Where we come from, we love hockey, and for the die hard-in this area, our love for hockey ranks probably a seven to maybe an eight on the Toronto/Buffalo scale. Lets face it—when you live in the Boston area these days there are plenty of distractions in the local sporting world.
Nonetheless, many of us know the feeling of waking up before sunrise to go to hockey practice, we remember what mom and dad really looked like before they had their coffee, and we remember what it was like to look in the local paper at the NHL standings.
We knew where to find hockey cards, we knew which of our friends had a relative that played with Craig Janney or the Thayer Academy boys, and we knew what our own prized possessions were.
For me it was a game used Reggie Lemelin stick and an autographed Bobby Orr book, "Orr on Ice," which my mother got before I was born, when she had Bruins season tickets. My close friend boasted several, SEVERAL autographed pictures of Ray Borque that would make my heart race in envy.
We remember what it was like to need hockey to keep our blood pumping when the days grew incredibly shorter and colder. We all knew how to get to Hockeytown on the bustling Route 1 in Saugus and in our elder days can now relate to the hockey moms and dads who would say, "I was just out this way last night."
We skated our tails off, met girls, some of us got in to great schools and great colleges, and most of us would watch the best hockey players we've ever seen play in professional leagues yet never make a big splash in the NHL...but it brought the standings even closer to your blood when you could affiliate a team with a childhood friend who had natural talent.
Then the lockout came and went and crushed our youthful memories. Sure we'd get out and skate if given the chance, but the scoreboard watching fell away as the standings never changed for an entire season.
Since then NHL fans have endured a strict, slow rehabilitation, starting first in those cities that have always had hockey and need it to get by, most of which lie near our beautiful International Boundary to the North.
In Boston there's been a delay; there has been a cough in the muffler and the starter hasn't been what it used to be. Even when considering their latest success its been a tough haul to get people on board, even those pals who used to car pool with you to Pee Wees.
But, as always, the spoked B will carry on and will always be willing to let you come aboard and seems lately to be very worth your respect.
They boast one of the best hitters in the league in Milan Lucic, as well as a legitimate top five contender for NHL Rookie of the year in Blake Wheeler. Chiarelli has brought a familiar forward to the team in Michael Ryder, and everybody knows about the star who got hurt in the early weeks of last season, Patrice Bergeron.
There is no doubt that scoring will increase this year, and some of our stars from last year are showing no problems getting on the stat sheet.
We've got two guys fighting for every save in the net, and truly have developed a great lineup on our special teams, although the loss of Ference on the short handed side of the puck could possibly lead to a move for another defenseman.
I'll leave that review as cursory to let you do your own research as you get back in to the Bruins, I suggest looking at the scoring differential this year as compared to last year to begin, then take a look at who the top Goalie is in the NHL—no, start with this little nugget.
I can boast on this November morning that the Bruins have more points per game played than anybody else in the entire league; but it IS all about how you finish in this sport.
So let's watch it together.
Give thanks for the food on your table next week and give thanks to your family, give your cousins their due hugs and kisses, and take an extra second in the sports section to see how the B's are doing.
Read more from Greg Sheehan at www.turningtwo.com