s been playing with serious confidence this year, not afraid to take chances to create offense and I LOVE it. It looks like Claude has been giving him a little leeway too, which he needs if he’s gonna be a 20-year-old scoring machine. My only question is how long until he gets the Thornton/Kessel/Seguin treatment and gets shipped outta town because he’s too good? Outside of Pasta, the offense has been underwhelming though. Marchy has a subtle 10-19-29 which isn’t bad but after a lot of hype after the World Cup, Bergeron only has 10 points thus far, which is unacceptable. Marchy and Bergy were playing their best hockey at the World Cup, which I thought would translate into the season. For Marchy it has, but not so much for Bergy, need him to step it up. And what on earth is up with Krejci??? I haven’t heard his name much this season; like he’s been invisible every game. He’s not a flashy and gets a low key 60 points a year, but c’mon David I need a little more than 14 helpers from you. Backes with an 8-9-17 spot is also very underwhelming. At some point you need production out of your big names, not just sound defense and forechecking. Also, shouts to my boy Jimmy Hayes, two ginos on the season, don’t let him get hot!
I’m still trying to figure out what to make of this team. Do I think they’ll make the playoffs? Yes. Do I think they have a chance to win it all? Maybe, but probably not. Regardless, let’s buckle up and ride this roller coaster all the way to the end baby!