Friday, March 19, 2010

The Bruins are Toast

People are pointing to the 1971 cup team that was out on the ice last night and remembering the good old days when the Bruins played with passion and heart and didn't let other teams come into their building and push them around. It may come as a surprise to those fans that tuned in just for the carnage last night, but you don't have to look back that far for these things.

As the 2007/2008 season opened the B's were on one of their long road trips out west. They started in Dallas and passed through Phoenix on their way to Anaheim, where they would face the Ducks. The Ducks had just mugged their way to a Stanley Cup just months before. The Bruins came in all charged up and determined to prove themselves. They finished every check, laying out bodies right and left. Every man threw is body around, not just a few designated hitters. In the end the Bruins won. Just like the Ducks in the playoffs, they wanted it more and were willing to play physically to get it done. I have always thought of that game against the Ducks as the game that started it all.

In the 2008/2009 season we all remember the night the Dallas Stars came into town and tried to intimidate the Bruins. Steve Ott and Shawn Avery turned the game into a cheap shot circus. But the B's rose to their challenge and destroyed them, pummeling them in every sense of the word. As the game ended even Mark Savard was throwing punches. The Bruins won that game too and the Stars went home to Dallas in search of who they were. That was the game that made the Bruins the monster team they were last season.

It's hard to believe, but this is still much the same team. With success and the fat contracts that followed came complacency. This season they wanted hockey to be all about being in position and making the first pass. Sure, those things are important, but that's not what hockey is really all about. It's wanting it more, finishing all of your checks, and punishing the other team into submission. It's about passion. It's about heart. Two things the Bruins no longer have.

I don't give a crap about the fights in last night's game against the Penguins. Individually Thornton and Chara did their jobs last night. But it all meant nothing when the team failed to rise to the occasion. Just as the games against the Ducks and the Stars defined those previous seasons this game against the Penguins defines this one. They didn't need to win that game, but they did need to show some heart, and they didn't. Like Dallas last year, the Bruins must now hang their heads in disgrace and try to figure out who they are.

Grape said it all last week: "If he (coach Julien) can't get them to hit..." then he isn't getting the job done.

I'm angry and I'm not alone.

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