What started out as a promising year for the Boston Bruins is turning into another huge let-down. Injuries have plagued the team since the beginning of the year, and what has been done to fix that?
Nothing. Jeremy Jacobs, the Bruins' owner, has kept butts in the seats and precious little else. For years it has been about business for him, not about bringing rich tradition back to one of the "Original Six" cities.
Signing Marc Savard to a seven-year extension was huge, but Tim Thomas for four years, $20 million? Really? He was a 31-year-old rookie and was two weeks shy of 35 when he signed the extension in April of 2009.
You can argue all you want that nobody could have foreseen his huge dip in production, but all that can be said is that Thomas is 36. There are about 10 goalies in the history of the league who haven't fallen off the map after 35, and each of them is a legend. Sorry Timmy, not the case for you. He works his you-know-what off, but his flopping style isn't exactly working with the lack of defense the Bruins have.
With extended stints on injured reserve from Milan Lucic (twice), Marc Savard (twice), Patrice Bergeron, Mark Stuart, and Andrew Ference, let us look at some of the moves that have been made this year.
What? There are none? Oops. Well, the trade that netted the Bruins Daniel Paille, prior to all of the injury issues, was a shake-up because the trade of Chuck Kobasew for Craig Weller was a flop. Paille is a grinder who gives at least 100 percent every game, but did the "Big Bad" Bruins really need another grinder? Nope.
The team also just signed Miroslav Satan. He was good in his prime, but it's a typical maneuver by the Bruins. A former big-name player who is a quick fix for a very low price.
This offseason, fan-favorite Aaron Ward was traded away and replaced with Derek Morris via free-agency. Ward was supposedly traded for salary cap reasons. Yeah, it doesn't make sense to me either, especially because Ward was making $2.5 million while they signed Morris for $3.3 million. Strange.
Trading Phil Kessel was the right thing to do. I would take what appears to be a top-three pick and a second rounder in this year's entry draft and another first rounder next year for some prima donna who couldn't understand that the city of Boston loved him.
Good for you, Phil, you took the money. Toronto's lack of talent and atrocious record suit you well, buddy.
Now that the trade rumors are aplenty with the Olympics approaching, there have been plenty of rumors that the Bruins are wheeling and dealing by the deadline in March. Here are a few things circulating the rumor mills for the once second, now ninth-place Bruins.
Edmonton is on the verge of a fire sale, and rumors say that the Bruins are looking at Sheldon Souray, an under-achieving big-name defender. He's got experience, but would a defender with a +/- of -14 and only 13 points be a smart addition?
Carolina is also seemingly in the same situation as Edmonton, so the Bruins have inquired about Ray Whitney. The 37-year-old winger has 39 points, which would sadly give him a six point edge over Bergeron, the current points leader with 33. Not a bad idea if you can get him for cheap, but would it be the solution? No chance.
The Bruins have five picks in the first two rounds of this year's draft and four in the first two rounds of next year's. How could anybody manage to not trade for a top-six forward and top-four defender with picks like that?
I'll tell you why. Tons of money being spent in the wrong places. The Bruins have two perennial all-stars in Savard and Zdeno Chara but have managed to spend all of their cap space elsewhere.
With all of this said, coach Claude Julien and GM Peter Chiarelli have done a hell of a job given what they have had to deal with. Granted, Chiarelli makes all of the trade and signing decisions, but you are kidding yourself if you don't think Jeremy Jacobs hasn't been in on every single conversation.
Jacobs has done nothing but worry about money flowing into his pockets ever since he purchased the team. The city of Boston has unbelievable hockey passion, and charging $40 for the cheapest seat in The Garden is an outrage, especially because the front office is putting a team on the ice for profit, not performance.
The Bruins have been just good enough to fill The Garden for long enough. It is time for Jacobs to somehow be run out of town. Who's with me?