Since the dawn of time, Bruins fans have been known for overreacting and being irrational. That trend continued following the Bruins’ second-round exit in the 2020 playoffs. Suddenly, they needed a massive overhaul and to get some big-name players via trade or free agency because they lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning, who went on to win the Stanely Cup. But, what these people neglect to realize are the following: they made it all the way to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final in 2019, won the President’s Trophy for the 2019-20 season, the playoffs were in a bubble, so it was not exactly normal hockey, many of their top players were nursing injuries, and oh yeah, they didn’t have their starting goalie, which just so happens to be the most important and irreplaceable position on a team.
While none of these are valid excuses because every team dealt with the bubble environment and injuries, they are absolutely reasons why we can’t evaluate the Bruins solely on their bubble performance. We should instead look at what they did before that for a more accurate representation. But, that certainly didn’t stop fans from doing the former. Yet, as I detail below, there was no reason for it.
Offseason Complaints About the Bruins
As I alluded to above, Bruins fans spent the majority of the offseason screaming for GM Don Sweeney to sign or trade for big-name players including, but certainly not limited to: Mike Hoffman, Taylor Hall, and Alex Pietrangelo. They needed to get bigger and tougher yet faster and better at scoring. Once Torey Krug left, they immediately needed at least a semi-big name, established defenseman to fill his spot. The young guys down in Providence couldn’t possibly be ready. Kase was terrible. He’d played a whole six regular season games and 11 games in the bubble (without a training camp, mind you, since he missed it due to COVID-19 protocols) and didn’t score. Ritchie was terrible too and needed to be sent to the moon (I’ll admit though, I was guilty of this one too).
Every single time a player got signed, numerous fans took to Twitter to scream and cry about how the Bruins shut their own window and how Sweeney needed to be fired. The “trade Tuukka” crowd was also out in full force because *gasp* he left the bubble because his daughter had a medical emergency. The horror! So suddenly, the Bruins couldn’t count on him to be there, and so they needed a “more reliable” goalie. Many also said he was a terrible goalie who couldn’t win big games because, well, that’s their favorite statement even though it is completely and utterly false, but I digress.
All in all, regardless of what Sweeney did or didn’t do, many fans were mad about it. The sheer number of doomsday scenarios I saw every time something happened was mind-boggling. There were far too many people who thought the Bruins would either miss the playoffs or barely make it. Because, you know, it totally makes sense that a team who just won the President’s Trophy and made it to Game 7 of the Stanely Cup Final the year before needed a massive overhaul to be successful. That’s completely logical!
The Sky Fell When the Season Began
Things only got worse when the season began. Why is that you may ask? Well, the Bruins didn’t score a 5v5 goal for *gasp* three games. Three. Whole. Games. Please refer to the GIFs before for an accurate representation of a large portion of Bruins fans.
I think you get my point now. You’d swear they were playing like the Detroit Red Wings and it was 30 games into the season. But, no, it was three, and the Bruins were actually playing pretty well for the most part. They just couldn’t finish. They were solid defensively though, got outstanding goaltending, and generated a lot of chances. But, they weren’t finding the back of the net.
There Were Reasons For That
For starters, most teams rely heavily on their top line to begin the season, because it’s the one that typically changes the least from year to year. So, they don’t have to build chemistry unlike the others. The Bruins didn’t have that option this year with Pastrnak out due to a hip injury.
On top of that, they had a LOT of new faces in the lineup. In fact, I think there was at least one new guy on every line at one point. So, they all had to build chemistry, and that doesn’t happen overnight in a normal season, much less this one. It was also a very short training camp with no exhibition games. So, they really had no time to get comfortable with each other before the real games started. Last but not least, these lulls just happen. They happen to every team over the course of the season. It just happened to be right at the beginning for the Bruins this time, and for some reason it sent fans into a tailspin.
Fire Sweeney Into The Sun!
As a result of the Bruins offensive woes, people were again calling for Sweeney’s (and Neely’s) job and were lamenting about all the players the Bruins should’ve signed or traded for this offseason. People were convinced the Bruins would be missing the playoffs. They thought the window had slammed shut on this core. Because, you know, that’s a completely logical conclusion to draw after three games without a 5v5 goal (even though they still scored and got three out a possible 6 points out of these games).
But Wait, It Turns Out There Was No Reason For That
Now, here comes the most shocking part of this whole article. It turns out there was absolutely no reason for any of those takes! None at all! Who knew? Oh wait, I and some other logical Bruins fans did.
Once the Bruins scored their first 5v5 goal, the floodgates opened. If people paid attention, they would’ve known that’s what typically happens. In the past four games, they’ve scored ten (!!) 5v5 goals. Their confidence has skyrocketed, and they are playing outstanding hockey. The offense is rolling, and the goaltending and defense remain amazing. They’re playing a complete team game, and the chemistry they’ve already built (and continue to build) is palpable. It’s almost like the conclusions drawn during the offseason were complete overreactions and Sweeney knows what the team needs better than some armchair GMs! Again, who knew?
On a serious note though, I had faith in Sweeney. The whole front office had made it very clear that they were in win-now mode as long as this core was around. They’re determined to get another Cup. So, if they thought sitting tight was best, then I trusted them (and also drew that conclusion on my own). They knew Zboril, Lauzon, and possibly others were ready for the NHL full-time. They knew Ondrej Kase, Nick Ritchie, and Craig Smith would provide them with some much-needed secondary scoring. There was no reason to go out and overpay for a big name player when the ones you have were perfectly fine.
Bruins Fans Will Never Learn or Change
Despite clear proof that these takes were overreactions, I have yet to see the vast majority of these fans admit they were wrong. They either just play it off like they believed they were fine all along, stay silent, or somehow try to find fault with the team as they’re playing now. They’re simply never happy. That’ll never change either. But, I had to point out the absurdity of the takes I was seeing, and why there were no reason for them. Hopefully you enjoyed it, because I probably enjoyed writing this a little too much. As annoying as these people can be, I hope they never change, because it sure is fun to poke fun at them when they’re proven wrong!
-Lydia Murray (@lydia_murray12)
Featured image courtesy of Charles Krupa/AP