The Bruins are 31-20-6, good for 68 points and a current 4th place standing in the weak Eastern Conference. If the season ended today they would have home ice (ugh) against the Red Wings, an eminently winnable series. Everything’s good, right?
Look, there weren’t many who thought this was a playoff team heading into the season. Too much turnover, too old/inexperienced on D, too young, etc. And much of that has proven true, especially the defense. Wheeling Kevan Miller out there for 18 minutes a night is no one’s idea of a good time. And how he is a plus-10 on the season is one of life’s great mysteries.
In addition, some of the management/coaching decisions leave you scratching your head. Like why is Colin Miller getting the yo-yo treatment? Sure he’s young, and mistake prone. But so is Kevan Miller. Also, your leading goal scorer (Brad Marchand) gets very little power play time, perhaps a reason why the PP has struggled lately. And your coach hates calling time outs to get settled when the team is under fire.
Yet, through it all …. 4th place in the conference.
How is this possible?
Well, gives thanks to Patrice Bergeron, Marchand, Tuukka Rask, David Krejci and Loui Eriksson for the most part. Those guys are your core, with the possible exception of Eriksson, and have basically lead this team all season. Ryan Spooner has proven pretty valuable, as has Matt Beleskey despite his lack of goal scoring.
So, what to make of this team? And more importantly, what to do with this team this season?
This is obviously a flawed team, one that is likely one round and out in the spring as currently constituted.
But, and this is a big, Vince Wilfork-size but, what if they are able to get some help on defense (and forward)? What if, say, they acquire Cam Atkinson from Columbus or a PA Parenteau from Toronto, plus a Kris Russell or Fedor Tyutin? Is that enough? What if they hang onto Eriksson and go for it (sort of)? I’m of the opinion that it’s OK to lose him for nothing. Cap space is vital now, particularly if recent report are true that the cap could drop by as much as $4 million next year. So why not hang onto him and see how far you can go? You have enough picks (two 1st rounders this year) and some talent in the pipeline, so see what you can do to help the guys that have busted ass for you this year and kept your team afloat.
Then worry about next year in the offseason. Like Eriksson, signing Marchand and Krug, the Chara conundrum, etc.
We all know you’re not beating Washington no matter what. But that shouldn’t stop you from looking at your position in the standings and doing whatever you can to help your team this year, and keeping a close eye on next year as well.
And who knows, what if Holtby gets hurt, what if …. never mind, I need to stop.