Wednesday, December 07, 2005

BRUINS PULLED THE BACK GEAR

The Bruins were anticipated to be a real dominant team this season, but everything happened in contrast. They struggled mightily after trading their captain Joe Thornton for three role players. This was a step backward in their bid for the postseason and a run at the Stanley Cup. It is intriguing how the Bruins decided to shape their roster immediately after the lockout ended, and went into the season. But as soon December approached, Boston performance slumped and they fell last in the Northeast Division. Had been the Bruins' woes were due to a single reason, they would have been easily tackled. The Bruins seem to be overestimated what they had on defense. They have some young defensemen with solid potential, but it will take time for these younger defenders to play like veteran players.

A perfect example of this was when the team's veteran Brian Leetch, suffered a strained medial collateral ligament in his right knee in early November was sidelined for almost a month. That was a setback for the Bruins because Leetch provided stability to the defense. And because the Bruins haven't been very good of defense, their goalies, Andrew Raycroft and Hannu Toivonen, are seeing a lot of surprises. Thornton in had so many wonderful individual achievements when he played for the Bruins but the Bruins never achieved what he was expected to help them achieve - a Stanley Cup. In Thornton's seven seasons in Boston, the Bruins made the playoffs five times, but only once made it past the first round.

So should the Bruins have pulled the trigger on trading him? The impact of the trade will not be very significant on Boston's chances of future success. And that too, when the Bruins are far from being a Stanley Cup contender. Besides the liability of a thin defense a lot of things have to turn around for the Bruins.

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