I’m a dinosaur and don’t see any funny internet things unless Pete Blackburn makes them, but get a load of this:

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

The Bruins have missed the playoffs for two straight seasons. (USA Today Sports)Whatever the Bruins were trying to do didn’t work.

Even scarier: Whatever the Bruins are trying to do isn’t working. 



The “should Claude Julien be fired” talk had already begun even before Saturday, but with the Bruins missing the playoffs for a second straight year and getting absolutely embarrassed on home ice in their season finale, it’s only going to pick up.

Debate over whether Claude Julien should be fired has already begun. (USA Today Sports)

Debate over whether Claude Julien should be fired has already begun. (USA Today Sports)

The “should Claude Julien be fired” talk had already begun even before Saturday, but with the Bruins missing the playoffs for a second straight year and getting absolutely embarrassed on home ice in their season finale, it’s only going to pick up.

Most Bruins players weren’t willing to make any sort of comment on the possibility of Julien being fired after Saturday’s 6-1 loss to the Senators given that, at the time, the B’s still had an outside shot of making the playoffs (the Flyers’ win over the Penguins later Saturday officially sealed their fate). But the team’s best and most important player came to the defense of Julien.

“I’ve said a million times that Claude has been the best coach I’ve had,” said Patrice Bergeron. “It’s definitely not on him. It should be on us. His system is there, the game plan is there. It’s about us executing, and we didn’t do that. So it should fall back on the players.”

In the case of Saturday and other games down the stretch that saw the Bruins lose to non-playoff teams, Bergeron is right that the players deserve a good chunk of the blame. There’s no excuse for making the kinds of defensive mistakes that led to Ottawa’s goals on Saturday. There’s no excuse for a top-five offense struggling to score against three non-playoff teams over the last two weeks of the season. Regardless of who the coach is or whether his message is getting through, those are things for which the players need to take responsibility.

But there is plenty of blame to go around, and yes, Julien deserves some of it. A coach should be able to do more to ensure that his team isn’t making as many mistakes as the Bruins made Saturday, whether it was getting beat wide, leaving guys uncovered in front or making bad breakout passes that were easily intercepted. Those things are coachable, and the fact that they happened this late in the season doesn’t reflect well on the coach.

The group that deserves the most blame, however, is the front office. Don Sweeney and company are the ones who built a team that had one legitimate top-four defenseman — and that one, Zdeno Chara, is 39 years old. It’s fitting that defense was the Bruins’ biggest issue on their disastrous last day, because it was their biggest issue all season, and it will remain their biggest issue going forward unless they bring in multiple defensemen who are significant upgrades over what they have now.

Can a coach really be blamed for not being able to turn third-pairing and AHL defensemen into top-four guys? Can those third-pairing and AHL defensemen really be blamed when they struggle in roles they’re simply not good enough to fill?

Julien, perhaps to his credit, was unwilling to address the state of his roster Saturday.

“I’m going to stay away from answering that. I’m going to deal with that kind of stuff with upper management,” Julien said. “This is not something I’m going to discuss publicly.”

Fair enough. For the sake of Bruins fans, hopefully upper management realizes it needs to build a much better team than the one it built this year. The coach and players absolutely deserve some of the blame, and the front office can fire the coach or trade away big-name players if they want, but ultimately there’s only so much any coach or player can do if the roster has the kinds of massive holes the Bruins had this year.

Blog Author: 
Scott McLaughlin

What seemed likely early Saturday afternoon became official just a few short hours later: The NHL playoffs will not include the Boston Bruins.

With a 3-1 win over the Penguins Saturday, the Flyers secured the second wild card spot and punched their ticket to a first-round matchup with the Capitals. Finishing as a wild card team was the Bruins’ only hope after their 6-1 loss to the Senators Saturday ruled out getting in as an Atlantic Division team.

Painfully, the Bruins actually would have finished with the No. 3 seed in the Atlantic had they beaten the Senators. Playing at the same time as the Bruins, the Red Wings lost to the Rangers but still ended up getting in thanks to Boston’s loss.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean
Tuukka Rask

Tuukka Rask

Following a disastrous 6-1 loss to the Senators in their regular-season finale, Bruins coach Claude Julien would not elaborate on the status of goaltender Tuukka Rask, who was unavailable to the Bruins due to illness.

Julien said the Bruins “scrambled” to get Jeremy Smith to Boston after recalling him from Providence on an emergency basis. Rask was on the ice for warmups but moved very little and didn’t face shots until after line rushes.

Rask did not ultimately dress for the game, as Smith made it to the bench for the 12:30 p.m.

Jonas Gustavsson stopped 30 of the 34 shots he faced Saturday. Julien said the Bruins should have been able to overcome not having their starter in goal.

“It shouldn’t have been an issue,” Julien said. “He is a great goaltender, but our team could have easily played much better and allowed Gus to be the winning goalie today. I think some of the goals they scored today were tips and a lot of goals, we didn’t give him much help. If anything, he gave us a lot of help there in that first period. [Goaltending] was certainly not the reason for [the loss]. Excuses are out the window.”

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

The Bruins got the help they needed Saturday, as the Rangers beat the Red Wings. All the B’s needed was a point out of Saturday’s regular-season finale to get into the playoffs as the No. 3 seed in the Atlantic Division.

You probably know where this is going.

The Bruins got the help they needed Saturday, as the Rangers beat the Red Wings. All the B’s needed was a point out of Saturday’s regular-season finale to get into the playoffs as the No. 3 seed in the Atlantic Division.

You probably know where this is going.

After starting the day without the services of an ill Tuukka Rask, the Bruins fell apart throughout what ended up being a 6-1 loss to the Senators at TD Garden. Boston gave up a 1-0 lead and allowed four straight as out-of-contention Senators feasted on Jonas Gustavsson and Boston’s defense.

The Bruins could still technically get into the playoffs as long as the Flyers get no more than one point over their final two games. Philadelphia plays Pittsburgh Saturday afternoon and the Islanders Sunday night.

If the Flyers are to get multiple points in any way, the Bruins will miss the playoffs for the second consecutive season. At any rate, Boston’s 93 points on the season made for their lowest point total in an 82-game campaign since the 2009-10 season.

Here are four more things we learned Saturday:

JULIEN GOES FOR BROKE

Depending on whether management is willing to blame the poor job it did this season on the coach, Saturday might have been Claude Julien’s final game behind the bench for the Bruins.

Julien had to apply some whacky tactics in an effort to bring the Bruins back in the third period, as he pulled the goalie relatively early in the third period during two power plays. Both led to empty net shorthanded goals against, with Jean-Gabriel Pageau scoring at 11:33 of the this and Zack Smith scoring at 14:29.

SECOND PERIOD FROM HELL

Gustavsson survived the first period, though in typical Gustavsson fashion it was not pretty. The backup netminder was scrambling to get back into position after giving up a big rebound that the Senators controlled from low in the zone. Adam McQuaid came to the rescue, assuming the goaltender’s position to successfully defend Mika Zibanejad’s big and keep the Senators off the board.

Saturday figured to be a game in which defenders like McQuaid would have to bail out Gustavsson, yet it proved to work both ways. McQuaid gave the puck away at the offensive blue line late in the first period, resulting in a Mike Hoffman breakaway. Though he wasn’t sure where the puck was, Gustavsson made the save in what proved to be one of the biggest moments of the game.

David Pastnrak’s second goal in as many games (see below) proved to be the only tally of the first period, as the B’s held it together defensively for the most part. The second period was a different story.

Ottawa first got on the board when Ryan Dzingel breezed by Colin Miller as he entered the offensive zone and went for a wraparound that yielded a chance for Nick Paul. Chris Neil jumped on the rebound, burying the tying goal while Miller and partner John-Michael Liles were still behind the net.

The bleeding didn’t stop there, as as Zack Smith topped an Erik Karlsson shot past Gustavsson minutes later and Ottawa followed with goals from Matt Puempel and Mika Zibanejad. Four some reason, Julien didn’t call a timeout until after Zibanejad’s goal. All four of Ottawa’s second-period goals came in the first 10 minutes.

HAMBURGLED

Though Boston’s lack of offensive production was inexcusable given the skates on Saturday, former inappropriately overhyped goaltender Andrew Hammond did make some key saves for Ottawa as the Senators built their lead.

Hammond made a mammoth save on Patrice Bergeron right in front on the first shift of the second period. Keeping it a one-goal game at the time proved to make a major difference given that the B’s opened the floodgates once Ottawa tied it.

The former Bowling Green goalie also stopped Loui Eriksson on a partial break late in the second period, closed the door on a persistent Brad Marchand early in the third and recovered nicely from a refund midway through the third to stop Frank Vatrano.

GOAL STANDS

David Pasternak appeared to be offsides when he caught a puck in mid-air from Brad Marchand, raced in towards Andrew Hammond and roofed the puck into the net to make it 1-0. Ottawa promptly challenged the play, but the angle of the video and fact that the puck was in mid-air made it unlikely that the play would be reversed.

After being on the wrong end of a lot of challenges, the Bruins finally got a key call go their way when officials determined that there was inconclusive evidence of Pastrnak being offsides.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

The most important day of the Bruins’ season started horribly, as Jonas Gustavsson led the B’s onto the ice before their final game of the regular season. Tuukka Rask is sick and will not play.

The most important day of the Bruins’ season started horribly, as Jonas Gustavsson led the B’s onto the ice before their final game of the regular season, indicating he would be the starting goaltender.

Tuukka Rask took the ice for warmups but barely moved after taking the ice. The Bruins recalled Jeremy Smith on an emergency basis, suggesting something is wrong with Rask.

Gustavsson was in goal for line rushes. Rask eventually took the net after line rushes and faced easy shots from taken from high in the zone before leaving the ice.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean