Shakespeare said it best when he said, “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers. For he today that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother.”
This Band Of Bruins has come together in a year of turbulence.
A year where they lost 10 games in a row.
A year they lost their star player to a cheap shot by a goon from the fake Black and Gold.
A year that they lost countless players to injuries.
A year where everyone from the coach to the front office was being called to the gallows.
A year that the Bruins brass plucked a player in Miro “The Devil” Satan, off the NHL scrap heap to help the floundering offense.
A year that the Bruins' star players like David Krejci and Zdeno Chara underachieved.
A year where the much maligned Dennis Wideman and Michael Ryder were being booed and ridiculed to no end.
The Bruins could have thrown in the towel in and said it’s just not going to be our year.
However, being a Bostonian and a New Englander is all about dusting yourself off, getting up, rolling up your sleeves, and getting back in the fight.
And the Bruins did just that.
After the lowest valley of the season against Pittsburgh in the kick Matt Cooke’s tail game, the Black and Gold said, enough!
They started to play better and stopped feeling bad for themselves.
Dennis Wideman and Michael Ryder started to find their late season stride.
The Bruins were now Tuukka’s team. The rookie was playing more like Ken Dryden than Blaine Lacher. He was ready to take the team on his shoulders down the stretch.
Boston played the balance of their games like it was the playoffs. They went 8-3 down the stretch. The Bruins secured the sixth seed in the NHL playoff tournament.
Back in January, no one thought (myself included) that this team would even qualify for the postseason. Now they were in the sixth spot, ready to take on the Northeast Division champs, Buffalo Sabres.
This was the matchup the Bruins wanted. They played Buffalo tough all season, going 4-2 against them. However, they struggled with Pittsburgh (1-2-1) and Washington (1-2-1).
Were the hockey gods looking down on the Bruins finally?
The series with Buffalo was as promoted. It was a defensive battle that hinged on strong goaltending and timely goals.
Tuukka Rask (4-2, 2.18 GAA) was stellar in the series and outdueled eventual Vezina Trophy winner and Olympic hero, Ryan Miller (2-4, 2.35 GAA). Rask played like anything but an untested rookie. He performed like a seasoned veteran and probably made Timmy Thomas proud.
The once anemic offense came to life for the Bruins in the playoffs. Michael Ryder and Miroslav “666” Satan, who was invisible most of the regular season, came up big against Buffalo.
Ryder scored two goals and an added an assist in the series. He also brought some physical play that was absent all year.
The Devil did it twice to Buffalo. Satan scored the winner in double OT in Game Four and also potted the winner in the Bruins 4-3 series clinching victory in Game Six. Satan stepped it up when it counts, the playoffs. He also added three helpers in the series.
David Krejci, Dennis Wideman, and Zdeno Chara shook off their sub-par regular seasons and made an impact versus Buffalo.
Krejci has been playing like his 2008-2009 form since his strong showing in the Olympics. He kept the pedal to metal for the playoffs as well. Krejci had three goals and two assists which included two goals in the decisive Game Six. There is no doubt that he is back.
Wideman and Chara have anchored the defensive corps since the loss of Dennis Seidenberg and Mark Stuart to injury. Wideman is no longer playing scared. He now has confidence in the defensive and offensive zones which he lacked during the regular season.
He still has the occasional miscue but he seems to find a way to right his wrongs. He played a pivotal role in the Miro Satan’s game-winning and series-clinching goal in Game Six. His tape-to-tape pass was vintage 2008-2009 Wideman.
Z has been playing like Chara the Destroyer. He has been throwing around his huge frame with reckless abandon. Whether it has been putting guys in the bench like he did in Game Two or dropping the gloves and defending himself at the conclusion of Game Five, he has re-established himself as a force on the blue line.
Chara the Great is back!
Mark Recchi was still Mark Recchi. Patrice Bergeron was still Patrice Bergeron. Both played their same consistent and productive way as they did all season.
The Bruins resemble a Perfect Black and Gold storm.
They are playing their best hockey when it counts the most, the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Boston is getting healthier. Marc Savard has been cleared to play and will take the ice for the first time since his concussion at the shoulder of the gutless, Matt Cooke.
Wouldn’t it be fitting for the Bruins to face Pittsburgh in the next round?
They are confident. No deficit is too big for the Bruins to overcome. They feel they can score at anytime.
Boston knows they have one of the best backstops in the game as their last line of defense.
And they know that they have each other’s backs. No more second guessing this team’s soul or heart.
They are a Band Of Bruins.
A Band Of Brothers, which just may have a shiny cup to hoist above their heads in June.