Well, that was disappointing. I had to take a breather from the Internet for a couple days following my Boston Bruins’ 3-1 defeat in Game 7 at the hands of the hated Montreal Canadiens. It was a great season, but it was a horrible way for it to end. The Bruins got beaten by a team they underestimated, and squandered a great chance to raise the Stanley Cup once again. It wasn’t Pittsburgh waiting for them in the Conference Finals, it was a very ordinary New York Rangers. After that, I’d take my chances with any of the teams left in the West. Instead Montreal if the team moving on, and there is no worse feeling as a hockey fan.
The Canadiens were just better in this series. Their best players were their best players against the Bruins. Carey Price. P.K. Subban. Max Paccioretty. Thomas Vanek. The best contributions for the Bruins came from the likes of Loui Eriksson, Carl Soderberg, and Matt “FroYo” Fraser, not Zdeno Chara, Tuukka Rask, or David Krejci. It’s not all Krejci’s fault, but the fact that he went without a goal in the playoffs when he’s normally their best playoff scorer is troubling. Brad Marchand is another one who deserves a lot of blame. He, like Krejci, did not score in the playoffs. He’s an agitator. A big part of his job is to get under the skin of the other team and draw penalties, but against a team like Montreal, who isn’t phased by Marchy’s antics because they are a team of rats and weasels, he’s useless if he’s not scoring, especially in a stingily goaltended series where pucks in the back are worth their weight in gold.
Marchand and Krejci aren’t the only ones to blame, though. Peter Chiarelli played it safe at the trade deadline, adding Corey Potter and Andrej Meszaros for depth on defense, but not adding any forward depth, when they could have added Thomas Vanek. Instead, the New York Islanders dealt Vanek, who has had success against Boston his whole career, to Montreal, as the Habs were loading up for a run-in with the Bruins this spring. Chiarelli was looking long-term when they had a short-term chance they should have capitalized on. Zdeno Chara isn’t getting any younger, much the way the Patriots only have a couple more chances to win the Super Bowl with Tom Brady. The Game 7 defeat this week felt the the type of game the Patriots lose in the playoffs, too. They were in it, but they weren’t scoring, and a player they could have or should have had (Vanek in the Bruins’ case, Wes Welker in the Patriots’ case) is contributing for the other team like every fan feared going in.
What’s really frustrating is that the Habs are not that much better than the Bruins, and looked very beatable in their 7-2 Game 1 home loss against New York on Saturday. The Rangers are a team the Bruins match up much better against, but hopefully they can roll over the Habs in the Eastern Conference Finals. Price looked like Ken Dryden against the Bruins, but looked more like Marc-Andre Fleury against the Rangers. That’s hockey, I guess, and it’s another summer where Bruins fans have to sit there wondering what might have been.