Boston Bruins: Is the front office butting heads over Bobby Robbins?


Sep 17, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; Washington Capitals forward

Tom Wilson

(43) fights for the puck with Boston Bruins forward Bobby Robins (64) at 1st Mariner Arena. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

So despite being heavily criticized by Bruins head coach Claude Julien, Ryan Spooner will be on the 23 man roster for the 2014-15 Bruins season. Along with him Matt Fraser and Bobby Robins will also be additions to the roster.

Ever since Robins starting surviving the late camp cuts towards the end of the pre-season, there has been a mixed reaction from Bruins fans on the matter. Some fans are outraged that they want to essentially duplicate Thornton’s presence with another enforcer type player, while others are welcoming to the addition. But with both the addition of the speed and skill of Fraser and Spooner along with Robins.. it begs the question; is the Bruins front office butting heads with each other?

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  • Well let’s take a look at the 2 big things that people keep using as reasons to have Robins on the team.

    (I just want to say quickly; credit for all of this goes directly to: Crazy_Canucklehead from the Bruins/Hockey subreddits.)

    1. Robins is faster than Thornton, so that makes him better.

    This has been the big selling point for Robins that I’ve been hearing through out the Bruins fan base since it  was announced he was going to be on the roster. While he does have better wheels than Thornton, production wise.. he is worse.

    This is Robins’ AHL stats the past 3 seasons:

    Now let’s compare that to Shawn Thornton‘s NHL stats

    If you factor his AHL points into the NHL (using NHL Equivalency) ; 44% of his AHL production is retained when jumping to the NHL. Basically what this means is; in the past 3 seasons compared to Shawn Thornton; Robins would only have recorded just under 5 goals, 11 points, and 16 points in 175 games compared to 28 in 190 from Thornton. Just because Robins seems like a much faster skater compared to Thornton, it doesn’t change the Bruins issue of “lack of skilled depth”. In fact, it makes that issue even worse.

    2. Robins has that hitting/fighting style that we need now with Thornton gone!

    I hate to burst your bubble but we don’t need that. We have players on the team that can fight and hit just as well as Thornton could. Lucic, Siedenberg, Chara, Hamilton, heck even Bergeron has been known to throw out huge hits when he has the chance. Lucic and Chara also drop the gloves and fight when they have to. I know that it would be more  comforting to have someone off the ice for 5 minutes that’s not those two.. but that’s still a problem.

    This is where that question of; “Is management butting heads?” comes into play. Chiarelli said that the Bruins wanted to trend-away from the face puncher style of hockey and focus more on speed and skill. Compare what he said to quotes from Claude Julien and Cam Neely

    "Because, let’s be honest, we’re not rating [Bobby] Robins on his skill level, I think we’re rating him on different things. He’s good enough to play and don’t read through what I’m saying, but that’s not how we rate a guy like him. We’re rating him by his energy and what he can bring and what he can do for our team, and you know, sometimes somebody with more talent may not make it, but he will, so is it bad evaluation? – Claude JulienWell I still believe that we like the physical play which at teams[sic] leads to dropping gloves. I think with the way the game is played… and how physical it is, I still feel it is part of the game – Cam Neely"

    Hey, I see no problem with having a physical skill set on the roster. My problem is sacrificing solid depth forwards like Craig Cunningham and Justin Florek, so we can have a face puncher on the roster. We have a physical skill set on the team, we do not need a PIM eater sitting on the bench. I know Robins can hit, I know Robins can fight and I know that Bruins fans like that; but it’s not going to help. The Bruins have been able to pride themselves on solid depth that can (despite being on the ice against lesser competition than the first and second lines) still cause havoc and score when they have to. Guys like Carl Soderberg, Daniel Paille and pre-injury Chris Kelly are great examples of that kind of depth. Robins is not going to help create offense on the Bottom 6 when he’s constantly in the box from fighting or from borderline hits that he is penalized for.

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    Cunningham would be a perfect addition to the Bottom 6 that would help create depth offense (along with Florek). If you take the same route with comparing Robins’s stats to Thornton’s and do with Cunningham; you get this.

    Cunningham’s NHLe is more than double what Robins brings to the table. I would much rather have more scoring and better possession all through out the bottom 6 in favor of having a replacement for Shawn Thornton.

    If you need even more of a reason against putting in a face puncher.. the Leafs just cut both of theirs from their team in favor of younger, speedy, and skilled depth forwards.