We’re just under two weeks into the season for the Boston Bruins, and they are already making me pull my hair out (not that I have much right now).
Maybe I’m just super frustrated at sports in general after Sunday, when my favorite QB on my favorite team broke his collarbone yet again, which basically ruined any chance he’d put the belt on yet again. So yeah football is basically over for me.
The Bruins could have been the salvation on Sunday night, but they ended up being the cherry on top of a wretched sports day, as they put forth little effort in a 3-1 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights and their starting goalie Malcolm Subban. Subban looking like an actual NHL goalie was an added bonus to what was an already pathetic 60 minutes of hockey for Boston.
This Bruins team is absolutely maddening right now. I get that there will be stinkers throughout the season – hell the Penguins lost 10-1 on the second night of the season – but all three of Boston’s losses this year have been embarrassing. Last Monday, the B’s were shutout 4-0 by the Avalanche, who then bludgeoned the Bruins 6-3 on their home rink on Wednesday. And although the score line last night didn’t look as bad, the effort was pretty non-existent for the majority of the evening.
What makes it even worse is that the Bruins have looked so good in their two wins. Granted, one came against the putrid Arizona Coyotes, but they also defeated the defending Western Conference champions the Nashville Predators in convincing fashion on Opening Night.
The B’s looked like a team that would seamlessly be able to mix youthful exuberance and veteran leadership to bring a faster, flashy brand of hockey to Boston for the first time in recent memory during that first game. It was exciting to watch, and what the city and the fans needed to bridge the gap between the disappointment of the Red Sox season ending to the new-look Celtics beginning in late October. That style of play would not only bring eyes to the team but get Boston talking about the B’s and create some new stars (like Jake DeBrusk and his sisters).
But instead we have mostly gotten the total lack of effort that was so prevalent in recent years that it led to the removal of long-time coach Claude Julien. Now I’m not saying that Bruce Cassidy is on the hot seat after five games, but the B’s look like they have reverted back to last season, especially in these losses. When they face adversity, more often than not they buckle instead of rising to the occasion. Once they allowed two goals in a three-minute span on Sunday night, we knew the game was realistically over unless Subban went back to being the clueless, scared goaltender that he was when he was wearing a Bruins jersey. And it was nearly impossible for that to happen, since the B’s never put forth the effort to challenge him until the final minute of play.
I don’t expect the Bruins to win every single game. Records early in the season don’t really matter much. The B’s could have the same 2-3-0 record right now, but the narrative could be totally different if they had tried to compete during those three losses. Instead, we are rejoicing in the fact that the NHL early-season schedule is pretty stretched out, so we don’t have to see another stink bomb for a few days. If more keep happening, there won’t be as many people watching anyway if and when they do get their heads out of their asses and actually look like they are trying night in and night out.
Three Stars of the Week – Can the Bruins please have a week soon where it’s easy to pick out three guys that played well? Pretty please?
Third Star – Anton Khudobin: The backup goalie made 29 saves in his first start of the season, which was the only Boston victory of the week. Khudobin struggled at the beginning of last season, but beat out Subban and Zane McIntyre during the preseason to hold on to the backup spot. He also came up with a gem of a quote after the win over Arizona, stating that “if you win, then you’re on the horse, and if you don’t then you’re under it.”
Second Star – Zdeno Chara: Chara led the way for Boston on Saturday night, notching his first goal of the season while assisting on two others in the 6-2 win. Chara finished the week with a +4 rating even though the B’s were outscored 15-10 in the four games since last Monday. The 40-year-old captain has been one of the bright spots, and there are rumors that the Bruins are planning on re-signing him as his deal expires at the end of the season.
First Star – Brad Marchand: The “Little Ball of Hate” tallied at least one point in each of the three road games last week, striking for a goal and an assist in the first two contests and picking up a helper on the Pastrnak goal late in Sunday’s matchup. Marchand leads the team with six points in five games, has a shorthanded goal and a game-winning goal, and leads the B’s in faceoff wins with a 61.5% success rate. Marchand is one of the few Bruins that have brought a consistent effort to the early season, and has yet to pick up any foolish penalties (though with the Canucks coming to town that could quickly change).
Week Ahead – The Bruins returned home after Sunday’s stinker, and get three days off before starting a four-game home stand. The Bruins play seven of their next eight games on home ice, which will hopefully snap them out of their early season funk. Boston hosts the Vancouver Canucks (1-2-1) on Thursday night, then play divisional foe the Buffalo Sabres (1-4-1) on Saturday evening. Both games start at 7pm and can be seen on NESN (sup Alex Kraemer).
Hopefully next week’s article will be a little more positive after those two games, because I need something to be happy about for the next few months while football season still exists for everyone else (except Browns fans… football season ends Week 1 for them).
Written by: Adam Belue (@albinomamba44)