Monthly Archives: June 2011

The Mets Need To Resign Reyes

If The Mets want to stay relevant they need to keep Reyes.

The Mets have done a lot of dumb things in the last ten years; they gave Carlos Beltran $119 million dollars, they traded Scott Kazmir for Victor Zambrano, and they gave up half of their farm system for Johan Santana who has been a shell of his former self.

The Mets have become a big joke in major league circles and their money woes have only been topped recently by the Los Angeles Dodgers who filed for bankruptcy. Things were so bad that majority owner Fred Wilpon decided to rip everyone from his star third baseman David Wright to his superstar shortstop Jose Reyes.

Wilpon in particular said about Reyes that “he’s crazy if he thinks he’s getting Carl Crawford money” this offseason… if Wilpon had any sense in that old and decrepit skull of his he may want to rethink that statement.

Even though they sit nine games out of first in the NL East, the Mets have a decent shot at the wildcard at 5 games back and its mostly due… no wait, it’s because of the out of this world play of Jose Reyes. Coming into Thursday’s play Reyes leads the national league in batting average, runs, triples, doubles and hits, is second in stolen bases and in the top 10 in slugging and OPS. In other words without Reyes the Mets would be swimming with Jimmy Hoffa rather than having an outside shot at the playoffs.

And this is the guy that Wilpon wouldn’t give $142 million to, yet gave Beltran $119 million after one good stretch in October?

Reyes has The Mets eyeing a wildcard spot in the National League.

Beyond what he does on the field Reyes is the face of the team off of it. I know a few years ago the Mets had Wright positioned as their man of the moment but Wright hasn’t been that guy. Reyes is electrifying, he’s currently one of a handful of players that you HAVE to see play when he comes into town. Reyes is a marketable figure that you can bank on bringing in large amounts of revenue for your team. Who wouldn’t like having Reyes at the top of their order creating havoc on the base pads and then having the charisma to sell watches afterwards? You’d be crazy to think he’s not worth that.

Where I would see an owner not wanting to pay Reyes is due to his spotty injury history. Reyes has missed 155 of 324 games in the last two years, which would be a concern for anyone that has money to burn. Also in the years before his injuries Reyes was faded down the stretch when the Mets needed him most.

During their historic collapse in 2007, Reyes batted .205 and had an OBP of .279 as the Mets eventually lost their grip on the NL East to the Philadelphia Phillies and the next year Reyes faded again. As electrifying as he is Reyes still needs to prove himself when it matters down the stretch to show that would be worthy of such a huge deal.

After the bomb contracts given to Beltran, Santana and Carlos Delgado you could understand why the Mets would be hesitant to give another deal like that to Reyes. However, with the current state of the Mets Fred Wilpon would be stupid to let Reyes walk away to sign with another team and give fans in Queens even less of a reason to watch the Mets.

The smart thing to do for the Mets would be to sign Reyes and build around him for the future. It would give the fans a reason for hope and keep the Mets relevant.

However, with the way that things have gone for the Mets in recent years they may do exactly the opposite. They’re not called “The Mess” for no reason you know.


A Night To Forget

So how does it feel to be the number one pick in the worst draft ever?

My buddy Will and I were trying to convince ourselves that the 2011 NBA Draft was going to be ok. While every expert, critic and pundit was convinced that this would be one of the worst drafts ever Will and I saw hidden gems all over the place.

We liked both Morris twins’ talents in the paint and in the post, we thought Kenneth Faried was going to be a beast of a defensive stud, I had my man crush on Kemba Walker and he had his on Marshon Brooks.

Realistically Will and I knew that there weren’t any superstars in this draft. To us this was a key role player draft. If you are building a championship contender then this is the draft where you get your bench guys, your energy guys, players like that.

So while the entire world thought that this draft would be a complete dud, Will and I tuned in just to see how things would turn out and see what good things could come from each pick (that and Will is a Cleveland fan so you knew he was geared up regardless).

What did we get?… well?…

NO.1: CLEVELAND CAVALIERS- KYRIE IRVING, PG, DUKE

It made the most sense. The Cavs need a future point guard especially when Baron Davis loses interest again real soon. Is it a slam dunk? Well Irving played 11 games and there are still doubts about his injured foot… whatever. Will was happy… for the moment.

NO.2: MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES- DERRICK WILLIAMS, F, ARIZONA

Do I like Williams? Yes, I mean did you see the Duke game in the NCAA tournament? Here’s what I don’t like; Minnesota’s forwards are currently Wes Johnson, Michael Beasley, Kevin Love, Williams, Anthony Randolph and Martell Webster. Plus there is the question of is Williams a 3 or a 4. Also there is Ricky Rubio… AAAAAHHHHH! HEADACHE!!!

NO. 3: UTAH JAZZ- ENES KANTER, C, TURKEY

Kanter is tall, skilled and cocky. He has a great offensive skill set (something Andrei Kirelenko doesn’t have) and can play defense (something that Al Jefferson doesn’t know the meaning of). Yet it doesn’t solve the issue at point guard there.

NO. 4: CLEVELAND CAVALIERS- TRISTAN THOMPSON, F, TEXAS

Jay Bilas says that Thompson needs to learn how to play and how to score… yet he’s the fourth best player in the draft… um?

(Will was so heated that he took a shot of Jack and stewed over the pick. I don’t know why though, they picked a game less, scoreless forward. You’d be happy about that right?)

NO. 5: TORONTO RAPTORS- JONAS VALANCIUNAS, C, LITUANIA

Hmmm, a 7’1” center that is soft, shoots jumpers and can’t play defense… don’t they have one of those already?

NO. 6: WASHINGTON WIZARDS- JAN VESELY, F, CZECH REPUBLIC

The number 6 pick in the draft, and that as your girlfriend... WINNING!!

According to the tapes the dude can ball. But who cares about that, did you see his girlfriend? Victory.

NO. 7: CHARLOTTE BOBCATS- BISMACK BIYAMBO, F, CONGO

He’s Serge Ibaka with no offensive game. However, Ibaka is a pretty good defensive player and judging from Biyambo’s tape so will he.

(Side note: did you notice that 5 of the first 7 players taken in the draft were foreign? Maybe those quotes about college basketball being at a low point were true after all.)

NO. 8: DETROIT PISTONS- BRANDON KNIGHT, G, KENTUCKY

I’ll be honest with you, I like Knight more than I like Irving. I think Knight is a clutch player who isn’t afraid of the moment (as shown versus Ohio State), and unlike Irving I saw enough of Knight to make this assumption. Getting Knight at 8 even though his jumper is sketchy is a steal for the Pistons.

NO. 9: CHARLOTTE BOBCATS- KEMBA WALKER, PG, UCONN

You doubt him, you say he’s too small, he has knee issues, can his body take a beating, after watch Kemba this season trust when I say there is not a thing that he can’t do. He’s going to kill it, just wait.

NO. 10: SACRAMENTO KINGS- JIMMER FREDETTE, G, BYU

The Kings expect him to save their franchise, is this before or after a) he and Tyreke Evans fight over who shoots the ball 30 times a game and only hit 35% of their shots, b) DeMarcus Cousins stabs him for taking too many bad shots (and not getting him the ball) and c) he gets owned by every, EVERY guard in the league? Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

NO.11: GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS- KLAY THOMPSON, G, WASHINGTON STATE

  1. I like the pick because he is so smooth offensively, but can he play defense?
  2. Um… what about not trading Monta Ellis?
  3. Don’t the Warriors have enough shooters?

(This draft just started to upset me right after this pick)

NO. 12: UTAH JAZZ- ALEC BURNS, G, COLORADO

Can’t play defense, can’t shoot, still a work in progress. You think Jerry Sloan is happy that he retired or is that just me?

(By the way… why hasn’t Kawhi Leonard been picked yet?)

NO. 13: PHOENIX SUNS- MARKIEFF MORRIS, F, KANSAS

He fits their offensive style of play and he can play defense. Plus the Suns continue their run of picking brothers. Robin Lopez in 08, Taylor Griffin in 09 and a Morris this year, maybe next year they get a Wear brother or a Plumlee.

NO. 14: HOUSTON ROCKETS- MARCUS MORRIS, F, KANSAS

Something is telling me that this won't work out for either side.

This facebook status is brought to you by my brother Kareem:

Isn’t the worst father’s day gift ever watching the kid you left 20 years ago

Get picked in the NBA draft?

NO. 15: SAN ANTONIO SPURS- KAWHI LEONARD, F, SAN DIEGO STATE

The Spurs start their rebuilding process with the super athletic forward who has hands the size of a cinderblock and a huge vertical. Plus they have someone to replace the corpse formerly known as Richard Jefferson.

NO. 16: PHILADELPHIA 76ERS- NIKOLA VUCEVIC, F, USC

The only thing I want to know is how much money he got while playing there. I’m joking… but seriously, how much?

NO. 17: NEW YORK KNICKS- IMAN SHUMPERT, G, GEORGIA TECH

So, let me show you how much everyone associated with the Knicks hated this pick:

The fans booed, loudly.

Spike Lee stared into deep space with an emotionless expression as if someone told him Denzel Washington just dissed him in a rap song.

Will sent me these texts messages:

Knicks on the clock.

Ummmmmm….ummmmmm… ummmmm… no comment

Wow. don’t talk.

Just be quiet and point to your mouth.

Wow I thought Tristan was a reach.

Carmelo Anthony tweeted: “Goodnight. I’m out.”

Now I don’t know what Carmelo was referring to, but I KNOW WHAT HE WAS REFERRING TO!

Then there was me. All I could say was IMAN “F*****” SHUMPERT!

Yep. A two guard that can’t shoot. However he apparently is a good defender. So was Corey Brewer and look what happened to him after the Knicks got him. I hate the Knicks.

NO. 18: WASHINGTON WIZARDS- CHRIS SINGLETON, F, FLORIDA STATE

NO.19: MILWAUKEE BUCKS- TOBIAS HARRIS, G, TENNESSEE

NO. 20: HOUSTON ROCKETS- DONATAS MONTIEJUNAS, PF, LITHUANIA

Honestly I had to go back to look at picks 18-20 because I blacked out in a rage after the Knicks pick. Then when I went back and saw the Singleton pick I got mad again.

I hate the Knicks.

NO. 21: PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS- NOLAN SMITH, G, DUKE

A nice pick for Portland especially with them about to show Andre Miller the door, now if they can find a consistent shooter.

NO. 22: DENVER NUGGETS- KENNETH FARIED, F, MOREHEAD STATE

So to recap; the Nuggets in the span of 4 months took the two shooters the Knicks desperately need (Danilo Galinari and Wilson Chandler) a center who could develop into a pretty good player (Timofey Mozgov) and drafted the player that I wanted the Knicks to get most in Faried. Shoot me.

NO. 23: CHICAGO BULLS- NIKOLA MIROTIC, PF, SPAIN

And this is the text that made both Will and I throw in the towel with this draft courtesy of Will himself:

This draft is awful.

Yep. We gave up. There were players going to teams in places that honestly made no sense not to mention that not many of these kids will have an immediate impact.

Valanciunas won’t be in Toronto for another year, the Kings have too many shooters, the Jazz still don’t have a reliable point guard, and the Cavs second pick was basically thrown away. This draft was pathetic. Even the biggest optimist has to admit this. Will and I tried to take this draft for what it was worth and we failed. Even the trades were bogus. Couldn’t the Lakers or Heat have traded for Dwight Howard or something to save this draft?

NO.24: OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER- REGGIE JACKSON, G, BOSTON COLLEGE

I hate the Knicks.

Insurance just in case Kevin Durant stabs Russell Westbrook in his sleep for taking too many shots.

NO. 25: NEW JERSEY NETS- MARSHON BROOKS, G, PROVIDENCE

Deron Williams just thanked god. He finally has an offensive threat to pass to.

NO. 26: DENVER NUGGETS- JORDAN HAMILTON, F, TEXAS

Wait, wasn’t he a better product at Texas than Thompson? How did he fall this far in this draft?

NO. 27: BOSTON CELTICS- JAJUAN JOHNSON, F, PURDUE

There’s that big man that Boston needed in the playoffs…

NO. 28: HOUSTON ROCKETS- NORRIS COLE, G, CLEVELAND STATE

If he cuts the flattop he should be demoted to the D League immediately.

NO. 29: SAN ANTONIO SPURS- CORY JOSEPH, G, TEXAS

Was it a reach? Yes. However, how many times have the Spurs found a diamond in the rough in the draft. just saying.

NO. 30: CHICAGO BULLS- JIMMY BUTLER, F, MARQUETTE

Feel good story and a guy that could give them an offensive lift off of the bench.

Why did I run through the last 7 picks? Well one Will and I stopped caring after no. 23 and honestly no one should blame us.

In the end the critics and analysts were right, this draft was terrible and it should be extradited from our brain cells forever and ever.

If only I could do that with the Knicks and their draft pick.


The Flyers Take A Risk

So explain this to me; how in the world does trading your Captain and one of your top scorers make your team better?

What is Philly thinking?

Beats the hell out of me, but to Philadelphia Flyers GM Paul Holmgren it makes perfect sense.

Yesterday he traded star center Jeff Carter to the Columbus Blue Jackets and team captain Mike Richards to the Los Angeles Kings for draft picks and winger Wayne Simmonds in each deal. The moves were made so that the Flyers could make cap room for recent acquired goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov to be signed to a long term deal.

Now while I understand the need for the Flyers to get a top flight goalie (especially after this pathetic postseason showing) I barely understand the need to trade both of these players.

If you wanted to trade one of the two guys fine, go ahead. The Flyers have more than enough scoring power with Danny Briere, Claude Giroux and James Van Riemsdyk in place to replace Jeff Carter. However, Richards too?!

Mike Richards is one of the best leaders in the NHL. His physicality and spirit helped guide the Flyers to within 2 wins of a Stanley Cup in 2010 and it got them a number 2 seed in the playoffs this year. Richards’s hardnosed style was perfect for the city of Philadelphia and was appreciated by fans of the game in general.

Trading him leaves a huge hole for the Flyers to fill in fans hearts as well as on the ice.

Maybe the Flyers realized that the two huge deals given to Richards and Carter in the last few years were going to prevent them from making the proper moves to get ahead. Flyers management was not happy with the team’s postseason performance and they made goaltending a number one priority this offseason (not that it wasn’t in the last 17 years).

The Bryzgalov deal is a bold move but is it the right one? Giving Bryzgalov $51 million dollars after getting swept out of the playoffs seems like a hell of a reach for a team that has been stuck in goalie purgatory ever since Ron Hextall hung them up. Maybe they could’ve found a better deal for another goalie or used the pick that they got for the Carter deal on one.

Whatever the case is, Holmgren made moves to ensure that the team wouldn’t use three goalies in one series again on his watch. Getting rid of his two most popular players to sign a possible franchise goalie will define Holmgren whether it works or not.

When Holmgren took to the podium in Minnesota to explain the deals to the media I felt glad for him that he wasn’t in Philadelphia. Why? Well here’s a text from my buddy Scully, who is a Flyers fan, after he found out about the deals:

I F***** HATE PAUL HOLMGREN!!!

Yeah… um… you better hope this works out well Paul.


Pujols Injury Leaves Cardinals Chances In Limbo

Losing Matt Holiday hurt, this hurts just a tad more.

This is so not cool if you're a Cards fan.

Albert Pujols will be out 4-6 weeks with a fractured left forearm. On a day where the St. Louis Cardinals had beat their instate rivals the Kansas City Royals to move into a tie for first place in the NL Central.

In the sixth inning Royals infielder Wilson Betemit hit a chopper to second baseman Pete Kozma who tried to make an over the shoulder throw to Pujols who stretched off of first base to keep the ball from going out of play. As he stretched, Betemit smashed into his left hand as he tried to beat the throw to, which caused Pujols to throw his glove down as he winced in pain.

Pujols left the game shortly after and missed a Skip Schumaker walk-off home run that put the Cardinals in first place. However, the loss of Pujols means a lot more at this point.

Pujols was starting to heat up after an abysmal start to the season. His .279 batting average is currently the worst of his professional career but it had risen from the .262 clip that he was at right at the beginning of June. His reemergence along with Holiday’s return and Lance Berkman’s surprise start had given the Cardinals the best 3-4-5 spot in the National League and were becoming a major force for pitching staffs to deal with.

With Pujols out, the Cardinals now have a huge hole missing in their lineup until at least August. With their pitching staff currently imploding with an ERA at 5 for the month of June the offense has had to do their fair share of heavy lifting to keep the Cards afloat. Now in order to stay atop of the Central things have to even out for the Cards to keep rolling.

Some options that the Cards have are moving Berkman to first and have John Jay move into right field. Jay is currently hitting .316 so the production batting wise will still be there.

However, there is no replacing Pujols. He has played in over 143 games in every season of his major league career and has not had one serious injury that has set him back. This injury will cost him that streak and do serious damage to the Cardinals playoff chances.

Not to mention it may hurt his market value in free agency. From all angles this injury could not have come at a worse time for Albert Pujols and the St. Louis Cardinals.


The Fighting Irishman

For Rory McIlroy it feels good to be on top.

If you want a lesson in shaking off past failures and the doubt that hovers over you then I suggest you ask NBC for the tapes from the U.S. Open at The Congressional golf course in Bethesda, Maryland this past weekend (and yes LeBron James and Roberto Luongo I’m talking to you).

 

In the span of 2 rounds of golf Rory McIlroy not only put the meltdown of The Masters behind him, he buried it 60 feet deep in his back yard and poured out some liquor over the top of it.

 

McIlroy was as focused as focused could get. You could tell that he was playing mad after his meltdown in the final round at Augusta and the talk of it had annoyed him to no end, but his cool and sometimes cocky demeanor hid it all as he hit fairway after fairway, knocked down each birdie put and by the time Friday was over everyone in the field was playing for second place.

 

This wasn’t a domination it was a slaughter. The U.S. Open is normally a grind it out, go for par tournament where low scores are as common as meeting a Marylander that doesn’t like crabs. McIlroy made a mockery of that notion by shooting the lowest 36 hole score in the history of the event at 11 under and that would’ve been higher if he didn’t double bogey the final hole on day two. He also sets records for most shots under par at any point in the tourney (17 under), the 54 hole shot record (199) and overall record (268). Tiger Woods never did that, neither did Jack Nicklaus, nor did Arnold Palmer.

 

Yet even as McIlroy led by a large margin everyone tuning in kept thinking back to The Masters and wondered if he would implode again. He responded with a definitive no and now the only question to ask about his game is this… what’s next?

 

At 22 he’s the youngest player to win a major and could easily have had two if not for that one Sunday at Augusta. To many players on the tour McIlroy is the most talented golfer that anyone has seen in a long time. His talent is limitless and with this win you feel as though this is the beginning of the rise of the next great one in the game of golf.

 

Sunday was a walk in the park for golf's next big thing.

His presence at the next few majors will be huge not only due to his rising star power, but because of the decline in that of Tiger Woods’s.

 

Tiger is not the same player that he once was and the game of golf has suffered because of it. Ratings are way down and the interest in the sport is down with it. The game needs a new face and McIlroy could be the man to pick up the slack.

 

Let’s make no mistake however. Though his win is impressive lets not jump the gun and proclaim like many analysts and writers have already that McIlroy will break Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18 majors, its just one that McIlroy has so far.

 

He has a long way to go to catch guys like Nick Faldo, Palmer and Woods before we can start making those claims. To pile pressure onto McIlroy’s shoulders is unfair to him and to the game of golf at such an early stage. McIlroy’s day as number one in the world and a constant threat to win each major will come. Let him enjoy this one first then we’ll talk about the others.

 

Though you have to admit, after watching this weekend at Congressional you understand the hype and hope that surrounds his game.  McIlroy took his failures from The Masters and our doubts about him and knocked them all over The Congressional country club this weekend and made it look easy.

 

If this weekend’s massacre in Maryland was a sign of things to come from Rory McIlroy then Jack, Tiger and the record books should all be on the lookout.


Throwback Weekend: The Untimely Demise Of Agent Zero

What did I do?

note: this  was originally written on January, 6 2010 after the beginning of the Arenas conroversy

Stupidity. We all go through something in our lives where we lose our sense of reality and do something that our momma’s would surely slap us upside the head for. Example, when I worked at PF Changs as a bartender there was a point where I would make drinks for guests, not ring them in and pocket the money they gave me. One Saturday night I decided to take the money from guests and put it in my drawer and then take it out later to make it look legit on camera. Guess which night my manager decided to pull my drawer during my shift?

I was lucky enough to talk my way out of being fired, in part because my boss was easy to manipulate and really had no clue as to what was going on to begin with. However, some other acts of stupidity committed by the average person are not so easy to get out of… the Gilbert Arenas situation being one of them.

His act of stupidity is neither understandable nor forgivable. Bringing weapons, loaded or unloaded, to your place of work is the dumbest and most reckless thing you can do in any setting, especially in an environment that is considered a place for family entertainment. What Arenas did should come as no surprise to anyone that covers him because he is a genuinely unpredictable guy. Yet its puzzling because there are rules in place that strictly prohibit NBA-ers from doing this, and Arenas decided to be the guy to test the new rule.

His story seemed honest, if not peculiar, at first. Arenas told local media in Washington that he brought the guns from his house in Northern Virginia because he didn’t feel right about having weapons in his house with a newborn. Understandable, if not a silly due to the location where he brought them.

This probably wasn't the best idea no that he thinks about it.

Then, as most stories with carefully hidden information, the truth came to the light, and what a truth it was. Apparently Arenas and teammate Javaris Crittendon got into a fight over some money Crittendon was owed from a bet with Arenas (side note: why do most stories of violence, in fiction or non-fiction, occur over money? Also why is this so prominent in the black community? Cue Arsenio Hall, hmmm). It got so heated that both men pulled guns on each other in a show of frustration over the money. There also has been mentioning of a fight between both men on a flight back from a road game in December. With the recent bomb attempt on a Christmas day flight in Detroit it makes both men look even more stupid than previous assumptions. Not to mention a rumor that Arenas laid his guns on a chair for Crittendon to view as a warning, which made Crittendon show Arenas what he was working with.

What’s even more ridiculous in Arenas’ assertion that the guns were part of a joke that he was playing on Crittendon; apparently Javaris missed the funniness of it all.

Look I love Gilbert Arenas, the Agent Zero persona, his fearlessness in his approach with the ball in his hand, the fact that he yells HIBACHI every time he launches a three, and his overall easy going attitude and loveable personality. However, Arenas did something that cannot be easily forgiven, or forgotten with the current state of gun violence in black communities involving young black men. Arenas set a horrible precedent by bringing weapons into his place of work, then shrugging it off like it was nothing in front of the media. While I understand an athlete’s need to feel protected, with stories like the robbery of the New York Giants’ Steve Smith floating around, there needs to be a sense of accountability when it comes to these things and Arenas showed none.

So what should happen now? David Stern has to make an example out of Arenas. I’m talking year-end, go home and blog example. Stern should suspend Arenas for the rest of the regular season for reckless stupidity and ignorant behavior. If you give Ron Artest one year for cold-cocking a beer tossing fan, then you can give Arenas the same time for having the ability to do great bodily harm to someone for his ignorance. I give Stern tons of flack for doing things that I feel are racially motivated (dress code), and watering down the game with his continuing allowance of horrendous officiating (not saying that he fixes games… no I wouldn’t go there… swipe), but this is one time where Stern needs to get on his high horse and make an example out of someone who showed blatant disregard for a serious rule. Crittendon shouldn’t walk away scot-free though, a good 30 games off would settle him down nicely.

This wasn't the look Arenas, nor the Wizards, were hoping for when he signed that huge extension.

The damage this does to Arenas, and the Wizards for that matter, is bigger than just a few million dollars both sides would lose. Arenas ruins a pretty decent reputation he had around the league as being a fun-loving guy, and probably a few million dollars in Adidas endorsements. The Wizards are now totally handcuffed in any trade talks for Arenas because who wants a 27 year-old 2-guard with bad knees, a bad contract, and a penchant for James Bond antics? The Wizards are looking at a bleak next four years with Arenas’ Godzilla sized contract eating up salary and very few draft picks. Any hope they had at getting any good value for Arenas has been shot to hell (no pun intended).

The only winner in this story is Tiger Woods. Finally there is another athlete with a penchant for stupid behavior that will push his story to the background to be forgotten sooner than later (oops, here comes the new Vanity Fair magazine). For Arenas, he is added to the long line of black athletes who decided to become a renegade and show that they were bigger than their environment and above rules. Like Plaxico Burress, Mike Vick and others he failed, miserably. He now will fall from the top of list of NBA elite players and find himself fighting hard to gain back the respect he lost for being stupid. Congrats Gilbert, welcome to the club.


The Bruins Own The City Of Champions

The Bruins win completes a great ten year run for the city of Boston.

It started in 2002 with the Patriots upset of St. Louis Rams in the Super Bowl, then in 2004 the Red Sox ended 86 years of torture by winning the World Series, the Celtics followed in 2008 with their record 17th NBA Championship and finally last night after 40 years the Boston Bruins finished off one hell of a decade with a Stanley Cup.

 

Boston is truly the city of champions, as a New Yorker that’s a painful thing to say.

 

Funny thing about it is this; more so than the C’s, Pats, or Sox titles this Bruins championship is truly a work of wonders. The Bruins 4-0 victory over the Vancouver Canucks was the culmination of a rebuilding process that was years in the making and was done without the glamour guys that make the Pats, Sox and C’s so regarded in sports.

 

Their most popular player and Conn Smythe winner was a goalie that bounced around the hockey world from places like Birmingham, Alabama to Helsinki, Finland before making his debut in the NHL at age 31 6 years ago.

 

Their captain is a 6’9” behemoth whose coaches told him that because of his height he’d be better suited to play basketball.

 

Their number one scorer is a rookie who was the biggest pest in the Stanley Cup Finals since Esa Tikkanen.

 

But it goes deeper than just the players; there were the ownership issues that drove Boston fans away from this once proud franchise. For ten plus years the Bruins became a punching bag for critics because of Jeremy Jacobs cheap ways that cost Boston its fan base and its respect.

 

Zdeno Chara's signing 5 years ago was a big step in the Bruins rebuilding process.

The Bruins were hardly a player in the Eastern Conference in the last 15 years, missing the playoffs 5 times and only making it out of the first round of the playoffs 4 times. They traded away perennial all-star and the face of the franchise Joe Thornton, they ran through coaches, they had no direction.

 

The turnaround started with Peter Chiarelli who did an amazing job in drafting and trusting the future of his team in his young players like Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and Milan Lucic. His boldest move was keeping journeyman goaltender Tim Thomas over younger and more talented net minders like Hannu Toivonen and Andrew Raycroft. Thomas though seemingly too old and too aggressive in net became the new face of the franchise as he helped guide the Bruins back to the playoffs four years ago and helped turn the Bruins into a player for the Stanley Cup.

 

Slowly Bruins fans came back and the hockey hotbed was ablaze once again as the Bruins were winning division titles and last year were one win away from making their first East Conference final in 18 years.

 

We all know the rest of that story.

 

The B’s could’ve folded and let the bitterness of last season’s historic collapse carry over into this season but it didn’t.  Thomas, Zdeno Chara (who both should win the Vezina and Norris trophies for outstanding goaltender and defenseman this year) and company guided the Bruins to another division title and home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

 

Yet once again this team found itself against the wall down 2-0 to bitter rival Montréal heading to French-Canadian territory with history past and present not on their side. The Bruins fought back to beat the Habs thanks to their physical play and Thomas’s brilliance in net and the series win catapulted them to a mini run in the playoffs that featured a vengeful sweep of the Flyers where the Bruins looked as dominant as Bobby Orr led teams and a tough seven game series win over up and coming Tampa Bay.

 

Even with their impressive postseason run the Bruins were heavy underdogs to Vancouver who looked like a team on a mission after beating nemesis Chicago in the first round of the playoffs and then breezing through the next two rounds. Vancouver’s skill and speed led to an early 2-0 advantage in the series heading back to Boston with the B’s wondering if their bruising style of play could lead to a victory in the series.  Not only did their style of play lead to victories, it wasn’t even close.

 

Even before winger Nathan Horton went down thanks to a cheap shot from defenseman Aaron Rome the Bruins were beating up Vancouver in all areas on the ice. Brad Marchand became a wrecking ball, Shawn Thornton laid out Canucks with ease, Andy McQuaid and the other tough guys made each and every Canuck pay by delivering blow after blow on the ice and on the scoreboard. The Bruins became the unstoppable offensive force on the ice because their defense led to so many scoring chances.

 

They turned Roberto Luongo psyche to dog food and even though they lost game 5 in Vancouver they went back to Boston like it was nothing and forced a game 7. Their heart, determination and force got them through the Stanley Cup Finals and it also won it for them.

 

The Bruins had lost the previous three games in Vancouver by a total score of 5-2; they had wasted three dazzling performances by Thomas in net and were not about to do it again last night.

 

He might not be as big as Tom Brady, David Ortiz or Kevin Garnett, but Tim Thomas is just popular in the northeast.

With Thomas standing on his head Marchand and Bergeron lit the lamp twice each and Chara and the defense gave Vancouver nothing to work with. It was another slaughter.

 

Once the final horn sounded the journey was complete. Helmets and sticks littered the ice, Horton returned from his concussion to celebrate with his mates, Thomas took home the Conn Smythe for playoff MVP and Chara lifted the 35 pound silver chalice over his huge body to celebrate the Bruins triumph.

 

It was a wonderful sight for guys like Chara and Thomas who probably never would’ve had the chance to be here if not for their determination. Thanks to them and the other 20 plus misfits on that bench the Bruins wiped away 40 hard luck years from “too many men on the ice,” to the Oates, Bourque ad Neely years were they came so close but never succeeded, to the doldrums of the last 15 years.

 

This was sweeter than the Pats, Sox or Celtics victories because this was a real comeback story for a once proud franchise that can now properly hold its place in the city of champions.

 

The Bruins are now the big dogs in Boston right where they should be.