With the All Star break this weekend, it’s time to make a decision on the Bruins. And I stand with Don Sweeney.
Before the season I said the Bruins will make the playoffs. Then around November, I doubled down and emphasized that I was into this Bruins team. Well the last month or so has not been so easy on us fans of the black and gold. Particularly last week. Four straight losses including a shellacking by the Islanders at the Garden, a back breaker in a shootout to Detroit, a hard fought L to the Blackhawks, and another beat down handed to the B’s by the reigning Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins. And the road ahead doesn’t get any easier. Another game versus Detroit tonight followed by Pittsburgh again later this week. It’s officially make or break time for the B’s.
After the Detroit loss last week, I had completely ridden off Claude. I didn’t agree with it, but I could not see any way the B’s were gonna keep him. But GM Don Sweeney came out last week and said Claude is our guy. I love this move. Claude is a great coach. Winningest coach in franchise history, one cup and another trip to the cup, Claude isn’t the issue. We don’t have the players. That’s the issue. The Boston Bruins are straight up just not that good of a team. They’re not bad, and I still believe they are under performing, but they are not a top team in the league. Claude said it best after the Pittsburgh loss Sunday, with the talent on this roster, the B’s cannot just show up and win, they have to out work the other team every night. That’s how they are going to be successful. Jeremy Roenick was talking on the NBCSN pregame last night and made a great point. The Columbus Blue Jackets are right up there at the top of the league in points and went on a 16 game winning streak this season. On paper, that roster is not very different that the B’s roster. The difference is they come to play every single night and out work the other team. In order for the Bruins to turn this season around, that’s what they have to start doing.
The other glaring issue with this team, that must be SO frustrating for Claude, is that top players aren’t performing. Pasta was hot at the beginning of the season but has cooled way down. He’s also 20 years old, the team can’t be riding on his shoulders. Bergeron, Krejci, Backes, and Rask of late are the four guys I’m looking at. Bergeron is top five in the league in shots on goal and only has 10 goals so far. and Backes and Krejci each only have 11. Thirty-two goals in 47 games out of those three just is not enough production. Tuukka started off very strong but has been struggling of late, and like I mentioned a couple weeks ago, the B’s don’t have a back up who can win a game. Tuukka has to be on his A game every night in order to make this work.
With all this negativity and demanding for Claude’s head, it gets lost that the B’s are still in the playoff race, one point behind Toronto for third in the Atlantic. They also have the experience factor. The Bruins have been in this position before, guys like Bergeron, Marchand, Chara have played with their back against the wall. All they need to do is get into the playoffs, then its a new season and anything can happen. The only problem is they have to get there. So until then #IStandWithDon. Go B’s!