Boston Bruins: Hardest season ever to win the Stanley Cup

Boston Bruins (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Boston Bruins (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

The Boston Bruins are up against it to win the Stanley Cup this season.

There’s no sugar-coating that if the Boston Bruins are to win the Stanley Cup this season, they’ll endure the hardest path ever taken to the coveted trophy.

First up, historically in the Original Six era, a third of the teams in the league qualified for the playoffs. We’re now in an era where you’re only just over a fifty percent chance of qualifying.

This year that trend will be bucked as the greatest number of teams ever compete; in fact, you’re more likely to be in the Stanley Cup Playoffs than out of them this season, with only 7 teams missing out. That, in itself, will make this season’s run more challenging than any year previous.

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Far beyond just the numbers game though is the fact that all of the usual advantages of being the President’s Trophy winning team are moot. Home ice advantage won’t likely be a thing in this season’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, at least it certainly won’t be for the Boston Bruins.

What’s more, even playing in an empty arena presents a huge challenge. Whether or not the players gain much from the noise and atmosphere in the building is hard to measure. However, it’s hard to fathom it not impacting them somehow playing to an audience of empty seats.

Not only that, by very nature of playing in hub cities and an empty rink, the players are going to likely be isolating themselves from family and friends. To win the Cup, you’re talking about sacrificing at least a month of contact with your family; that in itself is going to be a huge challenge to oversome.

Players are going to enter this post-season with less than 82 games behind them in the regular season; that, in a normal year, might be seen as a blessing in disguise. This year, it’s going to actually prove quite the challenge as nobody has seen competitive action since the league was suspended on March 12th; almost three months ago.

The Boston Bruins may well face a steeper climb than most; their first three games back are somewhat meaningless in comparison to the games played by the team they’ll face in the first round.

Both the Toronto Maple Leafs and Columbus Blue Jackets will be playing for their Stanley Cup Playoff lives in their opening five fixtures of the post-season, whenever that is. The Boston Bruins will be playing a tournament to determine seedings, which is far less likely to be played at the same intensity.

Let’s also not forget that the relative age of the Boston Bruins roster could be a negative, especially when it comes down to getting up to speed and in peak physical condition for the rigours of a post-season played with very little lead-in.

There’s no doubting that guys like Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron will be fighting fit and ready to go by the time we have a start date, but are they going to be a step behind the young bucks they’ll potentially face in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

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Rest assured, this playoff season will be unlike any other and these hurdles are all ones to overcome if the Boston Bruins are to lift the Stanley Cup this summer. If they do, yes, there might be an astreisk by their name, but it will be one for having faced the hardest challenges.