While there are plenty of reasons the Bruins are just 12-15-2 over their last 29 games, defenseman Andrew Ference chose to point out one glaring issue — and player — in discussing the solution with CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty.
“[Staying together] is not just important, it’s essential. It’s the only way to have any success whatsoever,” Ference said. “Our trainer tells our young guys — especially [Brad] Marchand or somebody like that –- to run with the pack of gazelles. If you’re the gazelle that runs away from the pack then you’re the one that’s going to get eaten.
“Especially Marchand…I think he needs to remember that.”
While his quote veered close to Alan’s speech from The Hangover (“And my wolf pack… it grew by one. So there… there were two of us in the wolf pack… I was alone first in the pack…”), Ference makes a salient point.
Lately, Marchand’s game has gone quiet in all facets. He’s scored just two points in March and barely resembles the annoying pest everybody loves to hate. As Haggerty writes, “he hasn’t been the rabble-rousing emotional catalyst he’s supposed to be when he’s playing his role as resident agitator.”
That said, it’s hardly fair to pin Boston’s struggles on a 23-year-old winger, or his tendencies to stray from the pack. The issues with this team are glaring: Nathan Horton (concussion) and Rich Peverley (MCL) are tough to replace offensively and Tim Thomas is on pace for his biggest workload in five years. There’s also the wear and tear from last year’s lengthy playoff run, and the fatigue that comes with it.
Of course, head coach Claude Julien isn’t about to start making excuses. He’s got his own spin on Ference’s pack mentality.
“We’re not a team that relies on one or two guys to bail us out. We’ve always been a group that does it by committee,” he said. “We realize that what we have here and what we’re all about is that our strength has been as a pack. It’s not as individuals. We need to play within our strength.
“It’s not about one guy as much as it’s about all of us picking up our game and putting it in the right direction.”