Don't Poke the Bear

Don't Poke the Bear

A Story by Mica

Mock article about the Boston Bruins

  As the Boston Bruins try to struggle out of the disappointing slump they've been caught up in as of late, it's easy to point the finger and name names in the search for what brought their remarkable destruction of the NHL to its end. I'm not denying that for the most part, they're still no fun to play against, but when last-place Carolina closed out their season sweep of the defending champs, it became clear that something was truly a bit off with the dear Black and Gold.

    It's no secret that the Bruins play their game on the edge, often hitting a little harder and later than other teams would ever dream of doing. One questionable hit or slight encroachment on goaltender Tim Thomas is enough to bring the wrath of the entire team down upon the unlucky soul who dared commit such a heinous act. NESN commentator Jack Edwards sums that philosophy up best with his quip: "Don't poke the bear!"

    But such big and bad play hardly goes unnoticed by the likes of NHL Head Disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan. And this season, when the Shanahammer has swung at the Bruins, the results have been crippling. With a five game suspension for Brad Marchand, three games for Andrew Ference and one for Milan Lucic, the Bruins' physical play came to be under more intense scrutiny than before.

    It's gotten to the point now where in any given scrum on the ice, the Bruins will repeatedly wind up down a man, often for reasons unclear. Opposing teams have started taking that to heart, targeting high-profile non-fighters like David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron in the hopes of provoking a player like the rowdy Adam McQuaid to have to be the third man in to defend his teammate, revealing Boston's biggest weakness.

    They're too close.

    Team chemistry has routinely been touted as one of the most important factors for a club if they want to make a deep postseason run. In fact, the Bruins themselves went to great lengths to prove that en route to last year's remarkable championship. But for a team who can't seem to escape a brawling situation without having an extra two minutes tacked on, simply sticking up for a friend poses quite the problem. Although Boston's penalty kill is among the elite this season, a freebie powerplay in a tight game has regularly led to the deciding goal. But there's absolutely no way anyone graced to wear the black and gold isn't going to stand up when they have to. It's a mentality and sadly, it's been a factor leading to their demise as of late.

    Now, no one can argue that players like Lucic who've received a suspension already this year are less willing to rough it up like before with that new threat of being a repeat offender looming over their heads. But on a smaller level, maybe being wrongfully ejected for allegedly coming off of the bench (a penalty that was indeed rescinded by the NHL after the game) to even up the fight on top of Shawn Thornton was also enough to enforce a degree of hesitation in the burly winger's game. Why? Because as exciting as it was to build a reputation of always finishing checks hard and taking on any and everyone who felt like getting in the way, the Bruins of today would dearly pay the price for such an action. And there's only so many penalties they can kill before the extended defensive play catches up with them.

    All that being said though, don't expect to see Thornton, McQuaid, Marchand, Ference, Lucic or any other Boston Bruin backing down from a fight, regardless of the consequences. If taking a bad penalty is what it's going to take to bleed black and gold, game on.

© 2012 Mica

Author's Note

Came from a personal challenge to write something in under an hour.
I've edited it a little since that limit though, so it wasn't that strict by any means.

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Added on February 9, 2012
Last Updated on February 9, 2012



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