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Mark Gallant The Hockey Writers

Published on Monday, February 16, 2015





Boston Bruins Playing On Thin Ice

With just two weeks until the trade deadline, the Boston Bruins are playing some of their worst hockey of the season. Not surprisingly, Bruins nation is a little anxious. The team is barely holding onto 8th place in the Eastern Conference and rumors about some of the team’s franchise players continue to swirl. For the next couple of weeks, every game matter, and not because of the standings.

We knew this Western Conference road trip would be tough, but the awful start against the Canucks is causing some to lose faith in the Bruins. Instead of wanting Peter Chiarelli to add pieces at the deadline, many want him to sell.

Johnny Boychuk (Jerome Miron-US PRESSWIRE)

Johnny Boychuk (Jerome Miron-US PRESSWIRE)

At the beginning of the season, Chiarelli traded Johnny Boychuk to clear cap space, but the deal only makes sense if he makes another trade at the deadline. A “part two” to the Boychuk trade needs to happen or else Bruins fans have the right to be angry.

It’s obvious that the Bruins miss Boychuk on the blue-line and now Chiarelli needs to do something to fix that. Spending a lot for rental players probably isn’t the answer, but bringing in players with term on their contracts might help set the team in the right direction for upcoming seasons. And that means finding the right guys for the system and possibly trading away a key player of their own.

The only question is how the front office feels about the team. After watching their team throughout the past week, maybe Chiarelli and co. don’t have confidence in their squad to go deep in the playoffs. Why make a big trade if you don’t expect your team to be a contender?

The game against the Canucks was a big turning point in the season in the eyes of some. Right out of the gate, it was pretty clear that the Bruins didn’t show up for the game. When the young David Pastrnak was hit by Dan Hamhuis with no retaliation, that was a red flag. Are the Bruins themselves even buying into this season?

Milan Lucic- last time I checked it’s your job to stick up for your fellow first-liners. You’re surely not being paid $6 million for your skill set.

The B’s should be able to hold onto that eighth spot and make the playoffs, but they’re not going to get very far if a change isn’t made. They need players that will help them match up better against potential playoff foes, but that is easier said than done. At this point, with the current trade market, the team’s make-up and cap situation, winning a Stanley Cup could be impossible. Chiarelli has gotten himself and the Bruins in a tough situation and quick fixes at the deadline isn’t going to be enough.

When the Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 2011, Chiarelli made some tough decisions by trading away roster players, prospects, and picks before the deadline in order to fill the gaps on the team.

Right now, the team is missing what they lost this offseason- a first line winger (Iginla), a top-four defenseman (Boychuk), and someone who brings some toughness to the fourth line (Thornton). Can Chiarelli realistically fill all of those holes? I doubt it.

(Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports)

(Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports)

With some names on the move already, Chiarelli and the front office are probably gauging the market and figuring out what it would take to acquire some of the pieces out there.

With four games remaining on the road trip, the Bruins need to convince the fan base and front office that they are in for the long haul. With three tough games against the Flames, Blackhawks, and Blues, the Bruins’ best effort may only result in a win or two. Wednesday night’s affair against the Oilers should be a guaranteed two points, so even five or six points on the trip might be extremely optimistic given the recent play of the Bruins.

Almost everyone on the Bruins besides Patrice Bergeron has been mentioned in trade rumors and I am sure some of the players aren’t confident about their future on the Bruins. Will some of them be sold off or will Chiarelli bring in some real help to give the team a chance this offseason? By next week, we could know the answer.

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