Now the Bruins know the answer to the question, "is it tougher to win a title, or defend a title?"
the NHL, like many sports, defense wins championships but defense of
the Cup has been elusive to the league now for the fourteenth straight
season. The Detroit Red Wings ('97 & '98) were the last team to
repeat as champs. So why did the Bruins season come to a sudden and
frightful end and what moves need to be made to reclaim the Cup?
after game two of the Washington series I had the sinking feeling that
it was 1971 all over again. The Bruins swept the Cup Finals in 1970 and
appeared to be on the brink of a dynasty until a rookie goalie by the
name of Ken Dryden stopped them and eliminated them in round one of the
'71 playoffs (sound familiar?). "I'm probably in shock, I really had a deep feeling that this wasn't
going to be the end of the road for us, that this wasn't going to be the
last game of the season," a sullen Tim Thomas told us immediately after
the game seven overtime loss.
Thomas has one year remaining on his four year \$20 million dollar deal.
After July 1 Thomas' "no trade" clause expires. On that same date Tuukka
Rask becomes a restricted free agent. What are the Bruins to do? Do
they deal the 38 year old Thomas and sign the 25 year old Rask? Sure
Thomas marches to his own beat, but so do many goalies, left handed
pitchers and placekickers.
The Bruins won the Cup largely because of Thomas and they rode him to a
seventh game overtime this season. Thomas won 35 games in each of the
last two regular seasons. His goals against average was 2.36, 2.14 in
the playoffs. He is a money goalie who thrives on pressure. Rask has a
history of knee problems and missed a portion of this season with a
groin injury. The core of this team will remain intact.
The Bruins will be contenders for the Cup next year, but are their
chances more favorable with Thomas or a playoff untested Rask? This is
priority number one for Bruins management and will be the topic of
debate among Bruins fans leading up to July1. This vote goes for keeping
both. If Rask stays healthy and emerges as the goalie of the
future,Thomas can be traded or simply play out his contract. In
baseball you can never have enough pitching. The same applies to
Competition usually brings out the best in most athletes at every level
and as Bill Parcells loved to say, "fear of losing your job can be a