Four months ago, I started writing articles about the Red Sox' run to the World Series. A lot has happened since my last article. The Red Sox lost in Game 7 of the ALCS, the Patriots went 11-5 and didn't make the playoffs, and now the Bruins and Celtics are back in the playoff hunt.
I'm Boston-bred through and through, and one of my loves is hockey. I've been a loyal fan of the Bruins since my first game back in the Old Garden against Joey Sakic and the Quebec Nordiques. Watching Cam Neely, Ray Bourque, Steve Heinze and Co. play tough, hard-nosed Bruin hockey, made me decide to play the game.
Today I'm 22 years old and off skates, for now, and the only way to get a hockey fix is to watch the Bruins on television or at the TD Banknorth Garden. I've got to say, as a fan for years now, I haven't seen the Bruins play, skate, and hit this well since Neely and Bourque's days. We all know they can skate, and with snipers like Phil Kessel, Michael Ryder, and Marc Savard, we all know the Bruins can put the biscuit in the basket.
The only question is, do they play as physical as the older Bruins seemed to play? Most hockey fans, including most Bruins fans, would say that with Milan Lucic and Shawn Thornton, they do their fair share of issuing pain. However, I feel there is one thing lacking on this team right now and that is toughness in front of the net.
Since we lost "Jumbo" Joe Thornton in 2005, we haven't had a presence in front of the net. Even with Joe Thornton, we weren't effective in front. After watching the Bruins/Sharks game last night, I've never been more sure of anything in my life: the Bruins need to get bigger, especially in the offensive end.
To me, there are a few things the Bruins need to have in a person if they choose to add one to this current squad. One, he must be a terrific character guy to have in the locker room. This current team loves playing with each other. From the first line to the fourth line, each guy knows his role and plays within it.
The other trait we need in a player is talent. He needs to be big and have the inane ability to put the puck in the net. The final trait is the want to play in Boston, and the knack for playing in the playoffs.
Honestly, there is one logical solution, and his name is Keith Tkachuk. He is one of America's greatest players, and ask any one of his teammates or former teammates how good a person he is. He would be a great fit for them in the locker room, a guy with playoff experience, and just an overall great guy.
Second, he's big in stature, known to throw his body around, can beat the bag out of most anyone, and knows how to score and make the right play. To date, he has 17 goals and 17 assists, a total of 34 points. His +/- might be below average, but that can be put squarely on the shoulders of his team.
Finally, he's from here, and went to high school at Malden Catholic and college at Boston University. He would love to come back to Boston and win a title for his "home team." He has played in big playoff games and knows how to be a leader, and even though his stats in the playoffs aren't spectacular, he can bring a presence to this locker room that almost no one else can.
As a late Christmas gift, all I can ask for is Keith Tkachuk in the Bruins locker room, suited up, wearing his number 7 and a huge smile on his face. He can bring us a presence needed in front of the net, as well as the locker room, and as the Red Sox proved in 2004, a happy locker room leads to a title. Come on, Peter Chiarelli, make it happen.