The Boston Bruins Are Feeling The Heat As The Habs Come To Town

Here’s what they’re saying in Boston about tonight’s game, and mostly about the way Montreal has manhandled the Bruins this year. I don’t know about you, but it sounds like the Bruins are slightly paranoid.
Montreal not only must win tonight, but it’s entirely possible they could meet the Bruins in the first round. So it’s big.
This story has been copied and pasted from the Patriot Ledger. I know it’s slightly lazy on my part, but it shows how they’re thinking in Boston, so I decided to cheat. Anyway, I have to go to work soon, so this works well.
The story’s called, “Bruins Want To Be Themselves Against Montreal.”
“They’ve Played Into The Hands Of Montreal In Six Losses”

WILMINGTON —
They haven’t seen these guys for two months, but the Bruins are already sick of them.Sick of hearing about how the Montreal Canadiens have scored the most goals in the NHL. Sick of hearing that Montreal’s power play is the best in the league – at home, on the road, overall. Sick of hearing that Montreal has a chance to finish first in the Eastern Conference.And very, very sick of answering questions about the Canadiens beating them all six times they’ve played this season – often easily – and in nine straight meetings overall.“It’s not something we’re looking too much into,” defenseman Dennis Wideman told a couple of reporters who’d asked why Montreal has been so dominant. “That’s your job.”

Boston’s task, in a home-and-home series with the Habs that starts Thursday night at TD Banknorth Garden (the rematch is Saturday night at Bell Centre), is to somehow silence Montreal’s high-risk, quick-strike offense. Points are essential to the seventh-place Bruins’ playoff hopes, and with only nine games left in the regular season, this is no time to be swept.

“We’re going to approach this series just like we did the New York Rangers series a couple of weeks ago – like it’s a two-game playoff,” said veteran center Glen Metropolit.

The Bruins, who’d dropped three of four before that Jan. 19-20 home-and-home with New York, would gladly take a similar result: They won by shootout in Boston, 4-3, then scored a 3-1 victory at Madison Square Garden.

Things have changed in the last month, though: Three- and four-goal games have been rare for Boston, which has scored two or fewer in eight of the last nine games. The Bruins also haven’t had the services of their captain, defenseman Zdeno Chara, for the last five games – one win, two losses, and two defeats in extra time.

Chara, sidelined by an undefined “upper torso” injury, practiced Wednesday without a red “no-contact” jersey. Asked if he could do everything he’d need to do in a game, Chara answered “Yup.” Asked if he’ll return Thursday night, he said “Don’t know. I can’t tell you today.” Coach Claude Julien said a decision on Chara’s availability would be made Thursday morning.

The B’s would obviously love to have Chara back, but the fact that he has so far been unable to help the B’s beat the Habs this year makes it just as clear that one player probably won’t make that much difference.

No, the Bruins say their best chance to win is by playing as they have most of the non-Canadiens games to date.

“Yeah, they’re a great team, and they’ve got a lot of skill and speed,” Wideman said, “but we haven’t even come close to playing as well as we can against them.

“Why? I don’t know.”

Metropolit thinks the Bruins have made it too easy for Montreal to outplay, and usually outscore them early in each game (Boston hasn’t held a single lead), and made it even harder on themselves by losing their composure.

“We start getting frustrated, and kind of try to bully them around,” Metropolit said. “So they keep going on the power play, and sticking goals in. In some of the games, we got kind of carried away.”

Defenseman Andrew Ference agreed.

“There’s a balance between playing with energy, and running around stupid,” Ference said. “If you run around and take a bunch of penalties, sure, you might be winning the physical battles, but when you’re sitting in the box, you’ve played right into their hands.”

The same goes for trying to beat Montreal at its own wide-open game.

“Every time we’ve tried to play run and gun with them, we’ve ended up on the short end of it,” said Julien, citing a 7-4 loss on Nov. 17 as an example. (The B’s matched Montreal goal-for-goal until it was 3-3, then allowed three straight.) “We were able to score some goals on them, but who scored more?”

It’s not that Julien doesn’t want Boston to score four goals Thursday night. He just wants the B’s to do that by playing Bruins hockey, not Habs hockey.

“Our players will know what they have to do,” the coach said. “Hopefully, if we execute it well, we’ll have the results we want.”

Mike Loftus may be reached at mloftus@ledger.com.

4 thoughts on “The Boston Bruins Are Feeling The Heat As The Habs Come To Town”

  1. DK,

    I like your what? interludes? sidebars? vignettes? not that I enjoyed this tale of woe & misery, although there are many who do take pleasure in others’ misfortune – this propensity is called Schadenfreude, a German word composed of Schaden/harm and Freude/joy. Why? Yes, a rhetorical question, but clearly life does inflict more than enough grief on us all without us also piling it on which we do, repeatedly and gratuitously …. then enjoying it??. And I make an important distinction between doing so unkowingly vs knowingly which distinction is encoded in our laws. Yup, shit does happen and hockey is not immune to this universal truth, cf. ex-Hab R. Zednik’s recent near brush with death, as well, the Wings V. Konstantinov’s paralysis. Also, it seems to me that much of the harm we do is directed at ourselves. Again, this penchant is illustrated by an ex-Hab: John Kordik, a good decent young man whose need/desire to be a part of the NHL overwhelmed his ability to see and appreciate all the other good things life had to offer him. Even now a part of me grieves for him (for his parents, too) at this useless loss of life and waste of youth.

    (I’m gonna post this & return: biz elsewhere, but this is the 3 time I’ve re-done this – it simply disappears!)

  2. (Damn! This was supposed to be posted in the Tony Demers story!! Sorry, but DK, my effin system simply fucks up sx!!)

    But there is a weak as well as a strong Schadenfreude the former of which I think is a useful way to characterize the delight a fan takes in the misfortunes of his opponents …. heheh, suffer Leafs! Suffer! Furthermore I suggest that this dynamic is essential to all competitive activity. It is the flip side of another aspect of our `human’ nature which the Buddhist(Sanskrit) term `mudita’ which means to take great joy & pleasure in another’s accomplishments & the joy they take in them & in life. The best I can think of in English are gloating/vicarious pleasure which do not, I think, really express the nature of these defining emotions.

    (will return)

  3. And I’m sure that I speak for the vast majority of fans that we wish for no greater harm to our opponents other than that of defeat on the playing field/arena which is the way it should be. After all, organized sport enables us to embrace our irrational selves and to indulge in our otherwise less than noble impulses in a way that is positive, that impels people to excel, that increases our appreciation of beauty and the pleasure we take in striving and occasionally accomplishing good things if not great ones, that enhances life. Is this something I have known all along? Naw. Not even close. At least not consciously. It is only over time, with the accumulation of experience (hehehe, all those things that happen/have happened I could have done just fine without) accompanied by the necessary critical reflection that I have (like so many others) begun to become at least partially aware of the value of being a fan – it connects us in a myriad of ways to self and others.

    So, when I think about a Tony Demers or a John Kordik I remind myself that they were young men, in effect boys who, for whatever reasons, failed, not so much at playing their sport (after all they did get there, eh?) as at living their lives – they didn’t give themselves a chance. Yes, all of us fail at this in varying degrees and ways, but for them it was too soon too dramatic. And, in a sense, this is the darkest tip of the iceberg. An enormous number of young men do not succeed at realizing their (culturally driven) dreams of success in pro-sport which rate of attrition underlies and fuels the pleasure we as fans derive from their efforts, and this is something that has a strong influence on how I react to/judge these young men (& young people in general) when life slams them into the boards, that is, I do unto them what i do unto myself: I try to understand and change my behaviour accordingly – something that is neither evident nor easy.

  4. DK,

    (Perhaps U can move the above 3 cs into the Demers entry where they belong?)

    The Boston Bruins. Bah, humbug! Ever since they pissed on Bobby Orr they haven’t played decent hockey. And I’m including the playoffs series when Thelan broke Richer’s (he was playing great hockey & we were clearly dominating the series at that point … as was the case with Carolina when Koivu was cheap-shotted) hand with a two-hander that went, of course, unpunished. Bunch of bums and wankers. Okay, I’m speaking more of the fans & management than of the players who have always been better than the former deserve – there have been some great players in Boston in the modern era in additon to Orr, Bucyk, Espo/Ratelle, O’Reilly, Cheevers, Hodge/Cashman, Park/Bourque & co. `Course, only in Boston would U get a player nicknamed `The Rat’ aka Kenny Linseman. But, bottom line, the Bruins are hockey punks, nothing but neveragaingonna-bes. Why? Because in Boston they can’t drive worth a damn, they can’t speak English worth a damn & they can’t play hockey worth a damn. I hope we inflict another whalloping on them – their heads are so woolly and thick they don’t understand anything else.

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