BOSTON (CBS) — The puck drops on the 2016-17 Boston Bruins Thursday night, as they open the season against the Blue Jackets in Columbus.
After missing the postseason in each of the last two seasons, thanks to late-year collapses, and doing nothing to improve their defensive corps, the expectations are kind of low heading into the new campaign (unless you’re owner Jeremy Jacobs, but more on that in a minute).
In looking at the rest of the Atlantic Division, with Tampa Bay, Florida and Montreal leading the way, 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Adam Jones thinks the Bruins should end their playoff drought this season.
“I think they are probably going to be a playoff team, and that’s a reasonable expectation for the Bruins. Get back into the postseason, get into the dance and see where you go from there,” said Jones.
B’s owner Jeremy Jacobs isn’t just expecting playoff hockey out of his deep, but a “deep run” this postseason. Jones isn’t a fan of those comments, believing it adds unnecessary pressure on a team that is already feeling some heat.
“Want an example of raising the bar too high, or an example of over-selling the product. How about Jeremy Jacobs at media day. Asked about what he expects out of the team, he puts some unnecessary pressure on the team, Cam Neely, and Don Sweeney,” said Jones. “What is the point of doing that? Just stick with ‘it’s postseason or bust.’ You expect a deep run? The goal is a Stanley Cup, that should be the goal every year. But the expectation should be getting back into the dance. That’s it.
“Does that mean if they don’t go on a deep run, heads are going to roll? Whether that’s players getting traded, the coach, the GM, the president? That just ratchets up the pressure on all of them and the heat on every single one of them. They are all on the hot seat, or they should be, but this just adds to it,” he said.
“My expectation: I think they’re the fourth-best team in their division, so they’re a wild card team,” said Jones. “But I’m not sitting here telling you a deep run. If that happens, it happens. But don’t make that the expectation.”
Boston will be without their best player on Thursday night, with Patrice Bergeron reportedly nursing an ankle injury. But if it’s something that sidelines Bergeron long-term, Jones said we can all forget about the mid-April hockey in Boston.
“It sounds like he may miss just the opener, or maybe at worst, the road trip. You can weather that storm to start the year, not that you’d want to do that,” he said. “But if he’s out long-term, forget about it. They aren’t making the playoffs, let alone your deep run.”
The New England Hockey Journal’s Andy Merritt joined The Adam Jones Show to discuss the 2016-17 Bruins season, and gave a bold prediction when it comes to Jimmy Hayes:
Tune in to Thursday night’s season opener on 98.5 The Sports Hub — the flagship station of the Boston Bruins. Pregame coverage with Dave Goucher and Bob Beers begins at 6:30pm!