Last night, I turned on the television to watch the Bruins get eaten up by a mediocre Montreal Canadien team, and my first thought hasn’t changed—even after I slept on it.
The Bruins have finally snapped out of their win one-lose one first quarter of the regular season and began putting together a string of wins which sent them soaring to the top of the division in short order.
I never had a problem with them playing mediocre hockey early on...we still had to deal with the Lucic and Savard injuries which I was hoping to avoid, but let’s be honest...wouldn’t you, as a Boston Hockey Fan, want your team to stay competitive and HEALTHY (for the most part) through the first half of the season, and then light it up as we creep closer to the playoff stretch?
Why would you want someone like a Bergeron or Sturm to go down from an unnecessary injury? Now I’m not talking about sandbagging...I’m just saying that they played conservative hockey, and I am perfectly fine with them coming out of it minimally scathed.
Now we had Lucic back, Savard is healthy, with a nice new contract, and there seemed to be a jump in their skating lately, with six wins in their last seven games and Tukka Rask with spectacular net minding, practically standing on his head.
When I turned the game on, after an hour or more of pregame Montreal 100 Year Anniversary Celebration, I thought, who better to play against then their arch-enemy? I said to myself, “boy, would I love for the Bruins to be the fly in the stew, and win this game in front of tens of thousands of Montreal fans.”
And as my thought continued while I watched a different brown and white jerseyed team on that ice playing so poorly, I said, “Nope...they are going to give it to them.”
And as the score ran up to 5–0, I watched mistake after stupid mistake being made. I was instinctively agitated at my favorite hockey club. I saw basic fundamental moves and plays get coughed up to Montreal, and they capitalized on every opportunity the B’s gave them.
Thomas is way better than that, to send a rebound out to an opposing stick. The Bruins defense is drilled on how to carry and pass a puck out of the zone, yet I sat with clenched fists and cursed the abomination that was happening in front of my eyes, as play after play got botched.
That is, until I heard the electricity of that crowd in Montreal. And I recalled the importance of the pregame celebration. I remembered how monumental of a day this must be for Canadiens fans, by relating to previous events with my Bruins at home.
The Eastern Conference winning the All-Star Game at the Fleet Center on Ray Bourque’s slap shot, the opening of the Fleet Center, to be renamed the TD Garden, and the last game in the OLD Garden. I thought about how disappointed I’d be if my team didn’t show up for those games.
Sure, Montreal certainly did show up for that game last night. They got Hal Gill back. They got a hat trick by Cammaleri. Price played great in net. They had something to play for, and I certainly don’t want to slight their effort.
But in my heart, I know that the Bruins gave Montreal fans an early Christmas present last night. They heard what I heard; that crowd frenzy and the energy level of that arena.
They knew how much that game meant to that room full of people.
Am I suggesting that the Bruins laid down last night? You betcha. And I don’t necessarily think that it was a bad thing. I’m sure it made a lot of bookies and gambling types outraged, but was it really bad for the game? I mean, think about it. How many fans of the game tuned in last night, and will continue to watch? Did it really hurt the Bruins in the standings, such that they won’t be able to recover?
As I analyze how this played out, I am certain that if that was the case, I am not upset about it, and frankly, I admire and respect the players a little more for thinking so courteously of another team’s fans.
They just better take things a little more seriously tonight at home against Toronto.