May 31, 2011

Stanley Cup Finals

Pictured: the last time the Boston Bruins were in the Stanley Cup Finals

There is no more feeling nervous and pre-upset. It's no longer bad luck to be hopeful. This is the Stanley Cup Finals. We're too close to winning it all to be afraid of losing. This is one of the best experiences of my life and it's nothing but fun.

Most people don't think the Bruins are all that close to the Stanley Cup. Standing in their way is the Vancouver Canucks, the best team in the league this year and numerically the best team I've ever seen. Everybody thinks they're going to win, including the Canucks themelves. The feeling in Vancouver seems to be one of jubilance and confidence.

This is an advantage for the Bruins. The feeling in Boston before this series was one of pure terror. Right now? Feistiness. We know we're the underdogs. Losing to the Canucks won't be letting us down once again-- it's expected. Instead of being terrified of the worst, we've finally accepted it. Oddly enough, this means we have more faith in the Bruins. It's not about being perfect, it's about fighting harder. They can do that. Boston is made to fight (the first one).

However, it's not the underdog story everyone is making it out to be. The Bruins have actually been better in the playoffs so far. We've scored more goals, let in fewer, and Timmy has been better than Roberto "Italian Stallion" Luongo. As usual, special teams have been our weakness. The Canucks have been slightly better at killing penalties and much, much better at scoring powerplay goals.

I actually believe this can be another advantage for the Bruins. As long as we don't let Brad Marchand off his leash, there will be fewer penalties called in the Finals. While we've been slightly better than the Canucks overall, we've been vastly better at even strength in the playoffs. Powerplay goals accounted for 1/3 of their total scoring and less than 1/10 of ours. To put that another way, at even strength, the Canucks scored 1.83 goals/game, and we scored 2.94.

Vancouver may have been the top offensive team in the regular season, but they're 8th in the playoffs and have only been +3 through 18 games (not counting empty net goals). The Bruins have been +11. To put that in perspective, if these teams had been +1 in every win and -1 in every loss, they would be +6. The Canucks have actually been subpar for making it this far in the postseason.

This is the Stanley Cup Finals-- nothing is certain. The more certain you are, the less you know. Canucks fans seem very certain. I hope they don't know what the Bruins capable of.

May 27, 2011

It All Comes Down to This

Tonight the Bruins will play their 100th game this season. One game separates them from summer vacation and the opportunity to play for the most prized trophy in all of sports. The Stanley Cup. Sixty minutes of what is sure to be a grueling, physical battle. They will leave it all on the line tonight. When looking back at this series between the Bruins and Lightning, its been all about who can out-coach who, questionable calls by the officials and most of the games were won by special teams; or lack thereof. But tonight, the winner of this game will be the team who has the most heart.

These players have grown up their entire lives dreaming of this opportunity. This is why they play. The Bruins have proven to the league, the fans and most importantly themselves, that they are one of the top three teams in NHL. They need to stop overthinking their mistakes, stop second guessing themselves and just go out there and win 60 minutes of hockey. They're in this position for a reason. Sure they have league recognized talent; Vezina finalist Timmy in net, and Norris finalist Chara on defense. But it goes even further than techincal skill. They have the grit and tenacity. Lets be honest, they're a feisty bunch of assholes. The pieces are all in place and they're in control of their destiny. They can do it. I truly believe they can. Will they? We'll see.

All I know, is that words will not be able to describe the feeling. if the Bruins win tonight's game. If they lose, well...I know the drill. I'll retreat back home and ignore all aspects of hockey until maybe the draft or even training camp. I won't watch the Finals. But..if they win? Well, thats uncharted territory for me. I do know there will be alot of tears and a lot of joy. It's almost comical to me how if they win I'll cry my eyes out, and if they lose I'll be despondent, yes, but I won't let my emotions get the best of me.

I hope I'm crying tonight.

May 21, 2011

The Five Stages of Being a Bruins Fan

Denial: My internal monologue during the third period went something like this: "This isn't happening. They can still win the game. Blowing a 3-0 lead is nothing new, but this is a different team. They'll come back."

Anger: Even other Bruins fans were trying to calm me down after the game and I may have broken a finger punching a picture I drew of Tomas Kaberle's face.

Bargaining: I already offered my soul for a Stanley Cup during game 4 in Montreal, but I reminded whoever it is that's taking me up on that offer that winning this game would help.


Acceptance: I will not reach this stage until I drink enough $30 hotel white zinfandel to lose consciousness. Perhaps the saddest prospect of all.

Since I got back to our hotel room in Tampa, I've been alternating between anger and depression. I suspect this will continue until game 5.

As depressed/angry/drunk as I am, I don't believe we'll lose this series just because of this game. I hope the Bruins feel the same way.