Peter Chiarelli Admits Bruins’ Style Hard to Play, But Also Says B’s Need to Be Better in Midst of Slump


Stephane Robidas, Patrice BergeronThe Bruins’ style of play isn’t easy, and it isn’t for everyone. That much was on display in more ways than one on Tuesday night at TD Garden.

Tyler Seguin made his return to Boston on Tuesday night for the first time since being traded to Dallas in the offseason. As we’ve come to find since, there were some in the Boston front office who felt Seguin couldn’t play the B’s style of hockey — a heavy, bruising and demanding brand.

That same style of play — and the level of difficulty it takes to reach that level every night — may also be what the Bruins have to blame for their most recent slump. With the shootout loss to Seguin and the Stars on Tuesday night, the Bruins have lost four of their last five games and find themselves in what has become something of an annual slump.

General manager Peter Chiarelli understandably wants to see more out of his club.

“We’re not playing well,” Chiarelli said Wednesday morning on 98.5 The Sports Hub. “Some of the comments I’ve read from the players are accurate. We’re skating in quicksand. I’ve seen it with this team before and we have to work our way out of it.”

But what makes that difficult, of course, is how hard it is to sustain the level of play the Bruins expect as a franchise. This has happened in the past, and Chiarelli and the B’s are hopeful they can just somehow ride it before finding their way again.

“It’s a hard style to play, but it’s a winning style, we’ve proven that,” Chiarelli added. “It’s just hard to play. I’m not excusing the players. … We had a real good start, but then we fall into a comfortable groove, and that’s not the way it should be. You recognize the type of play we demand is hard, but it’s up to us, up to the coaches, up to the management that we have to make sure that we’re at that level.”

Chiarelli also conceded that a Stanley Cup hangover of a different kind could be affecting the team. The Bruins played into late June this past summer before falling to Chicago in the Stanley Cup Final. When you add that to the fact that there are some new faces in the Boston lineup, you start to see where the struggles could come from.

“I think [the Cup hangover is] part of it, especially when you don’t win,” he said on the Toucher and Rich program. “Now we’ve experienced both. We won and we played deep, and we lost and we played deep. When you lose, it’s not fun; it’s not nearly as much fun. So there’s that element to it. There’s elements of complacency.

“There’s a lot of things. There are new players. Teams can’t play to perfection every game. What happens is that you get into a level of play that’s not satisfactory that’s hard to get out and that’s where we are right now. Fortunately, we were able to grab a point last night, but we certainly weren’t deserving of anything more than that.”

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