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BOSTON (CBS) – As we lament the horrible, or would it be horrendous, start for the Stanley Cup Champions let me make an observation. As good as the Boston Bruins were in the games in April, May & June, let us not forget the fact that they were NOT Championship material all season long last year.
Sure they were seeded third in the Eastern Conference, but when the playoffs started, no one was sure they were going to get by the Canadiens, and it did take seven games (and overtime) to finish Montreal off! With Philly, it was motivation for revenge and it took them two more seven game series to claim the Prize on June 15, 2011.
So what can this be attributed to? Did all the drinking and partying with the Cup really make them complacent? Have they lost that drive to win it again or for that matter, even compete? For all that we thought they were, it seems that right now, imposters are wearing the Spoked B.
Since that date, what has happened to the personnel of the Bruins? Michael Ryder: gone. Mark Recchi: retired. Tomas Kaberle: gone (and forgotten quickly may I add).
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Other than that, basically this season’s team is the same as the 2010-2011 team. So since it’s really the same team, we should not really be surprised at the results so far. Tim Thomas has played the majority of the games and when Tuukka Rask has been in net, such as Saturday, the Bruins cannot score, getting only two tallies in three games.
With two power play goals and untimely penalties, Boston cannot get out of their own way. Since the first period in Boston, the Canadiens have taken the play to the Bruins and outplayed them significantly. The Coach has juggled the lines once and has returned them to what they were at the beginning of the year. Nothing has worked and Boston has become the unthinkable. The worse team in the Eastern Conference and second worse in the league!
Yes everyone, these are your 2011-12 Boston Bruins.
Although the names are much the same, their play resembles nothing like we witnessed in the aforementioned months. But, in the month of November last year the Bruins won only 5 of 13 games and had two streaks of losing four of five games. So far, they are unbeaten this month, but then again they’ve only play the Ottawa Senators.
Ottawa is a team they should beat, but the manner in which they beat them is the encouraging part. They skated well, they broke out of their own end with authority and they shot the puck more instead of trying to be too cute and pass. It was an all around sound effort for the Black & Gold.
Saturday night will be a bigger test for them facing the red-hot and league leading…yes the league leading… Maple Leafs in Toronto. The Bruins beat the leafs in Boston two weeks ago, and promptly lost the next three. The Leafs also have the leagues leading goal scorer in Phil Kessel and back at home he will not have to hear the constant heckling and booing he endured when in Boston.
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After Toronto, the B’s return home for the next five games and once again a chance to carve out just who there are this season. Will they begin to show us who they are they capable of doing the same things they did last February, March and thought the playoffs? Or will they force the hands of the management to make some changes in which the media has already been speculating about.
The next two weeks will tell a lot about your currently last place Boston Bruins.
Ric Duarte has covered hockey and the Bruins for various media outlets since 1986. You can follow Ric at BruinsDieHard.com and at twitter @bruins_diehard.