Boston Bruins – Off Season and an Off Start to the Season

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By Henry Bentley

The presenter said in the first game of the season with the Bruins that, “Boston is not even in discussions this season”, which sums up the feeling around the NHL about them.

As it is basically a brand new team, the Bruins still need time to figure out their play. To recap, the Bruins have lost players such as Seguin, Boychuk, Hamilton and Lucic since their Stanley cup win, who were really the face of the Bruins. The critics seem to be going back and forward between head coach Claude Julien and General Manager Don Sweeney to blame for the bad start to the season.

  • Working backwards, there’s bad luck brewing for the Bruins already. Forward Brad Marchand is out with a concussion, new player from the San Jose Sharks Matt Irwin was struggling and has been cut, and Zdeno Chara has been out with an upper body injury but returned in the Lightning game.
  • Although the Bruins lost 4-2 to their second game of the season with the Habs, the Bruins killed the 5 on 3 penalty and played competitively, playing to the end of the game with Bergeron scoring in the final minute. This makes the game watchable, in contrast to the play from the end of last season where the Bruins just looked like they were giving up. The Canadiens’ Goalie Carey Price was making some great saves and former Anaheim Ducks forward Matt Belesky was looking sharp scoring his first goal with the team, but the Bruins had 7 penalties and were guilty of all of them.
  • No shame in losing to the newly great and well-funded Winnipeg Jets, but it was still a bit brutal losing 6-2.

Off season

  • Pre-season – Losses = 3, Wins = 4
  • Jeremy Smith was in contention with Jonas Gustavsson for the backup role behind Rask but Gustavsson got the position and Smith got traded to the AHL Minnesota Wild affiliate, the Iowa Wild. In the Washington Capitals game, Smith let in 2 goals in the last 20 minutes after Rask had stopped 15 shots (letting in no goals) in 40 minutes of play.
  • In the NHL scouting combine Strength and Conditioning coach John Whitesides reiterating that “…the combine is just a snapshot in to the players lives.” The Bruins’ three 2015 first round draft picks failed the team’s conditioning tests. Chara (tallest player in the NHL at 6’9”) normally has the title for number of pullups but this year he got 37 and Trotman got 41.

Charity

  • The Boston Bruins Foundation’s Pan-Mass Challenge – The bike team made its two day, 192-mile journey from Sturbridge to Provincetown on Cape Cod, helping to raise funds in the fight against cancer. For the ninth straight year, their fundraising efforts were supported by a cruise around the Boston Harbor aboard Bay State Cruise Lines’ M/V Provincetown II that raised more than $19,000.
  • Boston Bruins Foundation Golf Tournament – The event, complete with an 18-hole golf scramble, contests, live auction and raffle, raised more than $300,000. The Boston Bruins Foundation also presented Travis Roy (a 20-year-old Roy slid head-first into the boards after University of North Dakota player Mitch Vig avoided Roy’s check. The awkward impact with the boards resulted in Roy cracking his fourth and fifth vertebra and leaving him a quadriplegic.) with a $50,000 donation to his Travis Roy Foundation. This October marks the 20th anniversary of Travis’ accident, and the B’s Foundation paid tribute to Roy during the tournament and thanked him for his dedication to enhancing the lives of individuals with spinal cord injuries and their families.
  • Emotional Liam the fist bump kid documentary – See previous article here – https://icenationuk.com/2015/06/14/liam-the-fist-bump-kid/

Blog

  • A new thing this off season was that draft pick Jake Debrusk made a blog from behind the scenes. See Jake’s blog at the development camp below:

Blog 1 – (http://bruins.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=774640#&navid=BOS-search)

Blog 2 – (http://bruins.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=774761#&navid=BOS-search)

Blog 3 – (http://bruins.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=774811#&navid=BOS-search)

Blog 4 – (http://bruins.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=774974#&navid=BOS-search< /a>)

Blog 5 – (http://bruins.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=775082#&navid=BOS-search)

Blog 6 – (http://bruins.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=775143#&navid=BOS-search)


Coaches and staff

GM – Don Sweeney

  • Back in May, Sweeney spoke of “changes to the transition game and ways of increasing offensive production.” Sweeney said he would not abandon the defense first approach and would be questioning why individuals didn’t score as much last season.
  • He also brought up the important point that the desire to want to win is more important than what size or build you are. He makes a positive connection between how he can help more because he used to be a player.

Head Coach – Claude Julien

  • This season, he’s on pace to surpass old Bruins coach Art Ross in all-time coaching wins with the Bruins. Ross has 387 regular season wins behind the Bruins’ bench, with Julien at 351.
  • Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs and long-time NHL scout Bob Crocker have been named recipients of the 2015 Lester Patrick Trophy for outstanding service to hockey in the United States.

New players

Forwards

  • Matt Beleskey – Anaheim Ducks 2014/2015 season: GP – 65, Goals – 22, Assists – 10
  • Jimmy Hayes – Florida Panthers 2014/2015 season: GP – 72, Goals – 19, Assists – 16
  • Joonas Kemppainen – Karpat Oulu-Finland 2014/2015 season: GP – 59, Goals – 11, Assists – 21
  • Tyler Randall – Providence Bruins AHL 2014/2015 season: GP – 74, Goals – 11, Assists – 9
  • Zac Rinaldo – Philadelphia Flyers 2014/2015 season: GP – 58, Goals – 1, Assists – 5

Defensemen

  • Matt Irwin – San Jose Sharks 2014/2015 season: GP – 53, Goals – 8, Assists – 11
  • Colin Miller – Manchester Monarchs AHL 2014/2015 season: GP – 70, Goals – 19, Assists – 33
  • Joe Morrow – Providence Bruins AHL 2014/2015: GP – 33, Goals – 3, Assists – 9


Old Players

  • The Bruins want to keep their strength and physical type of play, but have traded their physical players. They have however just acquired Rinaldo from the Flyers. I’m sure this will help with their physical play and hopefully he’ll be accepted well at the TD garden.
  • Power house Kevin Miller will hopefully be able to play a full season this time around after having a frustrating year with injuries. His first day as a Bruin was emotional for his family last season, moving them to tears in his first game.
  • Krejci, Kelly and Bergeron are the Alternate captains this year.

Final Words

Taken from Bobby Orr’s autobiography, he says to win you “…have to have the right players in the right spots the right coaching, as well as a bit of luck.” along with “…willing to pay the price to be a champion” and stressing the importance of being “ready”. That wasn’t really the case with the Bruins from last season but let’s hope that changes this time round.

The Bruins seemed to play their game with little fire or passion last season, but then again things were unstable and it never really felt like the right players were in the right lines.

We shall see if the lines are going to be consistent this time around.

See my previous article on the GM change here – https://icenationuk.com/2015/05/29/boston-bruins-new-manager-new-beginning/

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