The Bruins Are The Real Deal
By Kevin Gesterling | Follow Me on Twitter:
I live in New England and as one would expect most of the talk is about the New England Patriots. Who are now heading to the Super Bowl in two weeks. Meanwhile, there has been another team in New England that has mostly gone under the radar called the Boston Bruins.
I mean sure, it has been well documented here and other Bruins blogs that the team is on fire. But I still feel like they are taking the backseat to the Patriots and to me that isn’t entirely fair.
The Bruins are now on a 16-game points streak meaning that they have gotten at least one point, with twelve of those games ending up as wins. Even more impressive is that during that span they have had 4 sets of back to back games on back to back nights.
The part that sold me on this team, however, is the fact that during the last week and a half they had played Montreal three times in eight days and won them all while giving the Canadiens just one point.
Why is that important? The answer is simple; let’s consider hypothetically that Montreal wins those three games, and Boston gets zero points, instead of being up 18 points on Montreal right now, they would only be up by 7 points on Montreal and Florida, and 8 points on Detroit.
Cause for Optimism
One reason why I am so high on this team right now is that they’ve played Montreal; and have impressively taken care of business. The Bruins now sit comfortably in third in the Atlantic division. And they being trailed by Montreal and Florida by 18 points and Detroit by 19 points. Meaning what exactly? That these teams have to make up 9 wins on the Bruins with time ticking away and the Bruins playing great hockey heading into All-Star weekend this week.
It isn’t just one line contributing to the team either. But rather it is all of the lines, top to bottom from Bergeron to Kuraly. The Bruins are as playing as well as any other Bruins team that I can remember in a long time. It has been a joy to watch. All four lines have contributed either on the score sheet or physically. And it is no surprise that since Krejci and Backes are back and healthy that the Bruins are playing the best hockey we’ve seen in a couple of years here in Boston.
The top two lines have carried this team offensively, and the rest of the lineup is chipping in when needed. There are no holes in the Bruins line up right now, and that is because of skill and shining through, and the Bruins have been fortunate with injuries as of late. I write that last sentence with hesitation because I don’t want to jinx anything. However, I am just doing my job and calling it as I see it. The tweet above really empathizes the point I am making. Just look at how impressive those stats are, it is absurd to have such numbers between line one through four.
New Boss in Town
You may be wondering, how well have the Bruins done since Bruce Cassidy took over on February 7th. 2017? Maybe you aren’t asking that, but you should be because that is where this impressive turn around really started.
The answer is the Bruins have gone 54-28-16 (not including 2-4 in the 2016-2017 playoffs) and have looked much improved throughout the lineup. For the past year now, the Bruins have taken tremendous strides in improving their game and undertook a new more aggressive approach on offense while still maintaining a stable structure on defense.
Certainly, Cassidy is helped by the emergence of young talents such as Jake DeBrusk, Charlie McAvoy, and Danton Heinen. I think he is a better coach for what the Bruins aspire to do moving forward by going younger and faster, his more aggressive style suits what the Bruins need. And this isn’t a knock-on Claude Julien, Julien helped win us a Stanley Cup, and I will be forever grateful for that.
I just do not think Julien is a good coach for teams that want to fuse young talent into their lineup. And that is partly why his days in Boston are over, and I think that has a lot to do with why he is struggling in Montreal right now since they are also a young hockey team (but let’s be honest for a minute the mess in Montreal falls squarely on the GM, he ruined that team with questionable trades and being stubborn with re-signing his own players, such as Markov).
And it is because the Bruins went with Cassidy that I think they have turned into a fun team to watch. While at the same time have been wildly successful to this point. I don’t think anyone after the 2015-2016 season knew what to expect from the Bruins. Especially since the team was seemingly on the decline. The Bruins refused to call it a rebuild. But instead calling it a retooling. But after missing the playoffs two years in a row, perhaps the best thing would have been to call it a partial rebuild. It might have saved them a little trouble when they didn’t push to make the team that much better at the trade deadline. Those years, in reality just to make the playoffs and not go far into the playoffs. But I digress.
Another thing that Cassidy had on his side is that he had coached the Providence Bruins in some capacity. From 2008 to 2016 he was a coach in the system as an assistant from 2008-11; and as a head coach from 2011-15. So he knows the young players on the roster very well. There was not much to learn about the roster. Esxcept outside of possibly players who were brought in via trade or free agency. But the majority of the roster he knew from Providence and possibly in the case of the older players, his days in Washington as the Capitals head coach.
The Bruins just seem like a well-oiled machine that doesn’t appear to have any defects right now. From offense to defense they seem to be clicking, and Tuukka Rask is playing out of his mind right now. The top line of Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak is fun to watch, and they are all contributing to the recent run of success. In reality, though, it has been a team effort, and everyone on the team deserves credit for this current run.
I will end with this; while the Patriots have stolen the limelight from the Bruins because of their Super Bowl run. Do not forget about the Bruins, they are playing great hockey, and they deserve attention during the next two weeks.
The Bruins play 5 games between now and Super Bowl LII starting on Tuesday against the Devils. So go ahead, give them some attention while you wait to see if the Patriots can beat the Eagles. The Bruins are the hottest team in town right now. Yet they feel like the biggest secret in Boston because the radio waves are being dominated by The Patriots.