Could the timing of bye week become a killer for the Bruins?
|02.15.17 at 6:48 pm ET|
The Bruins, who at one point this season had a stretch that included 50 games in just over 100 days, are happy to finally get some rest.
But of course, it had to happen right when the club is in the midst of their best stretch of the season, with wins in three straight games, including two wins over division leaders in the Sharks and Canadiens.
“Someone asked me that just before we played San Jose about the break, well if we’re winning we don’t want the break if you’re not then it’s a good time,” Bruins interim head coach Bruce Cassidy said after Sunday’s 4-0 thumping of the Habs. “It is what it is, right? I’d rather keep playing, guys will enjoy themselves, they’ve earned that and we’ll get ready to go Saturday for Sunday’s game in San Jose.”
“We’ll take it,” B’s defenseman Adam McQuaid admitted. “It’s our break, so yeah, I think it’s good. I think maybe when you’re stringing together a few wins, you might want to keep playing, but we get a little break, just come back with the same mindset.”
When the Bruins do come back, they’ll have the dreaded California tour with games against Sharks, Ducks, and Kings, and after that they will then head to Dallas for a head-to-head with the Stars.
It’s not exactly the most forgiving trip. And teams have not responded well to these breaks, as deserved as they may be.
NHL teams are 3-9 after the five-day break
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) February 14, 2017
Although the Bruins have done their best to work their way out off death’s door with that aforementioned three-game winning streak to go into the bye (and the Bruins actually have wins in six of their last eight games, believe it or not), a slump out of the gate would put the Black and Gold right back into a dire situation and against some stiff competition no less.
Even after this four-game road swing through California and Texas, the Bruins will come back to the Garden for one game against the woeful Coyotes before the trade deadline comes (alternatively known as Bruins GM Don Sweeney’s last chance to improve his team’s chances to make the playoffs this season), and before it’s time for a head-to-head against the Rangers.
In other words, the Bruins have one gimme between now and March.
That’s why finding a way to keep this rolling while everyone is either on vacation, resting up, or just hanging out, is a must.
“It’s something we need to bottle up and not change our approach, not change what we’re doing, make sure we’re moving on the break and not just sitting idle and getting rusty,” David Backes said of the break. “Make sure that mentally, we can have those same sort of mindsets for every guy to be contributing. Again, it’s something that doesn’t show up on the score sheet, but guys are recognized in here for doing those things and that’s winning culture and that’s what we’re building.”
With that said, the Bruins will keep tabs on where they are in the standings, but not dwell on ’em very much, if at all.
“Not a chance,” Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask said when asked if he’d be watching hockey this week.
“Obviously we want things to go our way in the standings,” Cassidy said. “But listen if we take care of business, if the Boston Bruins take care of the Boston Bruins, hopefully we will be good enough.”