OK, so by tradition I’m a Boston Bruins fan. But what the heck does that mean? Hockey had a strike, the nuclear bombs came in, blew up the league, and they started from scratch. New rules, pretty much a free-for-all in building rosters and teams, and things became nearly unrecognizable for someone like me who was just a casual fan.
But back in the early-mid 90s, I was more than a casual fan. I used to watch local Kings games on TV, I would collect hockey cards, and I even played in a fantasy hockey league — in first grade. True story. My buddy and I chose players, came up with a scoring system, and calculated our totals every morning out of the sports section. I still remember some of my players — Pat LaFontaine, Alexander Mogilny, Chris Chelios, Paul Coffey, Theo Fleury, and of course, Cam Neely.
See Neely was my favority player. No doubt about it. I loved Cam, Ray Bourque, Adam Oates, Joe Juneau, and Andy Moog. Even later on, I was a fan of Jason Allison and Sergei Samsonov, and some of the newer faces of the franchise. One of those such faces was Joe Thornton.
Thornton was drafted by the Bruins in 1997. I remember how elated I was about the news. Here was this monster center everyone was hyping up to be the next Eric Lindros — only without the disappointment — and he was coming to MY team. I couldn’t have been more excited. But things weren’t exactly peaches at first. It took Joe a while to get it going — really, it took around four years before he became a dominant player in the league.
Only problem is Joe always seemed to get hurt. Injury after injury beset the rising star, and after the strike, the Bruins for reasons still unbeknownst to me, traded Thornton to San Jose. Of course it wasn’t until Thornton was in a Sharks jersey that he truly started to dominate the league, racking up serious point totals.
So not only did the strike ruin the interest in the game for several casual fans, it also killed my favorite team, and the interest in that team which had already been dwindling. So why the background you ask? Well, because tonight starts the hockey playoffs of 2007, and I don’t want to feel left out.
Back when I was a serious fan, I would watch every single series and truly vibe the cut-throat atmosphere and tension in which every game was played. Even in my more recent years, when my interest was teetering but I finally started growing facial hair, I vowed to stand with my Bruins until they were eliminated from the playoffs. In fact, if you check the badge for my work ID, you will still see the remnants of that playoff beard — the one time in my life I had facial hair aside from my sideburns (the Bruins lost in five to the eventual Cup Champion Devils in the first round).
Unfortunately for me, the Boston Bruins have gone downhill, as has my interest in the team, the league, and the sport. But I need to get back. I want to get back. I HAVE to be involved somehow. So here you have it, I am making my efforts to become a fan and follow this year’s hockey playoffs. And with that declaration, I am hereto for announcing the news that on 11, April, in the year 2007, I will have transferred my allegiance to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
I am jumping on the train, Sid the Kid, Evgeni Malkin, Jordan Staal, Marc-Andre Fleury, it’s the only way to revive my excitement. I will be following the Penguins quest for the cup, and in the spirit of the playoffs, today will be the last day that I shave until MY Penguins are eliminated from the playoffs.
I hope to speak to you all sometime in the near future with my playoff beard overflowing. Amen.
The last time you’ll see that clean of a shave until the Penguins are out of the playoffs
(face last touched by a razor on 4/11/07)