TD Garden isn’t Boston Garden. It never has and never will be. The new building will never match the intensity and personality of the old Garden.
With that being said, TD Garden has also created memories of its own since its inaugural season in 1997. In 2008, the Celtics rocked the house while bringing home pivotal wins on the parquet floor. The Bruins had their fantastic championship run in 2011, when they punished and delivered blows on their way to winning their first Stanley Cup in thirty nine years. Even though the 2013 Bruins came just short of winning another Cup, they had an intense and magical first round comeback game seven against the Leafs.
Season after season, TD Garden has been a place where Boston teams seem to flourish. Now there is one huge anomaly in that data: The 2016 Boston Bruins.
The Bruins are currently in a bind. They have put themselves in a difficult position down the stretch and face an upward battle toward making the playoffs. But how did they come to be in such a difficult position?
Their home record is atrocious. At TD Garden, they have been a very poor 16-17-6 on the season in a total of thirty nine games. It’s amazing to think that the B’s have played thirty nine times at home and only won sixteen games. It’s also interesting to note that the Bruins have flourished on the road with a record of 25-13-3.
What is the cause of this tremendous gap between their home and away record?
The Garden is simply no longer a place opponents come to fear when they play the Bruins. Milan Lucic, Shawn Thornton, Johnny Boychuck, Andrew Ference, and Greg Campbell are all on different rosters. Most of the guys you see in those video highlights aren’t there to defend their teammates anymore. Instead the Bruins have players that are still trying to find their own game. Players like Jimmy Hayes, Brett Connolly, Noel Acciari, Landon Ferraro, Tyler Randell, Frank Vatrano, Colin Miller, Zach Trotman, and Joe Morrow are examples of players in that position. They also do not have the type of roster that can impose their will on teams like the Bruins have in past years under Claude Julien.
Bruins fans aren’t an uneducated bunch when it comes to hockey. They can see exactly what type of shape their team is in. Hockey runs through the blood of New Englanders. The TD Garden crowd has become somewhat more tame with the amount of turnover in the roster. Some of the fan favorites have left town and were replaced by unproven, unknown young talents. It’s a side effect of the 2011 and 2013 championship runs. The fans don’t believe in this team, because they haven’t given them a reason to yet.
The Garden crowd isn’t to blame. They have come and packed the building for numerous terrible Bruins performances and letdowns this year. It’s eighty games into the 2016 season and they have yet to pass the eye test. The rough and tough style of old might have helped, but it’s not necessarily what they lack now.
They just simply aren’t that good.
The magic hasn’t left the TD Garden. The Bruins just haven’t inspired it. As the fans chanted “We want the playoffs!” in the third period I couldn’t help but notice they didn’t say Stanley Cup. It’s a motto that I see Jeremy Jacobs embracing for the long run. Just like the old days.