On May 27, 2019, the Boston Bruins will be competing against the Saint Louis Blues for the Stanley Cup. It is looking to be a difficult series for the Bruins, which is why I wanted to get the perspective of a former player for the team. I was granted the privilege to interview former right winger for the Providence and Boston Bruins, Bobby Robins. Robins is a former professional hockey player who now dedicates his time to serving his community and serving Jesus Christ. I would like to thank Mr. Robins for taking the time to answer the questions I had for him.
The head coach of the Boston Bruins, Bruce Cassidy, has never even made it to the finals for any league that he has coached in. However, Cassidy does have plenty of experience coaching in the playoffs, and even Robins has played for him in multiple playoff series. When I asked Robins about how Coach Cassidy prepares for a big series like this, he stated: “I heard a quote from Coach Cassidy about “creating the storm instead of weathering the storm” when asked about going into Carolina last round. That sums up his mentality and the team identity of the Bruins. They are not sitting back, and they haven’t all throughout these playoffs, or all season for that matter. Setting the tone early at home is important and this is going to be a fast and heavy series. I think the Bruins have to outmatch St. Louis physically and let them know in game one that it’s going to be dogfight. The Bruins have shown all playoffs that they are a fast and gritty team and they are playing as team with everyone contributing in their own way. That’s how Cassidy is behind the bench. He does such a good job of getting the most out of his players’ individual strengths”.
Throughout the postseason, the Saint Louis Blues have been a consistently high-scoring offense that has scored fifty-seven goals and have averaged almost thirty-one shots per game in 19 postseason games this postseason. It brought me to ask Robins what guys like Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug have to do to play well enough defense to take some of that pressure off of goaltender, Tuukka Rask. He stated: “The defense for the Bruins is well-balanced from top to bottom and have a good combination of skill and grit. With Chara leading the way and clearing out the front of the net and shutting down the Blues in the offensive zone with his size and strength, he is going to set the tone for the rest of the defense. Smaller skill guys like Krug are well-equipped to shut it down in the defensive zone too, just in a different way, using his speed, skill, and smarts. With those two, Chara and Krug, leading the way on the back end, Rask is going to do what he does best and has been doing this playoffs, which is shut the door and come up with big saves in big games. As long as he sees the pucks and the Bruins keep the front of the net clear of traffic, he’s going to make the saves. He’s a big-time player and he’s peaking at the right time this season. I’m not worried about the Blues’ offense. I think the Bruins defense shuts them down and gets the puck moving up ice to let the Boston forwards keep the pressure in the offensive zone and attacking the net”.
The Blues have killed off the penalty seventy-eight percent of the time in the playoffs while the Bruins have the best powerplay in the postseason with thirty-four percent. When I asked Robins how Cassidy will game plan for the Bruins to capitalize on this, he stated: “The special teams game is all about capitalizing on your opportunities. The Bruins have to play disciplined hockey and be hard and gritty on the pucks, keeping their feet moving and drawing penalties. When they get out there on the power play, they let their marquee players do what they do best which is make great hockey plays and generate scoring chances. If the Bruins get a lot of traffic in front of Binnington, I don’t think their penalty kill is going to compete with the Bruins’ puck movement and arsenal of shots from the blue line”.
Robins does have experience playing with several members of this Bruins team. When I asked him how these players are going to prepare and plan for a series as significant as this, he stated: “These guys are the real deal. They are professionals who have trained themselves to compete at the highest level in the world and they have honed this craft over years and hundreds of games of experience. Guys like Torey Krug who came up through the system from Providence have been preparing for this moment for their entire lives. It’s been awesome to see some of my old teammates from Providence develop and grow into stars in the NHL and who epitomize the term “good pro”. They show up every single night to win their battles and make high end plays. They will be ready for this series and we are going to see the best athletes in the world competing for the hardest trophy to win in all of sports. They are preparing for war and are ready to lay it on the line. It’s going to be an exciting series!”
When I asked Robins who he thinks has the advantage in this series, he stated: “I’m a little biased of course, but I think the Bruins have the advantage with the combination of skill, speed and grit from the top of their lineup to the bottom. Look at guys like Pasta and some of the other high-end guys. They are flying around and finishing their hits and going to battle in the trenches. That’s the mentality of this Bruins team. They are playing as one unit, and I think they are going to be hard to beat”.