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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Bruins Success Points to Growth for the Future

Winter in Boston brings a few things every year: snow, a Patriots playoff run, hope for the Celtics, and a craze for Boston Bruins hockey.

So far, we’ve gotten our fair share of snow, the Patriots are favored to go to the Super Bowl, and the Celtics look better than they have in years. The only domino left to fall is the Bruins. After struggling out of the gate this season, the Bruins have finally found their stride. The team has taken a point out of their last 14 games, including a pair of wins over the rival Canadiens. The question remains if the team can sustain this level of play.

The Bruins surprised us last year after the move to fire longtime head coach Claude Julien. While the timing of Julien’s firing was criticized, the results were evident. The Bruins made it to the playoffs, even earning themselves a top three division seed in the Atlantic. Although they fell in six games to the Ottawa Senators, it was the first time the Bruins had made the playoffs since 2014. While many felt it was a fluke occurrence that they made the playoffs, the Bruin’s young coach and young core suggested otherwise.

Since taking over as the “bench boss” of the Bruins, Bruce Cassidy has lead Boston to a 43-18-9 record in 70 games while they currently have possession of the second spot in the Atlantic Division. Cassidy’s approach to teaching young players allows them to both grow and develop their skill set without the fear of being benched when they make a mistake. For evidence of this, just look at players like David Pastrnak, Danton Heinen, and Charlie McAvoy. Pastrnak continues to improve, as he is once again on pace for a 30+ goal season, and McAvoy has progressed far quicker than anyone has anticipated. The real surprise has been the play of Danton Heinen, who has produced all season for the Bruins and scored timely goals.

On the opposite side of the coin, let’s look at the Montreal Canadiens, now being led by former Bruins coach Claude Julien, and their style of play. They aren’t as fast and young players are more inhibited in their play, something that young players also dealt with during Julien’s time in Boston. In the Jan. 17 game with the Bruins against the Canadiens, it was clear that the Canadiens and Bruins had swapped positions in their long rivalry.

At the forefront of this resurgence for the Bruins is their play in goal. Tuukka Rask had struggled the last few seasons, often due to being overplayed. However, this season, Anton Khudobin has pushed Rask to a higher level of play. Rask has been on a tear since the beginning of November, and one could say it’s because his backup, Khudobin, has been just as reliable in his starts.

Right now, all signs point to the Bruins being back in the playoffs in April. The team is deeper, and more experienced than they were last season, and should be able to make it to the second round. There is far more hope in Bruins Nation this year compared to last year as the franchise has seemingly turned things around overnight.