Bruins Fans’ Hearts Broken

Bruins fan reacts after the Habs eliminate the Bruins from the playoffs (5/14/14 - ECSF Game 7)

Bruins fan reacts after the Habs eliminate the Bruins from the playoffs.

This is tough.  I wasn’t able to even think about writing this for the past week, and even now I’m really forcing myself.  While fair weather fans can forget about it easily and move on to the Red Sox, true Bruins fans feel really depressed.  I almost feel like I got dumped by the girl of my dreams (hence this post’s title).. but not just that.. it feels like she dumped me to be with my best friend.  I’m not sure if that analogy really works but what I’m getting at is that the Bruins being eliminated from the playoffs in the second round is extra painful for a few big reasons.

It’s not just that we’re Bruins fans and they lost, it’s the fact that they had immense potential.  They finished the regular season at the top of the league, winning the Presidents’ Trophy for the first time since the 1989-90 season, but more importantly, they were considered by the majority to be the favorite to win the Stanley Cup.  This team was absolutely the most complete, solid, and deep in the whole league.  They should’ve been able to pull it off.  Unfortunately, the Habs played their best and the Bruins didn’t even show up.  The team we saw skating for Boston in this series was a shell of what we saw in the regular season.  That even included our world-class goalie Tuukka Rask.  Even if just he played to his potential, we would’ve had a great chance.  But nobody did, and you can’t win if you’re not there.

Another reason this sucked is how many close chances we had.  We hit something like 14 posts and had probably just as many open nets that we missed.  Some of that is just bad “puck luck” and “bad bounces,” but unfortunately, it also means we couldn’t finish.  This is part of the team not showing up as I previously mentioned.  I’m still trying to close my mouth after the incredibly high number of jaw-dropping missed shots where one of our players had a wide open side of the net and shanked it.  Scoring any one of them could’ve won us an extra game and the series.  But again, these guys just weren’t there.  I don’t know how else to describe it.  It just wasn’t our year I guess.

Still, what hurts the most is that the team we lost to was our archrivals, the Montreal Canadiens.  The Bruins/Habs rivalry goes back almost a century and is arguably the most heated and passionate rivalry in all of professional sports (besides maybe some soccer rivalries outside of North America, which I don’t really know about).  Yes, I’m from Boston, where the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry is the most pronounced (shirts, bumper stickers, etc.) and I’m still saying this is a bigger rivalry.  Even my friend who is a total baseball nut/fanatic/historian and huge Red Sox fan/Yankees hater says that Bruins/Habs is bigger.  The average American may not even know this rivalry exists, but that’s because hockey is arguably the least popular of the professional sports (at least in the States).  However, true hockey and Bruins fans understand.  I’ll admit, my obsession with the Bruins is probably over the top and unhealthy, but there are many who love this team as much as I do.  For those of us who fit that description on either side of the rivalry, there is a very real and true hatred of the rival team, fanbase, and city.  So, naturally, there is nobody you would want to lose to less.

The other thing that hurts is that this exact roster was very likable and fun to watch.. and they will not all return next year.  There may only be some slight changes, but some speculate certain big names being traded away.  I don’t want to see any of these guys leave.  The headline of trade speculation is that Jarome Iginla may sign somewhere else.  Of all the guys who might not return, I would miss him the most.  It was fun to watch him as he seemed to really enjoy himself with this team.  He also said that he and his family loved the Boston area.  More importantly, though, he had a fantastic season and seemed to fit in extremely well.  He had 30 goals in the regular season and far surpassed all other Bruins in the playoffs with five goals.  He is a true asset and I really hope he’s wearing black and gold next season.

On that note, one thing that pisses me off to think about is that if Jarome Iginla had chosen to come here instead of going to the Penguins last year, many think we would’ve won the Stanley Cup.  I believe that too.  We only needed a little bit more than what we had to put us over the top, and he would’ve easily made that difference.  He obviously chose the wrong team as we swept them in the Eastern Conference Finals last year.. and they got taken out early again this year.  Ugh!  But there’s no use dwelling on the past.  Instead, we must look ahead with hope.

Who will return next year?  My heart wants this exact roster again, but my head knows that some changes must be made as core group hasn’t been enough to win the Cup in the last few years, however close we may have gotten.  I definitely want Jarome Iginla back as I said, though.  When he, David Krejci, and Milan Lucic were clicking, they were the best line in hockey this year.  And while talking about best lines, I think that Carl Soderberg, Loui Eriksson, and Chris Kelly were by far the best third line in hockey.  I want to see them together again next year.  Our second line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and Reilly Smith was solid at times, but inconsistent.  Patrice Bergeron should be a Bruin until he retires as he is consistently in the running for the Selke Trophy (for best defensive forward) and is also typically right at the top for face-off win percentage.  The other two guys, however, are questions.  I did like Smith, but he was probably the most inconsistent in terms of production.  Marchand is a great shooter, but dealt with some cold streaks as well.  Plus, as much as we like him instigating and getting under opponents’ skin, he does make some bad decisions and takes stupid penalties.  For this reason, he is the big name that is speculated to be traded if any big name is.  Our fourth line has been together for a long time and is usually the best fourth line in the game.  They also bring the energy and physicality.  However, enforcer Shawn Thornton’s contract is up, so some think he may not be signed again.  The reason is that as much as he helps us in the regular season, since there’s usually no place for fighting in the playoffs, he is rendered somewhat useless.  Still, he alone can get the team pumped up with a big hit or fight, and he is a big part of this team’s personality.  So I would be sad to see him go, as much as it might make sense.  Lastly, there’s the goalie, Tuukka Rask.  He is one of the best in the world and there’s no reason we should even think about trading him right now.  Bruins management knows this..  He will be here at least for several more years.  We just have to hope that it was the birth of his first child (during this series) that distracted him and had him not looking like the Rask we know.  Cam Neely, Peter Chiarelli and the rest of Bruins management know what they’re doing.  So, we just have to sit back, trust in them, and wait for September.

Bruins players salute the fans after being eliminated from the playoffs (5/14/14 - ECSF Game 7)

Bruins players salute the fans after being eliminated in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semi-finals.

-

Bruins ‘Thank You’ Video:
http://video.bruins.nhl.com/videocenter/?id=619301

Game 7 highlights:

Jarome Iginla’s Game 7 goal (the last Bruins goal of the season):

Post-Series Handshake:

-

Related Stories:

Fraser’s Broken Foot, Chara’s Finger, Lucic’s Wrist Among Bruins Postseason Injuries

Cam Neely: 2013-14 Season A Combination Of Success And Failure

Jaffe: Minor Changes Coming, But No Need To Blow Up The Bruins

Boston Bruins Notable Free Agents: Who Should Stay and Who Should Go?

In Defense of Shawn Thornton

Milan Lucic Calls Dale Weise ‘A Baby’ After Complaints About Comments In Handshake Line

-

Thanks for reading,
Matt

Posted in Boston Bruins / NHL, Sports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bruins Tie Series with Rask Shutout and Rookie Overtime Goal

Matt Fraser and the Bruins celebrate his game-winning overtime goal (5/8/14 - ECSF Game 4)

Matt Fraser and the Bruins celebrate his game-winning overtime goal.

Last night the Bruins played Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinal series against their archrivals, the Habs.  Playing in Montreal and going into the game down 2-1 in the series, this was a huge game.  If they had lost and gone down 3-1 in the series, many would’ve said they would lose the series.  However, they played well and got the win, tying up the series at 2-2 and basically making it a new 3-game series with home advantage for the Bruins.

From what I’ve been hearing from Habs fans on sports radio and online, they felt like if the Bruins won Game 4, it would likely mean that they would win the series.  Granted, in the NHL, and especially with these two teams, you can never be sure as anything can happen.  Still, I have to agree with the Habs fans that feel that way.  One reason is the obvious one: the Bruins now have to win two more games and two of the next three will be in Boston.  The main reason, though, is because they started to get back to their true game.

The Bruins that we know and love, the team that finished the regular season at the top of the league, has still yet to show up in this series.  However, they did start to get back to their way of playing last night.  While there are still a number of players not producing to their potential, they’re getting closer.  They also started to get back to the physical game that they usually play.  In Game 3, they were so afraid of getting penalties that their play could only be described as polite.  Now they were right to worry as the Habs always get penalties called on their opponents, especially in Montreal, but they just went too far in being careful.  Meanwhile, the Habs were still hitting, and there were some pretty big ones too that were borderline penalties (but not called).  In Game 4, they realized the refs were letting them play and they could be more physical..  So they were.

When the Bruins are hitting and being physical they are more effective, especially against the Habs.  Now they are pretty much back to playing the game we all know and which got them were they are.  With this very important win, they also have the momentum.  What’s more, the next game (and Game 7 if there is one) will be in Boston.  These are all reasons why I give Bruins the edge in this series.

On top of all of that, they are also getting closer and closer to scoring as much as they had been.  They are making smarter plays and have hit the goal post probably 10 times at this point.  They’ve been getting bad bounces, but it always evens out in the end.  Furthermore, the players that they’ve been calling up from the AHL to fill in for injured guys have been performing and contributing.  Last night was the prime example.  The Bruins played a solid game and controlled the tempo, getting many good scoring chances.  Still, the game could not be decided in regulation.  It went to overtime tied 0-0.  Well about a minute into overtime, the third line (who was the best in this game) got the puck to the net, then Matt Fraser (called up for this game) knocked in the loose puck for the game-winning goal!  An unlikely hero, yet still not entirely unbelievable..  He had been playing very well in the AHL playoffs, plus, the Bruins organization is very good at choosing and developing players.

Matt Fraser scores the game-winning overtime goal (5/8/14 - ECSF Game 4)

Matt Fraser scores the game-winning overtime goal.

Lastly, I have to mention the Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask.  Like the team, he had not been himself in this series.  Last night, though, he played like we know and expect he can.  He earned his fifth career NHL playoff shutout (second of this year), stopping all 33 shots against him.  He also led the league in the regular season with seven shutouts.  Even after being shaky in the first three games of this series, he still leads the playoffs in all major goalie statistics..  He has a 1.67 Goals Against Average and a .941 Save Percentage.  He is the front-runner to win the Vezina Trophy this year and I absolutely think he should.  Now they he’s getting back to his game, the Bruins and their fans should feel a lot more confident going forward.

So what does this all mean?  Highlighted be the previous two paragraphs, everything I’ve said means that the Bruins have a great chance of winning this series.  Still, as I said, the NHL playoffs (especially when these two teams face each other) are probably the most unpredictable of all sports.  They will have to play their game and play it well.  I just think it looks a lot more likely that they’ll do that after last night’s solid game and win.

-

I want to mention something again to anyone who reads/follows this blog or who cares about/checks up on Boston sports..  Since I don’t have as much time these days to write blog posts, I tend to write short posts on our Facebook page, typically after each game.  I also share links to all sorts of sports-related stories.  Unfortunately, it’s hard to see those posts from here (they show up on the right side and bottom of the blog).  So, to fully keep up with every little Boston sports story, please check our Facebook page too!

In case you’re too cool for the mid-sentence links above, here’s the address for our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/b0stonwins

-

Now get pumped for what promises to be an epic, stressful, and exciting final few games of this series with these videos:

Game 4 Highlights:
Short Highlights:

Extensive Highlights:

Some Slow-mo Highlights:

Bruins/Habs Rivalry videos:
Bruins/Habs 2014 Playoffs Pump Up:

Bruins/Habs 2011 Playoffs Pump Up:
This was made in for the 2011 playoffs, but it’s still great.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VHCPNpWg_A

Bruins 2014 Playoffs Promo:
This one isn’t Bruins/Habs specific, it’s an overall Bruins playoffs promo, but there are some great clips involving the two teams.  This one pumps me up more than any other.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yXD3x91Mtk

Bruins/Habs Rivalry Videos:
Now see just how crazy, passionate, and how far back this rivalry goes with these videos. The first two are “top 10 Bruins/Habs moments” videos with overlap, but not completely. The other ones are montages of rivalry clips..

Top 10 Memorable Momentshttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SsKvwG0rT6I
Top 10 Momentshttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoXAhnjKdg0
“34 Year War”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0R_cBY1hn0
“The Rivalry” (mostly for Habs fans) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajZIILhpU1g
Greatest Rivalryhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXhDO46mwwo
Bruins/Habs Bench-clearing Brawl (11/8/70)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFHRb8GxWB0

General Bruins promo videos:
“The Calm”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlRCPDnP-5I
Bruins Godzilla Trailerhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQ90_swuyuc
Top 10 Milan Lucic Fightshttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KthQD9W1Pnw

-

So get psyched for the rest of this series, get your beers and antacids ready, and remember Bruins fans..

Bruins - "Believe" (with Bruins 'B')

-

Thanks for reading,
Matt

Posted in Boston Bruins / NHL, Sports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bruins Push Ahead Against Archrival Habs

Bruins/fans celebrate Nathan Horton's series-winning overtime goal in Game 7 of the 2011 ECQF (4/27/11)

Bruins/fans celebrate Nathan Horton’s series-winning overtime goal in Game 7 of the 2011 ECQF.

Tonight, the Bruins will play the Montreal Canadiens in the first game of the record 34th playoff series in which these two teams have faced each other.  Many would say this is the greatest rivalry in all of sports, and I would agree.  Granted, there are other big ones, and perspective and personal taste does come in to play.  Those who call baseball their favorite sport would probably say that the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry is the greatest.  I do think that one is great, but the Bruins/Habs rivalry just seems so much more powerful and epic.  Maybe it takes a huge hockey fan like me to see it that way, but I just can’t see how any other rivalry is bigger.

Any time these two teams face each other, especially in the playoffs, it makes me happier, angrier, and more stressed out then almost anything in my life.  Yes, that probably means I’m a bigger fan than most, but even the fringe fans can get sucked in.  Years ago, before I was the Bruins-obsessed hockey fan I am now, I was still drawn in by this rivalry just because I know how much history there was.  It helped make me the fan I am.  If you’re a smaller fan or barely one at all, I suggest you watch this series.  The more I watched them, and especially the more I went to games, the more I got into them and the sport.  I would argue that hockey playoffs in general are the most entertaining and epic of all sports, and when it’s the Bruins, you’re always in for a treat/hockey clinic.  I repeat, no matter how much you pay attention to the Bruins, Habs, or hockey, you must watch this playoff series.  I guarantee you won’t regret it (besides the hangover) and I’m pretty sure you’ll come out of it with a greater love for the Bruins and appreciation of the sport.

THIS        WILL        BE        EPIC        ! ! ! !

Bruins/Canadiens Rivalry

-

Now I also want to mention something else to anyone who reads/follows this blog or who cares about/checks up on Boston sports..  Since I don’t have as much time these days to write blog posts, I tend to write short posts on our Facebook page.  I also share links to all sorts of sports-related stories.  You’ll notice the last post on this blog was before the first playoff series started.  Well, I did make short posts on our Facebook page after each of those games, as well as linked to some other stories.  Unfortunately, it’s hard to see those posts from here (they show up on the right side and bottom of the blog).  So, to fully keep up with every little Boston sports story, please check our Facebook page too!

In case you’re too cool for the mid-sentence links above, here’s the address for our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/b0stonwins

-

Now get pumped for what promises to be an epic, stressful, and exciting playoff series with these videos:

Bruins/Habs Rivalry videos:
Bruins/Habs 2014 Playoffs Pump Up:

Bruins/Habs 2011 Playoffs Pump Up:
This was made in for the 2011 playoffs, but it’s still great.

Bruins 2014 Playoffs Promo:
This one isn’t Bruins/Habs specific, it’s an overall Bruins playoffs promo, but there are some great clips involving the two teams.  This one pumps me up more than any other.

Bruins/Habs Rivalry Videos:

Now see just how crazy, passionate, and how far back this rivalry goes with these videos. The first two are “top 10 Bruins/Habs moments” videos with overlap, but not completely. The other ones are montages of rivalry clips..
Top 10 Memorable Momentshttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SsKvwG0rT6I
Top 10 Momentshttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoXAhnjKdg0
“34 Year War”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0R_cBY1hn0
“The Rivalry” (mostly for Habs fans) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajZIILhpU1g
Greatest Rivalryhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXhDO46mwwo
Bruins/Habs Bench-clearing Brawl (11/8/70)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFHRb8GxWB0

General Bruins promo videos:
“The Calm”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlRCPDnP-5I
Bruins Godzilla Trailerhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQ90_swuyuc
Top 10 Milan Lucic Fightshttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KthQD9W1Pnw

-

So get psyched, get your beers and antacids ready, and remember Bruins fans..

Bruins - "Believe" (with Bruins 'B')

-

Thanks for reading,
Matt

Posted in Boston Bruins / NHL, Sports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment