Bruins Will Need to Make Changes Soon If Players’ Performance Doesn’t Improve Quickly


Bruins Will Need to Make Changes Soon If Players' Performance Doesn't Improve QuicklyThe Bruins are in trouble.

They are just 10 games into an 82-game regular-season slate, but with just three wins and six points in that span, they cannot afford to let this skid go any further.

The Stanley Cup hangover is no longer a valid excuse. The Bruins have the worst record of any defending champion through 10 games since the 1994-95 New York Rangers. If the last 15 champs were able to shake off the effects and remain competitive, the Bruins can't cling to concerns over the grueling postseason run last spring, short offseason this summer or bull's-eye on their back this fall.

No, this 3-7-0 start isn't the result of any outside factors. It has to fall upon the players on the ice and in the locker room to correct the problems that have plagued the team throughout the opening month of the season. If they don't, some of those players will soon be gone.

That seemed impossible just a few short weeks ago. This Bruins team was supposed to be better equipped to deal with the challenges of defending a championship because nearly the entire roster returned intact from last year.

The strength of last year's squad was its chemistry and camaraderie. This year's team is still a tight-knit group that cares greatly for one another, but that is no longer translating into enough effectiveness on the ice.

The Bruins have scored just nine goals in their seven losses. They continue to struggle on the power play. They are handing opponents far too many power-play chances of their own through breakdowns in discipline.

Ten games isn't a huge sample size, but it's long enough to know this isn't just a simple case of having a bad night or two. It isn't even just a slump magnified because it's coming at the beginning of the season.

The problems are real, and the Bruins have to find solutions quickly. Even with 72 games remaining, the points they've already squandered are going to be difficult to make up.

Ideally, those solutions will be found within the group that's already been assembled. They are certainly capable of doing it. They've proven they can win with what they accomplished last spring.

But they won't have much more time to prove that this group as constituted can do it again. Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli has already gone from discussing his reluctance to mess with the chemistry of a championship club to admitting that he's been working the phones with his fellow GMs around the league.

At some point, changes will have to be made if things do not change. Claude Julien has already tried just about all of the tricks in his arsenal. He's put the players through their paces in grueling practices. He's given them days off to rest and refocus. He's shuffled the lines into just about every combination imaginable.

But moving the same pieces around can only be done so much. Eventually, some new pieces will have to be introduced. That could come with call-ups from Providence. That could come through trades.

But come it will if the Bruins can't snap out of this slide soon.

The Bruins are trying to remain positive, believing that their game is not far off from where it needs to be and that they'll turn the corner soon.

"That's just the way it is," captain Zdeno Chara said after Saturday's 4-2 loss in Montreal to complete a home-and-home series sweep by the Habs. "We lost the game and we can't be blaming anybody else but us. We are right there. It's so close, so next one."

The next one comes on Tuesday when Ottawa visits the Garden. It might also be the last one that these Bruins all remain together for, if they all even make it to Tuesday.

No one could have imagined that such drastic changes would be under consideration less than a month into the season. But no one would have envisioned the Bruins suffering such a disastrous start either.

Something has to change soon. And if it isn't the players' performance, it will soon be the players.

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