By Andrew Thompson Follow Me On Twitter @godwentwhoops
The Boston Bruins found themselves leaving the postseason earlier than they wanted to. Even with that disappointment, the young players coming up through the system gave fans and the front office reason to hope for the future.
The Boston Bruins exceeded expectations when they found themselves back in the playoffs this season. A lot of the media (and a fair number of fans) had written off a team that was based around an untested group of young players and a 40-year old captain.
Bruins owner Charlie Jacobs started off the season by saying the B’s would make the postseason. While Jacobs hasn’t exactly endeared himself to the fans over the years, he knew the team would get it together by April. While it took a coaching change (and a little luck) to do it, the B’s found a way back to the playoffs.
The Bruins certainly struggled at times. Injuries seemed to hamper the play of players like David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron in the first half of the season. The Bruins blueline also had to struggle with people in and out of the lineup. This forced the Bruins to call up ten different players to play their first NHL games for Boston.
“I think, now, with some of the players that have stepped in this year, I think they’re giving some hope not just to us, but to the fan base, of where we are headed and what the future looks like because of it.” – Boston Bruins President Cam Neely
Things only got worse in the postseason. Torey Krug and Brandon Carlo (first and third respectively for points by a defenceman) missed the entire playoffs. Adam McQuaid was injured in the postseason. By game four of the playoffs the Bruins were at tenth spot in their defensive depth chart, and the B’s head no choice but to bring up Charlie McAvoy and Sean Kuraly to fill holes in the B’s defensive lines.
Sure, the first round loss was disappointing. A few missed and/or blown calls (and a few really bad penalties) seemed to make the difference in the B’s early departure from the postseason. Still, the Bruins had a lot of players (11) in their first-ever NHL postseason. They held a healthier Ottawa team to one-goal games throughout the series, and that speaks well for the future of Bruins hockey.
“We had 11 players – think about that, 11 – play in their first postseason game,” said Bruins Alternate Governor Charlie Jacobs on the Bruins current youth movement. “To me, that’s an incredible number, almost half the roster. That’s valuable experience, for them to experience the atmosphere of playoff hockey, the tightness of it, the ferocity.
“The whole experience is a learning one and I think in the long run – while we’re not happy to be out in the first round, we’re going to be a much better team for it.”
The learning curve for the NHL is extremely steep. The young players could have easily faltered during the postseason. Charlie McAvoy didn’t. Sean Kuraly didn’t. Noel Acciari certainly didn’t.
The Bruins will come back (barring another ugly string of injuries)in 2017-18 and make the postseason. That prediction is certainly based on having players like Bergeron, Krejci, and Brad Marchand with the team. But a part of that claim is based on the strength of the Bruins developing players.
The youth movement is finally here, and it looks good for the future of the Black and Gold.
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