Over the long weekend, well past midnight, I became engaged in a discussion about our beloved Bruins. The main point to the argument was intensity and whether or not this team could bring it back up for another season. My answer was clearly yes, while the other answer was not so much a no but, more of a concerned “i’m not sold.”
Here is why this team will come back strong and as intense as ever:
1. Redemption. The Bruins got a chance to taste what it is like to go “deep” into the playoffs. I use deep very loosely here but, a preseason goal was to advance past the first round, and guess what, they did just that. We all know they had the capability to go further but, with busted hips, kidney stones, broken ribs, and torn labrums you can only go so far. With the core of this team in tact and some decent additions they will certainly want to do some damage on this league again.
2. Claude Julien. The head coach has delivered in spades around here and it certainly seems as though this locker room and the organization are behind what this guy does on and off of the ice. There are so many more options given to a coaching staff when everyone around him have the confidence that he is making the correct decisions.
3. Tim Thomas. I’ll admit that I used to be very guilty of drinking the Tim Thomas Hater-ade. As a goalie myself, I love sound technique and dislike a Hasek style goaltender as they are embarrassing to watch. It is difficult for me to watch athletic skill mixed with massive amounts of luck in dire situations. Pure athleticism and sound technique are much more effective and this is what we have seen from Tim Thomas lately. With solid defense in front of him he has been allowed to not let every game rest on his shoulders allowing him to stay in position and not leave normal goaltending boundaries more than a couple times per game at most. In the past, Thomas would have to come up like Superman (thank you Jack Edwards) more than once a game on a consistent basis. You can’t win like that. If Thomas is in the top 10 of GAA and Save % (compared to last year’s #1), this team will see more playoff time.
4. More offense from the defense. Like Chiarelli said, he wanted to keep the same defense in the Bruins own end but, add puck moving defensemen to the equation that can join the rush and help the transition game. I truly believe he has done that with Derek Morris and now that Matt Hunwick will see more ice time, they have the talent to do that. When this team was struggling (cue Joe Namath) their inability to breakout of their own zone cleanly was always the problem. I think they’ve solved that issue.
5. Depth. That has been one of the greatest strengths about this organization of late and for the foreseeable future it will remain that way. Whenever guys go down, there always seems to be someone who can fill the void of injury. Who actually predicted Byron Bitz to step in and produce as a 4th liner up from Providence on someone’s injury time? If you think you did you are a compulsive liar who believes their own lies. Bitz had less than stellar numbers in Providence and really didn’t play exceptionally well down in the “A.” However, Chiarelli has brought players into this organization with a certain make-up. It looks like Chia likes what Bill Belichick brings to the Patriots and that is the way he wants the Bruins to be run. I have no problem with that at allSo, that is why I think the Bruins will bring back the same intensity as last season. The best part is, I did it all without mentioning Phil Kessel…whoops.