Bruins best and worst moments of season
Bruins best and worst moments of season
When asked about his favorite moment from this past season, it was difficult for Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli to answer the question. After all, the 82-game regular season is long and full of ups and downs, and it’s not Chiarelli’s charge to take snapshots during the season and then rate them prior to the start of the playoffs. He did make a good point, though, in that the B’s had so many superlative performances it made things difficult in hashing out a 7th Player Award winner.
“I tend to look at things, like, over a longer stretch. There have been a lot of really good performances by players on this team. We’ve got this Seventh Player Award, which everyone’s talking about and there were six or seven candidates for it.
“I don’t think there has ever been that many candidates for it. So it speaks to kind of the performances [from players] across the board. So I can’t single out one particular moment.”
With the bevy of 7th Player Award choices already taken by Chiarelli, here are the rest of the best and worst things from a 2013-14 NHL regular for a Boston Bruins team that eventually proved to be the regular season’s best:
Iginla's Calgary return
The return of Jarome Iginla to Calgary for the first time since getting traded away after a brilliant Hall of Fame-worthy 15-year run with the Flames. When the moment arrived in December, it was one of the best Bruins’ moments of the season. It was also the stretch during the season when the new players really started to gel with the established core group, but also right before injuries started pulling the Black and Gold apart. The image of the entire Bruins roster coming to the bench postgame to laud Iginla’s inclusion in the Three Stars, and Zdeno Chara pushing Iginla back out onto the ice for a final victory “thank you” map at the Saddledome was something special. It was also easily this hockey writer’s No. 1 moment of the season.
Bergeron nets 30th goal
Patrice Bergeron scored his 30th goal of the season in the second-to-last game of the year against the Buffalo Sabres, and it marked the second time in his spectacular NHL career that he’s reached 30 goals. It was a one-time beauty from the Bruins center on a nice two-man play with Brad Marchand, and it also helped the B’s put the finishing touches on a win that locked up the President’s Trophy for Boston for the first time in nearly 25 years. It was also the first time No. 37 has reached that 30-goal scoring plateau since the horrific 2007-08 concussion at the hands of Randy Jones that nearly derailed the two-way center’s career.
Thomas has a tough time in Boston
In his first performance at TD Garden since leaving the Bruins as a disgruntled former playoff hero that wasn’t sure if he still wanted to play hockey, the B’s stormed Tim Thomas for six goals in a good, old-fashioned butt-whipping of the Florida Panthers. It got to the point where one almost felt bad for Thomas saddled behind an obscenely bad Panthers defense, and was a little different than the third period ovation the goalie had received earlier in the season when he was injured – and not playing – during a November game against the Bruins. It was so bad for Thomas that he joked he would rather have been watching President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address that night instead of playing in the blowout game. We all know that isn’t close to the truth.
Bruins win 12th in a row
A solid 4-2 win over the Phoenix Coyotes on March 22 probably isn’t all that remarkable on its own, but it represented the 12th consecutive victory by the Bruins during an epic 15-1-1 run during the month of March. It represented the third longest winning streak in franchise history, and it came within two wins of the franchise record set by the 1929-30 edition of the Bruins that pretty much define “Old Time Hockey.” It was Shawn Thornton that provided the game-winning goal with a third period comeback that featured three scores in the final 20 minutes amid the second night of back-to-back wins on the road against Colorado and Phoenix. It was around this time that many began to realize that the Bruins might just be the best team in the entire NHL this season given the way they stormed out of the Olympic break.
Good times in Sochi
The entire Olympic experience was overwhelmingly positive for the Bruins after plenty of handwringing about the strain of sending so many key players to Sochi. Everybody wanted a picture with Zdeno Chara in the first few days of the Olympics while he carried the flag for his Slovakian home nation, and three Bruins were key figures in the metal rounds at the end of the tournament. Tuukka Rask brilliantly backstopped Finland to a surprise bronze medal while shutting down Team Russia along the way, Loui Eriksson was a major player for a Swedish team that captured the silver medal and Patrice Bergeron went from bottom line player to top line stud with Sidney Crosby on arguably the best Olympic hockey team ever constructed. Bergeron, Claude Julien and Peter Chiarelli all came home as part of the gold medal-winning team for Canada, and had plenty to be proud of.
Kiss the rings
Brad Marchand getting into a heated argument with Henrik Sedin on the ice during Boston’s first visit to Vancouver since Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, and miming a kissing of his ring to kick off the conversation. Good Brad.
Nothing that transpired this season was any worse than the final regular season game against the Pittsburgh Penguins that led to the 15-game suspension for B’s enforcer Shawn Thornton. The fourth line brawler repeatedly attempted to get Penguins opportunist Brooks Orpik to drop the gloves after he torpedoed Loui Eriksson, and finally took matters into his own hands. Thornton dragged Orpik down from behind, and knocked him out cold on the ice with a couple of quick punches to the head. The incident was the longest suspension in the NHL this season, and a black mark on Thornton’s previously spotless pro hockey career. It was the worst of the worst for the Bruins this season.
Eriksson takes hit to head
The Bruins first game of the season against the Buffalo Sabres was a win for the Black and Gold, but it also kicked off a star-crossed season for Loui Eriksson after he was concussed by cheap shot from Sabres goon John Scott. Eriksson had finished off a dump attempt into the offensive zone from neutral ice, and Scott took it as an opportunity to clobber the Swedish forward with a blow to the head. Eriksson finished with only 10 goals and 37 points this season for Boston, and the Scott hit was the start of his problems. Never mind that it was the third period, and there was no good reason for a fourth line meathead like Scott to be on the ice against Eriksson with the Bruins leading by two goals. It was a dirty hit made possible by an incompetent head coach in Ron Rolston, and spotty GM-work by Darcy Regier to give Scott a steady NHL gig in the first place. It’s not a surprise that both Rolston and Regier are done in Buffalo, and Scott may not be too far behind them.
Marchand's bad timing
Brad Marchand getting into a heated argument with Ryan Kesler in the very same game which marked Boston’s first visit to Vancouver since Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, and this time pantomiming a lifting of the Cup as he skated past the entire Canucks bench. The problem with it this time around: the Bruins were down by three goals in the third period with no nope of getting back into the game. It wasn’t good timing for the B’s agitator, and both Peter Chiarelli and Claude Julien had a word with him after the fact. Bad Brad.
Seguin makes B's pay
Tyler Seguin had a stellar season in Dallas following the trade away from the Bruins with 37 goals and 84 points, and got some sweet revenge against the Black and Gold in his first return to Boston in November. Prior to the game, the 21-year-old said all of the right things after a fairly bitter divorce with the team that drafted him No. 2 overall, and developed him to be their next franchise player. Seguin’s Stars teammates pushed the game to the shootout against the Bruins in one of the first signs they were playoff-caliber, and then both Seguin and fellow B’s exile Rich Peverley scored the two shootout goals that gave the two points to the Stars. Peverley was a part of another one of the worst moments of the season for the B’s when he collapsed on the Stars bench due to an irregular heartbeat prior to a Bruins/Habs game in Montreal in March.
Smoked by the Wings
The Bruins got thoroughly spanked by the Detroit Red Wings on the night before Thanksgiving in a 6-1 defeat that registered as their worst single loss of the entire regular season. It was a house of horrors for Zdeno Chara and Dougie Hamilton as they watched youngsters Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist speed all around them scoring goals, and heighten the anxiety B’s fans feel headed into a playoff series against Detroit. Despite their President’s Trophy season, the Bruins finished a lackluster 2-5-1 against key divisional opponents in the Red Wings and Montreal Canadiens this year. Now they may have to play both teams in the first two rounds.
Seidenberg's season-ending injury
The Dec. 27 win over the Ottawa Senators was one-sided and decisive, but it also saw the Bruins lose stalwart defenseman Dennis Seidenberg for the rest of the season when Corey Conacher collapsed on his right leg. Seidenberg underwent surgery in early January for a torn ACL/MCL in his right knee, and isn’t expected to return for the Bruins this season. Seidenberg may be a possibility for the Stanley Cup Final in June if he continues to recover at a frenetic pace, but the Bruins defense has some real weaknesses within it give the German defenseman’s absence.