The Bruins lost their biggest game of the season to the Floria Panthers and they may not make it to the playoffs because of it. Even if they do, it is difficult to see how this team could win a playoff series they way they are currently playing. So I'm calling it. Turn off the defibrillator and call the time of death. This team is done.
This was the season of disappointments. That statement might seem obvious, but I'm not the sort who is easily disappointed in my team; I try to have realistic expectations. I certainly don't expect them to win the cup every year. At the end of the season my expectations are simple: I expect the Bruins to play big, play hard, and to maintain a certain excellence of play. If there are better teams out there, then so be it.
Watching the Bruins lose badly to the Florida Panthers in a must win scenario was hard. That goes without saying. But what really left me cold was the way they played. No team that is worthy of the name Bruins takes the second period off in a big game. I expect better than that. I expect the defense to stand up at the blue line rather than back off, giving the other team too much room as they enter the zone. I expect them to take the man first, rather than try to poke the puck away. I expect the Bruins to overpower the other team in the offensive zone corners, rather than try to skate little circles around them.
The worst part of the loss to the Panthers is that I hardly recognized my team. Like so many games this year, the Bruins looked like they were trying to out-skate the other team, and all they accomplished was to tire themselves out. I believe that so much emphasis has been put on getting the puck quickly up the ice, that the Bruins are no longer playing Bruins hockey. It's more like watching a quick-paced Junior game than the NHL. This has been going on all season. When they stopped trying to play the quick game, and went back to playing Bruins hockey, more often than not they won. But look out if they got a few days to prepare for a game. They'd come back with that quick style and start losing again.
The Bruins are at a major turning point as this season ends. Someone has decided that they need to change their game. I don't know if that's coming from management or the coaching staff, or both. It looks to me like the team isn't built for the type of game they are now trying to play. In the off season they must decided whether they will once again play like Bruins or make some major changes.