Thought this was a good piece,what do use think of it,and no I don't think the Bruins have to rebuild there team to beat Montreal.but definetly do need to be faster.
Adapt or Die,
May 16, 2014, 4:59 PM ET [103 Comments]
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It’s been a rough couple of afternoons for the Hub of Hockey. Barely a month after it began, the dreams of winning your last game of the season and paving the way for a summertime of Stanley Cup parties, are over for Jarome Iginla and the rest of the 2013-14 Boston Bruins.
In their Game 7 defeat at TD Garden, the fourth Game 7 loss on Boston ice since 2009, the Bruins were beat to just about every loose puck. Offensive zone, neutral zone, defensive zone. It didn’t really matter, ‘cause Montreal’s forwards and even their defensemen, were beating ‘em to the puck.
That’s, of course, when the B’s weren’t busy giving the puck away to the Habs’ speedier talents.
The Bruins, regarded as the ‘heaviest’ team in the Eastern Conference, and often referred to as a Western Conference team trapped in an Eastern timezone, were way too slow for the Habs.
Just like they were against the Chicago Blackhawks in last year’s Cup Final.
You saw the way that Montreal approached Boston’s bigger talents; They weren’t fearful of what the big, bad Bruins would do to them in the corners like the ‘11 Vancouver Canucks, or even last year’s Pittsburgh Penguins were, they instead went at them -- and then around them -- with their speed. Pucks were dumped into Zdeno Chara’s end with a frequency that’d deem you insane (or with a deathwish, at the very least) three years ago.
Again, for the second straight season, the Black-and-Gold were outworked by speed.
This could become an unfortunate theme for the B’s, too.
No matter what the Bruins say, and regardless of how offended they appear to be when you tell them that they’re slower than team-x, y, and z, it’s not an inaccurate assessment. So while the B’s do a lot (and I really mean a lot) of things well, out skating their opponents with speed is not one of them.
In this regard, the Bruins will have to adapt or die.
I think that anticipated jump from Providence to Boston for 5-foot-10 centerman Ryan Spooner will without question help the Bruins in this area, but is that enough? I don’t know for sure, but I really don’t think so. On top of actually making the roster out of camp, Spooner will have to stake his claim to a spot somewhere on the B’s roster that’ll make him an impact player in the now. Logging ten minutes a night on the club’s fourth line, or serving as the team’s healthy scratch for half the year, really wouldn’t bring about the change the Bruins need or want in that department.
Based on the small chats out of the B’s this afternoon, changes are coming, and one of those changes will likely come with the departure of Shawn Thornton, a staple on Boston’s fourth line. Perhaps the Bruins fill his spot with a smaller, craftier two-way forward that can give opponents fits the way that a Dale Weise or even Danny Briere (on a much smaller scale) did.
At the same time though, the Bruins can’t be reactionary. In Boston, you’ve seen the ways that the Canucks and even the Buffalo Sabres got when you beat them. They tried to become more like you, and that took a lot away from what previously made them a successful hockey club.
As it stands now, the Bruins are a very good ‘heavy’ hockey club.
They’re able to plow through their opponents with sheer, brute force most nights, and their hard-hitting defensive structure limits the opposition’s ability to really pepper the B’s net. That’s still a quality attribute of this club. And one they don’t want to stray away from after one Game 7 loss.
So, in essence, the Bruins are in this rather awkward position of tinkering on the fly while maintaining your organization’s philosophy of being an aggressive club, and that’s why you’re going to hear more silence than promises from the club’s front office in the coming weeks. They’ll simply need to digest everything that’s happening and what it means for next year and even the year after’s Bruins squads.
But if there’s another area of Boston’s game that’ll require some serious consideration this summer, it’s within their defensive depth. Yes, the Bruins were without veterans Adam McQuaid and Dennis Seidenberg, forcing four first-year full-timers into the lineup come playoff time, but this is the same depth Bruins fans were basically told not to worry about one round prior. You can’t say, “See, told you!” when they succeed and then go, “Well, they’re young” when they fail.
That’s just not consistent. And while there are obvious positives that come with the playoff play of Dougie Hamilton and Torey Krug, the club’s two best youngsters on the point, the fact of the matter is that the Bruins need more support back there for their 37-year-old captain.
I honestly can’t remember a playoff series where the 6-foot-9 Chara looked as bad as he did against the Canadiens this year. He was constantly beat to pucks, walked around, and had this weird habit of simply falling down without much of a push from a Montreal skater. Though he was confirmed to be playing through an injury (a broken finger), there’s more there. Chara is, well, getting older.
And once again, the Bruins, as a Stanley Cup contender, will have to adapt or die.
That painful reality seemed to have hit B’s general manager Peter Chiarelli in a subtle way today when he admitted that he should’ve gotten the club a better defenseman at the trade deadline than Philadelphia Flyers spare part Andrej Meszaros, a healthy scratch by the season’s end.
So perhaps the Bruins re-engage with the Canucks for a guy like Alex Edler, something that was talked about a lot before the deadline passed, or maybe Buffalo’s Christian Ehrhoff.
You’d have to assume that the price on either of these guys will be quite steep, sure, but even with Seidenberg, an emerging Hamilton, and Johnny Boychuk, the Bruins could use another rock on their point. And after a second straight year where it’s been exploited as your weakness, that’s no longer a theory but rather an undeniable (and rather inconvenient) truth for the Bruins.
Ty Anderson has been covering the Boston Bruins since 2009 and for HockeyBuzz.com since 2010, is a member of the Pro Hockey Writers Association's Boston Chapter, and can be contacted on Twitter, or emailed at Ty.Anderson[at]gmail.com