Coming off of last year’s impressive regular season and a quartet of end-of-season awards - Zdeno Chara taking home the Norris Trophy, Tim Thomas winning the Vezina, Tim Thomas and Manny Fernandez winning the Jennings Trophy, and head coach Claude Julien taking Jack Adams honors - expectations were high here in the hub of hockey coming into this season. Then the injuries started piling up. Marc Savard and Milan Lucic got injured days apart and both missed significant time. Andrew Ference got hurt and is still recovering. Mark Stuart, who had never missed a game in his NHL career, suffered a broken sternum and missed twelve games. Tim Thomas missed time due to a fracture in his hand, but the goaltending didn’t suffer because of the stellar play of Tuukka Rask. In his first game back from injury, Milan Lucic suffered a high ankle sprain and missed another month. Then on January 7th, he returned and 30 seconds into that game, Marc Savard went down with a knee injury and is still a while away from returning. Then Patrice Bergeron broke his thumb and he was out for a couple of weeks. But despite all of these injuries and all of the games that Boston’s star players have missed, the Bruins are still in 5th place in the Eastern Conference.
Recently Boston, a team that is having trouble scoring goals, signed veteran winger and Slovakian Olympian Miroslav Satan to bolster the offense in lieu of all the aforementioned injuries. He has stepped right in and already made an impact, scoring in his second game in the black and gold sweater and only adds to what will be a dangerous team when all of the walking wounded heal and are playing as a unit night in and night out. The team, when healthy, can be just as good if not better than the team that topped the Eastern Conference last season.
The Bruins could very well be a volcano waiting to erupt and blow away the rest of the NHL in the near future and if everything falls into place, they could have a serious shot at playing hockey in June. Knowing this team as well as I do, I wouldn’t put it past them and neither should you.