Big Z and friends
In my inaugural night in my brand new apartment in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago I settled in to watch the Bruins face the Habs, live from Montreal. It was Hockey Night in Canada, or Hockey Night in Chicago, depending on how you’d like to look at it. I was excited, after a long day of moving my belongings, to sit down for once and enjoy the Original Six rivalry at its finest. The game zipped along merrily. The speed and wits of the Canadiens provided a fine contrast against the relative largesse and methodical prowess of my Bruins. Not to mention the superb goaltending the game feature. Nobody is better than Carey Price or Tim Thomas at this point in the NHL season, and it seems their winning ways may continue.
Nevertheless, it was with great disappointment that the game turned in the closing minutes of third period. The solid 2-0 lead established by Quebec boy Patrice Bergeron was wiped away with one bad penalty and a riled-up Canadiens offense with the goalie pulled. In overtime, the Habs did them in. And that was it. Gone.
In some respects, this game could be viewed as a metaphor for the Bruins’ season; great excitement that ends in confusion and defeat. But I would beg to differ. Unlike the many games which the Bruins should have won, but, instead, lost, the Bruins scored first last night. That alone is telling. They played all 60 minutes. Bergeron stepped up, demonstrating poise, leadership. The Bs generated solid scoring chances and it was nice to see Seguin playing alongside Krejci—a combination I think should continue. But, the Canadiens came through. The Bruins couldn’t arrest their burst of energy, their drive, late in the third. And that was that. The Bruins made immense progress over the month of December, and I think they demonstrated that progress last night. Naysayers will claim that they showed a lack of heart. And some would argue the crux of their troubles rests with Claude Julien, or their captain. I’d beg to differ. Their trouble lies in their confidence and inability to engage, to focus. Yet they are able to play very well on the road, somehow. And the team has tremendous challenges, yes. There are gaping holes in their line-up—namely a puck-moving defenseman and a true sniper. But, as difficult a team to watch as they are at times, they have true promise in spite of this. And to an extent, I can’t quite put my finger of what precisely troubles the Bruins at this point in the season. They have played with zeal, speed and emotion. But they’ve played with a complete lack of such things, too.
When I figure it out, I’ll write about it. Until then, I’ll keep watching. Tomorrow night, they take on the Penguins. It promises to be a good game.