Do You Hear What I Hear?


Hey! Did you hear that? Sounded like a car accident. No, there are no cars in the street. Wait, I think it was thunder! Couldn’t be thunder, it isn’t raining…Wait…What? What’s that you say? That loud noise was the collective thud of people jumping off the Boston Bruins bandwagon? Oh, I see. The Bruins have lost four out of their last five and people who claimed to be fans are no longer following the club.

The public, or part of it anyway, is saying the team has quit on its goaltenders, on its coach, on themselves. They say the 2010-2011 version of the Bruins is playing without passion and grit. These “fans” are saying this year’s black and gold is nothing more than a carry over from the group that blew a three game lead against the Philadelphia Flyers in last spring’s playoffs.

The fans are calling for the head of general manager Peter Chiarelli claiming he is telling head coach, Claude Julien, how to coach and making Julien tell the players to play without desire and determination. Yes, I actually heard a “former” team devotee say that. Almost unanimously, the people want Hockey Hall of Famer and former Bruin Cam Neely to take over from Peter Chiarelli although that would mean a cut in pay for Neely, who is the team’s president.

They say the coach, Claude Julien, is not “fiery” enough, that he needs to verbally kick the players in the backside during games so the faithful knows he cares. While others are demanding Julien lose his job and be replaced by Mike Milbury. I’m pretty confident Milbury has no plans on giving up his TV analyst jobs for a return to the bench.

They go on to say the team’s captain, Zdeno Chara, is not a leader on or off the ice? OK, I totally agree with them on this one and have felt that way since the organization signed him. Ask my son, he’ll tell you I have not been a fan of the lumbering defenseman since watching him play in Lowell for the New York Islanders former American Hockey League affiliate.

With the exception of goaltender Tim Thomas, no Bruin is being spared the wrath of the fans. They want something to happen that will get the club winning again and they want it now. Maybe the events that occurred at yesterday’s practice will appease them. There are reports Patrice Bergeron and Marc Savard had words on the ice and came close to exchanging blows. Team enforcer Shawn Thornton admitted on a television sports show that he took exception at the physicality of two of his teammates and used his stick to do his talking in retaliation of their hits. Thornton went on to say he apologized to those players. He also said he was happy to see the team, on the whole, returning to using its size to dish out hard hits along the boards. Hits that were missing against Anaheim in Boston’s 3-0 lost to the Ducks on Monday night. When asked if Coach Julien should be fired, Thornton responded that it is up to the players to turn this team around. He went on to explain that Julien has the passion and emotion necessary to coach but he (Julien) picks and chooses when, and how, to use it. Thornton concluded by saying no one on the team wants to see Julien relieved of his duties.

As the coach of a junior hockey team, I would hope the atmosphere of discontent amongst the players will spill over to our next game. The next opponent for Boston is the Atlanta Thrashers. The Thrashers currently hold down fifth place in the Eastern conference and are enjoying a renaissance in Georgia’s capital city. Dustin Byfuglien, who won the Stanley Cup last season with Chicago, leads all NHL defensemen in scoring this season. Other Thrashers the B’s will need to keep their collective eyes on are, Evander Kane, Alexander Burmistrov (one of the most exciting players in the NHL), Brian Little, and Anthony Stewart. Ondrej Pavelec ranks second in the NHL in goals against average and in save percentage and will be between the pipes for Atlanta.

The Thrashers roster is dotted with local products such as Zach Bogosian, who played his prep school hockey at Massachusetts’ Cushing Academy. Others returning “home” will be former UMass Lowell star Ron Hainsey and Boston University alum .

Tonight’s game is, up to this point, the most important game of the season for the B’s. Marc Savard and Mark Recchi agreed it is a “must win” game. It certainly is.  A win will bring passengers back on the bus. A loss will result in more atmospheric rumblings.

Remember to go to http://vote.nhl.com/ and vote for Tim ThomasPatrice BergeronZdeno Chara, and David Krejci, for the 2011 NHL All Star Game.

For all news pertaining to the NHL in general…..please visit  Too Many Men on the Site – Fansided`s excellent coverage of the Greatest Game on Ice !

Shawn Hutcheon can be followed on twitter by going to www.twitter.com/@shawnhutcheon. You can become his friend on facebook by going to www.facebook.com/shawnhutcheon.

Tags: Alexander Burmistrov American Hockey League Anaheim Ducks Atlanta Thrashers Boston Bruins Boston University Brian Little Cam Neely Chicago Claude Julien Cushing Academy David Krejci Dustin Byfuglien Evander Kane Freddy Meyer Lowell Marc Savard Mark Recchi Massachusetts Mike Milbury Milan Lucic Nathan Horton New York Islanders NHL Ondrej Pavelec Patrice Bergeron Peter Chiarelli Ron Hainsey Shawn Thornton Stanley Cup Thrashers Tim Thomas UMass Lowell Zach Bogosian Zdeno Chara