As the calendar rolls into 2017, it is only natural to look back and reflect on 2016. Some had a successful year, while many others are happy to see the number 16 fall into the past. Overall, it appears 2016 will be remembered as an interesting time that gave off mostly negative vibes.
Unfortunately for Boston Bruin fans, the franchise has not been able to escape the ugliness that was 2016. The team had their fair share of good moments, but the bad thoughts seem to rise to the top of the memory pool much faster. So, in true Boston fashion, we will focus on some of the down moments the Bruins experienced over the calendar year.
The 2015-16 NHL season was not a pretty one for the Bruins. A lot of doubt surrounded the team all year, but it could have been set aside with a good playoff effort. Heading into the final frame of the season, Boston looked to be in great position to make the playoffs and salvage a rough season.
However, it all went sour during the final 12 games. The Bruins managed to lose nine of their last 12. The worst loss came in the final game against the Ottawa Senators at the TD Garden. Boston needed just one point in the contest, and they would make the show.
Instead, the Senators, a team that had made their golfing reservations months prior, torched the Bruins. As a result, the Detroit Red Wings snagged the final playoff spot and the Bruins were sent home. It was a crushing way to end what could have been a decent season.
An NHL season is 82 games long, but the Bruins season was defined by an epic collapse over the course of 12 games. Those final weeks left a bad feeling in the hearts of fans that lingered all the way through the offseason.
The Houda Bomb
After the collapse, all the negative attention turned towards Cam Neely and Don Sweeney. Everyone wanted to know if the front office would elect to move on from head coach Claude Julien. The vast majority of Boston fans felt changes needed to be made and Julien would not be back. Sweeney had changes on his mind, but they did not involve Julien.
Doug Houda, an assistant coach, was fired instead. Houda mainly worked with the defenseman and defense was a major weakness for the team all season. With his firing, it appeared Sweeney was using Houda as a scapegoat for the Bruins’ collapse and missed playoff opportunity.
This move sent out some bad vibrations. Houda was a popular figure for fans and people did not think it was fair for the weight of the collapse to come crashing down on his shoulders. Overall, the move added to the already doubtful mood that was surrounding the Bruins.
Hard Times at Home
You do not have to spend much time in the city of Boston before it becomes very clear there is a lot of pride in the city. To outsiders, it can be incredibly obnoxious, but no one plans on changing their attitude anytime soon. Of course, a lot of this pride stems from the success of Boston’s sports teams.
It is expected that teams within the city do well, especially when they are playing at home. The Bruins struggled to produce wins in their barn in 2016 though. Their final record at the TD Garden in 2016 was 17 wins and 22 losses.
The Bruins record at the Garden has become a major problem and a sad joke. Many fans are starting to pass up on going to games because they do not want to see the team lose. It is certainly something that needs fixing if the team hopes to move forward and get back into the playoffs soon.
New Year, New Memories
The start of a new year is an optimistic period filled with hope and excitement. It is the time to turn things around and leave issues in the past. The Bruins will certainly want to leave all their problems in 2016 and turn over a new leaf in 2017. So, here’s to leaving all the negativity behind and changing for the better in 2017 while the Bruins hope for a return to the playoffs.
Anthony Pagliarulo is a Boston Bruins contributor for The Hockey Writers. He is a Massachusetts native and a Worcester State University alumni. You can follow Anthony on Twitter @APags87.