The 2009-10 season was full of disappointments for the Boston Bruins. Falling to the Flyers topped the list, and the team’s problems appeared to be unfixable. The offense looked awful and there was no cure in sight.
Dennis Wideman had become sort of a whipping boy in Boston, fans blaming him every chance they got. He actually had a good playoffs, but it went unnoticed. Bruins fans wanted no part of him and wanted him traded. Peter Chiarelli answered their prayers.
Wideman was shipped to Sunrise when Boston acquired Gregory Campbell and Nathan Horton from the Florida Panthers. Horton was projected to play on the top line with Marc Savard, and a 40-goal season was being thrown around as a real possibility. Campbell was a penalty killing fourth line forward who would fit right in with Shawn Thornton and Daniel Paille.
Savard was hurt all year and Horton played with David Krejci and Milan Lucic, and Horton actually struggled for most of the season. He scored 26 goals and was second in team goals, but fans just expected more.
He stepped up in the playoffs with two Game 7-winning goals to propel the Bruins to the Stanley Cup Finals. He became Boston legend with his playoff performance, and Gregory Campbell could not be overlooked. He was fantastic in game seven as a part of the energy line and was one of the Bruins best penalty killers all year.
All that took was… Dennis Wideman?
The year before, Boston was able to acquire Dennis Seidenberg from the Panthers for Byron Bitz. Bitz was a fan favorite with the Bruins, even though he was a fourth line type player. Seidenberg had a good last few months with Boston, but was injured before the playoffs and could not help. If he was there, he may have been able to contribute to stopping the Flyers attack.
Seidenberg was arguably this year’s playoffs best defenseman. Bitz? Missed most of the year and his Panthers were not in the playoff race at all.
Boston fans are thanking their players and the front office, but they should be saying, “Thank you, Panthers.”