It's been a good luck, bad luck few months for the Boston Bruins.
The bad first: in an epic postseason failure for the ages, they blow a 3-0 series lead to the Philadelphia Flyers in the Eastern semifinals, as well as a 3-0 game lead in Game 7 of that series. Season ... over. Children ... crying.
But, the good: they trade Phil Kessel away to the Leafs, getting a first round pick in return. The Leafs implode as has become typical of them in recent years and the Bruins wind up with Tyler Seguin, the second-overall pick in the NHL Draft.
With Tyler in the fold and despite their epic playoff failure a year ago, the Bruins are just as good, if not better, than they were a year ago. Will they be able to take advantage? With help from Stanley Cup of Chowder, we look at Five Burning Questions surrounding the 2010-11 Boston Bruins.
Is Tyler Seguin ready to make the jump to the NHL?
SCOC: Seguin enters the league with big expectations and he will be thrown right into the fire of the NHL. It would be beneficial to have Seguin spend a few months in Providence to learn the pro game, but that is not option since Seguin came from one of the CHL leagues and is under the age of 20. Unlike Steven Stamkos, who some have compared Seguin to, Seguin will not have the added pressure of being the face of the franchise or have to sell the game of hockey in college football country. The Bruins will ease him into the NHL and will likely play him on the third line. Whether he will line up as a center or a winger remains to be seen.
Can Tuukka Rask avoid the dreaded sophomore slump?
SCOC: The Bruins have been careful not to rush Tuukka Rask' development and I think that has paid off. He now has the composure of a veteran goaltender and is no longer the milk crate chucking hot head. Rask has excelled at every level of hockey and has been groomed to be the goalie of the present and future for the Boston Bruins. There is no reason to believe that Rask will slip in his second season, but the B's do have a former Vezina winner as safety net just in case.
Will we see Marc Savard this season and how will the B's fare without him?
SCOC: Unfortunately, as we know from Patrice Bergeron's struggles with concussions, it is very difficult to create a timetable for full recovery when dealing with post-concussion symptoms. The real question is whether or not Savard's premature return to the ice in the playoffs delayed his recovery.
If Savard is on the shelf for a significant amount of time, the B's will miss his play-making ability, especially on the power play. The absence of Savvy will give some young players a chance to gain some NHL experience, but they will also have the added pressure filling some pretty big skates...and some pretty tiny Ed Hardy bedazzled t-shirts.
How much will the departure of Assistant Coach Craig Ramsay affect the Bruins' game plan?
SCOC: Craig Ramsay had a great opportunity to become a head coach and took the top job in Atlanta. Ramsay was an assistant under Claude Julien for the past 3 seasons and was the B's defense/PK guru. The Bruins certainly lost a great hockey mind, but I think most of Claude Julien's philosophies and systems will remain the same.
Is this the year the Bruins return to glory and win "The Cup"?
SCOC: A Cup prediction might be a little optimistic, but with a strong nucleus and an impressive group of young players in the pipeline, the future looks bright in Boston...or maybe that is just the glare from the new Bobby Orr outside the Garden...