By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Let me make this clear: If I could “Eternal Sunshine” one moment from my life, Game 7 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final against the Blues would probably crack the top five. Top three, maybe. It was a three-hour assault to body, mind, and soul. I’m pretty sure I was legally dead for a few minutes. Nobody is trying to tell you otherwise.
But if you’re still throwing yourself an “I’m not over it! I can’t watch!” pity party as the Bruins embark on the clean slate of a new season, you’re officially just looking for attention and I’m rolling my eyes at you.
I’m not sure if we’ve all just become so spoiled by this unparalleled run of winning in New England (quick shout out to Tom and Bill for changing things forever), but I want to make sure that we’re talking about the Bruins with those attention-seeking “I can’t look! The horror!” takes. The Bruins. I’m 27 years old and this team has ended our city’s hockey season in nothing but soul-crushing disappointment every damn year with the exception of one magical spring on the back of Tim Thomas in 2011.
You could be 17, 27, or 47 and you’re saying the same thing. And even those who were alive and remember ’72 and ’70 have more horror stories to share than they do parade tips. There’s a good chance that they remember the horrors — too-many-men (and a billion other losses to the the Canadiens), running into the Oilers, blowing two different 3-0 leads in 2010, and running into the Blackhawks — more vividly than the parades, too. I know I do.
In a city that’s become defined by winning championships — and at a clip that makes Buffalo so angry its lakes summon October snow storms — the Bruins have always stood as the last bastion of old fashioned Boston misery.
2019 was just another kick to the head. But enough to make you stop watching? Please.
Like El-P said, “You don’t get it, I’m dirt, mother-[Tuukka], I can’t be crushed.”
If you lived through replacing Sergei Gonchar, Michael Nylander, Brian Rolston, and Mike Knuble with Brian Leetch, Alexei Zhamnov, Shawn McEachern, and Tom Fitzgerald after the league stole an entire year away from you, you can watch and invest yourself in this year’s team. If you returned to the Garden after Scott Walker broke your heart in a 2009 that made you truly believe (and for the first time in almost 20 years), you’ll squeeze back into the new all-black seats this year. If you found yourself committed for more than 17 seconds to the 2013-14 team after what happened on Garden ice in Game 6 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final, you’ll find a way to make peace with the past and enjoy the B’s quest for redemption this time around.
After all, that’s part of the beauty in being a Bruins fan.
While everybody else was enjoying their return to glory or long-awaited run of absolute dominance, Boston’s diehards of the Black and Gold variety were the last to join in on the 21st century fun. It took nine years, but it may as well been a thousand. But the wait never stopped you from wanting — practically pleading — for another chance to be rewarded for your faith. There’s just always something different about being a Bruins-first fan. And I know they’re above quitting after a loss.
No matter the sting.
And investing yourself in this year’s team could very well be the antidote to that sting.
The Bruins are entering this year with 21 skaters from last year’s postseason roster. It’s a staggeringly high number, yes, but it’s a group with revenge and redemption on their mind. It’s led by a coaching staff that’s consistently managed to keep the team’s focus where it needs to be and improved on their results from the year before — the Bruins went from round one to round two, and then round two to the Stanley Cup Final last year — in Cassidy’s three seasons in Boston. And they’re led on the ice by an accomplished group of leaders who undoubtedly have heard that their time as a Cup threat has been questioned.
They also have a new young core — led by David Pastrnak and Jake DeBrusk up front and Brandon Carlo and Charlie McAvoy on the backend — that’s developed and got their harshest on-job lesson in what it takes to win hockey’s most coveted prize.
They’re not even close to quitting, and it was their blood, sweat, tears left on the ice after the ultimate defeat.
“We can’t change the past,” McAvoy admitted. “But we can control the future.”
It’d be a shame if you were too busy feeling sorry for yourself to emotionally invest in what that future could bring to you.