Yahoo Contributor Network
This article was created on the Yahoo Contributor Network, where users like you are published on Yahoo every day. Learn more »Yahoo Contributor Network
Where Are the Big Bad Bruins: A Fan’s Take
In July 1979, President Jimmy Carter delivered a speech that has come to be known as the malaise speech, even though the transcript shows not a single actual use of the word. The speech asked his fellow Americans to consider a crisis of confidence sweeping the nation. It also requested that Americans conserve energy—hey, it was 1979—but that's not the point here. Really, the point is that the malaise speech sparked some change, followed three days later by Carter accepting the resignations of five of his Cabinet members (after requesting resignations from all of them), and that it's become known as a turning point of sorts in those tumultuous times.
I use this reference only because it seems like it's high time someone gave a malaise speech to the Boston Bruins and at least tried to shake them out of their complacency.
Remember back in November and December when the Bruins would win games by at least six goals? Maybe even eight? If they didn't win by such wide margins, they asserted their physical dominance; they weren't afraid to hit, finish their checks, take possession, fight and embody the name of the Big Bad Bruins. For the entire month of November 2011, they lost only one game, and that was in a shootout against the powerhouse Detroit Red Wings. December was a pretty stellar month too.
January had its promises, like the 9-0 win against the Calgary Flames, but then something happened. Maybe a few somethings. The Bruins changed. The last time they were able to pull out two wins in a row was against the Winnipeg Jets and then the Montreal Canadiens on Jan. 10 and 12. It has been more than a month since the Bruins were able to place two consecutive Ws on the scoresheet. While that is not as intensely worrisome as the recently-snapped nine-game losing streak embarked upon by the Chicago Blackhawks, for a fan base that expects the best because it has seen the best, it's disheartening.
The Bruins followed those two wins up by losing 4-2 to the Carolina Hurricanes, mired in the basement of the Eastern Conference, a team that would eventually take the entire four-game series. After another loss to a low-ranked team (5-3 against the Tampa Bay Lightning) and a loss to the New York Rangers in the dying seconds of overtime, the Bruins managed a shootout win against the Philadelphia Flyers, but not without allowing Scott Hartnell to score a natural hat trick first. They then proceeded to allow the Washington Capitals' Mathieu Perreault to score a hat trick too in the very next game, a 5-3 loss. (There were wins in this sequence too, against the New Jersey Devils and Florida Panthers, though.)
After winning against the Ottawa Senators thanks in great part to a miraculous blue-line shot by Dennis Seidenberg, the Bs narrowly dropped a decision against the Pittsburgh Penguins, won in a Washington rematch and proceeded to suffer its worst defeat in a few years against the Buffalo Sabres. Again Boston dropped a lead and had to fight for a shootout win against the Nashville Predators, the Rangers shut them out, they dropped a lead and battled to a shootout win against the Canadiens and now the 4-2 loss to the Jets.
In case you weren't counting, their record since those last two consecutive wins is L-W-L-W-L-W-L-W-L-L-W-L-W-L-W-L (counting overtime losses as just losses). Do you see a pattern here? I certainly do. Aside from one two-loss stint, the Bruins are up and down lately more than a seesaw.
It has to stop.
This is not the team we know. This team has strange defensive failings—often by Joe Corvo, although lately no blueliner seems safe; Zdeno Chara was a -2 against Winnipeg and he's the captain—and lets one- and two-goal leads pass them by like a bus instead of holding onto and extending them. This team has seen both its stellar goaltenders perform at less-than-stellar rates lately.This team is afraid to be physical at times, perhaps for fear of supplemental retribution. This team loses some of its best members to injuries caused by players who go completely unpunished for their infractions. This team seems to sometimes realize what's going on, and then maybe pull out a W in the following game, but only to fall back into old patterns soon thereafter.
What is going on? How can it be remedied? Do some personnel changes need to be made? Does the team just need another re-energizing trip to Lake Placid? Does someone need to give a malaise speech? Sure, we're sitting pretty at second in the East with 72 points at this very moment, but Ottawa is nipping at our heels and would probably love a taste of being slotted just behind the Rangers.
Something's gotta give—and fast—because these are not the Bruins that we fans know and love.
Note: This article was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Sign up here to start publishing your own sports content.