Champions Boston seeking Stanley Cup hangover cure

By Frank Pingue

Like some past champions, the Bruins are off to a slow start to their Cup defense and players admit fatigue from a busy offseason played a role in their slide to last place in the Eastern Conference just a month into the season.

"That's why we talk about more than anything about moving forward. We want to wash away what happened in October and turn the page and have a good strong start to November and hopefully create some momentum."

The Bruins followed an 82-game regular season in 2010-11 with an exhausting two-month playoff run where they became the first team in the NHL to win a decisive seventh game three times in the same postseason.

A punchless power play that has gone 5-for-39 has played a large role in Boston's 4-7 start, but the reigning Cup champions also appear to be scrambling to find their top form in many of the game's other departments.

"Guys just need to get back in the rhythm, some of us are slowly starting to get it now," said Tyler Seguin, Boston's top points scorer with 11 in 11 games.

"Now it's just about consistency and if we're going to continue to do that or if we are going to go back into the hole."


Stumbling out of the gate after winning a Stanley Cup is nothing new in the NHL.

The 2010 Cup-winning Chicago Blackhawks struggled all last season, making the playoffs on the final day by virtue of another team's loss and were eliminated in the first round.

However, unlike the Blackhawks, who had their championship team torn apart because of salary cap constraints, the Bruins are largely intact and entered the season widely expected to be among the contenders in the East.

Still, repeating as champions is no small feat and the NHL has not had a back-to-back winner since the Detroit Red Wings triumphed in 1997 and 1998.

Boston ended October with the worst record in the Eastern Conference but have since ended the Ottawa Senators' six-game winning streak and are still looking to register back-to-back wins for the first time this season.

The Bruins are not about to enter panic mode and are hoping the win over Ottawa, who entered that game earlier this week boasting the NHL's top power play, could be the turning point in a season that began so poorly.

"We looked a lot more like our team in the game against Ottawa and we just need to carry that over, it's as simple as that," Bruins coach Claude Julien told reporters.

"It's just a matter of getting our game back and once we get that back we will be the team that we used to be." (Editing by Peter Rutherford)