Wednesday, May 9, 2012

How I Cope with Bruins Losses & Proudly Bandwagoning to the Cup, Part 2

Continued from part 1...

2001: Colorado Avalanche defeat New Jersey Devils in 7 games
I was pretty enraged when the Avs/Bourque got eliminated in 2000, hence me rooting for the Devils against the team that beat the Avs (Dallas). I still loved the Devils, but I loved Ray Bourque so much, words can't explain. Nor can words explain how much I wanted him to win the Cup. It broke my heart and I didn't want his departure from Boston to be in vain. I rooted so intensely for Bourque, that I came to love the Avs like the Bruins - it helped that the Bruins had again missed the playoffs.

My favorites all came to the rescue - Sakic, Forsberg, Chris Drury, Milan Hejduk, Alex Tanguay, Adam Foote, Martin Skoula, and the best of all, Patrick Roy, who won the Conn Smythe (for the 2nd time in his career).

Watching Sakic got the Cup and didn't even lift it before handed it directly to Bourque turned the tears I was already crying into sobs. Back then, I thought I may never see the Bruins win the Cup, so I was so happy to see to ultimate Bruin win it so he could retire on top.

2002: Detroit Red Wings defeat Carolina Hurricanes in 5 games.
I went to my first ever Bruins playoff game this year. The Bruins had finished 1st in the East and were facing 8th-seeded Montreal. They lost the game I went to and they lost the series in 6 games. It goes without saying that I hated the Canadiens more than anything else in the world at this point, so when Carolina defeated them - on top of already eliminating the Toronto Maple Leafs - I was incredibly grateful. So when the Red Wings won the Cup, I wasn't that ecstatic. They were a different team in that their goaltender was now Hasek. I still didn't like him for beating the Bruins. And Hull had also joined the team. Awkward? I don't know, I barely remember this series. I do remember this is where I began to drift away from my Red Wings love.

2003: New Jersey Devils defeat the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in 7 games.
Jamie Langenbrunner was not part of this Devils team, but I no longer loved them because they had defeated the Bruins in the 1st round in 5 games. Along with that, I had also wanted the Ducks to win  because of my affinity for underdogs, the greatness of Giguere, and of course, guys like Kariya and Selanne. But mostly enraged at the team that kicked the Bruins out. I realized that the Devils had also eliminated the Bruins in winning the Cup in 1995. Like I said, the team that beats the Bruins is not allowed to win the Cup. But now the Devils had done it twice. My former love for them was killed. It broke my heart that Giguere won the Conn Smythe despite being on the losing team.

2004: Tampa Bay Lighting defeat Calgary Flames in 7 games.
The Bruins had an early exit again, losing in 7 games to the Montreal Canadiens in the 1st round. I got some joy out of the Lightning sweeping the Canadiens in the 2nd round. That was the edge that made me root for Tampa over Calgary. I would have been okay with either team winning, and I was definitely okay with Tampa winning. I had become a bangwagon fan of theirs throughout that playoff run because they stole my heart by defeating Montreal.

I also loved Dave Andreychuk. He was a seasoned vet without a Cup, much like Bourque, who he was traded to Colorado with 4 years earlier. When the Avs didn't win that year in 2000, Andreychuk left and signed with the Lightning to help turn them into a playoff team. So he missed out on the Cup again in 2001, much like he had in previous seasons where he helped teams get far into the playoffs but never cashed in the full prize. I still liked him from his days with the Bruins, and wanted him to get a Cup ring.

I also came to really like Martin St. Louis, Vincent Lecavalier, MVP Brad Richards, and - my favorite - the Bulin wall. It's my understanding that Khabibulin was the 1st Russian starting goaltender to win a Cup. Ruslan Fedotenko was also part of this team, and I had adored him from his very first NHL game in 2000. He had been playing for Philly's AHL team, but was called up so close to the start of the game, that he didn't make it in time. I clearly remember watching that Philadelphia/NYR game on ESPN, and when he finally had made it to the bench from the locker room in the middle of the 1st period, he was baby-faced and looked as excited as a child on Christmas morning. That always stuck with me, I don't know why...but it added to my support of Tampa.

I also liked Calgary in general. Iginla has always been one of my most admired players. I liked the team but Tampa had a bit of an edge over them for the aforementioned reasons. I was still sad for Iginila and Kiprusoff when they lost.

I wasn't too happy though because I knew there was a lockout coming.

2005: Fucking Lockout

2006: Carolina Hurricanes defeat Edmonton Oilers in 7 games.
I was pulling for Carolina still from 2002. I liked Cam Ward (I don't anymore), Dough Weight, and Mark Recchi (still love him), and the rest of the team in general. The Bruins had not qualified this year, so it was okay to root for a team in the east and follow their whole playoff run. I pulled for Carolina over Edmonton because Edmonton had eliminated the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, who I still really wanted to win a Cup.

Fun fact: Peter Laviolette coached this time; he now coaches the Flyers. Tortorella coached the 2004 Lightning; he coaches the Rangers now.

Cam Ward won the Conn Smythe, which he deserved, but like I said, I'm very bitter towards the Hurricanes now. At the time I wanted them to win, I kind of wish I had rooted more for Edmonton. But the past is the past, and if it doesn't involve the Bruins, then it's not as serious as it could be.

2007: Anaheim Ducks defeat Ottawa Senators in 5 games.
Coming out of the lockout, the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim were now the Anaheim Ducks. Disney no longer owned them and they got a bit of a make-over. I miss the old Duck logo but whatever.

I had rooted for the Ducks in the past, and I rooted for them now. Since the lockout, the first few years didn't immediately win me back. I was pissed at the NHL and the Bruins still sucked. I barely watched the playoffs in 2006, and watched even less in 2007.

I also wanted the Ducks over the Senators because divisional rivals are also not allowed to win the Cup.

2008: Detroit Red Wings defeat Pittsburgh Penguins in 6 games.
I didn't follow these playoffs much after the damn Canadiens beat the Bruins in the first round AGAIN. I did watch the finals though, and my previously mentioned dwindling love for the Red Wings had left me with more negative than positive. I rooted for Pittsburgh, because both teams annoyed me but at least Pittsburgh had a longer drought than Detroit. I wasn't mad when the Wings won, but I was annoyed.

2009: Pittsburgh Penguins defeat Detroit Red Wings in 7 games.
This series I followed more closely because it was a classic rematch from the year before. I didn't really care for either team still, but I did not want the Red Wings to repeat. I still loved Mario Lemieux as well (I had a cat named Lemieux growing up...and a dog named Gretzky). Pittsburgh had a handful of players I already liked: Fedotenko, Petr Sykora, Bill Guerin, Miroslav Satan. It had become apparent to me that the NHL was very different now than it had been before the lockout. The coverage on NBC/VS was poor, and the attitudes of fans of many teams became increasingly obnoxious, and the Bruins still sucked.

The Bruins had an early-round exit AGAIN. This time it was at the hands of Carolina, in 7 games, with the 7th game won in OT. The goal was scored by a player, Scott Walker, who should have been suspended for his ridiculous sucker puck on Aaron Ward in game 6. The Bruins had beat Buffalo in the 1st round, and I witnessed my first playoff win at the Garden. At the game I went to in the 2nd round vs Carolina, they lost. It killed my hopes and dreams. Carolina permanently entered my shit list. The Pens swept the Hurricanes, which made me a bit more cheerful about them winning.

2010: Chicago Blackhawks defeat Philadelphia Flyers in 6 games.
What a tumultuous playoff year this was. The Bruins had become only the 3rd team in history to go up 3 games to 0 only to lose the next 4. It was embarrassing, and it made me full of rage. I took much of it out on the Bruins, but they weren't playing, so I focused on hating Philadelphia. I really hated them. Man...I hated them.

I watched this series as if it were a Bruins series. I was so full of anger and so badly did not want the Flyers to win. I jumped right on that Blackhawks bandwagon and I thank heavens that Chicago won in game 6. I loved them very much so for defeating the Flyers, which is funny because normal people loved them because they were good and won the Cup. I liked them for that, too, but didn't know much about them prior to that series.

2011: Boston Bruins defeat Vancouver Canucks in 7 games.

2012: ?
As of right now, the Western Conference Final match up will be LA Kings vs Phoenix Coyotes. I'm rooting for LA in that one. In the East, the Devils have advanced, but there is still one Conference SemiFinal series going on, in which the Rangers lead Washington 3-2.

Since the Caps knocked out the Bruins, it's safe to say I hate them forever.

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