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Another Stanley Cup run sure seems empty

Posted by Eric Wilbur, Boston.com Staff  March 14, 2012 06:41 AM

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Hope you enjoyed last June. You can always watch the DVD come time for the Stanley Cup Final. 

Clearly, that run isn't happening again this year, as the Boston Bruins have transformed into a bumbling, incompetent version of the team that won the Stanley Cup less than a year ago. Last night's 6-1 loss to the Lightning provided us with quite possibly the worst period of hockey we've ever watched the Bruins play, a confounded rotating goalie door, Steven Stamkos driving the nail in the heart of the spoked B with his 50th goal of the season, and ultimately, the third straight loss for the reeling Bruins.

Other than that, it was an OK night.

New goalie Marty Turco started the game, which is being kind because you have to wonder if the man's skills ever left Austria. I'm not sure what the record is for quickest hook in a game, but Turco's performance last night has to be up there. In came overused Tim Thomas, only to have Turco play the sacrificial lamb at the start of the second.

Uh, Claude?

Claude Julien has gotten a free pass this season because, you know, that whole Cup-winning and proving us all wrong, but he still coaches with a tendency that can drive Bruins fans batty. The last few days were a perfect example, with Thomas clearly needing rest, yet Julien would continue to go to him with a clear dependency issue.

Last night, he finally gave Turco a start. Turns out, it was a wrong week to quit sniffing glue.

Blame injuries, blame a lack of focus, blame - have you heard this one? - a Cup hangover, but does anybody truly believe this team can do it again, particularly with the way Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers have shut them down consistently, and the impending return of Sidney Crosby? I'm not saying I'm throwing in the towel, but it's definitely in my grasp.

There's a lack of balance ever since losing Nathan Horton and Rich Peverley to injuries that I'm not sure the Bruins can recover from. Maybe they can win a round in the playoffs. Two? It seems to be asking too much. It took three Game 7's last year to bring home the hardware, and Thomas just looks like a different goalie a year later, overworked and just not as sharp as during the amazing run of 2011.

Then again, we thought this team was dead in the river last January when it couldn't score. We counted it out last spring when the power play was akin to a flame generating enough juice for a city block. We told ourselves to forget it when the Bruins fell 0-2 to the Canadiens in the opening round.

But this time it's going to be different.

We think.

Maybe.



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About the Author

Eric Wilbur is a Boston.com sports columnist who is still in awe of what Dana Kiecker pulled off that one time in Toronto. He lives in the Boston area with his wife and three children. Comments and suggestions for the best Buffalo wing spots are encouraged.

Contact Eric Wilbur by e-mail or follow him on Twitter.

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