The Boston Bruins are unlikely to have made many friends at the NHL by calling the round-robin tournament ‘pre-season’.
Realistically, we doubt the Boston Bruins care if they’ve upset the powers-that-be. The round-robin tournament format was never quite going to get the same level of intensity as the teams competing in do-or-die play-in scenarios.
Thus, the Bruins have simply called it how they saw it. It was a pre-season to the players, nothing more, nothing less. Their seeding, it turns out, didn’t really matter to them.
Now, maybe this proves the smartest tactic as they enter the Stanley Cup Playoffs with very little health concerns.
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Compare that to the Tampa Bay Lightning, who played that little bit harder, in the hopes of an easier opponent and have ended up losing key defenseman Victor Hedman to injury.
The Bruins, by comparison gave us three very lacklustre performances and showed a genuine lack of care for winning or losing. They face a Carolina Hurricanes team that they may well have faced in the Conference Final (again!) if they’d remained top seed and all went well.
Of course, it would be renowned trouble-maker Brad Marchand saying to the media that they saw it as ‘pre-season’. That was always bound to get more attention than a guy more widely-respected across the league, like Zdeno Chara or Patrice Bergeron, saying it.
The general consensus is the Boston Bruins will face any of these teams upcoming, regardless of their seeding. It’s possibly a bold move when first place would’ve been the Montreal Canadiens and fourth place is a surging Carolina side.
Maybe it actually turns out to be the right decision and the Bruins have managed to make fools of the NHL. If that’s the case, it’ll all be quite amusing.
If not though and we end up going out to the Hurricanes, you have to wonder whether the players should’ve put just a little more effort into that round-robin tournament and changed their fate.
We’ve said before, this will be the hardest season to win, and we still stand by that. The Boston Bruins may well have lined themselves up for the hardest possible route too.
Time will tell whether they’ve made a smart decision or not.