Through all of Don Sweeney’s mad wheeling and dealing over the last 10 days, the rookie general manger changed the Bruins roster considerably, though he could not change the underlying truth: The B’s are still no one’s idea of a Stanley Cup favorite. But that’s OK. With Sweeney’s work on Wednesday in obtaining Matt Beleskey and Jimmy Hayes while dumping some unwanted money in Marc Savard’s contract ($4 million) and Reilly Smith ($3.4 million over the next two years), he has put the team in a better position to tread water (i.e., squeak into the playoffs). And for the next season or two, that’s all you can reasonably expect from the Bruins until — cross your fingers — some of the high draft picks pay dividends. Hopefully by then, Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci still have some gas in the tank. With the salary cap situation, the B’s were not going to replace the talent level of Dougie Hamilton and Milan Lucic and be able to fill all the holes on the roster while still putting the organization on a better financial path for the future. Sweeney’s done a reasonably good job assembling a roster under the circumstances. But if the rearranging of the deck chairs can restore an element that’s been missing from this team since, say, Game 5 of their 2014 playoff series loss to the Montreal Canadiens, he will have taken a giant step forward in rebuilding his team. That missing element? Hunger. It was gone when the Bruins went up to Montreal for Game 6 in that series and seemed quite content from the outset to forget about the business at hand and aim to win Game 7 at home. We all know how that worked out. Any sense of urgency was missing at key points of last season’s non-playoff campaign. Emblematic was their second-to-last game of the season at Florida when all they had to do was win a period to stay alive in the playoff race, against a Panthers team that had already been eliminated from playoff contention. And we all know how that went down. That’s not to say everyone quit. Zdeno Chara played the last week on a broken fibula. Brad Marchand battled to the end. Bergeron remained Bergeron.
Bruins needed culture shock
Boston Herald | Jul 5