Anybody that expected a fire and brimstone speech from Cam Neely about heads rolling after the Bruins first round exit from the playoff probably left TD Garden disappointed on Thursday afternoon.
Those that expected a Bs ownership group and management team to express a disappointment after a seven-game loss to the Washington Capitals and the teams first opening round playoff exit in four seasons got exactly what they were looking for. Bruins ownershipmanagement liaison Charlie Jacobs used the term disappointing in his first sentence to the assembled media at Legends Restaurant at TD Garden, and the man signing the checks didnt sound much happier.
Of course the younger Jacobs also mentioned the term parity in attempting to reconcile the reasons behind losing in the playoffs, and mentioned a level of pride still there with the team.
We did expect to get out of that first round this year. We were probably a little better than the team that won the Stanley Cup when you look at the skill level and the age of the players, said Bruins Principal owner Jeremy Jacobs. We wanted to do better, we expected to do better and we have every reason to believe wed do better.
Neely said a philosophical change might be in store for the power play after it once again let down the Black and Gold at the worst possible time, but there was no fist pounding on the table in fury one year removed from winning the Stanley Cup. Instead the Bruins President hoped his young nucleus of players learned from the mental and physical grind associated with attempting to repeat as Stanley Cup champs.
Its disappointing to lose out in the first round. We didnt have this at all last year. I dont like this at all and I dont think anybody in the organization likes it, said Neely. I used this saying a lot when I was a player and I was dealing with injuries and everything else: I said quite a few times that may rear view mirror is broken. I cant use it. We had a lot to celebrate last year and weve had a lot of things to learn from this past season.
We can learn from it, and I believe because of the character of our players were going to come back even more motivated at the start of training camp.
The displeasure with losing early in the playoffs was clear coming from the top on Causeway Street, and it appears that the Bruins have moved on organizationally while already putting an emphasis on next year. If another first round playoff exit follows this one, then that fire and brimstone might just make a cameo appearance at this time next year.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while wishing everybody a safe and relaxing Memorial Day weekend.
*Apparently Nashville Predators head coach Peter Laviolette has yet to try Nashville’s hot chicken despite his time behind the Preds bench. It’s okay, I have yet to try it either in my handful of visits to Music City.
*Good stuff from PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jason Brough. Apparently it wasn’t so easy to make Wayne Gretzky’s head bleed when it came time for director Doug Liman to cut Swingers together.
*Sidney Crosby cares about the history and the issues of the game, and has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation despite the hate that always comes with such responsibility.
*Puck Daddy examines Crosby’s performance in the playoffs, and the odds of him winning another Conn Smythe Trophy.
*The Penguins have made it to the Stanley Cup Final without Kris Letang for their playoff run, and that’s an amazing accomplishment.
*Erik Karlsson said that he will be tending to his injured foot next week, and expects a full recovery for next season after a brilliant run with his Ottawa Senators.
*Larry Brooks again rails against the Stanley Cup playoff structure and it’s relation to an “absurd regular season.” Say what you will, but the fact the Penguins are there for a second straight season shoots down some of the absurdity stuff in my mind. The best team from the East is where they should be and they did it without Kris Letang to boot.
*Chicago Blackhawks prospect Alex Debrincat is confident his abilities will translate to the NHL despite his size after taking home honors as the best player in junior hockey this season.
*For something completely different: Apparently there’s a hard core comic book geek gripe that “The Flash” is burning through bad guys too quickly. This would make sense if they couldn’t revisit these bad guys at any point, but they absolutely can go back to a big bad like Grodd anytime they want.
It was the longest run that the P-Bruins have had in a few years and another unmistakable sign that the future is brightening for the Black and Gold, but the Bruins AHL affiliate has ended their playoff push in the Calder Cup semi-finals.
The Providence Bruins fell by a 3-1 score to the Syracuse Crunch on Saturday night to lose to the Crunch in five games when the best-of-seven series was set to return to Providence this coming week. The P-Bruins had vanquished the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins and Hershey Bears in the first two rounds of the Calder Cup playoffs before finally exiting against Syracuse.
Though it’s over, it’s clear some of the Bruins prospects made a nice step forward over the second half of the AHL season and then into the Calder Cup playoffs. With the Calder Cup Finals yet to start, B’s forward prospect Danton Heinen stands as the second-leading playoff scorer in the entire AHL with nine goals and 18 points in 17 playoff games after really struggling in the first half of his first pro season while bouncing back and forth between the NHL and the AHL.
This could bode well for the skilled Heinen and his hopes to make the leap to the NHL in the near future after a stellar collegiate career at the University of Denver. AHL journeymen-types Wayne Simpson and Jordan Szwarz were the next two top scorers for the P-Bruins in the playoff run, but Jake DeBrusk had a strong playoff season as well while popping in six goals in 17 games. DeBrusk led all Providence players with his 54 shots on net in the 17-game playoff run for Providence, and he headlined a group that included B’s prospects Ryan Fitzgerald, Zach Senyshyn, Matt Grzelcyk, Peter Cehlarik (who succumbed to shoulder surgery during the playoffs), Emil Johansson and Robbie O’Gara all getting some vital playoff experience.
Both Heinen and DeBrusk will be strong candidates for jobs on the wing with the Boston big club when training camp opens in the fall after strong showings in the postseason.
On the goaltending side, Zane McIntyre was solid for the P-Bruins at times while in 16 of their 17 playoff games with a .906 save percentage. But it was Malcolm Subban that was playing at the very end of the playoff run for Providence and featured a sterling .937 save percentage in the four AHL playoff games that he appeared in this spring after an up-and-down regular season. McIntyre had an .857 save percentage and 4.37 goals against average in the final series against Syracuse, and looked a little spent like many of the other P-Bruins players once they’d unexpectedly made it to the third round of the AHL postseason.
The only unfortunate part of Providence’s run is that newly signed youngsters Charlie McAvoy and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson couldn’t be a part of it after signing and then appearing in NHL games following a cut-off date for AHL playoff rosters. Both missed on an experience that could have been very conducive for their professional development, and uncovered a wrinkle in the NHL/AHL transaction process that really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for a developmental league.