Photo Credit: Michael Tureski (Icon Sportswire)
By Court Lalonde Follow Me On Twitter @courtlalonde
We’re three weeks into the Boston Bruins 2017-18 season, and fans are already starting to point fingers and overreact. The team has a 3-3-1 record and aren’t in last place and currently only three points out of a playoff spot with games in hand. In the 2011-12 season, the Bruins started out with just three wins in their first ten games and went on to place first in their division. If you looked at social media, you would think the season is already over, and the team is playing towards getting the first overall pick in next years entry draft. Some fans have already started to shout “fire Cassidy,” “trade Tuukka,” and the ever so popular “make Bergeron captain.” I want to start off by saying that none of these things I just mentioned would help or is the problem.
I was lucky enough to be able to attend the NHL Alumni Gala last night in Toronto to honor Mario Lemieux with the Keith Magnuson ‘Man of Year’ award last night. Craig Cunningham received the Ace Bailey ‘Award of Courage’, and if you don’t know Craig’s story, I suggest you stop reading this article and look it up right now because that man personifies the word courage to me. Craig spoke of his dream growing up being a professional hockey player and one day paying off the mortgage of his mom’s house. He spoke of the incident and what eventually lead to losing his leg. Craig mentioned what an honor it was when the Boston Bruins drafted him and was able to wear the spoked B on NHL ice finally. He didn’t complain about what had happened to him and didn’t want people to feel sorry for him. Craig wanted people to know that now he looks forward to his new career with the Arizona Coyotes organization and that he will be able to pay off his mom mortgage. He was just happy to receive an award in the same ceremony as one of the greatest players of all time, Mario Lemieux.
My story on Craig Cunningham and the surgeon who saved his life teaming up to create a hockey/cardiac legacy: https://t.co/lcOg95aKvg
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) October 23, 2017
I spoke to many players last night from all generations of the game, and I seemed to find this recurring theme over and over. They all missed playing the game they loved and never told stories of the bad times and only focused on the good. They showed respect to the greats of the game and were able to be in the same room as Gary Bettman and not boo him, in fact, Glen Healy thanked him for growing the game of hockey and creating more jobs for players by doing so. I got to watch my dad’s eyes light up when he got to see someone he had seen in years and from I saw brought him back to a time when the game was simpler.
Us as fans take the players for granted sometimes, I’m just as guilty everyone, and I should know better, I grew up around the game. My father played for the Boston Bruins for two seasons in the late 70’s, the early 80’s. He sacrificed a lot to play the game he loved, including the birth of his second child. We all are too quick to judge the players on this current Boston Bruins roster and spout out nonsense that they’re playing with no heart and that they don’t care. I can guarantee that every player on the roster wants to win every game and are never giving a lackluster effort out there.
It’s way too early to give up on this years Boston Bruins because they haven’t so are we. We never heard the payers give an interview in the room blaming Torey Krug on the loss against Buffalo, but the fan base sure did. I always find it funny that we all seemed to blame one player when it’s a team game, and there are six players on the ice per side. We lost 4-0 a couple of weeks ago, and we blame the goaltending, I forgot Tuukka Rask could score goals. We have this sense of entitlement because we’re fans and we pay money to watch them play but should we? I know they make a lot of money and salaries always seem to be a hot button for fans, but no one of us would ever say “don’t pay me that much.”
Photo Credit: Fred Kfoury (Icon Sportswire)
We should just try focusing on the positives that have come from the start of this season. The play of Ander Bjork, Jake DeBrusk, and Charlie McAvoy. These kids are part of the future of this franchise and right now working as hard as they can to try and win every game. Sure they will make mistakes, but everyone does, that’s part of life. I’m going to look at things a little differently then I did after last night, try to remember that I wish I were these guys I watch on TV and not try and pick apart every mistake because it’s going to be a long season if I do. We always remember the last mistake we see on the ice, but we seemed to forget the five that lead up to that one are just as important. The next time you want to call out a player on this Bruins team, ask yourself if you think the player already knows he did something wrong. Maybe call out the thing he did right in the game to boost the confidence instead of knocking it down more. Players are people too and maybe, just maybe we should treat them like that sometimes.
Anders Bjork ties the game at one with this slick goal. Tune in to NESN and NESNgo to see the Bruins battle the Canucks at TD Garden. pic.twitter.com/gPy29uX6iK
— NESN (@NESN) October 19, 2017
— NHL (@NHL) October 6, 2017