The Bruins may or may not make a move by Wednesday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)
The trade deadline can change a team’s expectations, but it can’t change how they go about their day-to-day business. That would actually be a bad thing to happen to the Bruins, too, who have wins in seven of eight games under interim head coach Bruce Cassidy.
“I’m going to go to practice in the morning, have a good breakfast, do a little video, and see what happens,” Cassidy said of his deadline day plans, which begin with an 11:30 a.m. practice. “That’s out of my control. I think that’s a question better served for management.”
But the Bruins remain in a rather tricky position ahead of Wednesday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline. They are six points out of first place in the Atlantic Division (and have played one less game the division-leading Canadiens), and just four points from being on the outside looking in.
The Bruins have just as many reasons to buy as they do to sell.
That’s not to say anybody in that room knows just what second-year general manager Don Sweeney will do on Wednesday.
“They’re going to do what they think is best for the team,” B’s winger Brad Marchand said of the team’s front office. “Regardless of if we get someone or not, we’re going to keep working. We’re going to push here to get into the playoffs. That’s all we care about. Whether we do something or not, we have the same goal at the end of the day. We’ll see what happens, but we believe in this group in here. We can do some damage when we’re playing the way we are. That’s all that matters.”
Led by a balanced four-line attack and defense that’s ‘activated’ in the offensive zone at an incredible rate, the B’s hot streak has come with the club shooting almost double under Cassidy than what they did under Claude Julien. The club has also seen some solid goaltending from Tuukka Rask and a revitalized Anton Khudobin (who has two wins in two games under Cassidy).
The team also appears to be playing to one another’s strengths versus bogging themselves down into a uniformed style.
“I think, you know, there’s –almost every game there’s one or two [‘wow’ kind of plays],” Rask said after Tuesday’s 4-1 win over the Coyotes at TD Garden, the club’s third straight victory. “But it’s a fine line as we always talk about, you know, you try to make those extra passes and if it works it’s great but if it doesn’t it’s going to come back to your own end. But lately it’s been working out and a lot of that has to do with the confidence part, but a lot of times you’re kind of like, ‘Wow, nice plays.'”
“We’re playing well. But, there’s still just under 20 games left here and a lot can happen. We can’t get too comfortable,” Marchand continued. “We have to realize the situation we’re in. Teams that are right around us are continuing to win and get points. All that matters right now is that we do that same. Again, regardless of what happens, we have a great group in here. We get along really well off the ice and lately, that’s been transferring over on the ice. So, we have to continue that.”
In other words, things have gone well for the Black and Gold for the first time all year, and a decision to mess with the potential lightning that Sweeney has caught in this eight-game bottle could backfire if the wrong button is pressed and the wrong player is moved out of the Hub, which is something he’s seemingly cognizant of heading into the last day of trade possibilities.
“There is always a balance,” Sweeney said on Tuesday. “You recognize what the team needs and how well they’re playing. Do you have enough depth? But it’s always been with an eye towards the commitment to what we’ve put in place and moving forward.”
The Bruins are not expected to be much of a buyer or a seller between now and the 3 p.m. deadline, but until the deadline officially closes, there’s nothing that seems completely off limits. Remember, it was almost after 3 p.m. last year that the Bruins made moves for the Devils’ Lee Stempniak for two draft picks and Hurricanes d-man John-Michael Liles for picks and a prospect.
So until then, all the Bruins can do is wait.
“We’ll go from there and see what we’ve got,” said Cassidy.