Only one thing would make the Boston Bruins feel better about their lofty position in the NHL standings.
Bruins president Cam Neely and general manager Don Sweeney identified the players’ health as the team’s biggest concern last week in an interview with The Boston Globe’s Kevin Paul Dupont. Injuries have cost the Bruins 80-plus man games on their forward lines alone, with the ailments of Patrice Bergeron and Brett Ritchie inducing great angst recently.
While the Bruins comfortably are in position to reach the NHL playoffs, they’ll need to be in good health next spring in order to mount an other credible pursuit of Stanley Cup Final glory. Knowing this, Sweeney accepts injuries as a fact of life in the NHL.
“Health is always our biggest concern,” he said. “An awful lot of teams in the same boat … and I don’t think that’s going to change.”
Neely said the litany of Bruins injuries have made his task of gauging how and where to bolster the roster more difficult than it otherwise would be.
“Like most teams, we haven’t been healthy,” Neely said. “So we’ve had a lot of juggling with our forward group in particular. I’d like to see, if we can get some continuity with four lines … maybe get a little more consistency out of all four lines, then we’ll have a better chance of assessing.”
The Bruins will play many more games before the Feb. 24 NHL trade deadline nears, and how well their players hold up during the grind will influence Boston’s approach to decisions they must make on or near that date.
This actually is a good problem to have, as many other teams concern themselves with improving talent, chemistry and determination to win at this early stage of the season.