Celtics, Red Sox, Patriots ... And That Other Team

Living in Boston since 2006, I've been exposed to some great teams. The Red Sox won the World Series last year and very well could this year (hurry back Papi). The Celtics won their first NBA championship in 22 years. The Patriots had a nearly undefeated season before falling to Eli Manning and his bros in the Superbowl. Boston College won the NCAA Division I Hockey championship (groan). You get the picture. There is one team that the Hub has seemed to forget about: the Bruins. When people talk of Boston being the new Titletown, everyone lists the Sox, Pats, Celtics ... and then awkwardly pauses and passes over the Bruins.

Most of the season, the Bruins go unnoticed by everyone but the diehards (and me because I can buy tickets for $19). I shouldn't say unnoticed. I should say nobody really cares. They gained back some interest when the Montreal series went to Game 7, and I think if they had won that game -- and it breaks my heart that they didn't -- they would have continued to catch attention. But they didn't, and right now the Bruins are back where they started.

I enjoyed watching Boston play this season. They're on the right road to rebuilding, and they reminded me a bit of how the AHL's Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins were this year. That doesn't mean they ran the same systems or anything like that, but they possessed that team element that WBS had. For those who didn't catch what the Baby Penguins did, they rode the playoffs all the way to the Finals and lost to the Chicago Wolves in six games. They accomplished all of this without much skill or top notch talent. With the exception of guys like Chris Minard, Alex Goligoski and Tim Brent, there weren't many other players that had pure skill. What they did have was a 'team' ethic. They worked harder than most teams I've seen play, and they earned success by doing so. They were so much fun to watch (even if they did have trouble completing passes here and there). The Bruins reminded me of them. They didn't have too many superstar names to dress up their roster (with the exception of Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron who missed most of the year due to injury), yet I watched them clobber the Pittsburgh Penguins (arguably one of the most skill-filled rosters in the league).

Even though it seems like he slips under the radar sometimes, if Tim Thomas is on, he's a great goaltender. Marc Savard has been doing well, and Milan Lucic has become a crowd favorite despite the fact that he's about 15 years old. On top of that, Bergeron will be back in action this season. I really hope things keep improving within the Bruins organization. I also hope Beantown starts to realize how fun these guys could be to watch.

This was once a team home to legends like Bobby Orr and Cam Neely. The Boston Bruins are rooted deeply in the history of the NHL. They're one of the Original Six for cryin' out loud. How great would a Bruins rise be for the game of hockey?

Photo Credit: Steve Babineau



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