So the Boston Bruins couldn’t find their David Ortiz on hockey skates. So they lost to the we-don’t-get-respect Montreal Canadiens in Game 7 of their second-round playoff series.
Your Bruins are out of the Stanley Cup playoffs and they had the choice of tuning into the first game of Saturday’s Eastern Conference finals between the Canadiens and the equally hated New York Rangers or tuning out.
What about you? Don’t be a mope. It’s been several days since the Bruins were eliminated. This wasn’t a death in the family. You’re a serious fan and the Bruins are your team, but get over Wednesday’s loss. The best is yet to come.
Nothing else beats the intensity of the Stanley Cup playoffs except World Cup soccer. Not the NFL or the NBA or Major League Baseball. The furious pace of playoff hockey is real. The play-to-exhaustion is visible. Teams play every two to three days. Catch your breath when you can.
Hockey is the game where players routinely skate back onto the ice with broken bodies. Are you listening, Aqib Talib?
Game-winning goals happen more suddenly and sometimes more unexpectedly than buzzer-beating baskets or walk-off home runs. Time outs? Each team gets one 30-second stoppage per game. Drama builds.
Sure, spend the next days or weeks playing Mr. Fix-It with the Bruins. Fire off those texts or tweets to GM Peter Chiarelli. Tell him how to remake the hockey team that had the best regular-season record in the NHL but lost in a Game 7 when anything can happen and does.
Take your Cam Neely hockey stick and whack those empty cardboard boxes in your garage again if it relieves the frustration of seeing Brad Marchand fail to score in another playoff game. So he’s the Alex Rodriguez of hockey.
Better yet, come back to playoff hockey. The casual fans, the ones who couldn’t tell you what a one-timer means or a forecheck and don’t show up for the regular season will be back. It’s addictive. Don’t fight it.
Maybe you’ll take a cue from Patriots fans who wouldn’t watch the Super Bowl after the Denver Broncos beat their team so badly in the AFC championship game. If they didn’t, they missed the sweet satisfaction of watching Seattle so thoroughly bust up Peyton Manning and the Broncos.
Or sank deeper in gloom. If the Broncos were so beatable, why didn’t the Patriots win?
Hockey fans know their sport. Beating the Canadiens and moving on to beat the Rangers in the conference finals would have been exquisite. One of the original six NHL teams beating two others to move on to the Stanley Cup finals and the possible rematch with the Chicago Blackhawks, another of the original six.
A Chicago-Boston Stanley Cup final would have been a rematch of the 2013 series when the Blackhawks won in six games. That one was hard to stomach, too, coming two months after the Boston Marathon bombings and the rally cry of Boston Strong.
Instead, the Red Sox won the World Series and a city and a region got a chance to celebrate.
The Bruins, like the Patriots and the Celtics, live in a salary cap world. Keeping a core together is difficult. The Bruins won in 2011, just missed in 2013 and couldn’t reach the conference finals this year. Chiarelli has proved he can assemble talent that plays well together, but in one seven-game series Montreal played better. Maybe you’re afraid the moment to win it all has passed.
Finger-pointing replaced chest-beating. Coach Claude Julien is the problem, or he’s not the problem. Not enough defense was the problem, or was it not enough offense?
Big Papi carried the Red Sox to the World Series victory, much as he did in 2004, but the Bruins didn’t have that player with the broad back to carry them. Go down your checklist and argue and pout.
Come back to hockey. I’d say a lot of you have. The Rangers beat the Canadiens 7-2 on Saturday in Game 1 of their series. Maybe you felt better, maybe you felt worse, believing the Rangers, in one game, showed the Canadiens didn’t deserve respect.
Carey Price, the Canadiens goalie who so effectively turned away the Bruins, gave up four goals in two periods before he was replaced.
The Blackhawks and the Los Angeles Kings play Sunday. Come back, Bruins fans. There’s no better time of the year.
Steve Solloway can be contacted at 791-6412 or at: