Boston Bruins: ‘Bad Luck Bart’, Matt Bartkowski does it again.

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Jan 4, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Matt Bartkowski (43) controls the puck during the first period against the Winnipeg Jets at TD Banknorth Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Bruins fan base is known for its rabid zeal of all things Black and Gold. They are known for their fanatical loyalty for players that have done right by Boston and the city. Social media was filled with outrage over the loss of adopted son Shawn Thornton and for some of us it’s still a sore subject.  If a Bruins player does his best, he’s rewarded by the unending love of the fan base.

The opposite is also very true. While there are still a few hold outs, there aren’t many people wearing Phil Kessel‘s jersey in Boston anymore. There are also fans who won’t wear the Tyler Seguin or even Tim Thomas jerseys they bought ( I have to admit to being one of those people.).  If a player doesn’t give his all, slacks off, doesn’t respect the city or the fan base, or just plain decides not to play anymore, the fan base will express their distaste with passionate aggression.

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One of the players that has earned the ire of the Bruins fan base is defenseman Matt Bartkowski.  By design or bad luck, he’s consistently lowered his stock among a vast majority of the Black and Gold faithful.  He was unable to score a goal during the regular season (on ninety-one shots at net). He took unnecessary penalties during the Montreal Canadiens playoff series.  This was a team that was hands down better than the 2011 team, and they got taken out in the second round (by our ancient rivals) of the playoffs. The fans remembered and grumbled.  (While Brad Marchand had racked up a few moves himself, he had a Stanley Cup’s worth of history and positively credibility that Bartkowski just lacked.)

Bartkowski’s woes have continued. He was the only Bruins player to file for arbitration in the off-season. It’s not often you can put Matt Bartkowski and P.K. Subban on the same page anywhere. Seeing his name next to Subban’s raised the sub-conscious ire of the fan base.  A lot of fans thought it particularly galling for him to take the B’s to arbitration in a very cap ugly period.  Many of us saw the Bruins giving him a sub-million contract or a quick bus ticket out of Beantown. That he rated a $1.25 million dollar contract floored a lot of us.

That $1.25 million dollars could have been better spent. A lot of the fans agree. Had the Bruins just said “Thanks, but no thanks.”, those funds could have gone to shore up a deal that would have secured the services of Torey Krug and Reilly Smith.  Torey Krug still remains unsigned, and his absence only allows Bartkowski a better chance to make the squad full time this year.

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  • Now, ‘Bad Luck Bart’ has done the fan base rotten again. (In his defense, this one wasn’t intentional but an ugly twist of fate.) During the on-ice practice today, David Pastrnak suffered a shoulder injury when he was put into the boards by Bartkowski. Pastrnak left the ice after the hit and didn’t return to practice.  Coach Claude Julien announced that Pasternak had. “tweaked his shoulder”. It is unlikely that Pastrnak will be participating in tomorrow’s Black and Gold scrimmage in Providence because of the injury.

    “I don’t know how serious it’s going to be, but [Pastrnak is] very, very doubtful for tomorrow. I would think if anything he’ll be stiff and we wouldn’t take that chance. But I don’t think it’s anything too, too serious.” Bruins head coach Claude Julien.

    David Pastrnak has the pedigree of David Krejci, and the shot flexibility of Patrice Bergeron.  While I wasn’t initally sure if the eighteen year old Czech had a shot of making the team,  his performance through camp up to this date sold me on him.  He was attempting to earn a slot on this team, and a strong training camp would have likely netter him one of the four spots on the roster for Boston.  With his injury at camp, and his removal from the scrimmage tomorrow his chances have certainly been reduced. They will decrease further if he is unable to put in a performance in the scrimmage against the Canadiens on the twenty-third.

    Bartkowski is burning through his karma so fast, he’s going to need an incense stick the size of the Bunker Hill Memorial to bring it back into balance. As long as Krug is not on the squad, his chances of making the team are still pretty good.  But will the fan base support a player they feel is turning into a black and gold albatross?