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Monday, October 11, 2010

Last season is over, time to move on

When the Boston Bruins epically pissed down their leg in May, losing to the Philadelphia Flyers in the Eastern Conference semifinals after leading 3-0 in the series and 3-0 in Game 7 (only 3rd NHL team, 4th in pro sports to cough up 3-0 series lead), there were two choices: never watch the team again or get over the devastating loss (eventually) and look forward.

Like most people, I chose the latter if only because I felt like the B's are on the cusp of being very, very good.

After drafting Tyler Seguin No. 2 overall in the 2010 NHL draft and shipping Dennis Wideman to the Florida Panthers for Nathan Horton (pictured above with his smokeshow wife) and Gregory Campbell, Boston had two scoring studs that it sorely lacked last season.

It's still the Bruins who haven't won a Stanley Cup since 1972 and nothing is ever easy or smooth. That point was hammered home with Marc Savard's post-concussion symptoms that will postpone his return indefinitely. Add to that, Boston completely sleep-walked through their season-opener vs. the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday in Prague, Czech Republic.

Phoenix dominated all game long and won 5-2 although Horton did score twice in his Boston debut.

It figures that I'd park myself in front of the TV to watch all of that stink pie but I missed two periods of yesterday's 3-0 win over those same Coyotes in the O2 Arena in Praha (aka Prague).

A 10 a.m. EST start on a Sunday the morning after my gf's birthday ensured that watching the game live was a pipe dream. However, I did witness Seguin's first career goal (a lovely breakaway where he deeked Phoenix goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov and put the backhander in).

Yesterday was a breath of fresh air for the franchise and it showed why the Bruins are a legitimate contender in the Eastern Conference and beyond. Their backup goalie Tim Thomas stopped 29 shots for the shutout, Milan Lucic and Horton scored second period goals and David Krejci had two assists.

Boston has proven the last two seasons that they can play defense and last year with the emergence of Tuukka Rask, they have as good a 1-2 punch between the pipes as you'll find.

The B's get back to action on this side of the pond on Saturday night at New Jersey and the home opener back at the TD Garden is Oct. 21 vs. the Washington Capitals.

No fan base in New England comes close to the Bruins in terms of irrational love and support. To put it simply, if you still follow this team you're a die-hard. Their owners and management have given the fan base plenty of reasons to leave and never come back but there they were showing up in big numbers for two Islanders-Bruins rookie games at the Garden a few weeks ago.

The Red Sox are stuck in neutral in the best division in baseball, nobody knows what to expect from the Patriots week to week and the Celtics are great. The Bruins fill the void in terms of passionate and knowledgeable fans, see you at the Garden.

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