The most Holy Grail of trophy’s……. The Stanley Cup

The Stanley cup is the trophy that is awarded to the last team standing and the winner of the Hockey playoffs. Unless you have played the game, you have no real idea how hard this trophy is to win and it is the hardest trophy to win of all the sports trophies out there. To win this trophy you literally leave everything out there on the ice throughout the entire playoffs.

Hockey is more of a blue collar sport, only because you show up at the rink ready to get down and dirty and work very hard at not just standing up on skates, but stick handling drills, passing drills, shooting drills and turning on a dime while skating full speed and handling the puck drills. Those that have played the game know that there is a lot more than these basic skills I mentioned, there is also the game inside the game, not to mention to a first time watcher, the game seems pretty fast and violent. The violent part is really not that violent, it is only one player checking another player, to get the leverage on him in order to take the puck away from him, A hockey player should also be good at geometry, as it is a game of angles and having good puck sense to be at the right spot at the right time. In order to take the puck away from the opposing player, you have to anticipate where that player is going and take away his angle to make a play and then be at that spot at the right time. Those that grew up during the days of the great Bobby Orr, would see exactly what I am talking about, just that he was so good, he made it look very easy.

A Hockey season may not be as long as a Baseball season, but if it was you would have more players being lost from a team for extended periods, because of the physicality part of the game. Hockey is also a true “Team” sport, you very seldom see just one player carry a team for any length of time, with that said….. when you build a championship team, you don’t just build a team full of talented players, you need team chemistry which will help you build an identity for the team. The Boston Bruins had this chemistry and identity in 2011, to which they won the holy grail of trophies, being Lord Stanley s cup. Now the playoffs in hockey are like no other playoffs in sports, they are basically a whole different season within the season, you have the top eight teams from each conference and whoever the last two teams left are, would make the finals their fourth round of four out of seven games to win each round. there is a total of twenty eight games in the playoffs if a team plays all four rounds to a game seven, with the magic number being sixteen “mission sixteen”, meaning it takes sixteen wins to win this most prestigious trophy. During these playoffs it takes grit and determination by each player of each team, you also have a lot of banged up players, the deeper they go into the playoffs, which makes a hockey player one of the toughest athletes to play any sport.

The Stanley cup is won from literally a lot of blood, sweat and tears, not to mention some broken bones, stitches and a few surgeries later. That hard rubber puck will leave a mark, from a shot traveling over one hundred miles an hour and especially if it hits you in the right place, just imagine being a goalie without the right equipment and having to stop one of those shots? I played goalie and you still feel the impact, even with the right equipment. I have heard some sports Individuals say that, all sports need to let the players have their day with the their respective trophy they have won, like hockey players do? What I say to that is, the trophy you see the players with is not the true Stanley cup, as the true Stanley cup always stays in a glass case within the Hockey hall of fame, in Toronto, Canada. Those three rings you see below the cup itself, has all the players names engraved into it, that have won this prestigious trophy and when one ring gets full, then it is taken out and replaced with another to fill up, you can see all the rings including the real trophy at the hall of fame, but if you are a true hockey player, you never want to touch it, unless you have earned the right to touch it, by making it through “mission sixteen”. Those that watch the hockey playoffs and see the conference champions surround their conference trophy they just won without touching that trophy reason is, because they don’t want to jinx their chance they just earned, so they can compete for the most prestigious of all trophies in sports……….. The Stanley cup.

” Hockey is a blue collar sport, only because be prepared to bring your lunch pail to work, just as the blue collar workers do and work their butts off to achieve success”

” Lord Stanley cup is the most prestigious of trophies, because it is the hardest to win of any sport”

” not every hockey player gets a chance to compete for the Stanley cup, which makes it the Holy Grail of all trophies”

The Spoked B is worn with pride throughout the team.

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The spoke “B” on the jersey of the Boston Bruins, is worn with not only having pride for the organization, but pride for the teammates you play the game of hockey with. Patrice Bergeron shows just what this pride is all about.

These Bruins of the 2014/15 season did not live up to the expectations that not only the Management had, but the fans of the spoke “B” had. The reason for this starts with the General Manager in Peter Chiarelli and the Bruins did the right thing in letting him go. Even before the season started, Peter let go a huge part of the Identity of this team in Jonny Boychuk, but it started even before this, when they let Andrew Ference go? These two guys were not the most talented, but what they brought to the team in an Identity, goes way beyond, any kind of talent, they made this team very tough to play against.

The loss of the Identity became worse when they let Shawn Thorton go? True Thorty was getting older, but his toughness and grit, is what this team missed most this year, Thorty knew when to throw down the gloves and when not to, he knew how to make the players of the other teams see a shadow and cough up the puck, which carried throughout the team and made these Boston Bruins a hard team to play against, from whom ever they played against. In 2011 when they won Lord’s Stanley cup, they had all these ingredients and used them to whip up a gourmet meal, each time they took to the ice that year.

When Peter took these guys away, without adding similar guys ( maybe younger),  now you have a team playing without an identity. I mean like simple addition and subtraction like you learn in school, when you keep subtracting numbers, without adding in any other numbers, eventually you end up with zero or a negative number.

I will always bleed the black and gold of the Boston Bruins and have been a true fan since the Bobby Orr days, yes I still bleed the black and gold and always will bleed these great colors, not too mention my passion for the game, as a former player of the game. Now with that said, I still believe in some of the core players of this team, as yet a few of the core need some tweaking or changing.

Coach Claude showed some versatility, when he put Pasternak, Spooner and Lootch together on a line and as this line showed great promise, it also brought to life the Bear in Lootch, as he played well with the young and future of the Bruins. Bergy was just being Bergy, as his game of the best defensive forward in the game, stayed true to form, no matter who was on his line, Soderberg and Eriksson proved they have great chemistry with each other, while the Merlot line showed that it needs more grit, as well as speed on the ice.

The defense is where this team needs to get better in a hurry and I would build a strong defense around Dougie and Krug. Now if Miller comes back from his injury? He would be a great 4th line defense man,   Seidenberg and Mcquaid? now here is where you get something while you still can, Chara true he is getting old for this fast game, but I would reduce his time on ice, as his reach can still work in your favor and let him retire as a Bruin out of respect. Which means that Patrice Bergeron finally gets the “C” on his jersey, as he more than deserves this.

I think you noticed a few names I have not mentioned? number one on the list of trade guys is Brad Marchand, as his reputation has hurt the team more than it helped, plus his play is not as consistent as it should be. Smith, Paille, campbell also haven’t been consistent with their game also, so use them to trade and better the team moving forward. Kretchi if he is healthy from his injury, can still help this team so he stays, as well as Max Talbot cause both of these can play the two way game like Bergy.

The Goalie situation with Rask stays the same, but the back up position needs some attention, so Tuukka can have some days of rest. Claude Julien and his system can still be effective in this league, just maybe add some speed within it, Claude is a great coach, but when a GM like Peter, subtracts without adding, now you tie the Coaches hands at what he can do. The roster for next season should be with Rask, Dougie, Krug, Miller, Chara, Lootch, Kretchi, Pasternak, Bergeron, Spooner, Soderberg, Eriksson, Talbot, Ferlin, with the rest of the other guys gone for more speed and guys that fit the system in place by coach Claude. These guys will be the core of the team and between them and who you bring in, they can form an identity that can be like the 2011 team, of a team that is hard to play against for any opponent they may face.

I have much respect for Cam Neely and I have total faith in him and if they bring back Don Sweeney as the new GM, that this team will contend for yet another Stanley cup.

” Go Bruins!!! Make us proud, so we true fans can enjoy Bruin hockey once again”

” I bleed black and gold, only the true fans bleed this color, as an ordinary fan bleeds the ordinary red blood”

The 2014/15 Boston Bruins……

With the 2014 season in the rear view mirror, time to seriously look at this team, as the playoffs loom a short journey away for this year, last year was a great ride for all the players, coaches, management and the true Bruin fan, that is always behind the team win, lose, or draw, winning that covenant President’s trophy shows not only how good a team you were, but is a great reward for all the hard work throughout the season and yes this team worked hard while showing other teams, that they are a difficult win for them.

I have been a true fan of the spoked “B” pretty much my whole life, I to was influenced to play the game from a guy named Bobby Orr, when all of New England opened new rinks to handle the huge draw of young children wanting to play the game, Bobby Orr wasn’t just a great hockey player, he changed the game moving forward into the future, the famous words of “Sanderson to Orr”, then Orr flying through the air as he put in the game winner and the famous, ” do you believe in miracles” from the 1980 USA Olympic hockey team, will always be etched in my brain, to me the two best quotes in sports, well……. now I have a third with the late Stuart Scott of ESPN saying at the Espy’s, ” you beat cancer by how you live, why you live and in the manner of which you live”.  Stuart Scott was an inspiration while he was fighting the ugly disease of cancer, now his inspiration will live on through the rest of us, as we move forward on our paths of our journey of life.

This season’s Boston Bruins have been like a huge roller coaster ride, with more downs than there are ups, to me a big part of it has to do with injuries at the beginning of the season to key player’s and key core players at that, then the trades of Boychuk and Thorton,  not to mention of Ference when he was let go to Edmonton, these three guys were part of the core of this team, now they may not have been the most talented, but what they brought to the team was Identity and Identity is something no player anywhere can bring back, the Identity I am talking about is, team first on and off the ice, like a family and having each others backs, when you have 22 guys (including the goalies) taking the ice every game as one, with no I am better than you attitudes, now you have a team that plays together, a team that it doesn’t matter who scores, just that they score one more than the other team to win the game, this makes for a very difficult team to defend, by any team that they may be up against, this was the Identity of the team last season and this is whats missing from this seasons Boston Bruins, they had this in 2011 as well and yes they won Lords Stanley cup that year, can this team rekindle this? You bet they can, they just have to have others step up, much like Ference did with the Jacket through the playoffs, when they won the cup.

This seasons Bruins have lost their team Identity and because of this some of the core players have lost their Identity of who they are, a guy like Milan Lucic who is the best power forward in the game and when he skates, hustles, be physical and gets to the net, good things happen, plus when he does this the rest of the team feeds off this energy and the team picks up their energy, Chara and Seidenberg are known as the best shut down pair of defense man in the league, but they both haven’t been close to years past, the best move the Bruins made was trading Joe Thorton and building a team around Patrice Bergeron, as Bergy is the best two way player in the game and this season still holds true for him and his number will be the next to the rafters of the Garden, you also have an awesome goaltender in Rask, he has played like a World class goalie, but since he was awarded with the big contract, he hasn’t lived up to that contract yet? Lets not forget the Coach in Claude Julien, who in my mind is the best Bruins Coach of my lifetime and would put him next to Bill Belichek as the best Coaches for Boston teams in my lifetime so far? Claude’s style is defense first and keep everything to the outside, not allowing anything up the middle of the ice, controlling of the neutral zone and letting your goalie see all the shots, it takes all the players of the team to buy into this system and when they all buy in, now you have a winning combination.

This seasons Boston Bruins will always bleed black and gold for me, can they turn this around and make a run in the playoffs? you betcha they can, they just need to all buy into Claude’s system like years past, the core of this team to play like they can, while setting a winning example for the new members of this team and re-claiming the Identity, that makes them a very hard team for any team to play against, plus they need Marchand to play better and stop taking dumb penalties that hurt the team, I know it’s part of his game to get into the heads of other players on the other team, but he needs to tone that down, play smarter and let his skill dictate his game and not his reputation like it is now, someone on this team if they haven’t done it yet, needs to step up like an Andrew Ference and bring this team together like a family, maybe another jacket to pass around at the end of each game, so each member of the team recognizes each other as not just a team, but a family on and off the ice.

” The Boston Bruins bleed black and gold, like a family on and off the ice”

” The Boston Bruins are to hockey, what the New England Patriots are to football”

Hockey playoffs in 7th Heaven

Playoffs in any sport has it’s own persona about them, Hockey playoffs and a game 7 winner take all game, is like no other sport on the planet.
Hockey is so fast paced and full of action, that to some of the watcher’s, they just can’t follow the game and chose a less action kind of sport like Baseball, but to those who know the game of Hockey, this is the most exciting part of the season.
The NHL player’s who have the chance to take part in these playoffs and experience a game 7, gives them all a sense of pride and a shot of adreniline, none of them want to loss this game, but unfortunatly there has to be a winner and a loser, the Coaches of these teams coach their players to be ready and follow the game plan for a win, it is ultimitly up to the players to execute the the game plan, stay true to the system and play to their strengths, to give themselves and their teammates a chance to win this game 7, than move on to the next round.
Each round of the playoffs becomes more and more intense, as it is a step closer to the Holy Grail of Hockey, Lord’s Stanley Cup. Not only is this trophy the Holy Grail of Hockey, it is also the most convenant of all trophies in all sports, for one big reason, it is the hardest to win.
You have four 7 game series, which the goal on “mission sixteen” is, to win 16 times, the team that does this will win Lord’s Stanley Cup, but along the journey of “mission 16” you have 16 other teams all playing for this goal, unlike Football where it’s one and done, you have to win 4 out of 7, to advance to next round, with the hardest win of each series, being the 4th win, cause the other team will leave everything on the ice, just to stop you from winning it.
Hockey playoffs for those true diehard fans, is the best time of the season, for the player’s it’s about taking what you learned through the regular season, with your teammates that have become like family and applying all the good, to be the best each and every game through the playoffs, for the Coaches it’s about keeping the team focused, while playing to the system and their strengths, picking apart the other teams weaknesses and showing the team where to excel, plus for the Coaches it is exciting watching their player’s execute and excel, on the journey of “mission 16”.
Hockey is the coolest game on ice, with the playoffs being nail biting intense action for all the fans, yes like all sports, you have that bandwagon fan that thinks they know the game, or worse create a feeling of uneasy throughout the sport, that leads to negativity, it happens and we can’t control that, but what we can control is ourselves the true fan, as we watch this great game, the way it is suppose to be watched, we route for our favorite teams and mine happens to be the Boston Bruins, so as I watch game 7 between the Bruins and Canadiens, I watch as a true Hockey fan and a person that “Bleeds Black and Gold”.

” Go Bruins on your journey of mission 16″
” Let the Canadiens go back to doubting themselves”