Wednesday, December 10, 2008


So let me ask you, have you ever had one of those questions that seem to just pop in your head at a time when you’re not even focused on the subject? You know, like when you’re rushing around getting ready for work making sure you have everything you need before you leave (The old … Spectacles, testicles, wallet and watch pat down) when out of nowhere you’re blindsided by the instant memory of your crazy uncle pulling the “Hey kid, pull my finger” trick on you when you were five. That kind of question that you just can’t get out of your head after the initial trigger, like “Why is it that my uncle shit his pants and then proceeded to point and laugh at me?” You know what I mean? Or maybe that’s just me. Damn… maybe I should have thought that one through a bit more before putting it down. Somehow I don’t think coffee helps my thought process.

Anyway, that kind of question popped into my head the other day while heading into work. I was minding my own business, thinking about what I was going to face for the next nine and a half hours, when one simple question started to pinball around upstairs. Should the Bruins even think about tweaking the roster in time for the playoffs? And of course that one simple question nagged at me all night and ended up opening up a slew of other questions that just won’t leave my melon. So now I’m at the point where I have to write about it just to get it out of my head and into yours. Oh, lucky you!

Before we start to tackle the questions (Why is it that there are always questions when it comes to the Bruins? Sorry another question just popped in there for a second.), let’s take a look at just what the Bruins have been doing lately and how they are getting it done during their surge to the top of the East.

The Bruins success can be attributed directly to the fact that they can roll four lines and produce effective puck possession and scoring from each line. The Bruins are the best 5-on-5 team in the league; which allows them the luxury of not having to rely on the power play as their bread and butter. Ranking at #5 the PP isn’t struggling by any means and their PK is holding steady at #8, so special teams for the Bruins are just an added bonus. Coach Julien has his troops committed to the system and the proof is in the pudding (9-1-0 in the last 10 games). Goaltending has been rock solid with both net-minders sporting top 5 spots in both save% and goals against average. Just about every player on the roster is a plus player. What the Bruins bring to the table every night is hard work, discipline, speed, puck possession and firepower topped off with a tough, physical style and that is just too much to handle for opponents.

For the first time in years the Bruins are sitting in the catbird seat and sitting pretty at that. They are so deep at the center position that a player the caliber of Patrice Bergeron sees more time on special teams than anything else and sometimes plays on the wing. Most nights they have a problem getting players like Nokelainen and Sobotka into the lineup. With both goaltenders playing superbly they can afford to let Rask get more playing time in the minors. Injuries, so far, haven’t seemed to hurt the B’s as they haven’t missed a beat since the loss of Ference, Ward and Sturm. In fact with the return of Sturm it poses a question of who do you sit to make room for Sturm? That is a good dilemma to have and the Bruins know it. How many teams would kill to have too much depth?

With all of that said, let’s now get back to the question: Should the Bruins even think about tweaking the roster for the playoffs? My answer is: for the playoffs yes, but for right now “don’t fix what ain’t broken” is the best approach. Even though they took their foot off the pedal in the 2nd half of the game against Tampa Bay, they still managed to win and Julien and the boys know exactly how to correct that “running around” bit they displayed. Right now they are still on top of their game and if I were them I wouldn’t change a thing. That in no way means that I wouldn’t be on the phone to Atlanta to set up a package for Kovalchuk and looking West for another veteran defenseman offering up one or two roster players the likes of Bergeron, Sturm, Kobasew, Nokelainen, Stuart, Hnidy, Ference or Fernandez.

Some Bruins fans may be swearing at me right now for even suggesting that the B’s trade away some of the names I mentioned, but the reality is that the roster is too inexperienced to go far in the playoffs as is. If all you want to accomplish is a first round win, then I guess go with what you have and ride it till it fails. If you want to make a serious run, then you need to go out and get what will put you over the top. The Bruins are so deep that they can afford to move some of the names I mentioned above. It’s only a matter of what you want to call a successful season, a 2nd round loss or the Stanley Cup Finals. Can you picture the impact a player like Kovalchuk would bring? Adding another playoff tested D-man to solidify the backend too risky? What happens if some of these kids hit a wall or wear down? Don’t you think that with a bit of tinkering this team could go the distance?

Did you see what just happened there? Another friggin’ bunch of questions just invaded the space! I guess the questions surrounding the Bruins won’t go away, but at least now the questions are positive which is a sure sign that finally this franchise is on the way back up to the standards it set for itself from the beginning. Maybe I’m just a big softy when it comes to Original Six teams doing well or maybe that’s just me showing my age, either way all the Bruins really need to do is just keep doing what they’ve been doing and be set up and prepared to pull the trigger on deals that will help them in the post-season. There is no need for any of the playoff questions to be answered right now. The Bruins shouldn’t change a thing yet; there is no need to. Right now life is sweet for the B’s, just “let the good times roll” and stay healthy.

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