Michael J Fox once narrated the best hockey highlight video ever produced (by Lechmere of all companies) in 1990. Believe it or not, Mike Milbury was our coach back then and many old timers like Neely, Bourque and yes, Andy Brickley roamed the ice for our black and gold boys. In that video, there's a great game around thanksgiving where the Bruins came together as a team and began to go on a run that would lead them to the #1 overall seed, and eventually the runner up in the Cup finals. That game was a 3-2 win over Montreal with some of the most exciting goals i can recall in the regular season. Fuck Roy. Reach for the Stars ruled.
Last night's game had a turning point feel. I sat at lunch today with my Father, trying to guage his growing enthusiasm for the team he loves, but has been so detached from since those days when i was a kid. He brought it up before i could. "Boy, we sure didn't need any help finding the net last night!", he remarked. Darn right. As we talked about the game and its progression i found myself looking to the 3rd goal as really being the turning point. For 35 minutes, the Bruins didn't look ANY different than the Bruins of these last 4 weeks. We were up, but despite a 2-1 advantage in shots, we only held a one goal lead and were actually being run around our own end frequently giving a constant feeling of another shoe, waiting to drop on our defense.
Then something happened. It may have been Kobasew's hit and ensuing fight, it may have been the play of that 3rd and fourth lines (both of whom were the best lines on the ice all game) and it may have been nothing. We may have just awoken from a mid-season slumber, but somehow, Byron Bitz's slam home for a 3-1 lead triggered the most dominant 20+ minutes of hockey this Bruins team has played in a long time. Early on, shots would get through and no one would be there for the rebound. Passes would be made, but they'd be out of reach or bouncing (like a bad high school game). Finally...it clicked. The rebounds were ours, and there were a shit-ton of them. The hits were everywhere and Timmy just did what he always does.
I really believe there was something different in the water bottles after the second period. That was a statement period. Florida is dangerous. They are young, energetic and fighting for a playoff spot - successfully at the moment. They're gaining confidence. On home ice, the B's did the necesarry. They sent a message. We are done rolling over. This is the team we have, this is the team we can and will win with. Chiarelli alluded to as much that morning, telling the Globe's Fluto Shinzawa that he was "apt to keep the young core together". The team got the message.
Now my concern still lies in the shaky D and more urgently, in the first line. Despite Kessel's goal the other night, they've looked at a loss in the offensive zone for weeks now. Kessel was all over the place last night forechecking, but he was also on a completely different page from Savvy in the passing game. Lucic looked like the smartest of the 3, and due respect to the young tough guy, but that shouldn't be the case.
Speaking of Lucic, i've been getting requests for fight video's of his, so here's a beauty with a pleasurable back story for my choosing it (aside from the fact that it involves last night's opponent). Back in 2005, i was in Cleveland Circle at the City Side bar on Marathon Monday. What's that equal, you ask? Drinking at 11am i reply. While doing so, i encounter about 6 Bruins players and a number of BC Eagle Hockey players at the bar. This began with the following drunken (on my part) exchange in the line outside the Men's room.
Me: (taps guy in front of me on shoulder) "Hey there, you probably get this alot, but have you ever been told you look exactly like Brian Leetch?"
Guy: "Heh, i don't mind. Yes, i have" (turns back around)
Me: "Sonofabitch, you're Brian Leetch! You're great!! You should re-sign"
Brian Leetch: "I would love to, but i don't think they want me back"
Me: (mumbles inaudibly, walks away embarrased).
Now this was two weeks after our terrible season had concluded and these guys were just trying to relax. In Leetch's case, he was reaizing his career was over and he'd have to start playing golf 330 days a year...tough life. To me though, it actually was great proof that Hockey players are the coolest, most humble professional athlete's out there, except maybe Curlers. Anyway, I proceeded outside where, to my amusement, i found Nick Boynton bumming a ciggarette off my buddy. Nick Boynton sucks. He sucked here. He sucks in Florida. He's slow...maybe its the fuckin CIGGARETTES!!!
I think that's the message Milan was trying to convey to him here...
Ducks tomorrow...Peking Duck.