While the Bruins got a day off on Tuesday to take a step back and gather themselves after a sluggish start to their title defense, general manager Peter Chiarelli remained hard at work looking for answers why the Bruins are just 3-5-0 through eight games.
Chiarelli isn't going to overreact to the early struggles, though, so don't expect any major shakeups just yet. It was by design that the Bruins brought back nearly the entire roster from last year's Stanley Cup championship squad. That group has proven it's capable of winning, and has earned a little extra leash to work through this year's early struggles.
Speaking in a conference call with reporters Tuesday evening, Chiarelli did admit that retaining so much of last year's squad does present some different kinds of challenges. There were few jobs open in camp, and the competition so vital to bring the best out of everyone has to come from different sources when the lineup is relatively stable.
"I think the competition for jobs as it applies to us this year, right now is probably ice time," Chiarelli said. "We have one extra forward and one extra D right now. It's a Stanley Cup-winning team and it's hard to create competition. I believe in competition, but it's hard to create it. We've got roster space. We've got cap space. We can do it. It's hard to mettle and tinker with a Stanley Cup team.
"The main obstacle in creating that competition is you have this team that's won the Stanley Cup," Chiarelli added. "I have to get over that. We do have roster space. We do have cap space to create competition. We've got some guys pushing in Providence. I'm just not at that point yet."
Chiarelli is preaching patience, secure in the knowledge that this team as constituted has already proven it's capable of winning when it counts most. Still, he also knows that if they don't get back to how they were playing last year that changes can and will be made. Just not yet.
"It's my job to monitor this stuff and address it," Chiarelli said. "I don't want to react. We'll see how it goes on a day-to-day basis. Obviously it's the results that you look at, but I look at other things internally and in practice and behind the scenes. It's a broader picture, but at some point if I don't like how things are going I have to do something."
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