The NHL marketing and advertising department got it right when they said, “hockey is for everyone.” It’s the greatest sport in the world and has the best athletes anywhere on the planet. Theses athletes play 82 games in 32 different cities and two different countries in the span of roughly 190 days. In a sport where fighting is legal, by the way. Tack-on the extra, possible, 28 games in the playoffs, and now all of a sudden these players are looking at a 100-game season.
Well, the Boston Bruins haven’t been in the Stanley Cup Finals in what seems to be an eternity, but that’s not to speak any less of this franchise. Now while I try to convince all of you to jump to the Black and Gold side of things, I just hope I slightly convinced all of you to become hockey fans first, and Bruins’ fans second. After all, I think it’s a lot more beneficial for Bruins’ fans to know the sport and how it’s played more so than anything.
So, having said all of that, here are my reasons for YOU to become a Boston Bruins fan.
First of all, is there a cooler accent in the country than one of a Bostonian’s? I didn’t think so. Only in New England, Boston specifically, is where you would get looked at oddly if you pronounce the “Gahden” as the “Garden”, or “Chowdah” as “Chowder”.
The Bruins were the original United States-based NHL team back in 1924. They have reached the Stanley Cup championships 17 times and have hoisted Lord Stanley’s Cup five times–second-most of any US-based NHL franchise.
Walk down any street in Boston, mention the number “four”, and you’ll get a full, detailed explanation why No.4, Bobby Orr, was the greatest hockey player of all time. Without being biased, I must say: it’s true. Bobby Orr redefined the defense position in the NHL and forever changed not only the position, but the way the game has been played.
While blue-liners were known, and taught, to “stay at home” in the defensive zone and on the blue-line, Orr shattered that notion and redefined the position. He single-handedly took over games, offensively, as a defenseman, which was something that was never done before. All defensemen to follow him–Denis Potvin, Paul Coffey, Brian Leetch–all owe their offensive-minded play to Orr.
Many will argue that No.99 was the greatest of all time–and no knock on the Great One–but he really didn’t change the way the game was played. There’s no question that he raised the style of play to a level that no one has really ever seen before; but he didn’t forever alter the way forwards play.
Perhaps the coolest tale in NHL history were the “Gallery Gods” that once occupied the first few rows of the balcony at the old, excuse me, Original Boston Garden. They consisted of over 1,000 season ticket holders, who were as much a part of the game as the six Bruins’ players on the ice. “The Gods” even created their own trophy at the end of each season. They tended to lean towards tough guys such as Terry O’Reilly and other “Big Bad Bruins” of the ’70’s.
Last year, the Bruins cleaned-house during the NHL awards ceremony in Las Vegas, NV. Boston has the largest NHL player, 6′9 Zdeno Chara, who took home the Norris Trophy as the league’s best defenseman.
Tim Thomas was rightfully awarded the Vezina Trophy; and he, along with teammate Manny Fernandez, captured the William M. Jennings Trophy as the league’s best duo of net-minders, who had the teams’ fewest goals-against (2.32). Thomas also won the Roger Crozier Saving Grace Award in 2008-09 as having the best save-percentage (.933) in the NHL, as well as being awarded The Sporting News NHL Goalie of the Year.
Head Coach Claude Julien led his minions to the No.1 seed in the Eastern Conference with 116-points, while being named the 2009 Jack Adams Award winner, as well as The Sporting News NHL Coach of the Year.
And this was all made possible by Bruins’ General Manager, and Sporting News Executive of the Year, Peter Chiarelli. Chiarelli has put together a Stanley Cup contending squad since his hiring back on May 26, 2006. Like all GM’s, there have been some bumps in the road along the way, but PC has turned the ship in the right direction for years to come.
After a memorable 2008-09 season which included a historic 24-2-1 record from Nov. 1 through Jan. 1, the Bruins are in the right direction to land the top-seed in the Northeast Division this year, despite a rocky start.
The B’s are in the midst of a three-game winning streak and are showing signs of the 2008-09 team once again.
If it’s hard-hitting you’re after, look no further than No. 17 Milan Lucic. For elite playmakers in the NHL, No. 91 Marc Savard has you covered in Boston. Role players? Steve Begin epitomizes the role of a fourth-line center; alongside big Byron Bitz, and enforcer Shawn Thornton. Special teams’ specialist Daniel Paille has been the cornerstone to the Bruins fifth ranked penalty-kill this season.
And last but not least, the comeback player of Bruins’ Patrice Bergeron. No. 37 has been the MVP of the team this year and is the quintessential three-zone-player. After coming back from two devastating concussions, the Patrice Bergeron story is sure to give you goose bumps when you see the level of play he’s at right now.
I hope this was enough to make you jump to the Black and Gold
by Mark Marino, Boston Bruins Examiner
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