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Looking Back at the Bruins Past Expectations and Disappointments

It’s that point in the year. That point where we have 20+ tweet arguments about who will be the 4th line left wing.


Ah, yes, training camp is here.


And David Pastrnak is signed!


So its time to start thinking about hockey, and your probably wondering what the Bruins expectations are for this season.


While you ponder that, let’s rank the Bruins expectations and disappointments over the last 10 years because I am a masochist.


We’re gonna do this Down Goes Brown style, Starting in 2008, we will rank the Bruins expectations heading into the season, into the playoffs, and then the disappointment out of 10. 10, of course, being the highest.



Expectations Heading into the Season: 3/10

Coming off of a last place finish, this team was not expected to make the playoffs. However, it was clearly a team on the rise. With new Head Coach Claude Julien, and stars like Zdeno Chara and Marc Savard heading into their 2nd year in Boston, along with young up-and-coming stars like Phil Kessel, Milan Lucic, Patrice Bergeron, Matt Lashoff (yikes), and David Krejci, this was a team to look out for in the future, but not quite yet.

Expectations Heading into the Playoffs: 1/10

This young team scratched and clawed their way to a playoff spots, which was awesome, but they had no chance against a powerhouse Habs team that had beaten the Bruins 8 times in the regular season (wouldn’t it be great if the Bruins and Habs still played 8 times a year). Much like this year’s Maple Leafs against the Capitals, nobody gave the Bruins much of a chance.

Disappointment: 3/10

What a series it turned out to be. The Bruins forced a game 7, but lost 5-0 in Bell Centre. Marc Savard’s OT winner in game 3 was the beginning of the Bruins modern golden age. Game 6 was the best Bruins game of the past decade. I gave it a 3 because any game 7 loss to the Habs hurts, but this series was a very encouraging step in the right for the Bruins for the future.


Expectations Heading into the Season: 6/10

After last season’s step forward the young Bruins team were expected to make noise this season. The same young talent as the year before, just a year older and more experienced.

Expectations Heading into the Playoffs: 8/10

After coming in first in the East and 2nd in the NHL with 116 points, this was the first “championship or bust” season. Marc Savard was an MVP candidate with 88 points, 20 year old Phil Kessel scored 36 goals, and middle 6 threat Michael Ryder scored 27. This was a team that could win it all.

Disappointment: 8/10

Ugh, this was like a sucker punch in the face… literally. After sweeping Montreal in round one, the Bruins faced the Hurricanes. Heavily favored, the Bruins went down 3-1 in the series, only to tie it up and send it to game 7, and then overtime. Scott Walker, who many (including myself) believed he should have been suspended for the game after a nasty sucker punch to a defenseless Aaron Ward, scored a very Scott Walker-like goal in OT to finish the Bruins. A brutal end to a team that had championship potential. The positive was that this team was still young, and expected to be right back in the same place the next year.


Expectations Heading into the Season: 9/10

After a huge step up the season before, the Bruins were expected to take the next step. Despite trading Phil Kessel, the forward core was mostly the same. Add a full year of Mark Recchi, the emergence of Blake Wheeler, and other prospects like Johnny Boychuk, Adam McQuaid, Trent Whitfield, and Brad Marchand hoping to make the jump, Kessel could be replaced.

Expectionations Heading into the Playoffs: 5/10

The Bruins disappointed in the regular season, coming in 6th in the east. Tim Thomas’ hip issues forced 22 year old Tuukka Rask into a starting role. While he did a great job replacing Thomas, Marc Savard’s concussion and lack of offense sunk the Bruins. But after eliminating 3 seed Buffalo in round one, and top 2 seeds Washington and New Jersey getting eliminated in the first round as well, maybe they could sneak out a few series wins.

Disappointment: 10/10

They beat Buffalo in the first round and I forgot the rest.


Boston Bruins center Marc Savard celebrates after scoring the game winning goal against the Philadelphia Flyers during the first overtime period in Game 1 of their NHL Eastern Conference semi-final hockey game in Boston, Massachusetts May 1, 2010. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

(Man I miss Marc Savard so much)


Expectations Heading into the Season: 9/10

If there was a year it was gonna happen, this was the year. Obviously it’s easy to look back in hindsight, but it’s true. The acquisition of Nathan Horton, Gregory Campbell, and drafting Tyler Seguin in the offseason brought real hope to this city.

Expectations Heading into the Playoffs: 8/10

The Habs were going to be tough, but there was no reason the couldn’t do it. The deadline acquisitions of Chris Kelly, Rich Peverley, and Tomas Kaberle showed they were really going all in.

Euphoria: Indescribable

It’s unbelievable, man. I can’t stop smiling writing this looking back on it. The way the got there, three Game 7s, coming back from down 2-0 twice, the unbelievable playoff performances, and of course the celebration through the summer was nothing short of amazing. And to think it was *that* close to being over so many times. What if Nathan Horton’s slap shot doesn’t deflect off Jeff Halpern’s skate? What if Andrew Ference doesn’t make a perfect pass to David Krejci to break the 1-3-1? What if Tim Thomas makes one less unworldly save? I still look back on it all the time, and it just makes me want it to happen that much more again.

VANCOUVER, BC – JUNE 15: The Boston Bruins pose with the Stanley Cup after defeating the Vancouver Canucks in Game Seven of the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Rogers Arena on June 15, 2011 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The Boston Bruins defeated the Vancouver Canucks 4 to 0. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)


Expectations Heading into the Season: 10/10

After the winning the cup, expectations of course were sky high. Who didn’t expect a repeat from a team that was mostly the same?

Expectations Heading into the Playoffs: 10/10

There was no reason they couldn’t do it again. They won the division, Tim Thomas was still there, the Merlot line was still there, Lucic-Krejci-Horton was still there, Marchand and Bergeron were still there. Why not?

Disappointment: 7/10

The way it ended was painful, but they weren’t going anywhere. Patrice Bergeron couldn’t take a faceoff, Tim Thomas was *as* sharp as the year before, Benoit Pouliot couldn’t replace what Mark Recchi and Michael Ryder brought, and they couldn’t even score on some rookie who name called Braden Holtby! Who’s that?! The team had the talent, but it just wasn’t going to happen, and was a prime example of how hard it is to go back-to-back.


Expectations Heading into the Season: 7/10

It was kind of a big “who knows?” Tim Thomas had disappeared deep into the forests of Colorado, forcing Rask to be the starter again, and this time for good, but with the lockout and shortened season, nobody knew what to expect. They were certainly good enough, but with the shock of last season and a 48 game season, there were question marks.

Expectations Heading into the Playoffs: 8/10

After a ridiculous start to the season overshadowed by the Blackhawks 24 game unbeaten streak, the Bruins went on a skid. A skid forcing them into 2nd in the division on the last day of the season. After such a great start, and frustrating end, there were still question marks. At least they had the Laughs… sorry Leafs… in the first round. That would be an easy win… we thought.

Disappointment: 11/10

Uuuuuuuuuuuugh. At least 3 times a week I think about what would have happened if there was a Game 7 in Chicago. It seemed meant to be after the Toronto series. They had no business coming back in that game. They crushed the rangers. They crushed the Penguins allowing just 2 goals in the series. They went up 2-1 against Chicago after a dominating game 3 win. It just seemed meant to be. A lot of people already accepted that was happening again, the Bruins were going to win the Cup again. Then it just came to a crashing end. By far the hardest loss of my life, and most peoples (not you Atlanta) as it doesn’t get much worse than than what happened on that late June night in 2013 :(((

BOSTON, MA – MAY 13: Patrice Bergeron #37, Tyler Seguin #19, and Brad Marchand #63 of the Boston Bruins celebrate following Bergeron’s game-winning overtime goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on May 13, 2013 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)


Expectations Heading into the Season: 10/10

The Seguin trade was shocking, as was Nathan Horton’s departure, but bringing in Jarome Iginla and Loui Eriksson, plus breakout years from Dougie Hamilton, Torey Krug, Reilly Smith, and Carl Soderberg were expected to bring this team to the top.

Expectations Heading into the Playoffs: 10/10

A 12 game winning streak in March and a Presidents Trophy will tend to raise expectations.

Disappointment: 9/10

I swear if that Habs team was wearing any other jersey they wouldn’t have won that series. I don’t want to sound that “that guy” but it was a ridiculous series. The Bruins hit twenty-something posts/crossbars, some asinine penalty calls, and it just seemed like everything was going to Habs way. It hurts because this team was probably better than the 2013 and maybe even 2011 team. 


Expectations Heading into the Season: 6/10

Iginla gone, Boychuk gone, and no cap space, we should have seen this coming. Good ol’ Peter Chiarelli. We knew they wouldn’t be as good as they were the year before, but they were still expected to be a playoff team and potentially make some noise in the playoffs.

Expectations Heading into the Playoffs: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


Disappointment: 7/10

It wasn’t one heartbreaking goal like past years, it was just a slow, painful death. They were the best ever to miss the playoffs, because, well, they should have been a playoff team. Ottawa’s historic run lead by Andrew Hammond was the reason they missed. A loss in Florida in game 81 was really the dagger with the put-away goal being scored by… Jimmy Hayes, because of course.


Expectations Heading into the Season: 4/10

Lucic traded, Hamilton Traded, Smith traded, Soderberg gone, Campbell gone, Paille gone. Beleskey in, Hayes in, Rinaldo in. The defense was horrible, Jonas Gustavsson was signed on the last day of training camp to backup Tuukka Rask. The season had disaster written all over it, but Bergeron, Marchand, Krejci, Rask, Chara and crew were still there.

Expectations Heading into the Playoffs:

Jonas Gustavsson won every game and the Bruins won the cup… right?

Disappointment: 8/10

They didn’t even make the playoffs and it was gut wrenching. Game 82 against the Ottawa Senators, win and they face Tampa in round 1, a team who they played well in the regular season. The Senators had basically an AHL lineup plus Erik Karlsson and Kyle Turris, it was looking good… until warmups. Tuukka Rask didn’t take a shot and was pulled from the ice bent over, throwing up. Though Jonas Gustavsson was forced to play, it was still a game they should have won. 4 unanswered from the Sens in the 2nd plus 2 empty netters eliminated the Bruins. They were in first place with just a few weeks to go in the season, and they collapsed. There’s no other way to put it; they collapsed. Again, a team that was a playoff team and even one that could have made some noise, but they blew it. A total collapse.

Boston Bruins’ Brad Marchand (63) celebrates his goal with teammate Patrice Bergeron (37) during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Boston, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016. The Bruins won 3-2. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)


Expectations Heading into the Season: 3/10

It was an all time low for negativity for Bruins fans. Tanking, rebuilding and pretty much everything was mentioned. It was not a happy time as a Bruins fan.

Expectations Heading into the Playoffs: 6/10

After an incredible run with Interim Head Coach Bruce Cassidy, the Bruins made the playoffs. They weren’t a cup team, but they’re path wasn’t hard, a bounce here and a bounce there and the 3rd round wasn’t out of sight. With a first round matchup with the Senators seemed very winnable, they could make some noise.

Disappointment: 3/10

Injuries killed them. 4 of the Bruins top 6 defenseman were injured, as well as David Krejci. It probably would have been viewed as a disappointing series if it wasn’t for Sean Kuraly’s heroics in game 5. It was a tough loss, but there was a lot of optimism from Bruins nation for the first time in a few years. The emergence of Charlie McAvoy and Sean Kuraly in the playoffs, as well as Brandon Carlo and Frank Vatrano throughout the year have given Bruins fans hope. The way that young team played the Senators was encouraging and has given fans hope going into this season.


Looking back on all these years triggered many emotions inside me. It’s funny to see top prospects fail, and marginal prospects rise to stardom. The Bruins have put us through a lot of pain these past 10 years with straight up devastating losses, but 2011 made it all worth it. The future is bright for this current Bruins team, lets hope they can bring back that unbelievable championship feeling.


What do you think the Bruins expectations should be this season?


Follow on Twitter @jlabruins

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