Bring on the Penguins

Has there been any series that has had more story lines or more hype than the upcoming Boston Bruins-Pittsburgh Penguins jagr-lemieuxseries? With the Bruins eliminating the New York Rangers and the Penguins doing the same to the Ottawa Senators, the matchup is set for the Eastern Conference Finals.  There are enough story lines in this series it can easily be confused with a WWE pay per view.  Since I am illiterate when it comes to the x’s and o’s of hockey, I am allowed to sit back and enjoy the drama filled series.  Here is a quick peek at what this series has to offer over the next two weeks.

If you told me in 1991, I would be writing about Mario Lemieux vs. Jaromir Jagr going up against each other in the 2013 Eastern Conference Finals, I would have laughed.  I would also remind you I was six years old and thought 2013 meant hover boards and teleportation. (I would have also been petrified you were talking to me). Lemieux and Jagr were teammates in Pittsburgh from 1990-1997 and again in 2000-2001.  Jagr is still playing at 43 years young while Lemieux is now a co-owner and chairman of the Penguins franchise.

The historical ties between the two franchises do not end there.  Bruins all-time great and franchise president Cam Neely had his playing career cut short by Penguins defenseman Ulf Samuelson in 1991 with a dirty check to the knee of Neely.  To this day, Neely is vocal about his lack of respect for Ulf Samuelson.  With it being a cheap hit that helped end Neely’s career, Bruins fans can look no further than Matt Cooke as a modern-day Samuelson.  Like Samuelson, Cooke is the cheap player who ended Marc Savard’s career.

Adding to this drama is the hypocrisy of Mario Lemieux.  As a player, Lemieux was a notorious cry baby, whining about being ulfneelygrabbed, pushed and hit.  As opposed to being a cry baby in a uniform, he now cries in a designer suit high above ice level.  Lemieux has made a lot of noise about the thugs of hockey taking out his players like Sidney Crosby and Evengi Malkin.  The problem is Lemieux employs and has captained the biggest thug in the game, Matt Cooke.  Give any Bruins fan 5 minutes of your time, bring up Mario Lemieux, and be ready for the verbal onslaught you will receive.

Now that the historical ties of the series have been brought up, let’s not forget perhaps the most intriguing story line this series has to offer.  Jarome Iginla utilized his no-trade clause after Bruins general manager, Peter Chiarelli believed a deal was in place with the Calgary Flames to acquire Iginla.  It was reported my numerous media outlets the Bruins had acquired Iginla prior to the trading deadline for Matt Bartkowski, Alexander Khoklachev, and a first round pick.  Iginla nixed that trade and asked to go to Pittsburgh.  When the news of this broke, Chiarelli famously said, “Well, they are a lock now, right?”  Keep in mind how valuable Bartkowski has been to the Bruins with the injuries to Dennis Seidenberg, Andrew Ferrence, and Wade Redden.

Make no mistake about it.  The Penguins are a machine.  The amount of talent on their roster is second to none. Crosby, Malkin, Dupuis, Letang, Iginla, Morrow, Sutter, Orpik, and Kunitz.  They are a high-flying power house.  It is easy to say the Bruins are outmanned heading into this series.  Any Bruins fan that is honest with themselves can’t possibly EXPECT the Bruins to win this series.

What do the Bruins have? Grit and balls.  This is what has made this Bruins team so likable.  Milan Lucic is back to his blue collarimages self, pasting the opposition to the boards when the opportunity presents itself.  Shawn Thornton won’t put up with an opposing player’s flatulence. Be on the lookout Mr. Cooke.  Brad Marchand is The Little Ball of Hate.  The rookie defenseman Torey Krug and Bartkowski have endeared themselves to Bruins nation.  David Krejci has ice water in his veins during the playoffs.

Pittsburgh can’t expect to coast by the Bruins.  The Bruins will put up a fight.  They are the definition of BostonStrong.  Boston loves facing powerhouse teams.  Ask the 2001 St. Louis Rams.  Ask the 2004 New York Yankees.  Ask the 2008 Los Angeles Lakers.  Hell ask the 2011 Vancouver Canucks.


I can be followed on Twitter @ScottieNTCF


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