Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Why I hate the Bruins

It seems to be a recurring theme, but it's something I've been dealing with for a few years - I hate the Boston Bruins.

Let me start from the beginning...

Thanks to a couple of friends, I feel in love with the Bruins when I was 14 (for those of you who don't know, that was in 1997). I grew up in a non-hockey house in Massachusetts, mainly because my dad grew up in Florida, then went to high school in New Jersey. But I met Lauren and Alexa, and suddenly I was watching games, learning player's names, reading the Boston Globe every morning for Bruins stories, and basically becoming a hockey-knowledge sponge.

When I fall for something, I fall hard. I would bring my Walkman with me whenever I left home if there was a game on so I wouldn't miss a minute of the action; when I was at home and the games weren't on TV (this was, sadly, before my parents had NESN, which broadcasts the Bruins games - they righted this travesty quite soon), I would listen in the dark in my bedroom on AM radio; I had posters of Sergei Samsonov and Joe Thornton, I loved Byron Dafoe, PJ Axelsson, and even "the great" Hal Gill. To put it bluntly - I was obsessed.

But over the years, as my wide-eyed optimism and 100% faith in the team began to pale, I began to see a trend - the Bruins not signing free agents unless they came at a bargain; letting go of talented free agents at their peak. It took awhile for me to see the truth, because I didn't want to believe what was staring me in the face. But in 2004, after the Bruins, and the #1 seed, lost to the Montreal Canadiens in the first round of the playoffs , I finally accepted it; I realized what many other already knew but I was too naive to see - the organization cared more about making money than winning the Cup.

The straw that broke the camel's back for me as a Bruins fan was the unthinkable trade of Joe Thornton. The Bruins traded away their captain, their best player, and the face of their franchise, to San Jose (don't even get me started on HOCKEY teams playing in California, Florida, or anywhere else in the South). Then, to make matters 9832481 times worse, at the end of the SAME SEASON he won the MVP Award. WHAT?! Has any (other) team EVER traded away a player who went on to win the MVP in the same season (I'll help you out- the answer isn't yes). It was a travesty - in order to keep from signing Jumbo Joe to a contract he deserved after playing with the team since he was the #1 overall pick at 18 years old, the spineless Harry Sinden traded him so he wouldn't have to pony up the dough, and could get something (even though it was maybe 20 cents on the dollar) in return.

It was like a slap in the face. I'd fallen in love, and after almost 10 years of hard-core dedication, it was like I'd been cheated on and thrown to the curb. How can you care about someone who doesn't care about you back? How can you invest time, money, and you heart into something that won't give you anything in return. Sure, the regular season may show you some good times, but, inevitably in the playoffs, the Bruins will lose in the first round (if they even make it), and the small amount of casual fans who jumped on the Bruins bandwagon as they post-season approached will be back on the sidelines until the following April.

This year was much of the same... the Bruins skated into the playoffs to play their former arch-nemesis, the Montreal Canadiens. They went down 3 games to 1, just as I expected. But then, somehow, they came roaring back to tie the series at 3-3 and head back up to the Great White North to play game 7. Suddenly there was some buzz about the B's, could they really pull this off? Momentum was surely on their side!
But, of course, the Canadiens won the game, and in a 5-0 shutout no less, to shove the nails into the coffin that is the Bruins franchise.

3 comments:

Steve said...

Thornton was never going to win the Hart with the Bruins. He's a great player, but he's not captain material and he wasn't ready to be the face of a franchise. The B's should have gotten more for him in the trade, but moving him wasn't unreasonable - he was never going to reach his potential in Boston.

THIS Sports Chick said...

Steve,

Though you may be right about Thornton not reaching his potenial in Boston, getting 3 cents on the dollar never makes sense. And the whole reason he was never going to reach his potential in Boston was they were too cheap to put any real quality players around him, which further reiterates my sentiments about the cheap-ass Bruins front office.
As for not being captain material of the face of the franchise, wouldn't you say he's now the face of the franchise in San Jose?

Steve said...

He didn't get the A for 4 months after he got to SJ, and he's still not the captain. It's very different to earn "face of the franchise" status through your play, which he did in SJ, than being anointed by the B's organization and media. He was able to find his comfort zone, and Marleau takes most of the leadership duties that Thornton never seemed to like in Boston.