By Wayne Whittaker, Boston Bruins Correspondent
Well that was unexpected.
The Boston Bruins sit at 1-3-0 after four games, and are off to their worst regular season start since 2006-2007. The “Stanley Cup Hangover” talk is beginning to look a lot like a self-fulfilling prophecy.
There have been some bright spots, though few and far between. For starters, each loss has been by a one goal margin. Young guns Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin have 4 points each, and are both off to fantastic starts. The goaltending tandem of Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask has been just as solid as one would expect, posting a combined 1.52 GAA and a .952 save percentage.
The problems have been well documented. The power play has been predictably ineffective. There is a sever lack of emotion in Boston’s game, highlighted by their lackluster physical game. Perhaps most troubling is Boston’s inability to string together a full 60 (or sometimes even 40) minute effort.
Coach Claude Julien remains confident his team will turn things around. “I don’t think it’s any reason to panic right now. We’re a good enough team that when we find our game we’re going to win more than we’re going to lose”, Julien commented after the Bruins surrendered two points to the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday.
An obvious challenge for Julien is convincing his team that last year’s accomplishments are a thing of the past, and that players have to start concentrating on the new season. The coach won’t be getting any help from the city of Boston, however.
On Sunday, October 16th, Harvard University will present the Bruins with the Harvard Lampoon ‘Best Sports Team Ever’ award, in a public ceremony in Harvard Square.
The Bruins players will be boarding the Duckboats once again for yet another Stanley Cup fete. I think we get the point. Julien had expressed his hope that last Sunday’s Gillette Stadium celebration would be the last time his hockey club would be on display for last year’s run. Apparently, that’s not the case.
So the reigning Cup champs could be rolling into Harvard Square all smiles and with a 1-4 record. Not exactly a rally cry of desperation.
Obviously, it’s far too early to judge this Bruins team. Luckily for them, Boston fans are showing uncharacteristic patience with this club, something that comes with the territory of a new Stanley Cup banner in the Garden rafters. But this patience will start to wear thin as the month of October rolls on.
Tomorrow night Boston takes on the 2010 Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks. This mathcup is far from an easy confidence booster that the Bruins seem to be waiting for, and if they want to break out of this early season stumble they’ll have to start playing with the same intensity that was on display so often just four months ago.