Tag Archives: patrice bergeron

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.


The Canucks And Bruins Bring It For Game 1

Raffi Torres celebrates after netting the winner for Vancouver in an incredible game 1.

Now that’s the way to start a Championship series. If you wondered just how much the Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins wanted the Stanley Cup then last night’s super competitive game 1 provided one hell of an answer.

 

Both teams and cities are absolutely starving for a cup. Last night’s classic was a match of physicality, defense and a showcase of goaltending as Tim Thomas and Roberto Luongo turned in legendary performances.

 

At every turn Thomas and Luongo stonewalled every attempt from Henrik and Daniel Sedin, Mark Recchi, Nathan Horton, Ryan Kesler and any other player that was knocking on opportunities door and were turned away. It’s not really like they had a choice to deal with so many chances early on however. In the first two periods there were 12 power plays and two five on threes, which had each goaltender on their toes from the get go.

 

They can thank some over aggression for that.

 

For all of the clean hitting and great play along the boards there was a lot of extra-curricular activities and Alex Burrows and Patrice Bergeron were knee deep in it at the end of the first period and it carried over into the second as well. Those penalties as well as some others including poor high stick minors against Daniel Sedin and Chris Kelly put both goaltenders at a disadvantage early. Fortunately for each side Thomas and Luongo were on top of their game and their defensive lines helped out to keep the game scoreless.

 

Once the game carried into the period it turned into a free-flowing match of skill and the rough stuff faded away as game took control of itself. The third period was filled with uninterrupted action, scoring chances and great saves. You couldn’t look away from the tube or you’d feel like you were going to miss something important even though the score was still 0-0. You were proven right when Thomas stopped Jannik Hansen’s breakaway and kept the puck over the goal line as he was sliding into the net and his momentum almost carried the puck in.

 

(Side note: with five minutes to go I was hoping for overtime. This was on of those playoff games that you didn’t want to see end before it should’ve. This was worthy of another 20 or 40 minutes and it would’ve added to how absolutely amazing the game was and how it kept you on the edge of your seat for all two and a half hours that it was on the air.)

Tim Thomas was excellent in net frustrating Daniel Sedin and the Canucks all night.

 

With less than 30 seconds left after a missed opportunity by David Krejci the Vancouver defense cleared the puck all the way to the opposing blue line when Kesler made a great play to dodge Zdeno Chara, play the puck off of the boards, stay on side (or not depending on you view) throw it across to Hansen who then found a streaking Raffi Torres who tipped the puck past Thomas for the only goal of the game.

 

It was heartbreaking for Boston, but Thomas had no chance to stop it. It was just a great play by Kesler and it caught the Boston defense by surprise.

 

1-0 Vancouver, both the game and the series.

How should Boston feel after game 1? Their power play looked great, the penalty kill was phenomenal and they kept the two hottest lines on the planet scoreless… and still lost.

 

There are no such things as moral victories but Claude Julien has something to build on. The Bruins out played the Canucks by far and should’ve won the game if anyone could’ve gotten the puck by Luongo. If this is the way that the series is going to go then Boston should be able to win it provided if there offense can get some added pressure around the net and rattle the Vancouver defense.

 

For Vancouver you have to say that they got lucky in this one. Their offense had chances early on in the first two minutes and could’ve put Boston to sleep early on but they couldn’t capitalize. The Sedin Twins have to have a better game two and their offense needs to match their defensive intensity throughout the rest of the series if the Canucks want to raise the Stanley Cup.

 

One thing that I hope doesn’t change is the stellar goaltending of game 1. Thomas and Luongo looked like MVP’s after the first 60 minutes of the series and were certainly game 1’s number 1 stars. I don’t care how many goals aren’t scored in this series, as long as they play like this then it wont matter because each game will be entertaining as hell.

 

We have to wait until Saturday night for game 2 to commence. It’s a weird two-day layoff that should give each team time to heal after a rough first game, and the Bruins time to stew over the late goal, and Burrows biting incident.

 

If game 1 is a preview of how this series will play out then there’s no question that we have a classic on our hands. One city that hasn’t raised the cup in 40 years and another that hasn’t raised it at all. Both teams playing like it and not giving an inch. You don’t want to miss any of this.


World, Tyler Seguin. Tyler Seguin, World.

Tyler Seguin made his presence known in game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Meet Tyler Seguin. He was the second pick in the 2010 NHL Draft. He was thoroughly considered to be the possible number one overall pick ahead of Edmonton Oiler standout Taylor Hall. He was the main compensation in a trade that occurred with the Toronto Maple Leafs for Phil Kessel.

His first season was one filled with the pains that occur for every young player that enters professional sports. He struggled down along the boards and seemed to fear more physical competition. Critics labeled him cocky and their criticism was warranted as Seguin registered only one point in his last 23. His lack of physicality and experience and obvious youth concerns were reasons as to why the Bruins sat him down throughout the first two rounds of the playoffs. The last thing they needed was a young kid who wasn’t ready to contribute to a team that was making a run at the Stanley Cup.

Once the postseason started Boston’s offense struggled, mightily. In their series win versus Montreal, Boston went 0-28 on the power play. Yes that’s 0-28.  Even in their beat down of Philadelphia in round two, the power play was still brutal.

Then came a break both for Seguin and funny enough for the Bruins. Patrice Bergeron, who suffered a concussion versus the Flyers, was scratched for the first two games of this series. It was a huge loss because Bergeron was leading the B’s in scoring and was the main set up guy for players like Nathan Horton and Michael Ryder.

Enter Seguin who hadn’t played since the last game of the regular season, but came prepared with a fully-grown beard as if he was a ten-year vet rather than a 19-year-old kid. In a game 1 beat down at the hands of Tampa Bay, Seguin was the lone bright spot with two points including his first career playoff goal. He had the most energy of any Bruin on the ice and seemed unfazed by the moment.

Good for him, because game 2 was all about him.

With 4 points in game 2, Seguin has a reason to feel himself.

After Tampa took a 2-1 lead into the second period, Seguin went to work and showed all of us why he has a reason to be as cocky as scouts say he is. 48 seconds into the period Seguin beat Dwayne Roloson with a beautiful backhanded breakaway to tie the score and begin a huge period for the B’s.

After David Krejci put the Bruins up 3-2 Seguin took a set up from Horton and blasted past Roloson to put Boston up by 2. Then Seguin helped the power play finally get going by setting up Ryder for a 5-3 lead and then again to put Boston up 6-3.

To summarize: 5 goals for Boston, 4 points for Seguin and too big a hole for Tampa to climb out of. As Fabolous would say “NIIIIIIICCCEE!” Seguin showed poise, confidence and a sense of toughness the Boston was surely missing from their game 1 defeat. He was the best player on the ice in this game and had the best playoff performance thus far of any skater. Seguin’s breakout is huge for him as a player and for the Bruins who needed another scorer with Bergeron down and Milan Lucic struggling without any sign of relief.

For his efforts Seguin is now penciled in for game 3 in Tampa and possible for the rest of the series as Bergeron tries to come back from his concussion, and because the kid is a beast.

The same critics who said he was too cocky for his own good are now wondering where the hell Seguin has been and why hasn’t Boston been utilizing him? He’s being compared to Steven Stamkos, who coincidentally is Tampa’s number one goal scorer. They’re saying Seguin skates like Steve Yzerman and has a chance to be great player in the league in the near future, maybe better than Hall.

It’s funny because a week ago everyone had forgot about Seguin and didn’t know where he was.

Now you know, and you’ll be seeing more of him now and in the future.