Kalman: Bruins Hope Playoff Book Has Better Ending
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BOSTON (CBS) – In case the fact that Boston Bruins players and their coach repeated the phrase at least a dozen times in the postgame dressing room Sunday didn’t get it through your head, the Bruins want to “turn the page” when they open the playoffs Wednesday against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
And who could blame them? After all, the Bruins’ 2013 book has been an ugly read in the second half. Boston might do better to close that book and open a new one, rather than turning pages.
With a 3-2 loss in the regular-season finale against the Ottawa Senators at TD Garden, the Bruins failed to win the Northeast Division, dropped to fourth in the Eastern Conference and will now face the Leafs. The Bruins stumbled to the finish line at a 2-5-2 clip and failed to score more than two goals in eight of those games – with an empty-net goal for their third score in that one game.
But, they’re in the playoffs, so the Bruins will just cue up a Bob Seger tune and “Turn the Page.”
“Well, that’s the biggest thing, you turn the page, it’s a brand-new season and you’ve got to get excited about it,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “That’s what I told the guys after the game, we just need to get excited about the opportunity that we have here and that’s what we plan on doing. Again, it’s a privilege to be in the playoffs. I know we’ve made the playoffs for quite a few years here, but there’s a team, for example, in Philadelphia that prides itself big time in hockey and they’re not in the playoffs right now. There’s a lot of teams that are not in the playoffs this year that are extremely disappointed. We’re in it. So, let’s be happy about being in it and let’s take advantage of the chance that we’re being given right now.”
Center David Krejci said, “So we have to turn the page. I don’t know if we’re playing Wednesday or Thursday, but we’ve got to regroup and get ready.”
There’s not much to like about the way the Bruins have played. They might not have put together a solid 60-minute effort since Opening Night, despite their 17-3-3 start. They were 11-11-3 after that, and not much went right either scoring or in their own end. The goaltending of Tuukka Rask has been the club’s only saving grace.
Unfortunately, the Bruins have the right idea about turning the page. But they didn’t sound very enthusiastic about doing that. Maybe they’re as afraid of paper cuts as they are about paying the price on the forecheck and in the dirty areas of the offensive zone. There was also a lot of talk about hope. Hope doesn’t win playoff series. Grit and determination do.
The Bruins have a couple days to find some strength to write a chapter worth reading against Toronto. Otherwise, they’ll next open their book at the outset of the 2013-14 season.
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.