The risk of asking a professional athlete a "why is your team bad right now?" question is obvious: You upset the player, they don't want to talk to you, etc.

Yet when offered a theory as to why the Bruins have been so disappointing in the round robin (0-2-0, losing the No. 1 seed), Torey Krug more or less validated it.

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If you kept an eye on the Bruins this season, you should have been concerned about their chances of a deep run despite them having won the Presidents' Trophy. They don't have a set middle six after Patrice Bergeron's line, and they've spent the first two games of the round robin trying out combinations.

So, when speaking to Krug with Joe Haggerty Thursday, I posited that the Bruins are unable to play like a postseason team because they know they don't know what they have, which is a preseason problem.

"It can be tough, for sure," Krug responded. "Heading into a normal playoff season, what you typically have is a group of players that have established roles and they understand what they're bringing to the lineup on a nightly basis.

"When you're tinkering with the lines and you're trying to figure out who's fitting where, guys, maybe they're not comfortable or they don't know exactly what they're asked to do on a nightly basis. In a normal season, I think we'd be comfortable with certain matchups. Guys would understand, 'Hey, when I jump over the boards, this is what I'm accomplishing on every shift I'm going out there.'

 

"Maybe right now it's kind of a preseason feel that you suggested. Maybe there's some truth to that. We're working on it and we'll get there."

Here's how the Bruins' middle six has looked in each of their two games:

vs. Philadelphia (4-1 loss)

DeBrusk-Krejci-Studnicka
Bjork-Coyle-Kuhlman

vs. Lightning (3-2 loss)

Ritchie-Krejci-Kuhlman
Bjork-Coyle-DeBrusk

Charlie Coyle's line was actually the only one to show up for the Bruins against the Flyers; David Krejci's was rough.

Krejci should be offended that he was expected to do anything with Nick Ritchie and Karson Kuhlman as his wings against Tampa. Predictably, the line was arguably Boston's worst Wednesday, while Coyle's line treaded water.

An eventual return of Ondrej Kase could restore some order, but the Bruins haven't been able to see the right wing do anything competitively in months. Boston's middle six is a major problem.