Saturday, April 22, 2017

Go Ahead. Whine about the Officials

Go ahead. Because last night's game is exactly the kind of game people who tell you not to whine about the officials expect.

You know the ones. The official somehow screws your team in the last minute. Maybe they call a completely outrageous penalty against your team in overtime of a playoff game. Maybe the other team then, of course, wins the game on the resulting power play.

What a hose job!

Not so, those people will tell you. The officials didn't lose the game. You did.

First of all, you should have scored more goals in regulation. Remember that one shot in the first period where the goalie made that amazing save on you? If you had just scored that one, the game wouldn't have been tied at the end of regulation. You would have won the game before the horrible penalty. 

Or, you could have just killed off the penalty in overtime. Just put on your big boy pants and kill the penalty. Then, win it on your own once you're back to regular strength. 

Basically, you can't blame the officials because it's just up to you to make every single play all game and never screw up even once for even a little bit. Ever. 

And, the Bruins pretty much did that last night. They had a goal controversially taken away from them in overtime. They had a cheapo penalty called against them in overtime. They had a penalty shot not awarded to them when everyone outside of Toronto knew they deserved one. But, they persevered. They ignored the momentum swing of taking away the goal. They ignored the terrible non-call for covering the puck in the crease. They killed off the incredibly weak penalty. 

Then they just won the game by making the shot when they needed to.

Wonderful. They deserved the win 100%. But, I just have one small question about the way they persevered. The way the didn't let it bother them. The way they overcame all the odds.

Why did they have to do that?

Ottawa didn't have to do that. Why only the Bruins? Ottawa didn't have to do that in game two either, when they were handed an overtime win. So, if you want to point out that the Bruins just need to play a perfect game, and then they'll win...that if they just overcome every single hose job they'll still come out on top, you can do that. You can say that's why they can't whine about officials. 

I'll just ask why can't they whine about being made to do that? Why is it only them that has to play the perfect game? Why are they the only team that has to execute every little thing to perfection every single time? Why aren't they handed a playoff game on a silver platter? Why can't they complain that it's not fair? 

Why aren't you complaining that it's not fair? Because, isn't that what you thought you were watching? A fair sporting event? A competition between two teams playing with an agreed-upon set of rules? Why don't you complain when that doesn't happen? Why don't you want everything balanced?

Why is it OK if only the Bruins are put at a disadvantage? Why is it OK if the Bruins have to work harder to get their win? Why is that just the way it goes? Why can't you blame the officials when that happens? Why can't you expect them to do their jobs as well as you expect the Bruins to do theirs? 

Why not?

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Does Claude Julien Need to Go?

When I was a kid, I remember seeing a book in the bookstore. The title was “Is Elivs Alive?”. I went over to check it out. I was really hoping that the author had the ability to publish a book like that where you opened it to see one sentence. “No, you dumbass.” Followed by 200 blank pages.

That’s what I want to do with this post.

“No, you dumbass.”

Now, in this case, the “dumbass” might be a bit harsh. Thinking Julien needs to go doesn’t reflect on you the way some other “opinions” might. But, it’s certainly not one I agree with.

But, you see it during almost every game. “The team is flat!” “Julien doesn’t have them ready to play!”

I don’t really understand it.

For the sake of argument, let’s pretend it’s the coach’s job to get his players “ready to play.” Let’s pretend that professional athletes paid millions of dollars aren’t supposed to get themselves ready. Let’s pretend it’s all up to Claude to get the team to get off to a fast start.

How, exactly, is he supposed to do that?

Is it with the fiery locker room speech? “Win one for the Gipper” and all that? Doesn’t that a little stale after, say, 20 times? And even if it doesn’t, when is that speech given? In the locker room before warm-ups? When they then have all kinds of time to themselves without a coach to fire them up? On the bench just before the game? Even then, would that work? If the coach gets them all pumped up into a lather and sends them out onto the ice, they don’t drop the puck right away. Right? The players circle around in their positions for a bit. Wait for everyone to get ready. Then, wait some more. So, it’s on the player to keep whatever energy he had after he left the bench, and carry it through face-off. The coach doesn’t do that. 

Or, does everyone mean “tactically ready” to play? Does Julies not give them the plays they need to succeed? But, most of the complaining I see is about the start of games. Does he forget how to draw plays for the first two minutes, but then remember halfway through the period?

Or, maybe it’s not Claude’s fault?

For some of this, I blame the Patriots and their “Do Your Job” mentality. They have managed to convince Boston fans that all it takes to win if for everyone to do what they need to do. That sounds all fine and dandy, as long as you can do what you’re supposed to do. Sure, the play may say I block the linebacker to spring the running back for a big gain. But, if the linebacker outweighs me by 100 pounds, me “doing my job” just isn’t going to happen. I’m not lazy. I’m not unprepared. The coach got me ready to play. Things are just hard to do sometimes.

So, isn’t it possible that the Bruins are ready to play? They have all the necessary plays. They know what to do, and they have the energy level to do it. But, scoring goals is hard. That it’s harder to make plays when someone else is trying to stop you. That sometimes you just fail at things. Sometimes your best player doesn’t score a goal in every game. Sometimes a guy falls down. Sometime you don’t win the game.

No matter how “ready” you are.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Searching for Bobby Orr, by Stephen Brunt

Bobby Orr may very well be the greatest player to ever lace up hockey skates. He dominated the game like nobody before him ever had. But, he played in a time that was a bit too early for his greatness to develop the mass appeal it deserved. This book looks to explain his greatness, starting with him as a young child. It follows him through his juniors career, and on to Boston. It goes into the struggles and his career is plagued by injuries, cutting his career far too short. It deals with his struggles as his career comes to an end. It dives into his relationship with his agent, and life after hockey. What made Bobby Orr the legend he became?

I admit, I had no idea how little I knew about Bobby Orr before I read this book. I'm too young to remember his career. I new he was the best Bruins player ever. I know about the winning goal. That's about it. So, for me, this book was an incredible eye opening into a player I should have known everything about. He wasn't just the greatest ruins player. That was cutting him short. I had no idea just how much the injuries interrupted his career...not just shorten it. I didn't know the role of his agent, although I should have, So, for me, this book was fantastic. A new story or piece of information on every page. I finished reading the book, and instantly needed to search the internet looking for clips of Orr in action. Unfortunately, those are still few and far between. It made my imagine Orr playing today. Not only with the contant promotion of his skills, but surgeons who know more about what they're doing. How much longer could he have played? This book kept me reading, wanting to find out even more. I had a hard time putting it down, and can't wait to pick it up again.

Rating: 4 pucks

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Dropping the Puck

Welcome to the first post of my Bruins blog! I know what you're thinking. Aren't you a Red Sox fan? And, you'd be right. But, just because I'm a Sox fan first and foremost, am I supposed to ignore the other sports in town? Certainly not. Might I sometimes have things to say about those sports? Of course I might. Isn't it a great idea to have a place for other Bruins fans to see what I have to say about their favorite team without Red Sox stuff getting in the way? Isn't it just as great to not force Red Sox fans to read my thoughts on the Bruins? Again, yes...and yes! So, I created this little corner of the internet to do just that. How often will I post? Oh, I don't know. Less often than I do on Section 36. But, hopefully enough to keep you interested. It's definitely a work in progress. We'll see how many great features from Section 36 I bring over here. I could certainly see "pictures" being a lot of fun in black and gold. I'm excited about having a place to talk about some of the great Bruins books I've read. Who knows...maybe I can even get a "visitor" or two to stop by. This should be fun. Stay tuned.

Until then, check out some posts I wrote on Section 36 that talk about the Bruins as well. Enjoy!

In "How Spoiled am I?" I blame the Bruins for my need to have a Jersey to wear during important games for all four sports teams.

In "Congratulations Patriots!" I discuss how great it is that all the teams can celebrate championships together on equal footing.

In "What if there was a Boston Sports Reward Program" I wonder...well, you know.

In "Which Images Make Your Grid Of Champions" I wonder which is the most iconic image from each of the last nine Boston Sports championships.

The plan is  for me to be adding lots more great content just like that, but right here on this blog. This is where it will be all Bruins, all the time.

I hope you'll be back!

More to Read from Other Sections