With the 2014 season in the rear view mirror, it’s time to seriously look at this team. As the playoffs loom a short journey away for this year, last year was a great ride for all the players, coaches, management and the true Bruin fan. Win, lose, or draw, winning that covenant President’s trophy shows not only how good a team you were, but is a great reward for all the hard work throughout the season and, yes, this team worked hard while showing other teams that they are difficult to beat.
I have been a true fan of the spoke “B” for pretty much my whole life. I was influenced to play the game from a guy named Bobby Orr. When all of New England opened new rinks to handle the huge draw of young children wanting to play the game, Bobby Orr wasn’t just a great hockey player. He changed the game moving forward into the future. The famous words of “Sanderson to Orr” then Orr flying through the air as he put in the game winner and the famous, “do you believe in miracles” from the 1980 USA Olympic hockey team, will always be etched in my brain. To me, the two best quotes in sports, well……. now I have a third with the late Stuart Scott of ESPN saying at the Espy’s, “you beat cancer by how you live, why you live and in the manner of which you live.” Stuart Scott was an inspiration while he was fighting the ugly disease of cancer, now his inspiration will live on through the rest of us as we move forward on our paths.
This season’s Boston Bruins have been like a huge roller coaster ride, with more downs than ups. To me, a big part of it has to do with injuries at the beginning of the season to key player’s and key core players at that. Then the trades of Boychuk and Thornton, not to mention of Ference when he was let go to Edmonton. These three guys were part of the core of this team. Now they may not have been the most talented, but what they brought to the team was Identity and Identity is something no player anywhere can bring back. The Identity I am talking about is team first, on and off the ice, like a family and having each others backs.
When you have 22 guys (including the goalies) taking the ice every game as one, with no ‘I am better than you’ attitudes, now you have a team that plays together. A team that it doesn’t matter who scores, just that they score one more than the other team to win the game. This makes for a very difficult team to defend, by any team that they may be up against. This was the Identity of the team last season and this is what’s missing from this season’s Boston Bruins. They had this in 2011 as well and yes they won Lords Stanley cup that year. Can this team rekindle that? You bet they can, they just have to have others step up, much like Ference did with the Jacket through the playoffs, when they won the cup.
This season’s Bruins have lost their team Identity and because of this some of the core players have lost their Identity of who they are. A guy like Milan Lucic, who is the best power forward in the game when he skates, hustles, is physical and gets to the net, good things happen. Plus, when he does this the rest of the team feeds off this energy and the team picks up their energy. Chara and Seidenberg are known as the best shut down pair of defense man in the league, but they both haven’t been close to years past. The best move the Bruins made was trading Joe Thornton and building a team around Patrice Bergeron, as Bergy is the best two way player in the game. This season still holds true for him and his number will be the next to the rafters of the Garden.
You also have an awesome goaltender in Rask. He has played like a World class goalie, but since he was awarded with the big contract, he hasn’t lived up to that contract yet. Let’s not forget the Coach in Claude Julien, who in my mind is the best Bruins Coach of my lifetime and would put him next to Bill Belichick as the best Coaches for Boston teams in my lifetime so far. Claude’s style is defense first and keep everything to the outside, not allowing anything up the middle of the ice, controlling the neutral zone and letting your goalie see all the shots. It takes all the players of the team to buy into this system and when they all buy in, now you have a winning combination.
This season’s Boston Bruins will always bleed black and gold for me. Can they turn this around and make a run in the playoffs? you betcha’ they can. They just need to all buy into Claude’s system like years past. The core of this team needs to play like they can, while setting a winning example for the new members of this team and re-claiming the identity that makes them a very hard team for any team to play against. Plus, they need Marchand to play better and stop taking dumb penalties that hurt the team. I know it’s part of his game to get into the heads of other players on the other team, but he needs to tone that down, play smarter and let his skill dictate his game and not his reputation like it is now.
Someone on this team, if they haven’t done it yet, needs to step up like an Andrew Ference and bring this team together like a family. Maybe another jacket to pass around at the end of each game so each member of the team recognizes each other as not just a team, but a family.
” The Boston Bruins bleed black and gold, like a family on and off the ice”
” The Boston Bruins are to hockey, what the New England Patriots are to football”