Friday, June 17, 2011

Tough tits for the haters

You don't have to like the Boston Bruins, but if you can't respect them, your credentials as a hockey fan are suspect.
Contrary to popular belief among their detractors, the Bruins didn't bully their way to the Stanley Cup championship. They won it old-school style, with heart, grit and a tireless work ethic. Their best players were their best players, which certainly wasn't the case with the Canucks, but the Bruins also got significant contributions from their secondary players. Unheralded journeymen like Rich Peverly, Chris Kelly, Andrew Ference, Dennis Seidenberg and Johnny Boychuk played some of the most inspired hockey of their otherwise ordinary careers, rookies Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin acquitted themselves with distinction in their first Stanley Cup test, and the timely efforts of the supporting cast spared the likes of Milan Lucic, David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara from having to do all the heavy lifting, which could have burned the Bruins out during or even before during the Cup final. And how can you not like and respect Tim Thomas, who didn't play in his first NHL game until he was 28 - a full decade after being a ninth round afterthought in his draft year - and now has a Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe Trophy to go with the Vezina Trophy he won in 2009.
There's nothing fancy about the Bruins, but that's a huge part of their everyman appeal. Any group that takes collective committment and sacrifice to a level that more talented teams failed to achieve and comes away with a championship is worthy of respect, whether you like them or not.

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