It’s no secret that the Boston Bruins have been wildly inconsistent. There seems to be something missing with the team, something off. Coming into the season they were marked by many as a bubble team. A team whose playoff hopes would come down to the last few days of the season, and they are headed in that direction. It seems a though they have lost their identity.
The biggest problem with the Bruins this year is the way they approach games. They haven’t always started off with enough intensity. It’s almost like they aren’t ready to play. Games against the Avalanche (12/8) and the Devils (1/2) were ones where the Bruins came out sluggish and stayed that way throughout the entirety of the game.
The team has shown time and time again this season that they aren’t motivated. They have given up the first goal in 16 of 40 games. They have also given up the first two goals in ten of 40 games. That stat is unacceptable.
Bruins fans know the team isn’t a Stanley Cup contender at the moment, in fact, they are far from it. That doesn’t mean you get a pass for not showing up. Looking at the team, Bruins fans realize they have to be patient because the team is young, but when you see the lack of effort that has been shown countless times, they know that’s where the problem lies. It’s unacceptable.
Some can make excuses for B's abt youth in lineup & that they clearly have holes on roster. But far too many no-shows like tonight in Jersey
— Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) January 3, 2017
The team’s poor start to games has been frustrating throughout the first half of the season but so has their lack of production.
Lack of Production From Star Players
The stars aren’t getting it done. Players like Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand haven’t been able to get into a rhythm. Bergeron has totaled just seven goals and five helpers for a total of 12 points to date. The heart and soul of the team, Bergeron hasn’t looked right up to the mid-point of the season. His linemate, Brad Marchand, has looked just as poor totaling 10 goals and 21 helpers for 31 points after scoring 37 goals a year ago. He was paid to be the goal-scorer and he hasn’t done that yet.
The duo who were electric in the World Cup back in September, look like completely different players at the moment. The same can be said about longtime center David Krejci who has had his fair share of struggles this year. Coming off hip surgery in the offseason, Krejci, was determined to get back into form.
Krejci has yet to find his stride on the second line playing with David Backes and Ryan Spooner. The 30-year-old center has put up 24 points for the Bruins but is a minus- 7 which is alarming considering he has been a plus player the past four years and has been considered a top center in the league. He hasn’t looked like himself and that’s a problem if you’re the Bruins.
Goal-scoring has been a rarity but when the B’s do find themselves leading late in games the outcome isn’t always the best. They have allowed 34 goals in the third period, the most allowed of any of the three periods. This is also unacceptable. Head coach Claude Julien has always been a head coach that demands solid defensive play from the top line to the bottom line and he’s not getting that this year.
There have been many factors contributing to the Bruins struggles this season. Whether it has been the lack of effort, star players not producing or falling apart late in games it has all come together to make for a frustrating team to watch.
Julien is the Problem
When you’re allowing 34 goals in the final period of play, when the game matters, you aren’t going to win.
During the Julien-era in Boston, he has prided himself on the defensive play of his team sometimes to a fault. This year the team hasn’t been able to close out games and it has led to some difficult losses.
It all boils down to one solution, you have to move on from the coach if you’re the Bruins. It’s been ten seasons and it’s becoming too much. After a while players get comfortable, and the voice that they once heard starts to fade. It’s happening now. The team is getting comfortable and the coach has lost his touch. It’s time for a change in Boston.
Similarities With Barry Trotz
It happened in Nashville just a couple of years ago when the Predators let go of Barry Trotz after 16 seasons. In his last two years, he finished 5th and 6th place in the Central Division and was out the door after the 2013-14 campaign. It was a time when Nashville was coming off seven playoff appearances in eight years and seemed to be on the road to a Stanley Cup championship.
Peter Laviolette took over as head coach in Nashville and brought them back to the postseason in the following two years. Trotz has also benefited from the move with a successful two years in Washington, one that includes a Presidents’ Trophy win last year.
Julien has been a terrific coach during his tenure in Boston, no one is denying that. Bringing the team from the basement of the NHL to a Stanley Cup Championship in 2011, and another Finals appearance in 2013. There comes a time when the coach loses his locker room and that is what seems to be happening with the Bruins’ bench boss.