Editor’s Note: Chris can see it both ways, so he wrote it both ways. Today, he’ll discuss why the Bruins won’t win; tomorrow, read his reasons why they will win. It’s fun to debate.
The Bruins were having a magical 2019-2020 season prior to the stoppage of play. Their offense was rolling, the defense was sound, Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak were doing their thing, and their special teams were among the league's best.
However, despite the tremendous season Boston was having, there have always been cracks in their armor that were going to haunt them come playoff time.
Opportunities were there for the B’s to address some of these concerns at the deadline, but the prices of key available players were probably too high.
As a result, here are 5 reasons the Bruins will not win the Stanley Cup this season:
They're not the best in the East
To be the best, you have to beat the best and this is something the Bruins have not been able to do for quite a while now.
The Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning have been able to consistently beat the Bruins year after year. The Bruins are 5-19 against the Caps since 2013, and including the 2018 playoff loss to the Bolts, the Bruins are 6-11 against the Lightning over the last three years.
Last year, the Bruins were fortunate to see both of these teams exit in the first round of the playoffs. Don't expect it to happen this year.
There are many reasons why the Bruins lost in the Cup Final last year, but one that stands out to many fans is toughness.
The Blues pushed the Bruins around for the bulk of the Final in a very Bruin-like fashion, with a tenacious forecheck and smothering defense.
Against the Capitals, a similar trend often arises: players like Tom Wilson, TJ Oshie and Alex Ovechkin seem to have their way with the Bruins defense and star players, with little repercussions.
In the initial attempt to address this issue, Brett Ritchie was brought in to add size and muscle, and after that failed, brother Nick was added at the deadline.
Nick Ritchie does add some needed aggression and size to the lineup, but he alone is not enough to stand up against some of the more physical teams in the NHL.
Too much “experience”
Is it possible to have too much playoff experience, at least in terms of miles on the tires? In the Bruins’ case the answer is ‘Yes.’
For Boston, multiple deep playoff runs must have taken a physical and mental toll that will eventually impact the abilities of its core players.
Add to this that the Bruins are one of the older teams in the league, and you can see how it will all come together to hinder the B’s chances at the Cup in 2020.
Lack of depth
The Bruins’ first line is undeniably awesome. The rest of the forwards are a bit more questionable.
Part of the problem for Bruce Cassidy has been finding chemistry in his bottom nine all season long. The 2nd line has seen David Krejci play with a number of different RW’s this season, with none of them really sticking thus far.
There are hopes that Ondrej Kase might finally be the answer, but his first 6 games didn’t provide fans with much to cheer for.
The 3rd line is a similar story. Charlie Coyle has had a strong year, but Cassidy cannot seem to find wingers for him either. Finally, the 4th line has been a revolving door all season, with a seemingly different checking line each night.
Much of the Bruins strong play all the way to the Cup Final last season has to be credited to the emergence of a third line combo of Danton Heinen (gone), Charlie Coyle, and Marcus Johansson (gone).
There is little evidence of a solid third line coming out of Boston this year.
History is against the Bruins
Since the league expanded from 6 teams to 12 in 1966, only 2 teams who lost in the Cup Final have come back the next season to win the Stanley Cup.
That’s a winning percentage of just 4%, whereas 35% of teams that lost in the Cup Final went on to lose in the first round of the playoffs the next season.
Though you could argue that the stats mean nothing from season to season and team to team, you have to admit that the journey back to the Cup Final seems to be a long one for a team that was so close last year.
Frankly, this is probably the most difficult article I’ve written, as more than anything, I would love to see this team redeem themselves and win the Stanley Cup this year.
However, when you look at what this team would have to do to reach the top of the mountain, it almost seems incomprehensible.
Let’s hope this article is completely wrong and the one arguing the other side speaks the truth.