There go the 2013-2014 Boston Bruins, the best hockey team there ever was.
In the tradition of Bruins teams since Bill Simmons' great-great-grandfather was pretending to care about hockey, this iteration of the Black and Gold fell to a Montreal team with better players, better fans, and better uniforms. A note on that: there is a very short etymological path from "Bruin" to "brown", but this idiot franchise continues to wear black and yellow. They had these beauties and they went away from them. It's absurd. But I digress.
Today, we bid farewell to a collection of characters.
To Zdeno "Actually Zdeno Chara is the Name of the Scientist" Chara.
To Tuukka "Two U's, Two K's, Four L's" Rask.
To Johnny Boychuk, whom Jarome Iginla's memories will describe as "sort of like Dion, but, like, bad".
To Iginla himself, who never met a cup run he couldn't scuttle.
To Patrice Bergeron, who was predictably excellent. Quebec gave you their best player and you still couldn't beat them.
Having been without a Swedish player since PJ Axelsson retired in 2009, the Bruins recently added Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson to give the team a quasi-MODO flair. Eriksson was the centerpiece of the trade that sent Tyler Seguin out of town; the Bruins thought more balance in their top six could get them over the hump. Given Seguin's breakout campaign in Dallas, I suspect they would now walk that hunch back.
Which brings us to Milan Lucic. The best thing he did this year was forswear coming home to Vancouver. Christy Clark's government should view this as a successful pilot program for dealing with dangerous criminals. Lucic spent the playoffs drawing down his banked goodwill at an alarming rate. Seasoned observers will note, of course, that filthy play is nothing new for the hulking winger; there's a reason the gloved sucker punch is just called "The Lucic". Unprovoked attacks on physically weaker victims? Score a point for "nature", I guess.
Altogether, Boston's star players probably marginally outplayed their Montreal counterparts. As Bruins Legend and Mortgage Brokering Enthusiast Don Cherry will tell you, though, it's the muckers and grinders that define a team. To that extent, Boston was full value for this loss. I guess it shouldn't come as a surprise that the French chugged right through the Merlot line. Boston had 60% of shot attempts when Gregory Campbell was off the ice and 43% when he was on. Shawn Thornton's numbers were similar. To be fair, that doesn't account for Thornton's apparent ability to make teammates score at will. You would wonder where that went in games six and seven, if it weren't for Thornton's history of totally disappearing in the playoffs.
We bid farewell to the Bruins' various parasitic hangers-on. Rene Rancourt has been singing the national anthems at Bruins games since ED kicked in and he needed a new way to spend 90 embarrassing seconds. Unlucky women across New England recognize that unearned fist pump at the end. He goes back to the nursing home for a few months, where he gets to pretend the staff is there primarily to cheer him.
The Bruins' media get a few well-earned weeks off. They've had a busy year. Kevin Paul Dupont showed off his fantastic grasp of geopolitical nuance. Jaundiced Napoleon Dynamite emerged from the Red Sox clubhouse long enough to file a couple stories about the Bruins. And Joe Haggerty recently made a national name for himself when his editors somehow let him publish this strange rambling nonsense. Hopefully the lads get some R&R over the next month; the Bruins will probably need to move some fairly big pieces off the roster this summer, and it's hard work insinuating that David Krejci is a secret sex criminal or whatever.
We bid, uh, so long to Bruins fans. I was going to try to fit in a joke about their collective discomfort with P.K. owning them but, even in a town like Boston, I have to believe the racists are a minority. That said, a special shout-out to these two for getting old-school with their bigotry. I'll also forgive Bruins fans recent habit of throwing garbage on the ice; after all, they see Marchand down there 18 minutes a night.
And lastly, we bid farewell, hopefully forever, to "Boston Strong". Only people as insecure as Boston fans would turn an expression of civic resilience into a sports hashtag. Never mind that you're yelling "Boston Strong" to cheer the Bruins to victory over Cory Schneider and Chris Kreider. But tell us again that it has nothing to do with sports.
Thank you all for coming. As you may know, the organization has requested, in lieu of flowers, that a donation be made to offset the Bruins' coming $4.5m performance bonus overage.