If the regular season ended today, we would once again have a Bruins-Canadiens first round playoff series. However, this time the Bruins wouldn’t be the eight seed, but the fifth. And, unlike years past, the Bruins would enter the playoffs with the same amount of points as the Habs.
But unfortunately, we are just 10 games into this young NHL Season, and though there may be a lot of hockey left to be played, we sure can gather a lot from the first week and a half. Here are five things we have already learned about the Bruins.
1. Patrice Bergeron Will Be Fine
The fact that Patrice Bergeron is even still playing hockey is a small miracle. But it is so refreshing to see him skating well and not playing timid or scared to start the year. After the hit he took and the injuries he suffered, I don’t think anyone would have blamed him if he was a little hesitant.
Bergeron has started all 10 of the Bruins games so far, and you would never know he missed mostly all of last season. Anytime you miss that much time from the game, it is easy to fall a step behind, but he clearly has not, and has looked great centering the Bruins first line. Look for him to keep up his solid play, and have a great year.
2a. The Young Talent Is Developing Nicely
Milan Lucic, David Krejci, Blake Wheeler and Phil Kessel are all playing great hockey. Lucic is hitting harder than Scott Stevens used to and also scoring more than expected.
Krejci is moving his way right up the line chart and is doing a great job pitching in on the Bruins power play and penalty killing units. Blake Wheeler has yet to show us his great scoring ability, but is sure showing he belongs in the NHL and can help this team win some hockey games this year.
Most impressive so far this season is Phil Kessel, the team’s leading goal scorer. Kessel is showing he has the skills to be a top goal scorer in this league for a long time to come. It is impressive seeing as how coach Claude Julien didn’t even dress Kessel for two of the playoff games last year because of his poor play. Kessel sure learned from being benched and used it as motivation to get better, and has he ever.
These four players are looking very promising to start the year, and are sure making Bruins fans forget about Glenn Murray rather quickly.
2b. Glenn Murray Will Not Be Missed
You would be lying if you said that during any of the Bruins first 10 games this year you actually thought to yourself: “We could really use Glenn Murray right now.”
Listen, I love Glenn as much as the next guy. He is a class act and has helped the Bruins in more ways than we can count, but taking him out of the lineup simply did not affect the Bruins that much. Although we will miss seeing the No. 27 sweater on the ice, seeing the aforementioned players perform the way they have will make us forget Glenn Murray.
3. Tim Thomas Should Be the Starting Goalie
If he didn’t prove anything with his great run at the end of last year to propel this team into the Playoffs and then again being a major factor in beating the Canadiens in three of those games last April, Tim Thomas has certainly proved he should be our No. 1 goalie this season.
Thomas is 3-1 with a 1.77 Goals Against Average and two Shutouts thus far. Manny Fernandez is 2-1 with a 2.96 Goals Against Average, and has given up four goals in two of those starts. Thomas has made more than 30 saves in four of his starts, while Fernandez has yet to face more than 28 shots in a game. Tough to argue if you ask me.
4. Marian Hossa Would Have Instantly Made This Team One of the Best in the Eastern Conference
Anytime you add a guy who scores 30 goals a year with a guy like Savard to get him the puck, your team can only get better. How much better? I truly believe the Bruins could have been serious contenders for the Eastern Conference Title just by adding him. He is one of the top players in the NHL, and in my book, anytime you can add one of those players, you are instantly a force to be reckoned with.
5. The Bruins Are Irrelevant in Boston
Sad to say, but it is true. Ask 10 random people walking the streets of Boston when the Bruins season starts and you’d be lucky to find five who didn’t think the NHL was still in a lockout. But I have lived here my whole life and now know what it takes to earn respect in Boston. A championship.
Sure people liked the Pats before 2001. But winning that Super Bowl instantly put them to the top. And then, after their 2nd Super Bowl Win in 2003, the Red Sox got pissed about being the second favorite team in town, and won a Championship in 2004 (as did the Pats, but anyways...
So then the Red Sox win again in 2007, and this frosts the Celtics balls. So they get KG and Ray Allen and waltz their way to a Championship, and like that, they are as popular as they were back in the 1970s after being irrelevant for 20 years.
It is unreal. This town used to be a hockey town, and until the Bruins win one, hell maybe even two Stanley Cups, they will be just a nice carry over from the end of football season to the start of Spring Training.
There is still a lot of hockey to be played, and sure a lot can happen in the 72 remaining games, but so far things look promising for the Bruins. Let's just hope they can keep up the good, consistent play for more than 10 games and make this a successful, enjoyable season.