Sunday, May 17, 2009

You're Welcome, Bruins

Yes, it was a disappointing end, but boy-o-boy, this season had a ton of great Bruins memories, this video from features a great deal of them:

Some of these are touched on in the video, and some are not, but here are some of my memories of the season, inspired by this video:

-Milan Lucic drilling Mike Van Ryn through the glass. In time, perhaps we'll forget that the Bruins lost that game, badly. After being down by two goals, and getting smashed though the glass, Van Ryn responded by getting the ball rolling and scoring the first of four unanswered Maple Leaf goals that night as the Bruins blew the lead. Still, at the end of the day, there was only one player picking tiny cubes of plexiglass out of his ass crack for the next three days, and it wasn't Milan Lucic. I'll take it.

-Stanley Cup of Chowder: It seemed that for years, I was the only guy out there blogging about the Bruins, and let's be honest, I've always been a little more into the passion than the blanket coverage. SCOC jumped into that void with a vengeance, and created not only a great gameday source, but a great hub (pun intended) for the other Bruin blogs that started popping up this year. Some day I'll update this fucking blogroll. I swear.

-The character game against Dallas, when Steve Ott (and his sloppy second Sean Avery,) instigated the Bruins into playing, fighting, and winning as a team. Come to think of it, where were those Bruins in games 3 and 4 of the Carolina series? Actually, scratch that, I'm keeping it positive.

-The emergence of David Krejci: He appeared last year, when Savard went down with an injury, but this season, Krecji emerged. What hands this kid has, and seeing player after player after player (Marco Sturm, Blake Wheeler, Michael Ryder) find their scoring touch while playing with him has finally made us realize that he possesses one of those talents that the truly great players have: making your teammates better hockey players. The winner of the 7th player, and well deserved.

-The first regular season game against the Detroit Red Wings. The first real measuring stick of the Bruins season, Manny Fernandez stood tall for the B's, and this team realized it could beat anybody. I know, I know, it didn't work out at the end of the season, but this was a huge moment.

-Manny Fernandez, period. There is practically zero chance we will ever see Fernandez in a Bruin uniform again, and his game dropped off towards the end of the season, but this year he finally played, and played well, pushing Tim Thomas, ever the battler, to elevate his game to the point where he is the front runner for the Vezina trophy. Like Alex Auld before him, I wish Manny well.

-The appearance of Byron Bitz: This kid started slow, but always played amazing along the wall, in a way we haven't seen since Big Joe Thornton. The new NHL is a possession game, and having Bitzy on a cycle is great. With any luck, we'll get a Lucic/Krecji esque emergence from Bitz next season. If that happens, I see Kessel, Savard and Lucic along with Krecji, Ryder and Bitzy giving us two lines with an elite assist man, a trigger guy and somebody who can give the other guys room to move. That bodes well. You know what I really like as a Bruins fan? A third line with Marco Sturm and Patrice Bergeron on it.

-That Bruins kid who took his shirt off and went nuts in the playoffs. One day, this kid will likely be arrested for assault outside a 99 Restaurant in Medford. But we'll always have 2009:

-The awesome videos of One more time, shall we?

-The emergence of Fluto Shinzawa: Yes, the Boston Globe had a shaky year, and we're not really sure what the future will bring, but as the Bruins started evolving into an Eastern Conference powerhouse, Fluto raised his game along with them. Fluto had been around for a few seasons at least, and he was never bad, but to me, my family and friends who follow the Bruins from afar, he was little more than the new Bruins writer with a name we can't pronounce (Nancy Marrapese-Burrell, anyone?) But this season, that all changed, as he brought smart, well researched articles and quick informative blog posts that gave you both solid info and in-depth analysis, something that made us all better Bruins fans. And no, we still can't pronounce his last name, but for B's fans, he's forever "Fluto." The moment I realized he had become indispensible was the day after Aaron Ward had been sucker punched by Scott Walker, and there was doubt over whether he would play the next game. Aaron Ward is a warrior, but a broken bone in your face is a broken bone in your face. I was discussing the situation with a friend, and he said "Fluto said he'll be stunned if Ward doesn't play." And that was that. To paraphrase Reggie Dunlop: "Fluto wrote this: it's got to be true." A fanbase is only as good as it's sportswriters, and having Fluto step up his game alongside the legendary Kevin Paul DuPont (who I have praised multiple times in this space) will ensure that the Boston Bruins will continue to have some of the most hockey literate fans in the game for years to come. Or, you know, until the Globe collapses.

Ah well.

Fluto- after all of them that you've handed out all season, this STICK SALUTE is for you.

Thanks for the memories this year, Bruins. And thanks for thanking us.

And remember, that loss hurt you more than it hurt me.

Or at least I hope it did. We need to you remember that feeling next year.

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