Three words come to mind regarding this season's shameful showing. Pride, accountability and trust. More often than not, we hear from Peter Chiarelli and Dave Lewis those three words.
Pride-n. a high or inordinate opinion of one's own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc.
“I want to introduce a new, fresh culture to this organization. I want players to want to play here. I want players to want to stay here. I want players to want to move their families here. I want them to be proud to have the Boston Bruins logo on their chest.” Peter Chiarelli at his press conference
More often than not, I saw a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde team, fighting to find that inner pride and self-esteem. We saw a young forward struggling with confidence and pride issues moved because of this. We have seen a goaltending prospect struggle with this as well. I question whether these two players were set up for failure, rather than allow a young player the playing time that they need to regain and harness those strengths, these talented individuals both earned more bench warming time. Was our coaching staff rash with decisions, were they setting these players up for failure? Players slump in this league, and to make matters worse, cutting players back from 14-20 minutes down to 5-9 minutes typically will not help a player get their game back.
At times this Bruins team looked unstoppable, generating plays with two of the games best playmakers. At other times, this team looked barely good enough to start a men's house league. I quickly grew tired of watching a team who would give up in the first period after a team scored a goal or two against. Welcome to the NHL, it's going to happen, don't tuck your tail, rather, dig deep into your self, and find that inner fire, that desire to win. You can't win every game, that is uncontrollable, bounces happen, but you can control how you play. You can either give 100%, or even take it to the next level and play above yourself, or you can pack it in and coast. As a fan, you will never get sympathy from me if you are just coasting out there...
The John "Chief" Bucyk pride award: Jeremy Reich and Jeff Hoggan
Annual Award to be given to the player(s) who gave it their all on every shift. Whether up by 6 goals or down by 6 goals, you knew what you were going to get from these guys, 100% effort.
Accountability-n. the state of being liable or answerable.
Many times throughout the course of the year, we have heard Dave Lewis mutter something about accountability in his depressing post game comments. 20+ guys in a locker room, travelling together, playing toghther, winning or losing together, all with no accountability. Sure there was team chemistry, everyone got along, but accountability should have gone hand in hand. We have a head coach, an associate coach, an assistant coach, a captain and two assistant/alternate captains. There are enough people between management/coaching/leadership who should have held players accountable. By virtue of the chemistry that this team prided itself on, these players should have felt a virtue to play for each other. Players who respect each other should be able to look another player in the face and tell them to step up their game. Following that chain of command all the way up through GM, there were plenty of opportunities to stress accountability.
Only when the playoff hunt picture looked dire did Dave Lewis run a bag skate. Only when there was little chance of redemption did he try to use negative reinforcement. I know these players are grown up men and professionals, but even they sometimes need a reality check. They need to know that they are lucky men to be playing a game which millions love, and they should not take it for granted by playing half-heartedly. Find that inner desire, and please, hold each other to higher standards, and bring that out in your teammates who need that extra nudge.
The Terry O'Reilly accountability award: Patrice Bergeron
Awarded to the player who understands that they make mistakes, but holds themselves accountable and works to become a better player.
Trust-n. reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence.
One thing that I've noticed throughout the course of the season is the lack of trust between coaching staff and players, and between players and other players. Far too often I felt as if a forward was trying to do too much alone when the better play would have been a passing play. I have seen 3 guys go for the same puck, leading to an odd man rush the other way. I have also seen some of our defenceman take themselves out of position because they appear to have been trying to cover up for someone else. No trust and no reliability are issues, when a defenceman leaves his position to cover for someone else, he is leaving an opponent open. Far too often would a sniper find his way into the slot or side of the net while one of our players was trying to do too much. These players are all professional athletes and are paid to do their jobs, they should be able to trust that their defence partner is doing theirs and the forwards are doing theres. If not, that's where my second point about accountability comes in. The other problem is the lack of trust our coaching staff have in our young players. Young players falter, but will only get better, see Petr Kalus. Do not restrict their ability to learn on the fly by limiting the amount of minutes they play. The more ice time Kalus, Krejci, Stuart and Lashoff receive, the better they will become. These are the future of our organization, let's groom them properly and get them the experience they need.
The Kraut Line(Milt Schmidt, Bobby Bauer, Woody Dumart) trust award: Petr Kalus
Awarded to the player who does his job and plays to his strengths having the trust that the other players on the ice will be doing their jobs as well.
Well, I hope you all enjoyed my first crack at this blogging thing. I apologize for the length, but I hope I made some valid points. I hope to write a follow up on who I believe the team should make a move for in the offseason and who I'd like to see drafted.