The 2009-2010 Boston Bruins have placed themselves in very select company. It’s the last place they want to be.

The Bruins became the fourth team in the history of North American pro sports to blow a three-games-to-none lead in a best-of-seven series.

Prior to Friday night’s loss, only the 1942 Red Wings, 1975 Penguins, and 2004 Yankees had suffered such a sad fate.

How do the Bruins move on from here? How do they try to build the franchise back up from one of the most devastating losses we’ve seen in any sport?

They can start by paying attention to the last team to suffer a similar feat. Or, at least, from the team that beat them.

In October of 2003, Red Sox Nation was rocked to the core by an Aaron Boone home run in the 11th inning of Game 7 of the ALCS.

It was a stunning loss, the continuation of 86 years of championship drought. The kind of loss that leads to fans giving up on their teams (clearly, some Bruins fans didn’t wait long to make that decision, as there were several black and gold jerseys amidst the debris hurled on the ice at the end of Friday night’s game.)

The winter of 2003-04 could’ve been a long period of self-loathing for the Sox and their fans. Instead, Theo Epstein moved quickly.

Thanksgiving, he was having dinner at Curt Schilling’s house. mid-season, he was at a Bruins game with Keith Foulke. Both were on the roster in time for spring training. Together they helped bring a World Series championship to New England that fall.

Now, it’s up to Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli to be just as bold.

He’s got the number two pick in next month’s draft, which should allow him to bring either Taylor Hall or Tyler Sequin to Boston. Either player should have an immediate impact on the team, and become one of its top six forwards.

The Bruins got that pick from Toronto as part of the deal for Phil Kessel. They’ve also got their own pick in the middle of that first round. They could grab another prospect here, someone who could help the team in years to come.

Or, they could use it to land an offensive threat for the coming year. The Bruins were one of the worst offensive teams in the NHL this season, and remained offensively challenged over the last three games of the series with the Flyers. If they want to be even better next season, they’ll need to add some punch up front.

They need the kind of punch Jarome Iginla could bring to the roster. He’ll be 33 next season, and scored 32 goals with 37 assists this year for Calgary. That was a down year for Iginla, who saw his offensive output drop by 20 points from the previous season.

Still, that was 10 goals and 17 points more than anyone on the Bruins scored this season.

Put Iginla out there with Hall and Marc Savard on a top line and you’ve got a winger capable of 35 goals and 85 points, the kind of numbers that would be just what the goal-mouth doctor ordered for the Bruins.

To bring in Iginla with his $7 million hit to the cap, Chiarelli would have to clear out some salary. He could start by finding a new home for Tim Thomas.

A year removed from his Vezina Trophy season, Thomas was relegated to backup duty by the end of this season. He’d undoubtedly waive his no-trade clause to find a new place to play, and he’s the type of goalie a lot of teams could use.

(Ironically, Philadelphia is one of those places.)

Michael Ryder is another player with a big salary that could be shipped, but good luck finding a team that would take him — unless you made him part of the deal with Calgary, who would still come out ahead in the salary swap.

Miroslav Satan, while defensively challenged, clicked well with David Krejci during the playoffs.

Putting the two of them together with Marco Sturm or Blake Wheeler would make a solid second line. Patrice Bergeron could anchor your third line.

There are other tough decisions to make, like finding a way to bring defenseman Dennis Seidenberg back with an inflating salary.

But the first move Chiarelli must make is finding an impact scorer who could make an immediate splash and salve the wounds of a fan base that has had its psyche tortured again.

A player like Iginla would do just that. He just might be hockey’s Curt Schilling, which is exactly what the Bruins need right now.


Tom Caron is the studio host for Red Sox broadcasts on the New England Sports Network. His column appears in the Press Herald on Tuesdays.


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