Closing The Book On The Boston Bruins 2012-13 Season
The sting of losing the Stanley Cup at home is likely still resonant for all Bruins’ players, personnel, and fans alike. The B’s word about a minute away from forcing a game 7 in Chicago, but the Blackhawks scored two goals within 17 seconds of each other and captured their 5th title in the process. Boston went home empty handed after such a magical run to the Stanley Cup finals. It is a tough pill to swallow, but hopefully time will heal these wounds, and hopefully everyone will realize how fortunate they were to see this team back in the finals for the second time in three years.
We as fans got to see a plethora of excellent performances this season. Tuukka Rask finished in the top 5 in Vezina voting. He had a remarkable year despite the questions surrounding him, with a line of 19-10-5, a 2.00 goals against average, a .929 save percentage, and 5 shutouts. He seemed up to the challenge in the postseason as well with 14-8-3 record, a 1.88 goals against average, and a .940 save percentage, and three shutouts. Rask is going to get big money in the offseason, and he will be Boston’s net minder for years to come.
Patrice Bergeron was the team’s MVP this season, and in the playoffs. His performance may not have been as obvious as Rask’s, but his willingness to do all the necessary things, big or small, for the Bruins was important. In the regular season he scored 10 goals, 22 assists, and a +24 in 42 games. In the playoffs he scored 9 goals, 6 assists, and a +2 in 22 games. Bergeron also led the NHL in faceoff percentage from the start of the regular season to the end of the Stanley Cup Finals.
Bergeron unfortunately finished second in the Selke voting, but you will never be able to convince me that there is a better two-way player in the NHL. Bergy is a warrior, and he is currently in the hospital after playing through several significant injuries during the Finals. This guy gets it.
Milan Lucic totally turned his season around after a lackluster playoff appearance. He scored 7 goals, 12 assists, and a +12 during the Bruins 2013 playoff run. It was quite the turnaround for Lucic after struggling to find consistency for most of the regular season. He is currently the Bruins’ highest paid forward, and the playoffs gave him the opportunity to look like it. Fortunately for himself, and all of the fans; he took the chance and ran with it.
David Krejci and Nathan Horton both held onto their “playoff performer” titles by exceeding expectations in the postseason. Krejci is usually the subject of most trade rumors out of Boston. Hopefully his performance of 9 goals, 17 assists, and a +13 in 22 playoff games will keep him of the rumor monger’s trade floor.
I was totally ready to let Horton walk in the offseason, but his performance during the playoffs was excellent. He had 7 goals (3 game winners), 12 assists, and a playoff best +20 in 22 games. I expect the Bruins to try and keep in the fold for next season, and possibly beyond. He may test free agency though, and I’m sure some General Manager will overpay for his services. We will have to wait and see.
Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin had great regular seasons. Marchand led the Bruins in goals (18) and points (36). His numbers in the postseason were solid up until the finals where he failed to register a single point. It would be easy to look at him as a guy who could’ve done more, but he was a perfect example of guy who had just run out of gas at season’s end.
Seguin had 16 goals, 16 assists, and a +24 during the regular season, but could never really get it together in the playoffs. It must have been frustrating for him given the amount of effort he put in to every stretch as the offseason wore on. It looked as if he was going to breakthrough on multiple occasions, but he only scored once against the Rangers, in a game the Bruins ultimately lost. I thought his speed was huge for the team in the playoffs, and I thought he was one of the best skaters going against the Hawks in the finals.
Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly has huge down years, but they were also mired in a constant array of third line combinations crafted by Coach Claude Julien. It is hard to play consistently when your line mates are never themselves consistent. Kelly was able to salvage himself in the eyes of the fans with an excellent showing during the Finals, but Peverley never really got on track all season. He is a supremely talented guy, but seems to be lacking confidence. We saw flashes of his talent during the regular season, but it wasn’t enough. His time in Boston may be at an end.
The Merlot line was as good as ever this season. Gregory Campbell, Dan Paille, and Shawn Thornton make up the best fourth line in the NHL. They were huge for Boston during the run, and in the regular season. Too bad Soupy got hurt, because the Bruins could have used him against the Hawks. Paille was outstanding this season. Part of me thinks he deserves a shot at the Bruins third line, though it is hard to imagine that line breaking up.
Zdeno Chara had a great season despite getting beaten by the Blackhawks in the finals. He also had a Norris worth season despite his lack of offensive production. In the playoffs he was a monster. He played roughly 30 minutes a night, and scored 3 goals, 12 assists, and a +7. He was exploited by the Hawks which may or may not show his age, but he is still one of the best defenders in the game, and it is clear he was playing through an injury for the better part of the postseason.
Johnny Boychuk had great postseason as well. Boychuk was a scoring machine for the Bruins in the playoffs scoring 6 goals. He was also a shot blocking and hitting monster for the Bruins in the playoffs. He certainly raised his profile in Boston after his lackluster performance during the regular season. He, like Horton, may have saved his job with Boston.
Dennis Seidenberg had solid year too. Seids had a prolific regular season with 4 goals, 13 assists, and a +18 in 46 games, but he only managed one assist during the playoffs. He was also burned by the Blackhawks’ top line along with his defensive partner Chara. I think Seidenberg is one of the most underrated players in the game. He was a major part of the 2011 Cup run, and played a significant part in shutting down some of the league’s best players on the way to the finals.
Torey Krug, Andrew Ference, and Adam McQuaid all played well for the Bruins this year. Krug earned himself a spot over promising young defenseman Dougie Hamilton with his 4 goals against the Rangers. Ference’s season was mired in injuries, but he still provided a significant amount of leadership for the guys on and off the ice. McQuaid had a great season after returning from a scary blood clot surgery in the offseason, and he received a Masterton nomination for his troubles. I felt he stepped up in the playoffs.
Even though Jaromir Jagr didn’t have the impact I had hoped he would during his time in Boston; it was still an absolute treat to see him as a Boston Bruin.
A lot of horrible things happened in New England in the last year. The Sandy Hook Shooting and the Boston Marathon Bombing were both sobering occurrences of violence that hit close to home for a lot New Englanders. This is why I think fans should acknowledge the Bruins as a welcome distraction to all the harsher realities of the year.
They beat the Toronto Maple Leafs in one of the most miraculous comebacks you will ever see, they beat the rival New York Rangers in 5 games, and they stomped on the same Pittsburgh Penguins team that had stolen Jarome Iginla right out from underneath them. No they did not win the Stanley Cup, but perhaps they did something greater than that. They gave New Englanders something to cheer for, and believe in. They fought all the way to the bitter end. This team may not have brought home the hardware, but they did represent Boston will all the pride and heroics they could muster. What more could you ask for?
This Bruins team has a bright future, and I am looking forward to it.
So to officially close out the 2012-13 Boston Bruins season for us at BST&N, I would like to say Thank you to the team for everything they did for a city that needed the lift. See you next year.
You can follow me on twitter here: @Mattjacob64