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The Bruins are back tonight. Yawn.

Posted by Bill Koch on March 2, 2010

Boston Bruins

Forgive me if I’m not all that excited about the return of the Boston Bruins tonight.

Not even a game against the hated Montreal Canadiens can make this must-see television. Any sort of hockey is a letdown after the Olympic tournament, a roller-coaster ride of emotions that saw Canada defeat the United States, 3-2, in an overtime thriller for the gold medal. It’s hard to believe that NHL players can just forget what happened 48 hours ago and get back to business this week.

The Bruins should have it easier than most teams. The majority of Boston’s players had the same view that I did for the gold-medal game – and, in fact, for most of the tournament. They were on their couches, not good enough to be selected to their respective national teams for such an elite competition.

That’s where the Bruins are right now as an organization. They’re a mediocre bunch of middling talent assembled and overpaid by general manager Peter Chiarelli, and they’re not even close to the overachieving, lovable bunch that they were last season when they were within a goal of the Wales Conference finals (Eastern Conference? Not for this hockey purist.). This Boston team is fat and happy, with 33 percent of its players receiving contract extensions for last season’s run and 70 percent of them tuning out Claude Julien. Chiarelli failed to note that the Bruins were a whole that was better than the sum of its parts, a bunch of ordinary guys who worked hard and fought for every loose puck in order to win games. They aren’t talented enough to try to win without grit and sweat, and they’ve lost track of that this season. Julien will ultimately be the fall guy, despite proving during his first two years in Boston that he’s exactly the sort of no-nonsense, even-handed, team-first coach that true hockey men universally respect.

So welcome back, Patrice Bergeron – that gold medal is the only thing you’ll ever win as long as you’re shackled to the Bruins’ roster. Nice to see you, Tim Thomas. Let’s hope you return to the same role – benchwarmer – that you occupied during the Olympics while taking home a silver medal with the Americans and that the man you’ll be backing up in Boston, Tuukka Rask, starts doing his best Ryan Miller impression. Good evening, David Krejci. Take a look at your linemates – they’re certainly much less talented than what you’re had the pleasure of working with for the last two weeks with your fellow Czechs. Welcome, Marco Sturm. You can get back to skating around aimlessly on the wing for the Bruins just like you did for Germany. And don’t think I’d forget you, Zdeno Chara. NHL forwards are going to treat you the same way they did in Vancouver – specifically, like the 6-foot-9 turnstile that you truly are.

Yes, Olympic hockey is truly over tonight in New England – the Bruins are back. Yay.


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