Saturday, May 02, 2009

Old Friends

So, I'm sitting here watching game one of Pens/Caps, and seeing Bill Guerin on the Penguins has caused my mind to drift once again to the Bruins.

As much as I hate the Penguins, and I DO (maybe more than even Alexei Kovalev) I can't build up a lot of hate for Billy Guerin, a Massachusetts boy who came to Boston from Edmonton in a trade for Anson Carter, and put together back to back 40 goal seasons in one of the toughest eras to score in NHL history. He was the de-facto captain of the Bruins, but wasn't given the "C" because in the pre-salary cap days, the Bruins knew they weren't going to pay him, and it would be more than embarrassing to see yet another captain skate out of town for better money (Jason Allison) or a better chance at winning (Ray Bourque.)

So, after a great year playing on a line with Joe Thornton and Sergei Samsonov, Billy Guerin did what most people did who wanted ridiculous money before the lockout: signed with the Dallas Stars. He promptly got hurt (my brother liked to say he was wearing a pair of baggy shorts, and his wallet swung around and hit him in the thigh) and based on the games I saw him in, never really seemed to get that scoring mojo back, even during a short stint in San Jose, where he was re-united with Joe Thornton. After a disappointing stint with the last place Islanders, it's been interesting to see Guerin playing well with the Pens, and re-uniting with Hal Gill, another former Bruin from Massachusetts. Gill had his detractors in Boston, but I always thought he was a solid player. Getting shipped out of town after the Bruins signed Zdeno Chara is no shame, they got a better big man, and Gill not only landed where he could, but played great in last year's run to the Stanley Cup final.

But even in the Bruins series against the Montreal Canadiens this year, I couldn't get away from old friends. Glen Metropolit, who was a great role player on the Bruins last year, and a key component in their epic seven game series with the Habs last season, found himself on the other side of the rivalry at the end of this season after being odd man out in Philly due to salary cap issues. It was nice to see the friendly handshakes he gave and received in the line after that series this year.

And during the Bruins' disciplined, workman-like beating of the Hurricanes in game one of their semifinal last night, there was old friend Sergei Samsonov, who use to cause Bruins fans to pull their hair out with his tendency to beat three guys, skate into the corner and then fall down. Still, Sammy is a guy who I enjoyed watching for so long, that I have a hard time wishing him ill.

It bears mentioning that if the Sharks hadn't performed their yearly April chomping of a high voltage power line, the Bruins could have not only dispatched the Canadiens, the team who knocked out their finest squad since this recent band of B's in the first round, but then had the potential chance to go through each member of the top line of that team in subsequent rounds (Samsonov in Carolina, Guerin in Pittsburgh, and Thornton in San Jose.)

Of course, that'll never happen now.

But you know, kinda neat, right?

Let's go Bruins!

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