Thursday, March 29, 2012

You Knew I’d Get Around to it Eventually

Hockey playoffs are just around the corner.  I’m surprised no one asked where all my Bruins posts were hiding yet.  Oh wait, no I’m not.  Most of my readers have no interest in the Bruins or hockey.  Well, sorry, you’re getting it anyway.

First of all, if you do like hockey, know anything about the Bruins or just want a good laugh, this video is a must see.

Classic, right?  Well I think it is, and I know my Aunt thinks it is as well because we’re both complete and utter dork fans who are in love with how the Bruins personnel/player’s personalities come shining through in the video.  And who doesn’t love Bears?  Especially Bears that vacuum and use a typewriter.

Watching this and receiving the email in the picture at the top of this post really got me thinking about a couple things in the past week. 

The team has struggled on and off this season.  It started out being called the Stanley Cup hangover.  Then they won every single game in November.  For those keeping track that’s thirteen straight games.  Then they won another 9 out of 12 in December.  The team literally went from worst to first in a matter of weeks.  And we’ve been pretty content to hover near the top of the Eastern Conference standings for the rest of the season.

But something was still off.  Something wasn’t really clicking, it didn’t feel the same as last season’s magic and it was like everyone, including the players, could feel it.

Last week I figured out exactly what it was - they became way too serious and they lost their fun.

During most of last season there was the infamous jacket that Andy Ference bought on eBay.  The jacket got passed around from teammate to teammate after each game to congratulate who they felt had a stellar performance.  At the Stanley Cup banner raising the jacket was presented as a final parting gift to Mark Recchi who retired after last season.  I think I cried a little as the jacket, and my favorite player, would no longer grace the locker room.  The jacket was hideous and barely fit any of the guys.  But it was inspirational, and hilarious.  It was just plain fun.

Last year The Bear and his cantankerous attitude owned Boston, he was everywhere.  He ran around making commercials that berated those who did not respect the game.  He told fans that it was never okay to date a Philly fan, even if she shaved her moustache.  He did a victory dance after every win.

He was the epitome of the attitude of Boston – yeah I’m tough but I’m too cute for anyone to worry about that…unless they poke me, then all bets are off.  The Bear was just fun.

The guys pranked each other and we heard about it all.  They became the people’s team again.  And an entire city stood behind them as they won a Cup that was a long time coming.  Despite bitten fingers and scary as hell concussions in the Finals, the team pulled together, tossed out any thoughts of dirty play, and simply, flat out, won.

They went out on that ice and worked hard but mostly they just had fun.

This year has been different.  Despite one or two funny, locally seen commercials for retail outlets, injuries plagued almost half the starting lineup by mid-season and it took an emotional toll.  New guys did and didn’t seem to gel with the style of the team’s play (I’m looking at you Corvo, get it together man!).  Refs once again seemed to have it in for us this season (Read: every season since our induction into the league, sorry but I speak the truth).

But unlike last season where we brushed it all off and just laughed about it, this year everyone seemed to take it to heart and let it in.  We stopped having fun.  Even Thomas started to look off his game. 

Then a funny thing happened.  We lost a game in such grand fashion a couple weeks ago to the struggling Tampa Bay Lightning that even I was questioning my team.  Our backup goalie Turco got the start, was pulled for Thomas (who desperately needed a night off after Rask was injured a few games before), and then Turco went back in because Timmy couldn’t get it done either.  No one seemed to know how to skate, puck handle, pass, or connect with each other.  But that’s not the funny thing.  The funny thing was that the entire team seemed to share a collective sigh.

I think someone finally poked The Bear because since then we’ve only lost 2 games.

Something in the team clicked. A light bulb went off.  The fear of not making the playoffs wasn’t it.  The chance of a defending Cup team not getting to the big dance wasn’t it.  They all got a good healthy fish-slap and started smiling again.

That’s when “The Bear & The Gang” video came out.  The Bear was back.  The fun was back.  The vibe was rekindled.  The guys were back to their old selves again.  They got on the ice and for better or worse they just remembered to have fun.

With playoff tickets going on sale tomorrow I’m brought back to last season when my Aunt and I spent a small fortune on tickets to Game 4 against Philly.  A game I just knew in my heart we were going to win. A series I just knew in my heart we were going to sweep.  A series win that we’d be in the building to experience.  It was magical.  It was inspired hockey.  It was FUN.

As we come into the last week of the regular season I’m hoping the team can keep the vibe of fun going.  That they can keep enjoying each other out there on the ice again as the season wraps up and we move into the playoffs.  I hope they keep their spark of good fun and go out there to show Boston we can do it all again.

And hey, if it’s any kind of fate, one of the Cup wins in the 70's was during the years ending in a 1 & a 2.  Not sayin’ anything, just sayin’.


Anonymous said...

I have a theory on what sent the B's into a tailspin earlier this year, but Ill keep it to myself...

You're right though. When a team is too stiff, gripping the sticks too tight, not having enough's hard to win. These videos were a great idea to lighten the mood, and I will definitely watch them when I get a chance... even though I'm a little pissed at your boys right now. Couldn't put the Caps away so the Devils could clinch last night huh? Thanks a lot! :P

Actually I'm a big Ovechkin fan so I want Washington to get in. So that means we'd have to knock Buffalo out. or Ottawa. Yeah...get rid of them!

I'm planning a playoff-themed post next week before I go back home to CT, or maybe after I get back when the matchups are set. But I'll have so much to blog about and you're probably the only one who will care what i think about the NHL anyway!

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

Well...notice how I don't have any other comments over here? I came over & saw there was 1 comment & literally thought to myself 'its gotta be Chris, no one else gives a crap about hockey.' haha

Putting the Caps away last night wouldn't have just helped your Devils, we would've clinched...ugh. B's are frustrating sometimes but that's why I love them. It wouldn't be Boston sports if they weren't just a little scary, unpredictable (read: completely predictable but fans don't talk about it...), pressured and then come through in the end...sometimes. Other times, yeah not so much.

I'd like to see the Devils get in but not the Caps. Chimera pretty much singlehandedly caused me to add another team to my list of despise - along with the Pens & Canucks - because of a cheap & intentional (potentially career ending) hit on one of our best players. But this time it was a defenseman and we're already way too thin there. Don't get me started on Corvo...but I digress or this would be another blog post.

I'm pulling for a Bruins v Coyotes final. But that's simply out of sheer selfishness because I could (read: would mortgage my house & would) go to a game out here :-)

Of course if standings were doing the predicting we're possibly getting a Rangers v Canucks final and that's when I flip over to the Sox cuz no. Just, no.

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

Oh yeah, & what's your theory? I'm not a hater, you're not a Habs/Spankee fan so I can take it ;-)

Suldog said...

I bet Insomniac is talking about Thomas snubbing Emperor Obama. As much as I'd defend his right to do so, I've thought about the effect that might have had on the team chemistry.

Anyway, they seem to be playing some decent exciting hockey again, as they did earlier in the season. Personally, I'm rooting for a Bruins - Wings final (my buddy, Buck - another blogger - is a Wings fan, and it would be fun to trade posts about it) but if you'd actually attend a Bruins - Coyotes bash, that would be worth rooting for, too.

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

Oh I know that's prob what he means Jim, that's cool I just want to hear him say it lol. The funny thing is it didn't seem to do anything to how the team stands in front of Timmy. They are in there for him way more than they are for Rask, which sucks because Rask is as good or better than Thomas sometimes. (Except Corvo who skates in a circle at the defensive blue line, misses passes, fails to check anyone, acts as if the puck might set his stick on fire, and wonders why pucks go in the net as he makes his way into the neutral zone to retape his stick mid play. Sorry <-- bitter.)

The reason I don't think it matters is that none of them are even FROM this country besides Thomas (and Rolston but he wasn't part of the team at the time). They honestly couldn't give a crap less about Timmy's political views (and most of them have said as much).

If the Coyotes & Bruins were in the Finals I'd sell Matt on eBay to get to a game. Pretty sure even a used model like him could take in around $500 ;-)

Anonymous said...

Suldog is right -- that's exactly what I was thinking. I just wanted to wait until I had five minutes away from the little one to collect my thoughts (ha. good luck!). I was a huge Thomas fan during the playoffs--there's a reason why they interviewed him after every game--and as Suldog said, there's nothing wrong with speaking your mind. It's not his political views that left a bad taste in my mouth--Curt Schiling is a staunch Republican as well. But here's the difference between Schill and Timmy:

After the Red Sox victory parade in 2004, Schilling addressed the crowd and said "Vote Bush." Then (because he's not the type to stay silent) he apologized for the timing of his statement, said it was the wrong place or something. Even if he hadn't done that, there were no more games to play. No harm done.

Thomas made his statement--which he's entitled to--but refused to answer for it. That took all the focus off the team and put it on HIM. So who had to answer for him? Chara, Ference, Lucic, etc etc...

They're professional athletes so that kind of stuff probably doesn't affect them the way it affects the fans. If you have a problem with someone, have the balls to go to his house and tell him. Don't make your teammates (none of whom are American) answer for you. That's not fair to them.

I know you're a B's fan so you support him either way. And you'd know if their W-L record was better or worse than normal in the weeks after that. But it seemed to me that the wheels started coming off after that, Thomas had more off-nights than usual, and Ottawa suddenly started breathing down their necks.

Whew, okay. That had to be my longest comment ever! This will be my last comment on the subject. (kidding!)
Please feel free to respond :)

Anonymous said...

Also, I would love to see the Coyotes in the final, but for a very different reason. if I do a playoff preview post I'll explain there.

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

I'll look forward to reading the playoff post Chris, would be interested in seeing your take on Coyotes playoff run. From my perspective it would just be nice to keep them around here another year at least. Glendale is going bankrupt but long term I think it could help the city financialy.

Anyway, not too much else to say on the Thomas/POTUS thing, we could hash it all day back & forth but it won't change either opinion either way right? Pretty happy we locked up the NE over the weekend & beat both NY teams :-) Only a few games left!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, it's old news anyhow. I never really vented about it, though I did allude to it on my blog at various times and I did worry about how you might react. Can't wait for the playoffs to start!

Btw, I'm honoring you with the KREATIV BLOGGER AWARD! Go to my blog to see your name, then follow (or ignore) The Kreativ Blogger award rules: 1. You must thank the person who has given you the award. 2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog. 3. Link the person who has nominated you for the award. 4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting. 5. Nominate 7 other Kreativ Bloggers. 6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate. 7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs to let them know they have been nominated.