May 17, 2010
(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 fans who hated them the most. Here are Montreal Canadiens bloggers Four Habs Fans, fondly recalling the Boston Bruins.)
by Four Habs Fans
Dear friends (and Leafs fans),
We come here not to merely bury the 2010 Boston Bruins in a lovely sun-kissed corner of Milan Lucic's(notes) caged enclosure, but to celebrate their exceptional life and extraordinary demise. While we remember most Bruins teams of the past as dull, cheap and usually lacking in championships and charisma, the 2010 model has left this mortal coil leaving a season's worth of memories to savour.
Always desperate for scoring, but more desperate to save noted skinflint owner Jeremy Jacobs a few dollars in the long run, the 2010 Bruins began their life in a protracted off-season salary dispute with 36-goal scorer Phil Kessel(notes). Unwilling or unable to see that their undeniable lack of scoring punch would cripple them, and hamstrung by Jacobs' cheap ways and the asinine contracts handed out to perennial 15-goal thug Lucic and defending Vezina Trophy winner and corndog eating champion of Genesee County, Michigan, Tim Thomas(notes), the Bruins traded Kessel to their division rival Toronto for a package that included what turned out to be the 2nd overall pick in this year's draft. We eagerly anticipate history repeating itself in 3-5 years when Taylor Hall demands fair market value and is promptly Joe Thortoned or Kesseled away.
As we look fondly back on the 2010 Bruins, some notable memories come to mind. The evening Boston played their traditional role of whipping boy to Montreal during the Canadiens' 100th anniversary game celebration was a moment to cherish. The New Year was rung in with the Bruins hosting the Winter Classic versus the Flyers at a jam-packed Fenway Park. The majority of Bostonians attended because they heard "Fenway" and assumed their beloved Red Sox were involved; a collective 'hell, we-ah already he-ah" resulted in the sell-out crowd of drunken Southies sticking around to see the Bruins beat the Flyers 2-1 in retro-chic uniforms designed by noted fashionista and former Bruin winger Cam "played a gay trucker opposite Jim Carrey" Neely.
The 2010 Bruins also showed the world a kinder, gentler side by meekly turning the other cheek when faced with the wrath of miscreant Matt Cooke's vicious assault on leading scorer Marc Savard(notes). Rather than evoke memories of their own ancestors by challenging an entire bench to a fight or hitting a man with his own shoe, these Bruins chose a different path, the path of least resistance. It was a path the Bruins tread only slightly less than the path Tim Thomas treads to the post-game buffet this year.
As we look back, we remember the emergence of rookie goaltender Tuukka Rask(notes), whose stellar play made Tim Thomas expendable and made Scrooge Jacobs wail and gnash his teeth over the $25 million contract Thomas signed last year. Rask led the fired up Bruins into the playoffs on a high, and helped them upset the favoured Buffalo Sabres in Round 1. A devastating injury to centre David Krejci(notes) in Round 2 put a damper on the Bruins 3 games to none lead over their old rivals for most brutish, Neanderthal franchise in NHL history, the Flyers, since Krejci knew where the opposition's net was. Surely the combination of Rask's goaltending and an airtight defence would allow those Bostonians not distracted by the resurgent Red Sox or the battle-hardened Celtics to rejoice at a conference finals birth with an insurmountable 3-0 series lead? Alas, the 2010 Bruins were a team destined for much greater things. Like one of the greatest collapses in hockey history.
Facing a wounded Flyers team with that 3-0 series lead, the 2010 Bruins demise was indeed spectacular. Rask's 5 goals allowed in game 4 gave the Flyers a lifeline, and Boston's hubris/cheapness in dealing with Kessel emerged as the unlikely catalyst for their epic collapse when the Bruins only mustered 5 goals over the final three games (two on home ice). To add insult to the already injured Bruins and their fans, their epic 2010 failure echoed Boston's most famous ever loss: the 1979 too-many-men on the ice game 7 they dropped to Guy LaFleur and the Canadiens in 1979. Fans of history and schadenfreude will look back on the 2010 Bruins with equal parts pity and hilarity.
Dear friends (and Leafs fans), today we mourn the loss of the comedic stylings of an inept Bruins team, but we celebrate the gifts they left us with. The 2010 Bruins will live on in every television graphic shown when a team is 3-0 down in a playoff series, and for that, we say goodbye but also good riddance.