Boston Bruins: A Much Needed Break


Dec 11, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron (37) has some blood under his nose during the third period against the Chicago Blackhawks at TD Banknorth Garden. The Chicago Blackhawks won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

For the last several years, the holidays have been a festive and joyous time for the Boston Bruins and their devoted legion of fans. Fast forward to the 2014-2015 edition of the Bruins and you would be lucky to find smiles and cheer on the faces of players and their fans. What started off as a slow start has progressed into a season long malaise where goals are scarce and questions about effort and personnel decisions are a constant point of contention for fans and those who cover the team.

Even with the Bruins 3-2 victory last night over the Buffalo Sabres, the overwhelming response was another mediocre performance and noticeable struggles for the team. The victory came following a road trip where the Bruins secured three out of a possible six points, but once again a sour taste was leftover after the Bruins came out and played 20 minutes of some of the most lackadaisical hockey we have seen against the Winnipeg Jets in the first period. This type of play prompted some austere remarks from coach Claude Julien following the game.

“I’m not happy at all with our team the way we’re playing right now because you can look at a lot of players, and a lot of those guys can bring a lot more. A lot of those guys can be better, and until we get that competitiveness and decision-making, better decision-making from some of those guys, we’re going to continue to struggle.”~Claude Julien

As if the lapses in effort were not troubling enough, the Bruins have experienced an inordinate amount of goal reversals called against them, with some calls being downright egregious such as Reilly Smith’s goal disallowed Sunday night. With the Bruins lack of puck luck and an overall inability to score, their proven ability to be resilient has been diminished to a state of fragility.

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More than anyone else, Tuukka Rask could be looking forward to a few days off as the Bruins lack of depth at defense coupled with injuries to Zdeno Chara and Adam McQuaid have led to phases of games where Rask has single handedly kept the score close. On the other hand, the lack of a steady and consistent defensive corps have put Rask’s game under more of a microscope. So much so it seems whenever a bad goal is allowed, the collective criticism comes crashing down on Rask’s shoulders.

The Bruins even have had their yearly Christmas routine of spreading holiday cheer to Boston’s Children’s Hospital disrupted by the mumps outbreak currently spreading through NHL locker rooms. It’s safe to say players, coaches, and management are welcoming this break and time as time is needed to process and comprehend the state this team is currently in.

Whether it’s been being decimated by injuries and poorly timed personnel decisions or veterans underperforming, the Bruins are running out of excuses as they approach the new year. With trade talks running rampant and pressure rising both within the locker room and the front office, the Bruins will have to find a way to stop the bleeding sooner rather than later.