WILMINGTON — The Bruins have had many moments over the last decade in which their leaders have found various ways to get whatever they could from their teammates.
Back in 2011, Shawn Thornton decorated the Bruins’ dressing room with old pictures of Bruins Stanley Cup moments and Mark Recchi brought in his Stanley Cup rings in an effort to motivate the B’s to bounce back from a Game 6 loss to the Lightning in the Eastern Conference finals and push their way to the Stanley Cup Final with a Game 7 win.
That’s a well-known example, but there are likely several others that haven’t made it out of the Bruins’ room: words of wisdom, pissed off speeches, etc.
The B’s are 2-7-1 in their last 10 games. They’ve slid out of a playoff spot and, with two games remaining in the regular season, need help from teams in front of them if they want to return to the postseason.
Though a tiny possibility exists that the B’s could make the playoffs even if they lose Thursday to the Red Wings (it would involve Detroit also beating Philly Wednesday and the Flyers then losing at least two of their final three games), Thursday is essentially a must-win.
So is this a time for optimism or a time for an angry captain?
“My job is, most of all, to lead by my play and the way I act,” Zdeno Chara told WEEI.com Wednesday. “It’s easy to be pointing fingers and easy to be saying, ‘Hey, I’m disappointed,’ and looking at the glass as half-empty, but the situation we’re in, that’s the way it is and we’ve got to make the best of it.”
This is a team that was mighty proud of itself when it was on pace for a wild card spot at the All-Star break because it felt that many had counted them out prior to the season. If they thought they were exceeding expectations then, perhaps they’re meeting expectations now.
Whether the Bruins are what observers thought they were or are better and just underachieving, a playoff spot was within reach and the B’s have distanced themselves from it.
Chara’s not alone in preaching patience over frustration at this point. Old-school Bruins fans will find that to be a source of frustration in and of itself, as “just go out there and hit somebody” is a viable game plan to local devotees.
“Nobody likes losing,” Claude Julien said. “I don’t think it’s unique to the individual. You hope it’s unique to the group. That’s what we have to deal with: the fact that we’ve been through this and we’ve got to find a way to win hockey games.”
Whether they like losing or not, they’ve done quite a bit of it at the wrong time. Injuries have factored into some performances (most notably Sunday in Chicago), but the B’s have failed to take very attainable points from games against teams like Carolina in New Jersey.
Now the Bruins need to beat a Detroit team that stands in their way if they want a realistic shot of playing games past this weekend. They’ll either be up for the challenge or they’ll be out for a second straight season.