The Bruins management have spent much of the preseason mentioning the potential of their newly constructed team. Players were traded and many questioned the wisdom of those trades–despite what appeared to be a no-win situation in at least one case–as well as the returns on those trades. Others took a wait and see attitude to ascertain what kind of a team would be iced as the season began.
When the puck dropped on the home opener against the Winnipeg Jets, it looked like the Boston Bruins were a faster and more energized team. And as David Krejci backhanded it past Ondrej Pavelec, unassisted, putting the Black and Gold on the score board first just 5:36 into the game, it seemed that in addition to the cheer that erupted, there was a release of air that had unconsciously been held as everyone waited to see how the team would do.
With just 37 seconds remaining in that first period, the Jets Alexander Burmistrov may have miscalculated where he and Patrice Bergeron were in relation to each other and his elbow collided with Bergeron’s head. When everything shook out Burmistrove (Illegal check to the head), Bergeron (Roughing) and Adam Lowry (Roughing) were cooling their skates in the penalty boxes and the Bruins were on the power play. As the horn sounded to end the first, the Bruins were taking the remaining 1:23 of that power play into the second period.
Fortunately for Bergeron the hit appears not to have caused any damage. As a sufferer of past concussions, any time he is hit like that, there is concern. However, there is also concern about getting those types of hits—accidental or accidentally on purpose—out of the game.
“It was definitely a hit to the head even though he apologized after,” Bergeron told the assembled media. “I’s one of those that I… I didn’t have the puck at that time. Yeah, you gotta kind of realize where the guy is and his position.”
It remains to be seen if the NHL will look further into the hit and assess any further punishment other than the penalty that was assessed on the ice.
However, as the teams took the ice in the second, it appeared that the Bruins were not coming out as strong as they could.
“We came out and had a good first period. We’ve kind of talked about it in the past, how we want to have a good start to the second, and uh, we didn’t have that tonight,” defenseman Kevan Miller said after the game. “We came out on the power play and we didn’t have a good start, so that’s something we need to continue to work on.”
It was clear that the team as a whole wasn’t pleased with how they let this game get away from them. But perhaps more disturbing than the lack of finish on the ice is the apparent uncertainty as to where things broke down.
“You know, I’m not really sure. We’re gonna have to work on that,” Miller said. “We’re gonna have to figure out something to get that going because it’s been a problem in the past and we need to work on it.”
“If you’re able to pinpoint [the problem], it would have been solved by the end of the second period. So, it’s the first game of the season. I mean, I’m not going to stand here and make excuses, but, uh, it’s definitely not how you want your season opener to go,” replied fellow d-man Joe Morrow. “You know we had some good points in there. Offense was good, a lot of scoring chances. There are some positives, but there are a lot of negatives. So we’ll take a look at that and it’s nice to have a quick turn around and get the next game in here pretty quick.”
Unfortunately, the Bruins will next take on the Montreal Canadiens—a team that seems to have gotten inside the heads of the players, especially Tuukka Rask, in the recent past. Perhaps this rocky start is what they need to force their focus on fixing that and not on the specific opponent.
It was just the first game of the season, and after facing Montreal on Saturday they will have a Columbus Day afternoon tilt on Monday against the Tampa Bay Lightning. With little time before the next game, the players will need to look at where things went awry and get to fixing that sooner than later this season.
Hockey is back in Boston, but unfortunately it was not a happy outcome with the Jets battering the Bruins to a final score of 6-2.