The image of the Boston Bruins hoisting the Stanley Cup in 2011, just missing out on it in 2013 and topping the Eastern Conference last year seem like distant memories. The month of February has not been nice to the Bruins. They have only seen the win column twice this month. They lost six games in a row in the middle of February and came away with nothing but disappointment, a few injuries and a lot of disgruntled hockey fans.
Bruins President Cam Neely told The Boston Globe about the Bruins’ losing streak, “You go through this whole range of feelings when things aren’t going well. I’ve been frustrated. I’ve had some anger tossed in there. And now, for the first time, I’ve landed on disappointed.”
The Bruins have been a team of peaks and valleys this season. They have a great month, where it seems like there is hope to turn things around, followed by a horrible one, where we are back to where we started.
Looking to add life to the team and to turn things around a bit, the Bruins started their backup goalie Malcolm Subban on Friday against the St. Louis Blues. To say this backfired on them would be an understatement. In his first start of the year, he let in three goals before being pulled in the second period in favor of first-string goalie Tuukka Rask, who was overdue for a day off.
When asked about his performance following the game, Subban told the Globe, “It’s not the way you want to debut, obviously. Your team’s in a tough spot right now. You try and give your team a chance to win and maybe spark the team a bit. You don’t want to do the opposite. That’s what I did today.”
Every team has bad stretches throughout the season. However, this season, the Bruins seemed to have had too many. Fans are getting increasingly disappointed with every passing game, and many are calling for a change in the Bruins’ front office if the team fails to make the playoffs this season.
In regard to his future at the Bruins, general manager Peter Chiarelli told the Globe, “whether it’s Cam or [Bruins CEO] Charlie [Jacobs] who said we’re all under review, I understand that. We’ve had a lot of successes here in my tenure and Claude’s tenure. We’re having a down year. It’s unfortunate that we’re under review for one year. But I understand. We’ve got to make things better.”
For a city that has grown accustomed to duck boat parades every season, this is a hard pill to swallow. Over the past 15 years or so, the Boston faithful have experienced nine championship seasons and a few more almost-championship seasons with losses coming in the final game. Boston is not a city that knows how to lose very well, and we take it personally when our teams do not live up to the high standards we put on them. As the Red Sox of 2012 and 2014 know all too well, and the Bruins are learning this season, Boston fans’ tolerance for poor play is next to nothing.
Our parents would say the children of the Boston faithful have it great. There were many years of heartbreak that we missed out on, and we have been riding high in a city of champions for the last 15 years. However, losing is something that the children of the championship era never learned how to handle. The New England Patriots are almost guaranteed to make the playoffs every year. The Boston Red Sox have won three World Series in the past 10 years and the Bruins fans are used to watching hockey into April.
It looks like this season, Bruins fans are going to have to switch to cheering on the Red Sox a bit earlier than they are used to.