After charging into the lead on gorgeous goals, the Bruins promptly rolled over, showed their bellies and piddled all over the Garden ice.
After completely dominating the Flyers in the first period (they took their timeout like five minutes in!), the Bruins quickly showed just why they limped into the playoffs.
The D made horrible passes and turnovers, time and time again.
There were no smooth passes in the offensive zone.
If they were able to get into the zone, the effort wasn't there.
Rask did not play a good game. His D might have hung him out to dry on a few of the goals, but he was NOWHERE near where the Bruins needed him to be.
Wheeler was a goddamn no-show in a game that could have used his speed. His "forechecking" was Kessel-esque and he brought nothing to the game.
Nothing against Boychuk (who has hopefully cemented his place on the blueline), but he was the best D-man out there. Stuart played a solid game as well, but two out of six defensemen playing well does not a good game make.
Looch played like a beast, but once again, one man can only do so much.
Recchi and Patty Cake looked like rookies out there, which was strange.
Glaring gaps that need to be addressed:
1. SCORING: Obviously. This was an issue all fucking season. Chiarelli better draft well or use some of those picks to get a true sniper.
2. Consistency: Julien generally awards players that are playing well with increased ice time. This didn't hold true this time around, as Wheeler was a fucking no-show. I know I'm beating a dead horse, but he was an absolutely empty uniform. He brought nothing to the table and just looked like he didn't want to be there. This is absolutely unacceptable and needs to be addressed. Someone will challenge for his spot in training camp. Maybe this will provide motivation; the coaching staff has had to push him to hard and they shouldn't have to. He is a professional fucking athlete. If the motivation is lacking, get the fuck out of town and take someone else's fucking roster spot.
3. Rask: Yes, he had a decent run this year. But when the Bruins needed him the most, he folded like a sodden maxipad. Maybe he got too comfortable. Maybe he started buying into all of the hype. Maybe the crowd chanting his name non-stop inflated his head in an already small helmet. Whatever the reason, he didn't rise to the occasion. An obvious learning experience for him, he now knows what it takes and just how intense playoff hockey is. As shown last night, 3-0 leads mean jackshit in this league.
4. A super-fucking stud that can say "Get on my back, boys. I'll bring you to the promised land": Leadership basically evaporated last night. Where is the guy that gets so angry he smashes things in the locker room? Where is the guy that shoots frickin' laserbeams from his eyes when someone mouths off? Where is the guy that single-handedly changes the outcome of the game by his and just his efforts alone? I can tell you where he isn't: the bench of the Bruins. They need a game-changing player that can step up and make the opponents tremble. It's possible that Looch could fill this role, but I'm guessing that his ankle/finger were still an issue.
5. Team Grit: If I could, I would clone Ian Laperriere and make an entire hockey team of him. The Bruins just don't have a guy that is that insanely gritty and it comes out in games like last night's. Steve Begin is the closest they have, but he is still hampered by injuries as well. Too many players were reluctant to go into the corners (LOOKIN' AT YOU WHEELER AND RYDER). And when Ol' Man Recchi is the only one that dares to park his ass in front of the net, something is wrong. The last player that fit this role perfectly was Mike Knuble (who the Bruins let walk, amazingly). Every fucking game that guy would get cut somewhere on his face because he went into the dirty areas. The Bruins just didn't do it this year...and now they're out.
6. CONSISTENT EFFORT: If Sobotka had played like that all year, it could have been a different season for the Bruins. As already stated, Julien awards ice time to the guys that are banging on all cylinders. Conversely, he should sit the motherfuckers that aren't.
I wouldn't change a thing with the coaching staff. Julien is an amazing coach and it's obvious that his players have bought into his system. Julien never gets too high or low and maintains an even keel. The players feed off this. I think that Julien has done a good job of keeping players from getting diva-esque. However, if effort starts slipping, someone else should be inserted into the lineup.
Even if they hadn't won the Cup, the Bruins' march into the playoffs would have left a good taste in everyone's mouth. They battled to get into the dance and advanced. Their outright collapse and subsequent defeat makes this a very, very bitter pill to swallow for the fans.
As a fan, I just couldn't believe what I was seeing last night. I'm still shaking my head today. Training camp starts in MONTHS and there won't be any hockey until October. To end the season in such a way is akin to getting kicked in the dink by a horse.
I'm still a fan of this team and will always be. The part that sucks is this: until they hoist the Cup, they will always be remembered as the team that took a too many men penalty and squandered a 3-0 lead (both goal and series).
See you in October, boys.