The Epic Disappointment
There is no other way to slice this. You can’t make it sound better than it is. The Bruins choked in the playoffs versus the hated Habs. This Bruins team was the best team in the NHL during the regular season including an absolute tear of wins during the month of March. The B’s went on to clinch the President’s Trophy with ease strolling into the playoffs knowing any Game 7 would have to go through the Garden. They even had three trophy finalists, Rask for best goalies, Chara for best defender, and Bergeron for best two-way forward. They had almost everything in the regular season go their way. The one negative was that they lost a veteran defenseman Denis Seidenberg to an ACL injury early in the season, but all of the late season successes made people forget about his absence. The Bruins rolled into the postseason with the expectation of at least reaching the Stanley Cup Final for a second straight year. All the pressure was on to get the job done, but with a great group of core vets nobody doubted them.
The Bruins gave fans a quick scare the first game in the playoffs after losing to Detroit in Game 1. But of course, they negated all those negative thoughts by controlling the next four games and disposing of the Red Wings in 5 looking like they were ready to steamroll through the playoffs.
That all came crashing down last night when the Montréal Canadiens came into Boston for a Game 7 and beat the Bruins down. Nobody could’ve seen this coming. Yes, much respect to Montreal. They are a great team. But this Bruins team was something else this year. Nobody knows what it is about the Habs, but they bring out the worst in the Bruins. Throughout this seven game series, it felt like the Bruins won only two games. That’s how the series played out. The Canadiens controlled the puck, the pace, and everything pretty much all series. The Bruins never really seemed to settle into their style of hockey except for Game 5, when you actually thought that they could pull this off. Many people are proclaiming Carey Price the hero in this series, but in all honesty, the Bruins made this guy’s job rather easy. He never faced consistent pressure throughout a whole game. The Bruins didn’t get off many good looks. Many of their goals were tip-ins and weird bounces. Nothing came easy to them this series. Against Detroit, the offense flowed with tape to tape passes while versus Montréal; it was a struggle to keep it in the offensive zone.
While the Habs did a great job of getting Boston not to play their style hockey, the Bruins had many unforced errors that could’ve led to a whole different series. How many posts did the Bruins hit this series? 8-10 or somewhere in there. That is 8 to 10 shots that missed by inches of being goals. 8 to 10 goals leads to at least two or three more wins, which means you win this series. That is on the Bruins and no one else. They are professional hockey players that need to have pinpoint accuracy and sadly didn’t throughout this series.
The biggest thing that the Bruins didn’t do this series was show up. This applies to most of the team. The exceptions, in my opinion, are Soderberg (positive things happened whenever he was out there), Dougie Hamilton and Torey Krug (both are young and had solid series compared to the rest), and last Patrice Bergeron (he didn’t have the point production, but one could look at Marchand on that one. Overall Bergy just does all the little things that make him always a contributor). Everyone else left something to be desired out there. The KIL line (Krejci, Lucic and Iginla) was easily the most disappointing with no production coming from them. Brad Marchand was a no show all playoffs as his playoff scoring drought continues into next season at twenty games. Zdeno Chara was either hurt most of the series or he aged twenty years in two weeks. By the end of the series, he seemed like a shell of himself. Tuukka Rask wasn’t horrible, but he certainly didn’t look like a Vezina Trophy Finalist. It was just amazing to see all of these veterans struggle to play their game and seem so uncomfortable out on the ice.
The positives to take out of this series though are the fact that Hamilton, Krug and Miller look like they will be a big part of future playoff runs for this team. Same can be said with Soderberg, who is easily one of my favorites on the team. A lot of positive things happen when Carl is on the ice. The biggest positive though is the core of the Boston Bruins is still in their prime so for the next 4-5 years the Bruins should be contending for a cup. It’s just sad to see all of these experienced veterans play the way they did.
Whatever the case, the Bruins deserved to lose this series. They did not play their best hockey and failed to meet the high expectations set. That is the most disappointing part about this team. The talent was there for them to win it all and they could not do it. As Boston sports fans, we all know what it feels like to blow it when you are the favorite (2007 Patriots) and it just hurts. At least last season the Bruins lost to a Blackhawks team that was maybe more talented and played better than you. This season the B’s lost to a team that didn’t have the talent they did and to top it all off it was the most hated rival. The disappointment level is too much to even describe. This season will forever be remembered as the team that didn’t get the job done. The Division Championship didn’t mean a thing. The players that were award finalists didn’t mean a thing. The President’s Trophy didn’t mean a thing. The Bruins need to learn from this series. There may need to be some minor tweaks to the team or maybe none at all. The B’s still have the solid core of guys that will have them contending next season. The key is not letting what happened this season ever happen again. These core veterans need to come back hungry with a chip on their shoulder for blowing this. The best way to make up for this immense disappointment is to come back next season and win it all. The new playoff format means that we will have to get past the Canadiens next season to do it. I fully expect a Montreal-Boston showdown next May and cannot wait for it. The Bruins need to come back feistier than ever and grow from the mistakes. The championship window for this team is at least another four-five years so they are still contenders. Now, just get the job done in 2015! Go Bruins!!!!