And the wheels keep coming off the wagon.
First, the players are always accountable and Friday in St. Louis, from goal on out, they were awful. Goaltending, defense, offense, nothing was there and that is all on the players. More on them later.
What bothered me more started Wednesday. After calling up Malcom Subban earlier in the week, every one knew, or thought they knew that he would make his NHL debut against the second worse team in the National Hockey League, the Edmonton Oilers, which would also coincide with giving Tuukka Rask an evening off, something he hasn’t had in what seems like forever. But no, Claude Julien chose to put Rask in net and what was supposed to be crucial two points for the Bruins, turned into one point and a loss, albeit a shootout loss for Rask. Something he is abysmal in and hates them.
Two days later Julien makes the brilliant decision to start the rookie Subban against one of the best teams in the league in their home building. After stopping three meek shots in the first period, the rookie let in a real softie, straight on, from the blue line, nobody in the path, off the glove and falls behind him and the flood gates were open as two more stoppable shots found their way to the back of the net. Three shots, three goals, enter Tuukka Rask. No rest for the weary, although he’s young enough and should not be weary!
Julien’s decision is mind boggling at best. Confidence starts when you have the best goaltending that you can have especially against better teams. To start what I think is the wrong goalie in the wrong games, shows lack of common sense. Earlier this year, Julien seemed to outfox himself when, he decided to play Niklas Svedberg against rival Montreal, because we all know the horrid record Rask has against the Canadiens. That didn’t work out either. Outcome be damned, you play your best against the best, and since Tuukka has been the best Bruin on the ice most of the year, it MUST be Rask to go against the better teams.
This was an important road trip for the Bruins and from beginning to end, it has been a disaster. A no show in Vancouver, a three goal lead dissolved in Calgary resulting in an overtime defeat, a shootout loss in Edmonton, and the blitzkrieg in St. Louis. Adding insult to injury is the fact that David Krejci went down with what looks like a knee injury.
Losers of seven of their last eight and a six game losing streak, and the trading deadline a bit more than a week away, the Bruins are as close to ruins as you can get. The Big Bad Presidents Trophy winning Bruins of last year, are more like cuddly Panda bear cubs following momma bear along playfully. Where are the leaders that are supposed to lead. Lots of emotionless players on the ice nightly and unsure of themselves.
As they head to Chicago to face the high octane of the Blackhawks, will it get any better? Currently they have a one point lead over the Florida Panthers, yes the Panthers, for the final playoff spot. Will they find a way to resurrect the game they played in January where they were just about unbeatable? Will Claude Julien continue with bizarre coaching decisions regarding the goaltending? Will management determine, with the trading deadline looming, whether they are buyers or sellers. It’s been a long time since we seen the Bruins as sellers, but what do they have of value that other teams covet? And with the salary cap situation they have put themselves in, can they wiggle around and get something of value or do they just blow it up. Sunday afternoon (Hockey Day in America) should give us a bit more insight as to where this team is going, but from these eyes, they won’t be going far even if they do stay in their precarious eight spot.