By Kevin Flanagan
BSD Bruins Senior Staff Writer
This just in, the 2019-20 Boston Bruins are an upper-echelon NHL club. They have earned points in the 11 of the 12 games they played in October, with their only blemish coming against a very talented Avalanche team in Colorado, in which video review overturned a possible two goals by the Black and Gold.
I will bite my tongue when it comes to the farcical nature that technology is used throughout North American sports in this space…at least for now.
B’s bench boss Bruce Cassidy’s club playing at a surreal level – currently sitting second in the league in points with 20, just behind the Washington Capitals who have 21 and played two more games – and anyone with any hockey sense that would question the preeminence of his top trio of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak, simply should give up watching the greatest game ever invented and start watching backgammon.
Unlike the boys of summer across town who capitalized on their championship opportunity in their prior season and then proceeded to knock themselves silly with their continuous patting of their own backs as spring training began last February. The man the players call Butch turned the page from day one and challenged his team to do the same.
And it certainly seems like they have. Although the way that Zdeno Chara sent Oskar Sundqvist a not so friendly reminder that the Bruins captain hasn’t forgotten the cheap shot the Blues forward laid on Matt Grzelcyk in the waning minutes of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final last spring – and essentially ended the Charlestown native’s season – shows that there is a chip on the shoulders of those most believe squandered what should have been the second hoisting of the most coveted chalice in sports by this impressive core at TD Garden late last spring.
The scoring line alone from #’s 37, 63, and 88 in their first dozen games this season is enough for any Bruins fan to reach for the Tums Chewables when that look at the tumble their favorite hockey team took in Game 7 last year against an obviously beatable Blues team last June.
The B’s top forwards currently account for 57 of their club’s 110 points scored. While both Pastrnak (2 points per game) and Marchand (1.8 PPG) are sufficiently carrying their weight – tongue inserted firmly in cheek – the best two-way center in hockey Bergeron has limped along at a mere one point per game pace.
Lord Stanley have mercy.
Nevertheless, for as well as this team is playing, you have to think that in an honest moment with likely a Vitamin water in his hand if he was in the mood to let loose, a guy like Chara has to look back and think what could have been if the Bruins top players were firing on even three-quarters of all cylinders against the Cinderella St. Louis squad.
Regular season runs are nice and fans of the Black and Gold have every reason to feel good about their team as October turns to November. But there will always be a “what if” associated with this largely recycled Bruins team if they can’t find a way to make it back to the NHL’s biggest dance next spring and find redemption.
And that is a daunting task for any team, never mind one who just months ago had the Cup in their own building and watched it slip away to a team that most would agree they should have summarily sent packing.