The Bruins lost in the second round to the Canes last night in game 7 in overtime. I am sure there are Boston sports fans who are angry and upset. But not me.
You see, I got a lesson in playoff perspective last week. I missed the critical game four and the first thing I did upon returning home was to see how the B's had done. It was a 4-1 drubbing! And from the articles I read it sounded like the Bruins played terribly and were never even in it. I wasn't just disappointed, I was angry! How could they come this far only to turn in a half effort? I started a post with the title, "Sharks in Bears Clothing" but was too angry to finish it. I even considered closing this blog. All seemed lost, and in the worst way.
But then I actually watched the game. They didn't play particularly well in game 4, but they hadn't played nearly as badly as had been reported. And then of course they came back with a roar in games 5 and 6, forcing game 7, where they took it to overtime. So in the end am I disappointed? Yes. Am I upset and angry? No.
The Bruins played a nearly flawless game 7. They controlled the puck, made smart breakouts for the most part, and forechecked very well. Tim Thomas was sharp and made some truly game-saving stops. But in the end my hockey instincts were right on this one. Hockey is a game of ebb and flow, of momentum shifts. And the team that storms back to force a game 7 usually seems to lose. Overtime is the same way: teams take turns dominiating the play. In the end the game is usually decided by the bounce of a puck, and so it was decided last night. Timmy went into his cocoon to smother the puck on a routine shot and it appeared to clip his stick on the way in. The puck deflected upward spinning end over end, and he wasn't able to contain it. As it fell in front of him Walker (of all players) tapped it into the net out of mid air.
So who do we blame for this loss? Timmy? The D-man who let Walker in front of the net? I say, nobody. The Bruins played their best, but in todays NHL it's not like the 70's and 80's. No team can dominate to the point where they can expect to win it all, no matter how good they are. It takes talent, hard play, great coaching, and yes--luck, to win a cup. It was the Hockey Gods who decided this one, and I am good with that.
Anybody who is angry about the way the Bruins played should stop and think about what it must feel like to be a Sharks fan right now.
On a final note, there was one player who I thought really stepped up in game seven: Lucic. People say he's no Cam Neely, but... what a force he was in that game! His stickhandling, the way he crashed the net protecting the puck, and his defensive play was outstanding! At one point he took on the role of the defenseman in his own corner and looked completely at home. He was a force on every shift, a one-man team. In short, his play was truly impressive! We are so lucky to have him in a spoked B!