The Boston Bruins, 2-5-1 in their last 8 games, are undoubtedly in the midst of a February tailspin. Fans of the team can either call sports radio talk shows and cry out the overused and now boring, “I’m heading for the Tobin Bridge,” or, take a step back and look at the broader picture of an entire NHL regular season.
The regular season starts in early October and mercilessly continues on until the following April with any team lucky to catch four days in a row off. That seemingly endless grind will surely lead to ups and down for all teams, even the superior ones.
Let’s take a quick look at three random teams for the seasons following the NHL lockout.
2005 – 2006 Carolina Hurricanes: Peter Laviolette’s squad encountered separate skids of 2-5-1 and 4-5-2 over the course of the regular season.
2006 – 2007 Ottawa Senators: The team got off to a 6-10-1 start and had another downturn of 2-6-0 later in the year.
2007 – 2008 Pittsburgh Penguins: Yes, even Sydney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin played on a team that started the month of November 1-6-0.
Okay, maybe these three examples aren’t so random after all. Yes, they all took some lumps during the regular season but they all went on to win the Eastern Conference and play in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Sure, Bruins fans should be concerned about the team’s play as of late, but it is not the time for widespread hockey panic. Even with the team in a mini-funk, they still lead the conference by seven points and have a favorable home schedule down the stretch.
I’m sure team management is cognizant that there are a few holes to fill come the March 4 trading deadline and, when those pieces are in-place, this team will once again play like the one that dominated the Eastern Conference for the first four months of the season.