This brings me to the question: Is it okay for a fan to disown a team during its struggles? Or should he or she stick with it through thick and thin?
Personally, the Boston Red Sox were my team during my childhood. Alas, because of the so-called Curse of the Bambino there would be annual talk that each year was a rebuilding year for Boston.
I'd root for Tom Brunansky, Jeff Reardon, Joe Hesketh, and Greg Harris despite the fact they were at the tail ends of their careers or simply weren't that good. Seeing Reardon break the all-time saves record and being carried off the field at Fenway was one of the greatest Red Sox moments in the early 1990s.
It was devastating when the Red Sox didn't want to re-sign Wade Boggs, allowing him to go to the Yankees. (Boggs had hit .259 and Boston thought he was washed up.)
Instead, the Bosox decided to bring in a bunch of over-the-hill former league MVPs and playoff MVPs (Andre Dawson, Kevin Mitchell, Steve Avery, Dennis Eckersley, and Bret Saberhagen to name a few) who just didn't do much in Beantown.
Expansion teams like division rival Toronto had already won two championships. The Mets, who broke the Red Sox's hearts in 1986, had two. Even the Florida Marlins had a pair.
But 2004 changed all that. For good measure, the Red Sox went out and did it again last season.
Sure, going through all the lean years, the meltdowns, and the bonehead acquisitions just make the victories that much more sweeter.
But what about the Jeremy Jacobs-owned Bruins, the team Crowe was bashing?
I also cheered for the Bruins in the 1990s, and that team was just good enough to make the playoffs every year—but never great enough to win.
As a young fan, I wouldn't realize that ownership was happy just to put together a playoff-caliber team so that fans would keep showing up at Boston Garden. (It wasn't difficult to make the playoffs during an era in which 16 of 21-odd teams would make it. Just ask the 1980s Maple Leafs, who would have one of the NHL's worst records but still make the postseason.)
Spending money to actually go out and win the Stanley Cup? Not on the Bruins brass' agenda.
Still, the B's came close in 1990. They did again in 1991 and 1992, but the absence of a big-time goal scorer killed them.
Had the team gone out and added another big gun to complement Ray Bourque, Craig Janney (later Adam Oates), and Andy Moog, the B's might well have won at least one Cup.
Instead, the B's got rid of Moog, and the revolving door in goal never stopped. Jon Casey, Blaine Lacher, Bill Ranford, Jim Carey, Byron Dafoe, Andrew Raycroft, and so on. With Moog, the Bruins beat the Canadiens consistently and went to three straight conference finals and a Stanley Cup Finals.
Since Moog was traded, the Bruins have won just two playoff series. Two.
The B's should just retire Moog's jersey right now.
Trading away Bourque just so he could win a Cup was the last straw. Other fans, though, would to this day argue that it was a great move to ensure No. 77 would get to win a championship. Whatever.
Changing the logo—even slightly—didn't do anything for me. Going away from the early 1990s uniforms, uh-uh. Having the alternate jersey with the orange and bear on the front, dumb.
Firing Mike Keenan even though he did the job? Letting Robbie Ftorek go with under ten games left one season? All stupid.
Of course, there were other times that the Bruins found a way to suck you back in.
2002, No. 1 seed in the East. I fell for the trap and thought Boston would go deep into the playoffs. Problem: the first-round opponent was Montreal. Dafoe played horribly (and then had the nerve to demand more money), the B's lost, and here we go again.
Two springs later, they did it again. No. 2 seed, a great rookie goalie in Raycroft. But again the Habs stood in the way the first round. No problem.
Raycroft got a shutout in his playoff debut, the Bruins won a thriller in OT the next game, and jumped out to a 3-1 series lead when Glen Murray scored in double OT with Alexei Kovalev acting all injured on a slash.
Exciting times for sure.
Well, the B's never won another game that spring.
So, back to the original question: Is it okay for Sean Crowe to dump this team?
You know what? I'm with Crowe on this one. Go for it, Sean Crowe. Go root for another team. Enough is enough. Just retire Moog's jersey already.
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