The Boston Bruins are struggling. The inconsistency that plagued the Bruins at the start of the season has remained an issue, causing the B’s to drop ten of their last 15 games. They’ve lost what was at one time a somewhat comfortable spot in the standings, and are now at risk of being booted out of playoff contention unless things turn around. It’s not a comfortable time for Boston.
People are angry. For a while now, the fans and media alike have been crying out for change. Perhaps the B’s need to make a trade or two. Perhaps they need to move on from Claude Julien. Perhaps they need to overhaul the roster as it is and begin planning for the future. One thing is clear, change is coming in Boston.
From Speculation to Conversation
For the most part, talk of change has been mere speculation. There’s been very little public discussion from management regarding any changes the Bruins may make – until now. Prior to Boston’s 4-0 shutout win against Florida, GM Don Sweeney hinted that some changes may be on the horizon if the Bruins can’t pick up their play.
‘Well, I think we’re underwater where we wanted to be,’ Sweeney said, per NESN. ‘I think we’ve left some points on the table, mostly because we haven’t finished at the rate that I think this group is capable of, but that’s to be determined. We’ve got a bit of a hill to climb, and the games at hand are a bit of an issue, so we’ve got to take care of business, starting tonight.’
Where the Bruins Stand
A quick glance at the standings is misleading. The B’s sit in second place in the Atlantic Division with 46 points. However, when you look a little further down, the issue becomes evident – games in hand. The Bruins are two points ahead of the Senators who have four games in hand. They’re two points ahead of the Maple Leafs who have three games in hand. Tampa Bay and Florida are within striking range with a game in hand each, and even Buffalo and Detroit, the bottom-feeders of the Atlantic, are inching closer.
Essentially, Boston’s fate is no longer in their hands, and that’s never a good thing. If the Bruins are to make the playoffs, they’ll need to start winning (which has proven to be an issue of its own), and they’ll need the teams surrounding them to lose. What’s more, the way things are shaping up, both wild card spots in the Eastern Conference could go to Metropolitan Division teams, which means that the B’s would need to finish in the top three of the Atlantic in order to qualify for postseason play.
Waiting to Erupt
It’s easy to see why Sweeney has started talking. The Bruins are on a downward trajectory at the wrong time, and the continuation of this streak could send their playoff chances into a plummet. As it stands, the B’s need to perform like they did against Florida on Saturday if they want to turn their fortunes around. It’s the time of year when teams start streaking – and a win streak for any of the teams surrounding the Bruins in the standings could ruin any chances the B’s have at the postseason.
At the end of the day, they need to hope that some things go right for them – things that they cannot control. And when you resort to hope in professional sports, well, the story doesn’t always end how you’d like it to.
Change is coming in Boston. It will come in one of two forms. Either the team will find life and start winning consistently (this seems unlikely, given what we’ve seen), or the Bruins brass will be forced to make personnel changes.
The ground is shaking. The volcano is swelling. It’s only a matter of time until it erupts.
Cam is a Broadcast Journalism student at the University of Maryland. He’s the Boston Bruins Beat Writer at The Hockey Writers, and is an avid college hockey fan. Find him on Twitter @CamHasbrouck!