If Phase 4 of the NHL Return To Play plan occurs, Boston Bruins hall of famer Ray Bourque is bullish on the Bruins’ chances in the potential 24-team Stanley Cup Playoff and is proud of the team’s veteran core.
“I’m very proud of those guys and those are the teams that we had some special teams, a special chemistry,” Bourque said on the latest Bruins Craic podcast. “We always kind of overachieved as a Bruins team and I think this team in a lot of ways, does the same thing, if not more. I love this team; I love these guys; I love what they’ve done. …you know Don Sweeney, Cam [Neely] they deserve a lot of credit in terms of putting this team together and keeping it together. That’s not an easy thing in this day and age with the salary cap.”
The Bruins core of captain Zdeno Chara (43), Patrice Bergeron (34), David Krejci (34), Tuukka Rask (33) Brad Marchand (32) and Torey Krug (29) isn’t getting any younger but as Bourque pointed out, they still maintain a level of excellence and compete. That core has been to the Stanley Cup twice, losing in 2013 and 2019, and Chara, Bergeron, Krejci, Marchand and Rask all won the Stanley Cup in 2011. With the exception of the 2014-15 and 2015 seasons, the 2011 vets have made the playoffs every season since bringing Boston it’s first cup in 39 years.
If and when the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs take place, the Bruins will enter as the reigning Presidents’ Trophy winners and along with the Tampa Bay Lightning, the co-favorites (+650) to hoist Lord Stanley. Bourque marveled at this core’s ability to stay on top and overcome age.
“You just think of the leadership they have to start with,” Bourque replied. “To maintain a level of excellence and winning that they do is simply amazing. That starts with ‘Big Zee’ [Chara] and Bergeron and Marchand and Krejci and Rask and Krug. Those guys have been there for awhile and they amaze me because every year you’re like ‘OK. They’re aging a little bit here but they’re maintaining’ and then every year I go into I’m like ‘I think you’re going to do well but. …then at the year, they’re on top of the league’ and it’s amazing!
When you have your best players do the things they do in terms of preparation and perseverance and passion and how they approach everything,” Bourque pointed out. “The chemistry that that develops in a team, you can just see how much fun and enjoyable it is for them to play together and it shows up big time.”
Regardless of the hurdles the NHL Pause has presented and what may lie ahead, if given the chance to play for the Cup, Bourque will never count out the 2019-20 Boston Bruins and their veteran leadership core.
“I never count this team out,” Bourque said. “Obviously, these are different times and this stoppage is going to be so weird for everybody to just kind of start up again, if they do but I gotta believe that these guys in terms of their character and what they’re all about, they’re going to find a way to do very well.”
To listen to more of Bourque on the Bruins and winning the Stanley Cup 19 years ago CLICK HERE!