Friday, June 19, 2009
Have To Take The Smiles Where You Can Find Them
Yes, their exit from the playoffs was too early. They didn't play the way they should have in the series against the Canes. Scott Walker, who is going to have a HUGE bullseye on him in just a few months, scored a garbage goal that nonetheless won the game.
What can't be taken from the team is their masterful performance during the regular season. The flatout domination, the superb teamwork, the amazing work ethic from all involved...it was a great season to watch.
Now this doesn't mean that we (as fans) or they (as players) are happy with what happened (or didn't happen, in this case). However, to fail to recognize their efforts would be ridonkulous.
Julien once again showed why he is so good at getting a group of grown men to get together and compliment each other's individual skill sets. He rarely looked angry at his players, often displaying a Zen-like calm (and not the creepy kind like Robbie Ftorek) that let his boys know that although they had messed up, he still believed in them as players.
Chara showed why he is the most dominant force in the league. Game in and game out, he played hard, hard, HARD and made teams nervous to play against him. Yes, his fighting has tailed off. This is a result of his emergence as a leader, as a force on the power play. He no longer has to scrap just to get ice time, as he did in his early days with the Isles and then with the Senators. He has matured into an on-ice leader that bleeds for his team.
And Timmy Fuckin' Thomas. Let me just say that I'm glad that he got rid of that jacked up helmet that he wore for a few years (even Arturs Irbe thought that thing was silly). His play this year, his competiveness, and his ability to let the good AND bad just roll of his shoulders so he could just play every game like it was the most important game of his career...that's what sets him apart from the rest.
As I said, another early exit from the playoffs is not what this team wanted. Regardless of this is the fact that these guys played absolutely crazy hockey this year. Yes, I would take a season filled with ups and downs but an overall Cup victory over this one...but I have never seen the Bruins play the way they did this year.
Summer is just underway, but they will be at training camp in just three short months. I will get to come home, fire up the DVR, and hear Jack and Brick make goofy-ass statements ("double-barrel offense," "compete level," etc.) before I know it. That's comforting.
No, they didn't win the holiest of holies. But they did play some great freaking hockey.
And that, friends, is something to smile upon.