Re: This Is An Outrage
posted at 12/9/2013 2:10 PM EST
I think a key thing here is to separate thoughness for the sake of toughness, from toughness for the sake of winning.
The Bruins are a tough team and I think that remains a priority from fans to players, to management. But the purpose of all of that still needs to be about winning and making the team better.
I think it is time to face the fact that toughness does very little to deter dirty play or force the Bruins opponents to be more respectful. If that was the primary goal, than it has been a spectacular failure for the Bruins.
While being regarded a possibly the 'toughest' team in the league over the past five years, the Bruins have suffered as much or more than anyone from dirty hits. Their leading scorer in 2010 was run in such a severe and dirty way, it ruined his career. Their top line winger was taken out of the Stanley Cup final in 2011 by a dirty, illegal hit. They keep getting concussion after concussion. The key offseason acquisition, Eriksson, just suffered his second concussion in two months, both from illegal hits. Marchand, Boychuk, Kelly, Miller -- all felled in the past week by an illegal check. I see no deterrent. If we think we have one, it ain't working.
However, the Bruins keep winning. Two Stanley Cup finals in three years. One championship. Relative dominance over our traditional rivals that we haven't seen in decades. Toughness is a big part of that. The past week has just been a snap shot of that The Bruins lost the injury battle to Pittsburgh and Montreal. Boychuk, Eriksson, Kelly, etc all out with injuries. But they won the games. I think Thornton was showing the good kind of toughness right up until he hit Orpik while he was on the ground. It went from smart toughness to dumb toughness fast.
So I say stick with the toughness, but for the right reasons. It is not about vengeance, getting bullied, the code, policing cheap shots, or scaring opponents. None of that seems to work anyhow. It is about being tough to play against and winning games.
So stay tough Bruins. Be smart about it too. Keep winning.