Bruins 2015-2016 Regular Season Starts Tonight


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David Moser

Boston, Massachusetts: a city of champions.  That is how most people referred to Boston’s sports teams since 2001.  The New England Patriots started off the Bostonian dynasty with their Super Bowl victory in 2001, which was followed by three more in 2003, 2004, and 2014.  Even more so, the Boston Celtics won the NBA finals in 2008.  Additionally, the Boston Red Sox ended an 86 year drought by adding to World Championship victories in 2004, 2007, and 2013.  The Boston Bruins, similar to the Red Sox, ended a 39 year drought when they won the Stanley Cup Finals in 2011.  

Long story short, Boston is a city accustomed to winning.  That was the case for the last 15 years, and even before then, Boston was still winning. Nowadays, the Bruins, Celtics, and Red Sox, are all in rebuilding stages.  Each team struggling to maintain a consistent playoff presence.  

After their championship victory in 2011, the Bruins have especially been in a steady decline. They made the playoffs and staved off the signs of their decline until the 2014-15 season, where they lost the #8 seed and missed the playoffs. Many factors were rumored to be the cause of the failed season, rumors ranging from poor coaching to injuries to weak effort.

In the beginning of the offseason, the Bruins made important personnel changes.  One significant change was the firing of General Manager Peter Chiarelli after nine years with the team.  Over the last few seasons, Chiarelli’s roster moves have come under scrutiny and has been known to have problems with team president and fan favorite, Cam Neely.  

After Chiarelli was fired, Neely said to the Boston Globe, “Poor drafting and cap management ultimately led to his demise.”  In the last few NHL drafts, the Bruins have yet to draft a player who has maintained a constant role, with the exception of forward David Pastrnak who is yet unproven.

Bruins coach Claude Julien has been with the team for eight successful seasons and has been signed for a ninth.  With that, the beginning of the offseason was still a mystery for the coach as he was not informed of his return until June 4, which was more than two months after the Bruins had been eliminated from playoff contention.  Even though the interim period seems short, for a long time veteran coach, many fans were surprised.  

Long time Bruins fan Calvin Schoenthaler said, “Upper management was to blame for last year’s mess of a season.  It wouldn’t make sense for them to let Claude go.”

As said before, the Bruins made many roster moves this offseason, including trades and releases.  Forwards Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille were not resigned and forwards Milan Lucic, Reilly Smith, Marc Savard, Bobby Robbins, and defenseman Dougie Hamilton were all traded.  

As well as goalie Niklas Svedberg, defensemen Matt Bartkowski and David Warsofsky were all released.  For each transaction, reasons ranged from players being no longer needed to, as said before, not enough effort.  

After the Bruins disappointing season, a massive overhaul was needed, but with the shake-up, comes the addition of new players and a renewed optimism.  Forwards Jimmy Hayes and Zac Rinaldo were signed to the team.  

According to 98.5 Radio Host Michael Felger, Hayes coming from the Panthers for Reilly Smith and Marc Savard “will bring an aggressive new type of play to the offense.” Rinaldo became part of the team for a 2017 third round pick.

Each player’s physicality will bring the Bruins back to where they strive, physical hockey.  In the end, with each take away and each addition in the offseason, the Bruins have a lot to figure out before their season opener on October 8.