Boston has enjoyed a great run in recent years for sports championships within the last eight, six championships as a matter of fact. The Patriots have won three Super Bowls. The Red Sox have won two World Series titles and the Celtics won the NBA Championship in 2008.
The only leaves one Boston sports team without a title... the Bruins.
What has happened to the Bruins in recent years? The Bruins were a forgone conclusion in many Boston sports fans' eyes. The team went through over a decade mired in mediocrity which saw its fan base shrink as well as interest. Many Bostonians seemed to have forgotten that the city did have a hockey team.
Bruins fans have long blamed the team's upper management for the teams less-than-stellar performance. Sure, the boo birds came out whenever then-team president Harry Sinden's name was mentioned. But no one's name drew more ire than the team's owner Jeremy Jacobs.
Jacobs' unwillingness to spend money for quality players was one of the reasons. Also, whenever players spoke out against Sinden or Jacobs they would have a one-way ticket out of Boston, i.e. Adam Oates.
In recent years, this seemingly self-defeating management style has changed. A key maneuver in this direction was the hiring of Peter Chiarelli as General Manager. Chiarelli had enjoyed success in Ottowa as the Senators' Assistant GM. Then bringing in Bruins legend Cam Neely as Vice President of Operations hearkened back to the glory days of the Bruins' Stanley Cup runs of the late 1990s. Capping all this was the hiring of Claude Julien as head coach who brings his hard-nosed style of coaching which was garnished by his years behind the bench of the Montreal Canadiens.
The Bruins then started to get name players such as Zdeno Chara mixed in within homegrown talent such as Patrice Bergeron and Milan Lucic. Tim Thomas has established himself as one of the premier goaltenders in the NHL. This combination of young and old have helped the Bruins regain their form and remind Boston sports fans that yes there is a hockey team in Boston.
Last year, the Bruins had over 100 points and finished first in the Easter Conference. They had a great regular season only to have it end sadly at the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes. The team showed incredible improvement but also showed great promise. They need to build upon if they intend on winning the Stanley Cup which they have not won since 1972.
The 2009-2010 season got off to a lackluster start. The Bruins fell hard to their conference rivals the Washington Capitals. Yes, Washington does have one of the league's premiere players in Alex Ovechkin. The Bruins though could have shown more grit and determination. They need to play a full 60-minute game and not 15 minutes like they seemed to on opening night.
There is no need to panic though. It was only the first game and they now have it under their belt. This should be a valuable learning tool for the team. Claude Julien certainly knows. He expects nothing but the best out of his players and will bring it out of them. Bruins players after the game realized that they did not play up to their potential and knew that they need to stay focused.
So, there is no reason to panic. It is probably a good thing that they played such a poor game this early in the season. The Bruins know what needs to get done and they are hungry enough they will join the Patriots, Red Sox and Celtics in bringing home another championship to Boston.
Here we go Bruins, here we go!!!