By James Galvin
The Boston Bruins in recent years have become relevant again when it comes to competing for a Stanley Cup Championship. In fact, they won the Stanley Cup in 2011, and went to the finals again in 2013. However, this year, something isn’t quite right.
It’s hard to find a specific problem with this Bruins team, as it essentially consists of the same players that have had Cup success in the past. Boston still has the same goaltender Tuukka Rask, same Captain Zdeno Chara, and the same playmaking centers in Patrice Bergeron & David Krejci. So what’s the problem?
The Boston Bruins currently sit in the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. They hold a three point lead over the Florida Panthers and a four point lead over the Philadelphia Flyers. With 23 games left on the schedule, there’s plenty of time left for the Bruins to move up or to slide down.
History shows that with this group the Bruins should be sitting higher in the standings, and shouldn’t have to worry about border teams like the Panthers and Flyers. What’s changed? One word: consistency.
The Bruins simply have not been consistent this year. Players aren’t performing to their potential at a consistent rate. Bruins such as Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand, Reilly Smith, and Dennis Seidenberg aren’t ‘getting it done.’ The question is why. My answer: lack of fear.
A lot of the players under contract for the Bruins are all signed to long term deals. In essence, they have got their money and they have a spot on the team for multiple years. So if they have a down year (like many players are), there is no consequence. The Bruins organization needs to place fear into its players, and use it to motivate them on a more consistent basis.
Luckily for the Bruins, the March 2 trade deadline is coming up. It is the perfect time for the Bruins to trade away long-term guys such as Seidenberg or Marchand.
Fans might not want to part ways with their favorite players, but it is necessary for the fear to be put back into players. Imagine what it would do for Bruins players if Milan Lucic was traded away for bad performances. It would surely kick the players into gear, and have them leaving it all on the ice every night.
There is still enough time for the Bruins to make a playoff run. Coming off of a 6-2 dominating victory over the Blackhawks, there is no time like the present to add fear into the equation, motivate these players, and bring in some new faces. It’s not panic time yet Bruins fans, but it will be if some of these favorite faces are still on the roster after March 2.
James Galvin is a Comment Staff writer.