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Was Winning the Cup the Worst Thing to Happen to the Bruins?

Bear with me for a second (Bear …. get it?). Obviously winning the Cup in 2011 was amazing. And seeing the Bruins back in the playoffs made us all miss playoff hockey that much more. It’s the best, period.

But did winning in 2011 make the Bruins lose their mind, so to speak?

Think about it. After the parade ended, everyone got a contract extension. I mean, everyone. Milan Lucic.  Chris f—ing Kelly. David Krejci. Tuukka Rask. Tyler Seguin. You name it, and they got some security.

Well, all except guys that probably SHOULD have gotten one. Johnny Boychuk comes to mind. In the attempt to keep the band together for a solid, multi-year run the Bruins were, as it turns out, really, really shortsighted.

Then, to top it all off, the Bruins made another Final in 2013 and won a President’s Trophy in 2014. Which REALLY made them go off the rails. Trading Seguin. NOT taking advantage of a wealth of cap space, unless you count Wade Redden and Andrej Meszaros., And that’s not even getting into the Jarome Iginla deal, which can be summed up nicely here:

“The bonuses on Iginla’s one-year deal that spilled over to the 2014-15 payroll. Because of his 30 goals and 31 assists in 2013-14, Boston is adding $4.2 million to its collective cap hit.”

$4 MILLION DOLLARS. Think that could have gone to, oh, I don’t know, anyone else? Dougie Hamilton, maybe?

Anyway, the point is, after hearing owner Jeremy Jacobs’ comments earlier in the week about Claude Julien, it got me thinking about the affect a championship has on an organization.

You can go one of two ways. You could be the Patriots, who could give a damn and move on from players regardless. Or you could be the Bruins, who apparently developed an undying loyalty to those that brought them their first title since 1972.

Don’t believe me? Here’s what Jacobs had to say (emphasis mine) about the removal of Julien:

“My own impression was it was overdue, we were a little late. Maybe I precipitated part of that in having misplaced loyalty in that sense. But it was the right move. I think I had a false sense of loyalty there. I think we gave Claude a lot of leeway. It didn’t produce [at the very end], so it was time to move on.”

Wow. Turns out the Bruins became so blinded by one championship that it became really hard to part with the people responsible when the writing was on the wall for some time. Well, not that hard. After all, Seguin and Boychuk were shown the door pretty quickly after deep playoff runs.

In hindsight, many of the decisions made since June 15, 2011 set this franchise back years. Which is something they’re just now digging out of, with no guarantees they ever really will. After all, Zdeno Chara will be 40, Patrice Bergeron 32, David Krejci is breaking down, and so on. So this core is on its last legs.

Should the Bruins be a bit more cold blooded in the future? It sure looks like they’ll give Bruce Cassidy a chance and see how these prospects pan out. But it will be really interesting to see if, and this is a BIG if, the Bruins win another championship, or hell, even make a deep run, whether they’ve learned their lessons.

After all, loyalty is great. Unless it’s blind, “misplaced” or a “false sense” of loyalty. Then it’s trouble.

 


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Lifelong Bruins fan whose hockey career peaked in high school. Now a hockey dad.


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