A Beginnerís Approach to the Boston Bruins - by Chris Covey
October 5, 2011
Full Disclosure: I, like so many, jumped on the Bruins bandwagon during their incredible Stanley Cup run last year.
So I apologize to the purists who slogged through the mess and continued to support the Bruins. I respect what you all went through, but it was too much for me, and it would be dishonest to claim that I have been a steadfast fan.
The lockout and greedy Bruins ownership, combined with an amazing Red Sox and Patriots product, really redirected my interest away from hockey. The last Bruins player I rooted for was Ray Bourque Ė and he was playing for the cup with the Avalanche at the time.
But I believe Iím part of the majority; the people who fell in love with the Bruins last year as they won three game sevens en route to the first Stanley Cup in 39 years.
Not fell in love for the first time, like when you lock eyes with a stranger on the T.
This love was like that after seeing the girl you broke up with because her dad was sick and you couldnít handle her grieving. But a couple years later, you see her again, and you remember that while the other relationships were nice (the dominant Patriots run), or emotional roller coasters of highs youíd never felt before (2004 Red Sox) and lows that made you question it all (2011 Red Sox), this one carried a special place in your heart.
So, Iím back. Aided by an abysmal Red Sox team and NBA lockout, Iím in all the way. And Iím guessing many are in the same duck boat.
The problem is that too many of the Bruinsí Preview Features are geared toward the seasoned hockey fans -- ones that have been following for some time and are well read on recent drafts, free agents and bad contracts.
So this is a Beginnersí Bruins preview. It certainly isnít a definitive guide -- or even an extensive one. But itís a look at some players and team traits that might appeal to the average, beginner fan.
The ďElectric Young GunĒ Guy
Tyler Seguin will be a fun player to watch this year. The guy has great speed, should see a lot of time on the power play and is only 19! Thatís a fun kid to root for.
Last year was his rookie season; Seguin was the second overall pick in the 2010 draft Ė so expectations were high. But he didnít play much and just snuck onto the playoff roster.
This year he will break out. He should split time between the second and third line and should see a lot of time on the power play.
Basically, the guy is going to have a great opportunity to make a big contribution and fulfill his potential, but without the entire team resting on his performance. Low pressure and low risk, but high reward.
Iím excited to watch this kid play. He should be an electric presence, and even though he was a member of the team last year, he should really shine and be a huge contributor in the 2011-2012 season.
The ďRidiculously Rowdy Yet LoveableĒ Guy
You have to love a player who gets a tattoo after a championship Ė and it was misspelled. Come on, how can you not love that guy? He wasnít even that mad about it.
Brad Marchand had a breakout season last year that was officially his rookie season. Between the theory of the ďsophomore slumpĒ and Marchandís some-what questionable off season antics, some might be worried about how he will perform.
Iím not going to predict what his +/- will be or how many goals heíll score; Iím just saying heíll be an entertaining character on the ice Ė like if he has one of those left arm twitches while playing Vancouver Ė and off it.
The ďI like This Guy for No Rational ReasonĒ Guy
During the playoffs last year, I saw one guy that looked familiar. I didnít know him, but he reminded me of someone that I couldnít place at first. Then it hit me.
Itís a phenomenal hockey movie that has Little Richard, Mike Myers as a Canadian hockey announcer and Hank Azaria. Youíre hooked there, arenít you?
So, the guy that reminded me of Mystery, Alaska: Rich Peverley Ė and I started rooting for him. I have no idea why he reminded me of that movie.
I didnít even know what position he played. I didnít care. But he will always be tied to the film for me, and Iíll always smile when thinking of him.
Iím not specifically suggesting being a fan of Rich Peverley; heís mine. But I encourage everyone to find their guy Ė one who isnít a star Ė to root for. Itís fun, and you really feel personally invested in the team.
The Second Line Excitement
Iím coining this hockey concept. In most sports, the starting line-up gets all the glory and recognition. But in hockey, all of the lines play. While the first line is elite and probably the best rounded, this second line will be electric, and has less pressure to be a jack of all trades line.
Patrice Bergeron is young, lightning quick, and an elite center in the making. Rich Peverley is super speedy as well, not to mention being my guy. Tyler Seguin will also probably get some minutes as a wing in this line. And Brad Marchand Ė enough said there.
This will be a fast and extremely fun line to be a fan of. Iím stoked to watch them fly down the ice and press the issue on offense and the power play.
Now, the important questions:
Will they repeat? Will the Bruins be out of shape or suffer massive injuries due to the shortened off season? Will there be any position controversies?
I have no idea. Iím still learning about this team, and after Iíve spent the last six months dissecting every bit of the Red Sox and naively hoping that the NBA can compromise and have a season, itís refreshing to be going into a season still learning about the team.
This organization, with their hard salary cap, has something that the Red Sox couldnít buy, and it ultimately makes the Bruins a stronger team, especially to root for.
They are a team. Boston brought back most of their players from last year, keeping the nucleus intact and the unity strong.
Itís going to be a good season, and I canít wait.
You can follow Chris Covey on Twitter at @BostonC_Covey. He can also be reached for questions and comments via email at BostonCCovey@gmail.com.
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