At five o'clock this morning, I awoke from the worst night's sleep I have had in years. I dressed in my Bruins jersey, still stained with a few tears from last night. I drove to the local mart for a coffee and a paper, and it started right away.
The man in front of me with the look of shame, and the head shake as he walked away.
I picked up a copy of the Boston Herald, expecting the title that followed....
"Collapse that will live in infamy," written by Steve Buckley. The next man in line turned and started to say, "What a disgra"... I half rudely cut him off.
I did not want to hear it.
Don't do it, Bruins fans. Don't be negative today.
Do you have a right to be, yes. Should you be, yes. Will you be, yes.
But...you should not be.
This is what I saw when I turned on my computer this morning.
Oh, that and videos of Boston Bruins fans trashing the ice at TD Garden.
Raw emotion says you should be upset, embarrassed, and angered. Hell, even Bruins winger Shawn Thornton agrees...
On the reaction of the fans who showered the ice with mini towels, he said: "If I was them, I'd be reacting the same way. What kind of reaction would you expect from them? If the roles were reversed and we were in Philly right now and we won, I'd expect the exact same reaction from their fans. So don't blame them for the reaction at all."
I guess when you have a historic collapse the way the Bruins did last night, there will be negativity everywhere. Most of that comes from raw emotion and passion, and in my opinion it is so much easier to focus on the rotten side of things.
I will continue to PROUDLY support my favorite team.
We have finally found the goaltender of the future in Tuukka Rask who, up until last night, has been revered in Boston as a mini-saviour, as evident by the constant and deafening "Tuukka Time" chants at every home game.
Every team goes through the valley before they reach the peak, and I see nothing but positive things happening for the Bruins in the future, and I refuse to dwell on the way the 09/10 season ended.
From the first drop of the puck this year, the Bruins were ravaged by injuries. Yes, I know the trade of Phil Kessel to the Leafs hurt the offense, but losing one player should not make that much of a difference over the course of an entire season...but when you lose Savard, Strum, Krejci, Lucic and a plethora of others over the course of the year, it will and did have a huge impact on the Bruins ability to score goals.
First to worst in one season. Toss in a 10-game losing streak in the middle of the year for added frustration.
All that...and yet this team STILL made the postseason dance. Given the goal-scoring woes, they had to change the team strategy around and play a more defensive-oriented game in order to win, and for the most part, it was successful.
The emergence of Tuukka Rask as our No. 1 goaltender and a former Vezina winner in Tim Thomas kept the team in games, and we had a defense that stepped up game after game while the team tried to find a way to get the offense in gear.
Much to the dismay of doubters everywhere it worked well enough to get the Bruins into the playoffs, and it worked well enough for the Bruins to outlast Olympic hero Ryan Miller and the heavily favoured Buffalo Sabres.
And then it began, signs everywhere, hats worn, jerseys displayed.
All by "Bruins Fans."
Last night I witnessed a crazy Bruins fan on a busy intersection in town, proudly wearing his black and gold, holding a sign in support of his team, yelling at cars, honking horns, letting all who would hear him know that the Bruins had a big game that night. I wonder if he is anywhere to be found this morning.
I stand for Bruins fans everywhere, when I say this.
Do not hold hang your head low, do not burn jerseys, discard hats, take down your Bruins flags, and DO NOT litter the ice of the team you claim to support.
Take a step back and breathe, relax, and think.
This could be the biggest learning experience this team has ever had, for they will never want to feel this way again.
Heading into 2010/11 with a healthy team, a Taylor Hall or Tyler Seguin, possibly a Joe Colborne and a full of season of reflection, and I can almost guarantee that the Bruins will not have these kind of struggles next year.
I think of what they had to go through this season, and I choose to focus on what they did, rather than what they did not.
I am PROUD that with all they dealt with, that they even had a chance to be in that position in the first place. And I will continue to support my team, dressed in Bruins gear, ready to take on the negative Bruins fans.