By Kevin Flanagan
BSD Bruins Senior Staff Writer
The sky might not be falling on the Bruins who at 5-1-1 find themselves only two points behind the Atlantic Division leading Buffalo Sabres with a game in hand. However, anyone who does not recognize the ominous storm clouds that are gathering on the horizon for head coach Bruce Cassidy’s club is simply fooling themselves.
Following the 4-3 shootout loss at the TD Garden to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night, the reigning NHL Coach of the Year wasn’t exactly happy.
“Well, we win the game, right, tonight, if we get secondary scoring from anybody. I think we’re stating the obvious saying that. Having said that, our record is pretty good without it, but I don’t think it’s sustainable,” said the B’s bench boss who is justifiably concerned that seemingly the nine other forwards who aren’t named Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand or David Pastrnak couldn’t put a puck into Boston Harbor right now if their lives depended on it.
The fact is, 14 of the team’s 19 goals have come from their first line and of those tallies, exactly half (7) have come on the power play. No matter how heavily tinted your Black and Gold glasses may be, that is not something that speaks towards long-term success for a club that is looked upon as a serious contender to once again represent the Eastern Conference in the Stanley Cup Final come next spring.
And to add insult to injury – pun intended – David Krejci is on the shelf with an upper body injury and Bergeron missed practice on Friday and is considered a game time decision when the Bruins face off against the Leafs in Toronto on Saturday night.
Does anyone know what the pig-Latin term for chronic groin injury is? If so, please share with the class, because this is something that undoubtedly will dog Bergeron for the rest of his career.
The trumped up depth that the Bruins where supposed to have throughout their organization is looking more like an optimistic fable than a sobering fact. Other that Jake DeBrusk – who is more streaky than store brand window cleaner – there hasn’t been another prospect that has come close to showing that they can develop into a top six forward in the NHL, never mind be a contributor to a true Cup contender.
Granted, the 82-game schedule that teams play before the real season begins in April is nothing more than a meaningless meat grinder for those who have a real chance to win it all come June.
(If you don’t believe me, reference the defending Cup Champion St. Louis Blues who were in line to be awarded the number one pick in the draft after January 1st last season.)
Yet still just months after dropping Game 7 at home to the decided underdog, the same reason that there wasn’t a duck boat parade last June in Boston is the same reason there is more than a reasonable concern for the team that calls Causeway Street home.
No matter how talented they may be, any top trio in the league will eventually be shutdown if the opposition doesn’t respect the other three lines you roll out on a nightly basis.
Just ask general manager Don Sweeney and team president Cam Neely to show you the number of rings they won as players. Other than a couple of wedding bands, they won’t be able to produce any.
That will be the case yet again for this current Bruins team until they add secondary scoring, plain and simple.