Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Do the Bruins have a Stanley Cup bid?

By Mark Bruso

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Courtesy of New England Magazine

To label the Boston Bruins’ Stanley Cup run last spring as anything less than awe-inspiring would be criminal. The Bruins not only captivated an entire region, but in turn, left an indelible mark on New England fandom. With their encore performance set to begin on October 6th, one has to wonder—do these Big, Bad Bruins have another one in ‘em?

Here are three key factors that lead us to believe these Bruins have another Cup run up their sleeves for 2012:

1. Goaltending – Goalies last season can be broken down into two categories, Tim Thomas and the rest of the world. His Vezina-winning campaign included an eye-popping .939 save-percentage (a record), a paltry 2.00 goals-against average, and a solid 35-11-9 record. And when Tuukka Rask is stealing roughly 25-30 starts a year, you know you’re in good hands.

2. Turnover – As the Chicago Blackhawks can attest, the Salary Cap can be a cruel and merciless beast. Their roster was ravaged after their Cup victory in 2010 to comply with it. The 2011 Champs find themselves relatively intact.

3. The Youngsters – Tyler Seguin, Jordan Caron, Milan Lucic, and Brad Marchand- all key cogs in the Bruins’ machine- were under 22 years old last season. Look for even bigger years from all four this season.

On the flip side, here on the three reasons why the Bruins will be golfing, not hoisting,
come next June:

1. Tim Thomas – Yes, this man played like a goaltending cyborg last season. And yes, he will no doubt be in the running for a third Vezina Trophy in four years. However, his ludicrous statistics are flat-out unsustainable. The Bruins needed his otherworldly play to overcome their offensive shortcomings to win the Cup—surviving three Game 7’s along the way. He made history in 2011, but 2012 may prove to be different.

2. The Powerplay – Coach Claude Julien received a ton of flak for the Bruins’ much-maligned powerplay unit. They won in spite of it last year, not because of it. Once again, winning the Stanley Cup with a historically bad powerplay speaks volumes to just how good Tim Thomas played in 2011.

3. Cup Hangover – This is figurative, not literal. Steve Yzerman’s Detroit Red Wings of 1997 and 1998 were last team to repeat as NHL champions. And no team, I repeat, no team has done the trick since the refined NHL was born out of the 2004-2005 lockout. Losing the locker room presence of the future hall-of-famer Mark Recchi to retirement doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, either.

Alas, we are all assured of three things in life—death, taxes, and a new NHL Champion.

Mark Bruso can be reached for comment at [email protected]

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