I was introduced to hockey at a very young age during an exciting time for the Boston Bruins. I was born in Colorado and moved to Boston when I was five years old. It was 1990 and Cam Neely was in his third season with the B’s. We had made it to the Stanley Cup finals facing the Edmonton Oilers. I didn’t really understand what was going on, but I could tell people were excited. My grandmother was a Bruins fan and the games were always on. The Bruins lost, but for the next two seasons they made it to the Conference finals. I first experienced the heartache of losing a bitter series against the Penguins only to be swept in the same Conference finals a year later.
The Bruins continued to make the playoffs, but our performance was often disappointing. The 1994-95 season was shortened by lockout, but my love for the Bruins continued. At this point I was hooked. Each win filled me with joy, and every loss was devastating. I would strap pillows to my legs with my mom’s belts and throw a tennis ball off the wall above the TV to pretend I was a goalie (sorry mom). I swear my save percentage was well over 0.950.
I felt the heartache when Cam Neely was forced to retire, and several years later Ray Bourque was traded in the middle of the 1999-00 season. This created a perfect storm that turned me into a pure hockey fan for life.
The Bruins did not qualify for the playoffs the year Bourque was traded. I had enjoyed Avalanche games after Colorado got a team and I felt a small tie since I was from Colorado, but after the trade I really paid attention. Joe Sakic and Peter Forsberg blew my mind (those wrap around goals!). Patrick Roy played with an edge that I loved, and of course I was happy to see Bourque on a team that was contending. The Avs were easy to root for and when the Bruins didn’t qualify for the playoffs the following year it was easy to watch Bourque finally win his Cup during the 2000-01 season. I don’t think I’m alone when I say that I was relieved and excited to see Bourque lift the Cup over his head.
Bourque officially retired and the doldrums for the Bruins started. There have been teams that have had worse stretches, so I won’t pretend I’m a warrior. But there was a sense of frustration over these seven years:
- 2001-02 – Lost first round
- 2002-03 – Lost first round
- 2003-04 – Lost first round
- 2004-05 – Full season lockout
- 2005-06 – Did not qualify
- 2006-07 – Did not qualify
- 2007-08 – Lost first round
Things started to change in 2006 when Peter Chiarelli joined the Bruins and Jeremy Jacobs finally started investing in the team. Within two months of being hired Chiarelli signed Zdeno Chara, he was made captain. The Bruins had drafted Patrice Bergeron in 2003 and after the lockout he had now gained a few seasons of NHL experience. In my opinion the most underrated piece of the puzzle was the hiring of Claude Julien prior to the 2007-08 season. Over the next few years you could see stability returning to the team, a strong hockey system implemented, and real pieces being added by Chiarelli.
Finally, after 39 years, the Bruins took home the Stanley Cup in 2011. I experienced Game 6 of that series in person and it was by far the most intense experience of my life.
My passion for hockey and the Bruins has only grown stronger over the years, and that is why this blog exists. There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t have a thought about the Bruins, or how the NHL can continue to represent the highest level of the best sport in the world. This site is my outlet to share. I hope people find this blog and get as excited about hockey as I’ve become. Like my love for the game, this blog will grow over time and I hope you’ll take the journey with me.
– JMD –