With three games left in their regular season, the Bruins are fighting for their playoff lives and unlike the teams they're currently sandwiched around they don't control their own fate. With the Rangers and Flyers finishing the season with a home and home series the pressing need for both of those teams would be at the very least to take points in both of games. That could mean the difference in both teams making it to the post season.
The Bruins currently decimated with Blueline injuries and of course missing their best player in Marc Savard have to stave off the Blueshirts by beating at least two of their next three opponents. Hardly an easy task with a full compliment of players the way the B's have played this season! Not to mention two of the three opponents are two of the best teams in the conference.
One thing Boston has going for them is come Sunday, The Caps may look more like the Hershey Bears because they have little to play for other than personal or franchise milestones. Plus it would behoove Bruce Boudreau to rest most of his star players for these two reasons. Not only are the playoffs on the horizon, it could be against these very Bruins. That and the fact that if Boston needs Sunday to make it, the only way for them to win is to be punishing physically and air tight defensively. Washington could come away with many a bumps and bruises for sure!!!
Boston should really be apologizing to their fans for being in this position, despite injuries and bad luck.
The Front office was counting on a continuation of last season and motivation from a bitter taste in their mouth with the second round upset by the Carolina Hurricanes.
They decided to keep a majority of the core intact and avoided sweeping changes in the off season. However addition was not subtraction in this equation.
Losing Phil Kessel and his 36 goals proved disastrous for the B's. Kessel's speed aided Boston's transition game and the defense missed the toughness and stability not to mention the veteran presence of Aaron Ward and Shane Hnidy. This in turn put more pressure on Chara and Wideman who have done nothing but turn in abysmal seasons!!!
Myself, personally will not get over the loss of Kessel. It may take 3-5 years before we can truly grade this move on Boston's part. If what Peter Chiarelli said is true...that Kessel just didn't want to play here any longer, than I can't blame him...and he did the best he could with a young budding superstar in moving him for potentially another young budding star or two in Tyler Seguin or Taylor Hall.
I can only hope that if the Bruins end up with a #1 or 1A player in this years draft, that he does what Crosby did for the Penguins and not what Jumbo Joe did for the Bruins!
The injuries that mounted over the course of this year only masked the poor start for Boston. I had the feeling that the boys were still feeling pretty good about last year's anomaly and took it a bit easy in the off season. Out of the gate, they looked like a team still in shock over their second round exit last spring and it translated on the ice. Players obviously weren't in the best shape they could be in or lady luck that spared them most of last season finally balanced out. Either way...the first two months left them in this dire straits with three games left.
Management's inability to add some scoring depth at the deadline will cost them as well. Just picture where Boston could be right now with another 40-50 goals?
With the best defense in the game,top goalie and penalty killing, to have a little more scoring balance the B's could be more of threat than they were last playoff!
Why? The lowered expectation, no pressure...US against THEM mentality, everyone in the hockey world writing them off!
I sit there and think to myself, look at the job Dean Lombardi has done in LA. Adding Freddy Modin and Jeff Halpern. Moves like that could have helped Boston tremendously.
David Krecji has been carrying the burden himself with two nonexistent wingers in Wheeler and Ryder.
Visions of Halpern on the checking line and forming a formidable pk tandem with Danny Paille are dancing in my head right now.
Nice compliment players to bring out the best in everyone. Like Dennis Seidenberg who is now lost for the season along with Savard.
Seidenberg is a player that I thought Chiarelli would really covet in the off-season. Especially letting Ward and Hnidy go.
He's an underrated skater, a tremendous shot blocker and overall solid defensmen who was there for the taking all summer long. Instead they signed Derek Morris who at the time, it seemed like a good idea. I wonder where the B's would be if Seidenberg was here all year?
It would behoove Chiarelli to lock him up now like he did with Andrew Ference. Which was another head scratching move. I like Andrew, I really do. He's great in the locker room and awesome in the community. An overall good guy to boot, but how fragile has this guy been in his career with the Bruins? He's missed a ton of time and his play has been very inconsistent because of it. I'm not sure I would've locked a guy up for three years who has trouble staying healthy. It seems to me that Seidenberg should have been the defensman to receive a contract extension.
Now that I've rambled to get all things bruin off my chest, in closing I want to say that management is at fault for putting too much trust in guys like Ryder, Sturm and the like for offense. They should have tried harder in the off season to add some true goal scoring, especially after you let one go!
Replace the lost leadership in the from the departures Yelle, Ward & Hnidy and be proactive as the season progresses instead of trying to make a splash at the trade deadline for scoring help. I'm sorry, I think the B's brass could have landed something with one of those second round picks!!!
I also blame the players for not being ready for the season by taking care of themselves and thinking that this year would be a continuation of last. With parity the way it is and the cap leveling the playing field for a lot of teams, you have to keep up with the joneses.
Last year means Jack, just ask the Red Wings and Penguins!!!
Like I said, you get what you deserve.