(Photo Credit: Steven Senne/APPhoto)

By: Andrew Bluestein | Follow Me On Twitter / X @adbblue

The Boston Bruins are now 47 games into their Centennial season and beyond the halfway point. They currently have the top seed in the Eastern Conference with 67 points and the second most in the league. After their historic regular season last year, they fell flat on their face in the playoffs, blowing a 3-1 lead to the Florida Panthers in the first round. 

A big part of that was they were all gas, no brakes, during the NHL regular season, going for the wins and points record. This season, that is not on the table, and if the team wants to avoid their shortcomings from last year, they should look to start managing players and giving them proper rest heading into the second half of the season. 

Staying as fresh as possible that time of year is important, as it is a total grind. The Bruins currently have eight players on the roster that are 30 or older. Head coach Jim Montgomery has already occasionally given guys like James van Riemsdyk and Kevin Shattenkirk the night off, who are both 34. That will probably continue as the season goes on, which is a smart decision since both players have been important to the lineup. 

It also wouldn’t hurt to occasionally rest some other players as well to ensure they’re not burned out come playoff time. Hampus Lindholm and Brad Marchand have both appeared in every game this season and are two of the team’s most dependent players. But giving them a game off here in there could be beneficial in the grand scheme of things, especially for Lindholm, who’s averaging 23:48 per game. Obviously, you always want your best players on the ice, but it’s better to have them as close to 100% as possible to start the playoffs. 

Last season, Patrice Bergeron only missed four games, and it was apparent he was banged up and fatigued in the spring. He missed multiple games in the Bruins-only series, and it was noticeable that when he did play, he wasn’t as impactful as he normally was. That’s not a situation Boston wants to find themselves in again, especially because they no longer have him at their disposal. 

Even giving guys like Pavel Zacha and Charlie Coyle a night off here and there just for some maintenance could pay dividends. Both play high minutes on the power play and penalty kill on top of their five-on-five time. Coyle has stepped right into the Bergeron role and has one more point as the former Bruins captain had at this point last season. Zacha has played a huge role in the center position and has arguably become the Bruins’ most versatile forward. The team needs those guys at their peak performance if they envision a long playoff run. 

Their depth would also allow them to do this with the recent emergence of Jesper Boqvist, Jakub Lauko, and Oskar Steen up front. On the back end, Parker Wotherspoon has played himself into a regular NHL roster spot while contributing when needed. It’s just some food for thought, but it’s something that could help the Bruins chances past the regular season.