BOSTON (CBS) – With his extremely public pursuit of Jarome Iginla, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli sent the message to his players that he’s doing all he can to bring in some help.
With their effort (use that term loosely) in Philadelphia Saturday afternoon, those same players sent the message to Chiarelli that that help is desperately needed.
The belief heading into the matinee on Broad Street was that the Bruins would be able to build off their five-goal performance from Wednesday night against Montreal against a Flyers defense corps missing three (Braydon Coburn, Andrej Meszaros, Nicklas Grossman) of its top six blueliners.
Instead the Bruins spent most of the 60 minutes playing as though they felt sorry for Philadelphia’s predicament despite there being a huge two points on the line.
Sure, Nathan Horton scored the Bruins’ lone goal in a 3-1 defeat by driving the net and cashing in on a rebound of a Dennis Seidenberg shot.
One goal, however, does not make for a solid effort. While Horton, Milan Lucic and David Krejci created the most scoring chances against the Flyers, more often than not they were settling for quick shots and playing as though avoiding getting hit was their No. 1 priority.
Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin continued to treat passes like a matador allowing a bull to pass, and Rich Peverley’s line … well, what more can be said about the Bruins’ black hole known as the third line? Peverley did well to help Lucic break his scoring slump against Toronto last week, but the veteran forward can’t emerge from his own doldrums. It doesn’t help that with Jordan Caron and Jay Pandolfo skating on Peverley’s wing that line looks like it’s skating backwards.
Chiarelli is never one to panic. A listless loss against a Flyers team that’s just about ready to start playing out the string isn’t going force him to deal a core player. Even Boston’s 2-4-1 stretch that’s featured a vacation by most of the club’s top scorers (the 6-5 loss to the Canadiens aside) isn’t what Chiarelli’s going to use for a frame of reference as the clock ticks toward the trade deadline Wednesday.
However, here’s what the Bruins’ recent lackluster play should do to change Chiarelli’s mind a little bit about going all in. Based on what he was giving up for Iginla, Chiarelli was in the right to try to make that deal. It was a nice package; not something the Bruins would probably cry over in the years ahead, especially if they re-signed Iginla.
Prices are still high and Chiarelli can overpay for a secondary acquisition, or really mortgage the future and/or deal a core player to make a big splash. Will it be enough? Based on the last several weeks the Bruins need another scorer and another top-four defenseman. They’re not going to get both without truly committing to anteing up. Even then, there are no sure things.
I’m not ready to say the Bruins are in a different class than the rest of the legitimate Stanley Cup contenders in the league. We’ve seen this group play too great together in stretches both in ’11 and even in the ’11-12 season.
Every group has its expiration date, though, and you have to wonder if the Bruins’ best days are ahead of them with a team built around Seguin, Tuukka Rask, Dougie Hamilton and others.
Chiarelli can’t admit it, but the franchise might be wise to value the future over the present, that is, unless the players currently in the sweaters send a different message to the front office.
Matt Kalman covers the Bruins for CBSBoston.com and also contributes coverage to NHL.com and several other media outlets. Follow him on Twitter @TheBruinsBlog.