The Bruins, who let the city of Boston down with a poor season and an early exit in the playoffs, were stuck in the shadows of championships and playoffs.
Once the city's most beloved team, the "Big, Bad Bruins" were stuck on the back burner of the Boston sports' scene, and then, this season started.
Going into the December 13th game against the Thrashers, the Bruins are riding an 11-game home win streak, and hold an Eastern Conference best 20-5-4 record.
The Bruins had a quiet off-season, being in the mix for top free-agent Marian Hossa, and ending up signing Michael Ryder. The city did not have high hopes yet again.
However, with Patrice Bergeron coming back full strength and Phil Kessel having a wake-up call from coach Claude Julien, the team was ready to surprise the league, and their biggest naysayers. The Bruins are a legitimate team to make a great run in the playoffs, and here's why.
With leadership from players like Zdeno Chara, Tim Thomas, Michael Ryder, Aaron Ward, and Mark Savard, the young players learn how to skate, react, and perform like a team.
Over the past few years, these players were brought in to fill holes from trades and losses in free agency under the previous GM. Now, with the immense talent coming in from drafting, these older guys have taken the younger kids under their wings and the kids are blossoming into one of the most talented groups of players in the league.
Which brings up the next point, talent. The Bruins haven't had a team with so much talent top to bottom since the days where Neely and Bourque were skating side by side.
With Kessel and Bergeron leading the pack, the young players have succeeded in carrying the offensive load, with a lot of help from a solid defensive group, and a backbone in net like Tim Thomas never hurts. Even Fernandez, who was hurt most of last year, is playing great.
With all the youth and the flashy style that the Bruins have been missing for years, the crowd believes in them, and they have started believing in themselves.
Also, on top of the youth and talent, with the comparisons to Cam Neely, Milan Lucic's attitude and physical style of play has re-energized a dormant hockey team to the "Big, Bad Bruins" that our fathers talk about.
It will be an interesting year for the Bruins. Yet with the Eastern Conference seeming to have a down year with Ottawa struggling and other teams aging, the hopes for the team are high. If they keep up the physical play and keep playing as a team, we can look for the Bruins to go deep into the playoffs and bring hockey back to "The Hub".
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