Eulogy: Remembering the 2016-17 Boston Bruins

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(Ed. Note: As the Stanley Cup Playoffs continue, we’re bound to lose some friends along the journey. We’ve asked for these losers, gone but not forgotten, to be eulogized by the people who knew the teams best: The bloggers and fans who hated them the most. Here is Nathan Caddell, a Vancouver Canucks fan and journalist, fondly recalling the 2016-17 Boston Bruins.)

By Nathan Caddell

Let’s go back to 2011, shall we?

Back to biting, back to Rolling in the Deep.

Oof.

That still gives the chills, doesn’t it?

I was born and raised in Vancouver, and after cheering most of my life for two Swedes, I moved to Ottawa. For the past two years, I’ve been unable to resist the charms of a new, highly evolved Swede.

If you can’t beat ‘em…start cheering for another team and hope that they do the job, you know?

In truth, this doesn’t feel as good as I imagined it would.

These Bruins aren’t your older brother’s Bruins. Sure, this team has remnants of that classic Boston Sports Team Grit™ — which no other Boston team has actually had since Pedro was throwing heat and old men. But it’s not the good kind.

You were scared of those 2011 and 2013 teams. They were big and fast. They had actual defensemen.

This team gave 28 playoff minutes per night to Zdeno Chara’s corpse.

It’s kind of sad watching him mill around the ice like a massive zombie. You wish he‘d pulled a Nick Lidstrom a couple years ago instead of sticking around as a constant reminder that we’re all slowly marching towards our impending death.

Speaking of which, John Michael Liles already having a son in the league logging bottom pair minutes for the Bruins is crazy. Kid doesn’t seem to have his old man’s offensive touch with only seven points all told, but maybe he’ll get there.

And before we start on the whole “Torey Krug and Brandon Carlo were injured!” train; let’s remember that Adam McQuaid (also injured, I know, consider it a positive thing) was fourth on this team in ice time for defensemen during the regular season.

McQuaid, in the NHL solely for his ability to get pucks off the glass and out (MAYBE HE CAN TEACH THE REST OF THE TEAM?), has cast some sort of spell on Bruins fans. That’s the only way to explain headlines like this.

I feel sorry for those fans. I really do. They’ve got to be the same ones that cared enough to figure out the difference between Millers Colin and Kevan, beyond the fact that one of their lives was ruined by their parents’ refusal to spell Kevin the normal way.

And while the defense was a complete train wreck all season, the team’s ability to constantly churn out “scrappy” forwards to play on the bottom six is unprecedented.

Once in awhile they turn out to be Olympians. More often, they turn out to be players like Sean Schaller and Tim Kuraly, guys who, despite their insistence on being taken seriously, reek of mediocrity.

And yeah, I switched their first names, just to see if anyone would notice. Don’t lie, you didn’t.

Schaller earned a reputation in the series for being hard-nosed and feisty, by doing tough guy things like trying to intimidate a guy who barely flinched after getting his finger chopped off.


As for Kuraly, it seems like he’s already in a rift with his new coach, going so far as attempting to bludgeon him with the puck. That’s the only possible way to explain this, right?

Riley Nash is fun to have in the league because when someone drafts R. Nash in your hockey pool you can be that asshole who says “Riley Nash??? On Boston??? LOLOLOLOL.”

Dude managed to let Bobby Ryan get the best of him.

Even Kevin Lowe didn’t let that happen.

Then there’s the guys that shouldn’t be in the bottom six given what they’re making, but their current skill levels necessitate it.

Say what you will about Loui Eriksson’s season, but signing a guy a year older than him who can’t play the style of hockey that made him effective for the same amount of money per year does not constitute progress.

Neither does signing Matt Beleskey for two more years than goals scored this season.

The front office sure has some moves they can’t make in the offseason.

You ever see that classic film, Bruce Cassidy and the Impending Firing? Or is this one of those cases where, in the summer, we get news that the Bruins are removing the interim tag? Boy, that would be a shrewd decision.

Fire literally the only guy your biggest rival can hire and then double down on his former understudy, who’s never advanced out of the second round as a head coach at a level that wasn’t the ECHL.

From what we’ve seen in Cassidy, he hasn’t been able to get his team to do the two basic things you learn in the lower levels of every sport: One, don’t let the other team do the classic “throw it up to the cherry picker move.” Two, don’t retaliate.

But as boring as the Bruins are whenever the first line is off the ice, I will admit that watching this team can be fun if you do it on NESN. That way you get to laugh at the blatant homerism on display, as well as the ridiculous fashion in which Jack Edwards pronounces “Pastrnak,” as if he’s either an STD or a Water Pokémon.

Of course any discussion of the Boston Bruins is incomplete without talking about the epitome of the anti-hero, He Who Must Always Maim.

The guy is perfect for this age of shows and films that revere morally conflicted protagonists. Just when you start to admire his work for Team Canada and his silencing of Internet trolls, he goes and does another shadyslimy thing 

It might not be so bad if he owned up to it. Or, at the very least, wasn’t a complete hypocrite. As far as metaphors go, what’s this? The Patriots calling another team morally bankrupt? Ben Affleck telling Mark Wahlberg that the latter’s obsession with Southie patriotism “feels a little forced?”

And at what point here is Patrice Bergeron guilty by association?

Also, is it too early to call David Krejci injury prone? The guy’s only played three playoff games in the last three years.

Actually, it’s not the first time a Bruin wasn’t able to handle a clean hit in the playoffs.

It’s a strange feeling. I distinctly remember the Bruins being good. But it’s starting to feel like awhile ago now.

The other night, Jimmy Fallon and Rachel Dratch came back on Saturday Night Live to reprise their roles as scummy Bostonians who say “you ahhhhh,” something I remember being funny back in the day.

It kinda sucked.

Nathan Caddell is a freelance journalist who has worked for a variety of publications including iPolitics.ca, the Georgia Straight, the Vancouver Courier andCapital News Online. Born and raised in Vancouver.

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