Thursday, March 18, 2010

Tonight's The Night, Bruins-

Last season, the Boston Bruins sparked off one of the finest regular seasons in recent memory with a scrap-filled contest against the Dallas Stars, Steve Ott and Sean Avery.

After that game, the Bruins gelled as a team, went on a winning streak that propelled them to the top of the Eastern Conference, and sent all Bruins fans hopes sky high for this season.  Alas, injuries and a lack of scoring took it's toll, and the Bruins limped into the second half of season after stumbling hard in the month of January, despite a thrilling OT win in the Winter Classic. As of now, the Bruins are playing just about well enough to justify their 8 spot in the standings.

Well, with Matt Cooke and the Pittsburgh Penguins in town, there's an opportunity.

The Boston Globe wrote an actual editorial, urging the Bruins show a little restraint and remember that the win is more important than pounding any individual member of the Penguins, and bringing up the Bertuzzi/Steve Moore incident, as a cautionary tale.

While the Globe is not wrong to bring up Bertuzzi and Moore, and correct that a win is hugely important, a win without fighting will be two points, but not the galvanizing, team building event that this game has the potential to be. If they lose, fights or no fights, that's pretty much the Bruins' season. You can't get kicked around the way the Bruins got kicked around (by both the Penguins and the NHL), and go into the playoffs strong by losing that game. I just don't see it happening.

And if you lose, and beat them up? It's mid-march. You're in the 8 spot. If you're losers, there's no honor in being goons, too.

But if they step it up, and get some physical contributions from players other than Shawn Thornton, (who I think has had a great year of all around checking hockey) they have an opportunity to spark something that just may carry them into the playoffs. The Bruins still have the current Norris trophy winning defenseman, and their BACKUP goaltender won the Vezina. If this team can summon up a little heart, who knows what could happen?

But before I shift all the responsibility for physicality in this game to the Bruins, there's one player on the Penguins that has the power to assume a little responsibility, and show a little leadership by dropping the gloves.

And it's not Matt Cooke.

Matt Cooke needs to go out and get his whuppin' and c'mon- it's a hockey fight- it won't be that bad. But that's sort of understood.

The Penguin who could show some leadership and diffuse this situation by dropping the gloves LIKE A CAPTAIN- is Sidney Crosby. His first fight in the NHL was against the Bruins, against Andrew Ference, who seemed so surprised he was actually fighting the NHL's poster boy, that he got caught a little flat-footed. Well, that won't be happening tomorrow.

Crosby has a bit of a reputation for being a whiner, a diver, and frankly, a ball-puncher. The rest of the hockey world has been wringing it's hands over the hypothetical "what would have happened if Crosby had been hit like Savard was" and worried sick over the possibility that someone on the Bruins might actually do just that to him, hence the Globe editorial.

But no true hockey fan, who respects the athletes that they spend their time and money to watch wants to see a superstar get clocked by a goon. But they'd all like to see that superstar stand up for himself and his team. Sidney Crosby certainly has nothing to prove, and no one in the mainstream hockey media would blame him for letting someone else fight his team's battles. But still, he is the captain.

It makes you think, if Mark Messier were in this situation, what would he do? If Jarome Iginla were in this situation, what would he do? If Bobby Orr or Ray Bourque were in this situation, what would they do? Mario Lemieux, of course, would throw a bunch of cheap shots, refuse to drop the gloves, cry and whine to an official if anybody retaliated, and sit back and let Ulf Samuellson do the dirty work on other team's stars, so who knows, maybe Crosby will go that way too- I guess they respect that approach in Pittsburgh.

But the Penguins just lost a big game last night to the Devils, are slipping in their division, and it's a leadership moment. So, before we put everything on the Bruins here, let's remember who is wearing the "C" in Pittsburgh, and remember how he responds to this.

As for the Bruins, I know exactly how every Bruins fan in the nation wants them to respond, and it dovetails nicely with this brand new video by the Dropkick Murphys:

Now let's go watch some hockey!


miah said...

You make good points. I'd like to see Crosby get involved, physically. But it's not really his style to be that player, as much as I wish it was. If he broke his hand or seperated a shoulder...there goes the Pens season. Sometimes there are more important things to consider and the Pens have plenty of guys willing to drop the gloves. I dont think Crosby is the guy to answer the bell, though it is an intriguing thought.

Anonymous said...

OK. Well... two things. Mark Messier was a tough cookie, a consummate leader and a great hockey player. He could get into some mess (!), and get out of it by himself. And while we're at it, why talk about Lemieux non-fighting ways when we could say the same about Gretzky? Didn't have Mario's size or his proclivity to give slashes to the ankles, but should Captain mean "Go fight whenever needed"?

Sorry for my pitiful English.

Anonymous said...

oh yeah...Crosby better step up and follow a journalist's advice since the Pen's season is just crashing all around them...i bet they're worried Boston will catch up w/ them in the playoff seeding...ha...what a biased joke this article is...

Anonymous said...

I believe it was earlier this season Crosby wanted to fight Savard, but Savard chickened out. Will Crosby have to drop the gloves every time someone on the Pens makes someone mad. Having the C does not mean you have to fight everyone elses battles. Just ask Mike Richards, Alex Ovechkin,or your boy Chara. I do believe he had time in the last game to step up for his teammate. What did he do? Nothing. The leadership Crosby has to show is to tell Matt Cooke that no matter who or how many times the Bruins want to fight "you are going to fight".

Sal said...

From this article I can only assume the only Penguins hockey you've ever watched is highlights of the Savard hit and maybe the hit on Cam Neely based on your comments about Ulf doing some dirty work.

How about you suggest that the players on your team quit acting like pussies, man up and fight Cooke so we can all move on.

Why should Crosby turn himself into a goon for one game just to satisfy the bloodlust of some braindead Bruins fans?

Anonymous said...

Mario Lemieux cried and whined? Are you a fucking idiot?

pete said...

it's an interesting notion, but i'm just wondering who you think crosby should fight?

and last season savard wouldn't fight sid because he had a visor, so sid went to the bench, had the trainer take it off and went back out there. savard still wouldn't fight.

Anonymous said...

Lemieux was a whiner? Idiotic.

Crosby should fight? Moronic.

Cooke should and probably will fight, but he'll be smart about it. The Bruins better be, too. If I were Cooke? I'd wait and goad someone like Thornton into taking the extra minor, or I'd fight Chara. Cooke would probably lose that fight, but taking Z off the ice for five minutes is a win for the Penguins.

Steve said...

Is your Vezina backup playing tonight? If so I think Crosby will let his goals do the talking...

Anonymous said...

props to Pete...great u Bruins fans remember that now?

For those of you who are dumb enough to believe the Lemieux whining or not fighting comments...check this video

notice i never denied the cheap shots comment.

Creasemonster said...

You sir, are an idiot. What exactly is it that Crosby has to prove to the Bruins? The Pens are LEADING their division (despite their supposed "slide") and are looking to lock up the #2 seed in the East. Two points is more important to them than chest thumping. If Crosby breaks his hand in a fight, how exactly does that help his team??

Anonymous said...

Comparing Crosby to Bobby Orr and so forth is ridiculous, different place and time. That guy takes enough crap for being the face of the NHL, and all he does is continue to improve and deliver. It will also probably be tough to fight with your Gold medal on while holding the Stanley Cup. Let the goons fight and the skill players play.

Anonymous said...

Anyone remeber when Crosby challenged Savard to fight, and Savard would'nt cause of Crosby's visor. Crosby goes to the bench, take the visor off and next shift asked Savard to go, well....Savard still would'nt go...maybe this was the hockey gods taking their revenge on Savard for being not throwing with Crosby!

Gregoire said...

The Bruins have a lot less at stake than the Pens; hell, even the 2 points aren't that important to Pitt (might cost them the division, but still a good first round matchup).

Asmuch as this can be a game that gels the Bruins together (not to mention perhaps save Claude Julien his job), it can have the same effect for Pittsburgh.

If Crosby (or anyone else) answers every Bruin check with one of their own, accept every glove dropping challenge, and stand up to the Bruins mano-a-mano, who "wins"?

Anonymous said... don't call out adam Oates, or Gretzky, Or Marcel Dionne for not fighting. Only Lemieux.

Pittsburgh hockey fans are like anyone else..we like winners. Crosby's job is to score goals and he can't do that from the penalty box.

You sir..are an idiot.

Anonymous said...

or Ron Francis or Joe Sakic ...yeah...what terrible captains they were huh?

Let's see...Gretzky (non fighting captain), Lemieux (non fighting captain), Francis (non fighting captain), Sakic (non fighting Captain)...and what do they all have in common? Stanley cups and the hall of Fame.

now sit down and have a nice glass of stfu.

BigTommy said...

Stevie Y Mario L Wayne Gretz Mark Messier Sidney Crosby Nick Lidstrom Mark Naslund Joe Sakic

all top of the line NHL team captains in fact Yzermans nickname is "The Captain" how much of a leader can you be in the box? you cant stop anything or make anything happen or give advice

Cooke deserves to have his bell rung in a good 1v1 fight i think clean with the bruin top bruiser thats it then crosby can be a leader AFTER the game and say "well it was a good game and i think everythings settled now we can all move on and look for another cup"

BTY hate crosby and the penguins but hes a good player and theyre a good team just being honest GO WINGS

Anonymous said...

This article sucks and so do you.

Alec said...

This still all points back to the NHL's weak stance on illegal hits. If he's suspended then there is no buzz concerning retaliation. Cooke can take care of himself, and the Bruins can take care of Cooke- my prediction- tonight will be a flame-out as far as cooke is concerned. An early fight- nothing special- wrestling match 5's for both and themn the real game can begin.

What the Bruins team needs, is to see every player on every opposing team the way they see Cooke tonight. If they don't play passionate, pissed off hockey for three weeks they are out. Its playof time for the B's.

and for everyone who says "shut the fuck up" What fun would this be if someone didn't stir the shit?? Give a little credit to those who put something out there other than stats and watered down garbage.

Oh yeah- and Anonymous, grow a pair! God I hate Pittsburg fans. you're all such entitled pussies. Yes you've won stuff, but if you can't see Lemeiux as a whining bitch (no matter how good he was), and Ulf as a spineless dirtbag (no matter how bad he was), than you need to wake up and watch some games without Crosby's chode on your chin. Oh yeah and nice powder blue uniforms-

DaBich said...

Alec, you'rr just a big a loser as the author of this article.
Lemieux a whining bitch? YOu've lost your marbles. Ulfie was Ulfie, he dished it out but he sure took it too.
And yes, we HAVE won some "stuff" so that more or less gives us some "entitlement". It doesn't make us pussies. But you sure smell like one...oh and it's PittsburgH with an h...just sayin...

Anonymous said...

Worst. Article. Ever.