When discussing the Boston Bruins this year, I’d normally focus on the future. After all, with the mediocre way they were playing during the regular season, it was hard to imagine them doing much in the short term. Obviously the B’s continue to exceed expectations by being one win away from the Eastern Conference Finals, but even if they fall short of a Cup run, the future seems very bright.
The Boston Globe’s Tony Massarotti agrees with this point and also rightly mentions that the Bruins were criticized heavily for not making any big trade deadline moves, yet they’re prospering on the ice anyway.
This postseason, Recchi and Satan have combined for nine goals and 17 points in nine games, all while counting for less than $1.4 million of the Bruins’ approximate $60 million payroll.
Meanwhile, Ilya Kovalchuk is out of the playoffs. So is Raffi Torres (for whom the Sabres paid more in slightly more than a month than the Bruins are paying Satan all season). Alexei Ponikarovsky and the Pittsburgh Penguins are still very much alive in the postseason, but he has not produced for the Penguins what either Recchi or Satan has produced for the Bruins.
Give Chiarelli his due here, folks. Even the Dennis Seidenberg pickup proved more valuable than anyone initially thought. (At the time, the roundabout swap of Derek Morris for Seidenberg seemed like a classic case of rearranging the furniture.) Chiarelli resisted bigger, more dramatic moves for more specific and cost-efficient ones, and the Bruins on the ice have benefited greatly.
Not every move GM Peter Chiarelli made the last few years succeeded. The Tim Thomas contract, in particular, may saddle the franchise for a few years.
Still, there’s no doubt in my mind that the team is moving in a very positive direction. Hockey’s a crazy enough sport that the Bruins could go all the way, but like Massarotti wrote, even if they don’t they might be set for future success.