Just a few years ago, the NHL Players Association decided that it would strike and not play the 2004-2005 season, losing millions of revenue and thousands of fans. You wouldn't think that an Original Six city like Boston would be affected by it. Unfortunately, that is false.
The Bruins welcomed hockey back to Boston by coming in last place in the Northeast Division for the first time since the 1999-2000 season. Fans that were excited for the revival of their winter pastime were shut down by a miserable season from a team who came in first the year before the strike.
Not only that, but they traded away their Captain and the face of the franchise, Joe Thornton. The only good result of this season was that the Bruins received the fifth pick in the lottery and drafted Phil Kessel (more on him later).
The 2006-2007 season didn't have much promise either as new Head Coach Dave Lewis, GM Peter Chiarelli, and new Captain Zdeno Chara gave the city of Boston another last place finish and started to eat away at the core fan-base that had seen the team through the good and bad.
But then something happened that started to catch the fans' eyes at the TD Banknorth Garden. Something was beginning and no one knew quite what.
The 2007-2008 season finally gave the city some hope, as the Bruins became caught in the unbelievable sports year that was 2007 for the city of Boston. In first place after the first few weeks, the Bruin's young team began to catch the eye of many in the city. They finished the year 41–29–12 and made the playoffs.
Despite many injuries and questions about their offense, the Bruins pushed the top-seeded rival Canadiens to seven games in the first round of the playoffs. They ended up losing and ending their magical run that had the TD Banknorth Garden rumbling and the city of Boston glued to their TV sets.
That brings us to this year. After losing the first five of seven, the Bruins went on to win 17 of their next 20 games, sling-shotting the team into first place, where they remain today.
This would not only generate hope for the team, but more importantly, the dedicated fans who have waited more than 30 years to see a banner raised in the Garden. If the Celtics can do it, why can't the B's?
Not only does the rest of the season look promising, but the future does as well, with stars like the newly-acquired Michael Ryder, Captain Zdeno Chara, Chuck Kobasew, Patrice Bergeron, Milan Lucic, Tim Thomas, and another Boston sports cancer survivor, Phil Kessel.
With the road ahead looking bright for our Bruins, maybe they will finally achieve the goal of being recognized in a city that once cared about them, and having Jack Edwards jumping out of my TV shouting "THIS BUILDING IS VIBRATING!"
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