Boston Bruins: Players haven’t gotten the ‘Return To Play’ memo

The Boston Bruins have been incredibly lackluster in their two games thus far since arriving in Toronto. Safe to say, they might’ve missed the memo about returning to play.

Now, we do somewhat expect the Boston Bruins to take a little time to ease back into things, but given we won the President’s Trophy not so many months ago, you’d expect a little more from our first two performances since the ‘Return To Play’ kicked in.

In an exhibition game it’s fair to say you don’t necessarily expect the team to go all-out, so to speak. To hold back on a hit or ease off on that race for an icing is understandable, an injury before the games that count would be disastrous.

That’s a reasonable way to explain away one bad result. That and the Columbus Blue Jackets were certainly using it as more than just a warm-up with their do-or-die series with the Toronto Maple Leafs commencing.

All the same, 4-1 is an ugly scoreline for any team in any fixture. The round-robin tournament may not be do-or-die for the Boston Bruins but they must find their game. With their loss to the Philadelphia Flyers, it’s now two consecutive 4-1 results.

There is a definite need to get the basics right. The Boston Bruins weren’t the best team in the league as some kind of fluke this regular season. We did the basic defensive things right and built out from there.

Obviously, this post-season isn’t ideal, what with David Pastrnak missing days at training camp, Ondrej Kase likewise and Tuukka Rask being injured ahead of the Flyers fixture.

Excuses though only hold the team back and they’ll be seeking to bounce back as best as possible to ensure the best possible seeding for their first round of Stanley Cup Playoffs action.

In the regular season, we were routinely treated to really slick plays, the work of fast hands and clever stick-handling. In the two return fixtures so far, we’ve been trying that and failing. It’s where the thinking of ‘keeping it simple’ needs to be shifted to the forefront of player’s minds.

We don’t need stick-handling wizardry at this stage, we need pucks on net and strong zone clearances; given the age of a lot of our core, we need to start walking again before we run.

Next: What to expect versus the Flyers?

It may take a week or so for the Boston Bruins to be running at full throttle once more and it may well bite us with a harder next round opponent. If that’s the case, we’ll just have to start this play-off season the hard way!

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