This photo of Horton is terrifying.

Last night in a 4-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, the Boston Bruins racked up 40 minutes in misconducts to go with their 22 regular penalty minutes, and generally acted like bullies.

If you’re a Bruins fan, that was a good sign.

There’s no way to persuade someone who hated their actions (moral high ground!) or anyone who was rooting for the Hurricanes that their behaviour was a positive, but at least try to see how it was the right thing for the B’s season.

First off, the Bruins have had a pretty poor start to the season. Heading into that game the defending Stanley Cup champions were 2-3 (now 2-4), and sat squarely at 11th in the Eastern Conference.

Remember something important about this group: the Bruins were, and are a bully of a team. Do you remember what they did to the Dallas Stars in a regular season game last year? I don’t care who started those fights, the B’s finished them. Their roster easily sports the most players who can both contribute effectively and beat the living hell out of you if necessary. They finished with the 2nd-most fights in the NHL last year with 71 regular season go-rounds, and likely finished 1st in the completely made-up “fights won” category.

So yes. The Bruins have succeeded partly by playing the role of tough guy. They’re a nasty team and it works for them.

So after the tough start to the year (and game), it’s a good sign that their frustration finally showed up and reared it’s ugly head. This team clearly does care this year. They’re not coasting through the season, shining their rings unil playoffs then seeing if they can pull off something magical again. That’s what you’d see if they didn’t expect immediate success once again (that expectation is probably the cause of the slow start too. They need to remember how hard they had to play last year).

They’re pissed they’re losing now, and they want it to stop.

That’s not enough to justify punching people in the face, but the Bruins likely don’t give a damn what your pacifist ass thinks of how they go about their business.

In the end, those games where everyone is fighting mad and acting on it bring you together. Sports are a testosterone-packed mess, and damned if I haven’t high-fived a teammate and felt exhilarated in the dressing room after one of those full-line equipment yard sales. Maybe you think they should already be close - they won the Cup last season and their roster is nearly identical. But each season really is a new season (which, incidentally, is why they should have never re-carried the cup around the ice opening night) and you do have to re-establish your identity.

Teams that are good fall off at some point, and this was them showing they’re the same team. The Blackhawks traded most of their team after their Cup and struggled to find their identity in the new season. The Bruins reminded us with those actions that they didn’t lose a good number of people, and they’ll still hold your jersey and rabbit punch your face until you do something about it.

In the big picture for them - maybe not last night – that’s a good thing.

I’m no raving fan of the Bruins, and I’m no knuckle-dragging monster clapping for violence.

But I’ve been around enough hockey to know that if the B’s started rolling over and not punching back (or first), their season would look a lot sketchier than it does after last nights display against Carolina.

Comments (5)

  1. Awesome article. The Boston Bruins are bullies, but that’s how it should be. I hope this will spark some success for the future.

  2. I hope you’re right about the slow 2-4 start for the Bruins, because right now every Blues fan is in full on panic mode. Blues fans are calling for Jaroslav Halak to be sent away in a bus, Coach Payne to be fired! (Yep, with no ownership, on his last year of his contract) Besides Barry Melrose picked the Blues to win the Western Conference!!!

    Sure hope fans can step away from the bridge, untill at least the All-Star Break…

  3. Interesting to see how that game was called, however. There’s an interesting post from Canucks Army about that: http://canucksarmy.com/2011/10/19/refs-call-game-correctly-bruins-fail-to-adjust

  4. You’re right about Horton. We saw it on occasion in Florida. When you piss him off he gets mean, and he won’t just kick your ass, he’ll start scoring. The last thing any team wants to do is wake him up and make him angry.

  5. I think that game just proved what everybody knows…Boston is filled with a bunch of goons who don’t deserve to be playing in the NHL, let alone winning the Stanley Cup. If the referees called things as they should, that team would get a penalty within the first 5min of the game and never stop being on the penalty kill. They have the bully mentality, we’re bigger than you so get out of our way or we will crush you. And the refs let them get away with it most of the time, the league certainly helped last year (I still think that Rome suspension, in light of several non-suspensions to Boston players during the season and playoffs, was absolutely ludicrous and showed clear bias on the part of the NHL)

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