BOSTON – Those hoping for a full, comprehensive rebuild from the Boston Bruins aren’t going to get it under this current regime. Despite missing the playoffs over the last two seasons, the B’s continued to reinforce the notion on Wednesday afternoon at their season-ending press conference that the model is the Detroit Red Wings’ method of reload rather than rebuild.
Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs used the phrase “evolution versus the revolution” in describing his admiration for a Red Wings franchise that’s qualified for the Stanley Cup playoffs 25 consecutive seasons. They did so this year by narrowly edging out the Bruins as both Original Six clubs sputtered down the stretch, and gaining the upper hand on Boston by a single point as Bruins President Cam Neely, and GM Don Sweeney, labors to model the Black and Gold after them.
“I’ve been watching Detroit and they’re…you don’t understand, or I don’t understand the issues that they have in front of them. They are a great team and have been for a very long time, and they’ve got some wonderful stars there,” said Jacobs. “But age, you do pay a price for age and all, and bringing in the youth. What you admire though is their evolution versus the revolution. So far as that’s concerned you admire the fact that they’ve been on a consistent course. I think we admire that, and I think Cam is playing a similar role [to the Red Wings] now.”
Clearly the Bruins and Red Wings have the same experience/youth dynamic. Just as the Red Wings still have hardened, grizzled Cup warriors in Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall among others, the Bruins are trying to build a new playoff nucleus around Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, Zdeno Chara, David Krejci and Tuukka Rask.
“I hate to lose more than I love to win. So I don’t like missing the playoffs, and I want everybody else to feel the same way,” said Neely. “We know where our better players are in their careers, and we have an idea of how many years they have left to be at the top of their game. It’s very important for us to add pieces around them compete for a Cup. That has to happen sooner rather than later.”
The big caveat with Detroit’s way of doing things: they haven’t won anything since Nik Lidstrom was still playing and in his prime. They’ll have lost in the first round in four of the last five seasons if they fall to Tampa as everybody expects, and they haven’t won the Cup since back in 2008 when guys like Datsyuk and Zetterberg were still in-their-prime studs. There are many voices in Detroit that want the Red Wings to miss the playoffs, blow things up with their roster and really start building toward being a serious Cup contender again.
The Bruins could attain their goal of perpetually being just the like the Red Wings team that barely eked into the postseason this year, so one has to wonder how valuable getting to the playoffs really is for a team incapable of doing anything once they’ve reached that higher ground.