Opinion: The Downfall of the Bruins in the NHL Bubble

Drew Lewis-Keddy '21, Staff Writer

The Bruins were dominating the NHL this season. Everything was clicking for them when they were healthy and they looked unbeatable–and then COVID hit.

They were forced to pause the season for almost four months when they finally resumed the season in August with the use of bubbles. The NHL had two bubbles set up, one in Edmonton and the other in Toronto where the Bruins were located.

The B’s started off with round robin play between the top four teams in the eastern conference to see who would be the one seed even though the Bruins were already the top team in the league and had won the Presidents Trophy (Best regular season team). The Bruins ended up losing every round robin game and grabbed the four seed where they would match up against the Carolina Hurricanes who are a very scrappy and gritty team.

It was not looking good for the Bruins already due to their slow start in the bubbles and then starting goalie Tuukka Rask left. Rask ended up leaving for a family emergency and would not rejoin the team for the remainder of the post season. He is one of the top goalies in the league and is in the running for another Vezina Trophy (Best goaltender) this year. This was a huge loss for the Bruins.

However, they ended up turning it around and beating the Hurricanes 4-1 in the series. They now had to play the Tampa Bay Lightning who are a very fast team with a great goalie and defense. The Bruins ended up winning game one, but then got dominated the next four games and were knocked out of the eastern conference semifinals in five games.

After a very promising regular season it seemed like this was the team that was going to bring the Stanley Cup back to Boston, but the one thing they brought back was a second round exit. Now what I want to look at is why and how did this happen to such a great team?

There are a lot of possibilities for why the Bruins season ended this way. The first reason is a very obvious one, COVID. The coronavirus stopped the whole world from doing anything and that had a big effect on the Bruins roster. You could tell when they were playing that the players weren’t in mid season shape anymore. A great example was David Pastrnak who led the Bruins and the NHL in goals this year had to sit out in a bunch of games because he was unfit to play. When you take him out of your line it’s a huge loss.

COVID also caused a bubble to be made for the season to resume, which had a big impact on the players. They were isolated from the outside world with nothing but hockey on their plates. They weren’t allowed to see their families which had a big effect on Tuukka Rask. Rask leaving the bubble was a huge loss for the Bruins as he was the backbone of this team. After his playoff performance last year everyone was excited for him to play that way again and this time win the cup, but we barely got a glimpse of it due to him leaving the bubble. This move forced the Bruins to start their back up goalie the rest of the season.

Now there’s one more big reason why the Bruins had such a terrible time in the bubble, and that’s the Presidents Trophy. The Bruins won the Presidents Trophy this year for having the best record in the NHL, but winning it comes with a cost. Since 2012 the Presidents Trophy winners haven’t won the Stanley Cup, and the curse has continued with the Bruins this year.

In the end the Bruins had a terrible time in the bubble and couldn’t get it done this year.