I’ve been asked by a few of the hockey writers on Bleacher Report why I haven’t gotten into the Boston Bruins this season.
I've been told they’re a gritty, exciting team that busts their butts every time they take the ice.
They’re a good group of guys who love the game of hockey.
They have a great mix of young and old, and a core of players that they can build around for years to come.
They’ve even managed to win a few games against the big, bad Canadiens this week.
But I’m not interested. I can’t be interested. I’ve played that game too many times before, and every time I've lost painfully.
I will not be suckered by the Boston Bruins again.
So, without further adieu, the Top 10 reasons why I will never, EVER root for or care about the Bruins again.
10. Ray Bourque finished his career with another team.
I still can’t get over this one. Trading Ray Bourque was an insult to everyone who put their time and effort into supporting the Bruins throughout his career.
Not that giving Bourque a chance to win a Stanley Cup was a bad thing, but it would have been nice if they had done it while he still played for the Bruins.
They spent the bulk of his career near the bottom of the NHL in payroll, even though the team was raking in a ridiculous amount of money and the owner was a billionaire (that’s billion, with a B).
There were many years where they were a player or two away, yet they refused to spend the money to get the extra scorer to compliment Cam Neely or the defensemen to take the pressure off of Bourque.
There was no excuse for not getting Bourque a championship while he was still in Boston.
The fact that this once proud hockey town threw a parade for the Colorado Avalanche’s Stanley Cup championship is appalling.
9. They don’t spend money, but they sure expect their fans to.
This is what Jeremy Jacobs said during the NHL lockout a few years ago:
"Ticket prices are too darn high. Our prices are high. We've been chasing away the fans with it over the last couple of years. or every dollar that we've increased ticket prices, we've spent more than two on a player.
"I hope that the commissioner in the next CBA is able to reach an agreement that allows us to stabilize the ticket prices and perhaps even lower them because I think we are chasing away a lot of our ticket base."
So the NHL shut themselves down to fix the player salaries. They got themselves a hard cap. They reduced the salaries of players who were already under contract and limited the amount they could spend on new players.
The NHL ownership won the lockout in a landslide.
So Jacobs, being so concerned about his high ticket prices and how they're driving fans away, must have lowered the Bruins’ ticket prices to the bottom half of the league, right?
Especially considering he’s a billionaire who owns the stadium, part of the cable network they’re on, and the food distributors that sell all of the concessions at the Garden. Right?
In 2006-07, they had the second highest ticket prices in the NHL.
In case you forgot, they were awful and missed the playoffs last season.
8. Too many head coaches. They’re the Oakland Raiders of the NHL.
If think Al Davis goes through head coaches, you should see the Boston Bruins.
Since 2001, they’ve gone through seven head coaches. That’s one head coach per year, on average.
Pat Burns, Mike Keenan, Robbie Ftorek, Mike O'Connell, Mike Sullivan, Dave Lewis, and Claude Julien have all coached the Bruins since the 2000-2001 season.
That’s as amazing as it is sad.
You’d think after the first four or five head coaches (and three GMs) they would have figured out the real problem.
7. The Bruins never made Ulf Samuelson pay for destroying Cam Neely.
How was Ulf Samuelson still roaming the NHL ice years after his cheap shot on Cam Neely? Back in the Big Bad Bruins days, they would have destroyed him.
Every time he met the Bruins he should have been tormented. He should have left the ice bloodied. For reasons I'll never understand, it never seemed to happen. He was allowed to get off extremely easy for ruining the career of the best offensive force the Bruins ever had (people forget how good Cam really was).
Remember when Cam Neely finally met Ulf in a game a few years later? Neely was involved in a scrum and tried to get at Ulf, only to be immediately ejected from the game.
Someone on that team owed him the destruction of Ulf Samuelson.
In retrospect, Ulf not getting his comeuppance was the beginning of the end for the Bruins as we once knew them.
6. They lost 14 straight games to the Canadiens? Are you kidding me?
Seriously, 14 straight losses and not a single moment like this one?
That's complete balderdash.
Pathetic, really. I’m ashamed.
5. Let’s go Habs! Let’s go Habs!
I turn on the Bruins game the other day and mistakenly thought they were playing in Montreal.
For someone who hasn't followed the series, it was an easy mistake the make.
The rink was covered in Canadian advertisements, the Canadiens were winning, the crowd was electric, and they were chanting “Let’s go Habs!” over and over again.
There’s always been a Montreal contingent that makes its way down to the Garden during Bruins – Canadien games. Usually, it ends one of two ways.
Either a) they chant a little, get drowned out by boos, then the Bruins end up winning and everyone goes home happy or b) they chant a little, get drowned out by boos, then the Bruins end up losing and the Canadien fans end up getting beat up by drunken and angry Bruins fans.
Maybe option b0 would have happened the other night, but the Bruins fans were significantly outnumbered. During a playoff game. In their own building.
Are you kidding me?
4. The Bruins were instrumental in orchestrating the lockout.
I don't really have a problem with the lockout itself. The NHL needed the lockout. It was going bankrupt.
But the Bruins' involvement was questionable at best.
If the team really wanted to win, the previous setup was perfect for them. They had a billionaire owner, a loyal fan base, and a huge stream of money coming in from the Garden and NESN.
They should have been able to outspend anyone.
But they didn’t.
They wanted to make money more than they wanted to win.
Then, after orchestrating the lockout and helping to negotiate the settlement, they were caught with their pants down.
They were completely unprepared for the new NHL rules, and ended up piecing together a pathetic roster that had no chance of winning (blame the coach, right?).
Actually, this deserves its own number…
3) What happened to the 2003-04 Bruins?
I had completely given up on the Boston Bruins, but then something happened.
In 2003-04, they became interesting again.
They won their division, but ran into a hot goalie in the playoffs (Jose Theodore) and ended up losing to the Canadiens in the first round.
But that team was good, exciting, fun to watch, and easy to root for. They won me over. I was a fan again. I bought into the team. I was crushed when they lost in the playoffs, but excited for the next season.
So what did they do?
They either released, didn’t resign, or traded Brian Rolston, Sergie Samsonov, Joe Thornton, Hal Gill, Mike Knuble, Nicholas Boynton, Martin Lapointe, Sergie Gonchar, and Michael Nylander.
So they took the best team they’d had in years and completely dismantled it. They used excuses like “they'd be better prepared after all NHL contracts are voided as a result of the lockout” and "Joe Thornton isn't tough enough."
This was one of the most insulting moments of my Bruins fandom.
They had finally started to win me back. I enjoyed watching them play again.
Like they always have, they pulled the rug out from under me again.
I will NOT fall into that trap this time.
They were on life-support early this decade, but as far as I’m concerned the Bruins officially died the day they finished dismantling that 2003-04 team.
2. Nobody finishes their career in Boston.
Cam Neely retired a Bruin, but if he were healthy, they probably would have traded him so he could go win a Cup somewhere else.
Ray Bourque was traded away.
Bobby Orr was traded away.
Phil Esposito was traded away.
These were all players who should have ended their careers heroically in Boston. They were legends. The Bruins once had an ad campaign that said “Loyalty – It’s called Bruins.” They have been the least loyal team in the NHL for decades.
They’re not loyal to their fans. They’re not loyal to their players.
The only thing they’re loyal to is the almighty dollar.
Which brings me to the number one reason why I cannot root for this Bruins team…
1. Jeremy Jacobs.
Jeremy Jacobs. His name inspires rage almost universally among Bruins fans.
He doesn’t care about winning.
He refuses to spend his billions on making the team better.
He charges ridiculous amounts of money for tickets to the arena he owns.
He rakes in money from NESN, rent paid by the Celtics, and all of the food or drinks sold at the Garden.
He doesn’t live in Boston. His own players hate him. He paid his GMs in the '80s and '90s based on profits, not on-ice results (I'll believe this until I die).
Tie Dome, who I despise as a player, summed it up perfectly after the Thornton trade:
"I don't think (Jacobs) cares about his team. If he doesn't want to be involved in hockey, I think he should step aside. There are a lot of people who would want to buy that franchise for sure.
"It's unfortunate for hockey when one of the original six teams has an owner like that. He was a hardliner through the whole work stoppage, now he's got a salary cap and now he wants to drop his salaries even lower.
"To be honest, I'm not surprised. Jacobs is the guy who stood firm through the whole work stoppage and now his true colors are coming out.
"I think it's terrible for hockey, I think it's terrible for the Boston market. When the Boston rink is empty, it's not good for hockey."
I hate Jeremy Jacobs with every fiber of my being.
I will not root for another Boston Bruins team until he is no longer their owner.
I will not have the rug pulled out from under me again.
I will not get sucked into another lucky Bruins season where they win a few playoff games.
I feel bad for the players, especially this season, because they seem like a good group of guys.
But fool me once, shame on me. Fool me for 33 years, and I’m not interested in playing anymore.
Let's go Habs, indeed.