Saturday, May 15, 2010

What's Next: Boston Bruins 2010

They were up three games to none. They were up three goals to none. They had their superstar back. However, with all of that-- the Boston Bruins still fell to the Philadelphia Flyers. Now, it's time to see what happen and why this team couldn't find that killer instinct that was needed in order to not let something like this happen again. Though, I do believe there could be some changes in order to finally hit the crescendo they need to get to.

One order of business is how to deal with the goaltending. Obviously, Tuukka Rask proved his worth during the season and then in the playoffs. However, do the Bruins want to have Tim Thomas as the $5M back-up?? While it's nice to have the option of Thomas should Rask hit a sophomore slump, the money that he takes up is a little much and could probably be used to go elsewhere. The issue with trading Thomas away is that there's more inexperience behind Rask on the depth chart. Yet, there are plenty of inexpensive back-ups out there who have been know to take over a bulk of starts if they need to.

Zdeno Chara's consistency off his Norris Trophy win last year showed up again, as he lead the team in plus/minus, which was not hard for a team that wasn't good at all with the plus/minus side of things. The play of Johnny Boychuk probably got him a decent sized contract and a full year in the NHL next year; while Dennis Wideman was alright in the offensive side of things, but couldn't play well enough in his own end to get more acknowledgment. Both Andrew Ference and Matt Hunwick did well defensively or offensively, combining for a minus-23 for the year. The defense was one of the things that could have prevented a collapse, had they played a little tighter; but there's a lot summer to figure it out.

The Bruins didn't show much of an offensive punch, as could be seen by Patrice Bergeron's team-leading 52 points on the year and only Marco Sturm with over 20 goals. While Miro Satan showed some kind of punch in the post-season, the question whether to retain him or not will be bounced around, as Satan hasn't been known for his prowess on a long-term deal. Blake Wheeler and Dan Paille will be priority to get re-signed over someone like Mark Recchi and Steve Begin, both UFAs and luckily seeing Recchi going into retirement. While Wheeler was expected to do much more, he'll be looked at for secondary scoring for the next season. With Marc Savard back healthy again, he should be able to get some offense rolling again at 100%, even though he'd need to get some help from his supporting cast in the process.

There's going to be some kind of questions on what will happen with Claude Julien, especially after this collapse, but I don't think Peter Chiarelli is going to be that knee-jerk about it and may keep Julien around, even though it could be on a shorter leash and depend on their start. Of course, their barely getting into the playoffs could have more to do about the lack of offense than anything else. There's going to have be vast adjustments to make sure that a slow start, then barely getting into the second season, and then blowing a 3-0 series lead won't happen again. Although, it may not involve major changes in personnel, but change in personality.

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