Black-and-Gold fold began on blue Monday
As a footnote to the Bruins 2009-10 season, we offer: When they needed to give more, they gave less. In fact, in Game 5 of the series against Philadelphia, they gave nothing.
That’s trouble, folks. Downright disturbing.
General manager Peter Chiarelli and coach Claude Julien will offer up their closing thoughts Tuesday, in the club’s annual breakup day on Causeway Street, and they no doubt will still be shellshocked over Friday night’s rude dismissal.
While everyone will want answers, or at least cogent explanations, GM and coach most likely will say they need time to deal with their grief, step back, and eventually make an emotionally detached assessment of one of the epic meltdowns in Stanley Cup history.
That’s the nature of these state-of-disaster addresses across the entire sports industry. The whole thing traditionally is one giant, “Good question, we’ll have to get back to you on that.’’
As bizarre and excruciating as it all was Friday night — when the Bruins transformed a 3-0 runaway into a 4-3 self-inflicted two-hander over the head, topped off by Marc Savard’s horrendous too-many-men boo-boo — the focal point for Chiarelli and Julien should be the 4-0 loss on home ice Monday night in Game 5.
With it all there to win, leading in the series, 3-1, the Bruins pulled a total no-show in their own building, in front of a sellout 17,565, with the words “carpe diem’’ all but etched into that big black spoked-B at center ice.
They seized nothing. No emotion. No execution. No intelligence. On a night when they had an express ticket waiting for the conference finals, they played a listless, shapeless 60 minutes that proved to be their postseason undoing. They skated around with “KICK ME’’ signs tacked on their behinds, and the Flyers obliged them for Games 5, 6, and 7.
Sure, the Bruins began to recover their game in a 2-1 loss two nights later, then finally played with some passion for almost a full period in Game 7, only to revert to retreat-and-stumble mode for most of the second and third periods.
The misguided Savard was left to take it all one step further and blow up a house that, truth be told, had been set afire four nights earlier when everyone in a Black-and-Gold uniform double-, triple-, and quadruple-faulted on the game that should have been their point, set, match.
The reason(s) for that? Clearly, that’s far above your faithful puck chronicler’s pay grade. Three seasons, three straight Game 7 punchouts. Right now, it looks as though it’s above everyone’s pay grade on Causeway Street, from Owner’s Son to Stick Boy. Every year they get the ball rolling, and every year they turn into Sisyphus on double runners.
Not enough good players (that’s on Chiarelli and his hockey ops staff). Not much in the way of creative, effective in-game change of strategy, or rearranging of lines or defense pairings (see: Julien and his forbidden-to-comment coaching staff), or simply getting the most out of the troops. And certainly not enough big-game awareness or strut-and-pluck from the 18 skaters and one goalie (playoff-netminder-in-training Tuukka Rask) who touched the ice each night.
In other words, once again, ample blame and failure to go around, in fact more than ever given how utterly amateurish, soft, and futile everyone ended up looking Friday night. Which, in retrospect, was only the runner-up to their worst night in the series. Until someone figures that out, they’re just Sisyphus, reaching for a rock engraved “2010-11.’’
A few other things from the ceremony that should not be forgotten:
■ Orr’s gracious line of acceptance: “Thank you for honoring our team in this manner.’’ The names of all members of the 1970 Cup team are listed on the back of the bronze statue’s foundation.
■No. 4’s Gehrig-like line, in reference to the importance of family and friends: “To that point, it makes me the richest man in the world.’’ Unlike Yankee Stadium on July 4, 1939, those heartfelt words did not echo around the old West End.
■Orr’s self-effacing humor, noting to sculptor Harry Weber: “Harry, what a wonderful job. Did we not talk about the Orr nose?’’ Indeed, Weber was right . . . on . . . the . . . nose, in every detail.
■Harry Sinden, coach of the ’70 team, recalling that Johnny “Pie’’ McKenzie poured a beer over Mayor Kevin White’s head during the ’70 Cup parade festivities. “I forgot the beer,’’ Sinden told the crowd, with Menino nearly within arm’s reach, “or you might have had the same enjoyment this afternoon.’’
■Sinden also recalled his postgame remarks to his players, noting that, it being Mother’s Day on May 10, 1970, they should all thank their mothers for buying them their first pairs of skates. “What I should have said,’’ noted Sinden, “is that, ‘We should be thankful to Bobby’s mother for buying him his first pair of skates!’ ’’
Material from personal interviews, wire services, other beat writers, and league and team sources was used in this report.