The Ottawa Senators. The Vancouver Canucks. The Boston Bruins. All were Cup finalists. The Bruins did the thing thanks to noted lunatic Tim Thomas playing out of his mind.
And they basically blew up their teams for the dumbest reasons possible. There was a point where each team had to asses their roster and reload, which often involves hard decisions. After each of the Hawks recent victories, they had to jettison good players to keep their core and not get crushed by the salary cap. The Kings sort of punted on this, essentially keeping their core and their role players and giving everyone raises, and you can see the slow slide to being a decent but no longer elite (GET IT, BECAUSE OF JONATHAN QUICK HARDY HAR HAR) team.
But the Senators, Canucks, and Bruins made both hard choices (poorly) and punted at the same time.
The Sens had some bizarre internal power struggle that ended with them firing their GM, promoting their coach, and running around screaming until they collapsed from exhaustion. This, oddly, didn’t help and they completely missed the playoffs the year after their Finals appearance.
The Canucks decided to keep adding moron agitators, rode the Sedins even harder, chased off their franchise goalie, fired their coach, and brought in an angry, rupturing boil as their new coach. This also didn’t work, for mysterious reasons.
But the Bruins had the most hilarious response. They took took a look at their most promising young players and traded them off because they thought it was teamwork and not talent that got them a championship.
“This 20 year old loves drinking and fucking. A lot. We could encourage him to manage his personal life better.”
“Yes, this guy has the ability to lead the league in scoring, but is he willing to buy into our tough-guy worldview? I’d argue no. Let’s trade him for 18 months of a decent two-way Swedish winger.”
“Hey, how about this point-producing defenseman who’s a little introverted?”
“I dunno, Shawn thinks he’s a sissy. Only he didn’t say that word. That says locker room cancer, to me. We could get a couple draft picks for him. I’ll make some calls.”
It’s really hard to stay a good team for any extended period of time even in the best of times. Injuries happen. Key guys get old. You need to reward your best players without blowing your salary cap and holding back your young players. Other teams leapfrog you. All those things are out of your control, mostly. But I find it fascinating when a good team decides to start punching holes in their roster for no sane reason.
Sharks @ Bruins
4:00 PM Pacific
Prediction: I continue to be grateful that Doug Wilson stepped back from the brink, because he could easily have done a lot of the same shit here.