January 18, 2013

Original Six: New Year's resolutions for B's fans

By Jesse Connolly

To quote the oft-underrated 2001 flick “Vanilla Sky”: Every passing minute is another chance to turn it all around. It’s 2013, Bruins fans. A new year. A clean slate. A chance to be a new you, to change the world around you and make being a hockey fan both inside and outside of TD Garden that much better. Here are some New Year’s resolutions you should give some thought to.

6. Take off the black and gold glasses

Diehard fans always think a tad too highly of every player on the team. This also applies to the prospect pool, which is as likely to churn out an NHL regular as it is a future fast-food worker. The ones that take it to an extreme need to drink a nice tall glass of WAKE THE HELL UP!

OK. What they really need, actually, is just some common sense. Depth charts are real easy to figure out. See that guy named Chara up top? How ’bout the Seidenberg fella next to him, and the Ference right below? I hate to break it to you, but I don’t think Ryan Button (pictured right), Colby Cohen, Kevan Miller and David Warsofsky (Marshfield, Mass.) will all be making the big club and playing in the NHL All-Star Game this season.

5. Support your local AHL teams

Maybe you don’t want to call it “settling” in fear of hurting the American Hockey League’s feelings, but with the NHL lockout dragging on, many of you have probably turned to the next best thing. With seven New England entries — the Providence Bruins, Bridgeport Sound Tigers, Connecticut Whale, Manchester Monarchs, Worcester Sharks, Springfield Falcons and Portland Pirates — the AHL has provided a wealth of entertainment to help fill the void.

But when the lockout ends, don’t turn your back on the league that gave you a shoulder to cry on when you thought the world was over. These teams need and deserve your support year-round. Don’t forget about them when the NHL is back in business.

4. Demand some new tunes

Before you tell me you’re “so sick of Zombie Nation ” and try to high-five me, I should tell you I’m not looking for the Bruins to change their goal song. No. More ... I guess we’d call it their playlist? There are a few gems that are in regular rotation, including U2’s “Where the Streets Have No Name” and The Who’s “Baba O’Riley,” but for every winner there are at least seven and a half generic rock duds.

So, season-ticket holders with some pull ’round these parts, it’s time for you take a stand and make sure we don’t have to watch another montage set to the oh-so-forgettable sounds of Three Doors Down, Breaking Benjamin, Daughtry or whatever else it is they think hockey fans want to hear.

3. Don’t fork over your cash

You and I both know that we’re going to welcome NHL hockey back into our lives with open arms as soon as — or if — the lockout ends. You’ll have on NESN ’cause you miss Jack Edwards (Durham, N.H.) or you’ll be at the games because you just miss being at the Garden and seeing the game’s top stars up close and personal (or maybe not if you’re in Row 15 of the balcony).

However, if you were genuine when you said you wouldn’t line a team’s pockets, resist the urge to splurge on T-shirts, calendars, mugs or those ridiculous foam hands at the pro shop. There are only so many ways you can get hockey back and still make a few billionaires stop and think for a minute. This is one of them. 

2. Think before you tweet

As the saying goes, one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch. Unfortunately it wasn’t one apple but far too many of them that made the end to the Bruins’ attempt to repeat as Stanley Cup champions that much crappier. When Joel Ward scored in overtime of Game 7, pushing the Capitals into the second round and sending Boston to an unexpectedly quick start to their vacation, certain fans of the Black and Gold threw manners out the window.

A number of angry individuals didn’t just share appalling, racist thoughts about Joel Ward on Twitter. They directed them right to the man himself. The power of the Internet. In doing so, they embarrassed themselves, hosed their innocent fellow fans and forced the Bruins to issue a public apology. Smarten up, people.

1. Stop thanking Kessel

I get it. Phil Kessel netted Boston a franchise forward in Tyler Seguin, a franchise d-man in Dougie Hamilton and a winger with NHL potential in Jared Knight. Add in the fact that No. 81 comes off as a sheepish, introverted dude, and that he was painted as a bad teammate on his way out of town, and it’s no wonder you all love jeering him every time he visits.

But, I think the time has come to give it a rest. It’s been more than three years since Peter Chiarelli sent Phil the Thrill north to Toronto for a trio of juicy draft picks. Trotting out the same joke for a fourth straight season would be oh so very passé. Get with the times and move on.

This article originally appeared in the January 2013 issue of New England Hockey Journal.

Twitter: @JesseNEHJ
Email: jconnolly@hockeyjournal.com