2012 was a year of many ups and downs for the Bruins. While they had their share of memorable moments, like Anton Khudobin’s late season gem, they also shot of plenty of duds, like Tim Thomas’ refusal to appear at the White House. It’s been over 7 months now since we’ve seen the black and gold cruising around the Garden ice. For some, that’s, making for a pretty tough year. As we get ready to welcome a new one, let’s hope that the league and the players decide to ring it in with a bang and we get some hockey back. Until then, here’s the 12 biggest Bruins headlines of 2012.
12. Bergeron Wins Selke – Patrice Bergeron helped fans ease into the summer with a well deserved win at the NHL awards show in Las Vegas. Given to the league’s top defensive player, Bergeron’s plus-36 rating and penalty killing efforts were enough to land him the second Selke trophy in B’s history. The first came in 1982, when Steve Kasper took home the hardware.
11. B’s Add Siblings to Rivalry – Boston Brass added another stitch to the B’s-Habs rivalry on draft day when they used the 24th overall pick to nab Malcolm Subban, younger brother of Canadiens flashy defensive thorn-in-the-side, P.K.. The younger Subban gives the Bruins added depth at the uber loaded goaltending position. Subban has some pretty thick marsh to wade through before hitting the ocean though. Ahead of him on the totem pole are Tuukka Rask, Anton Khudobin, Niklas Svedberg, Michael Hutchinson… oh, and possibly some guy who won the Conn Smythe while leading the B’s to the Cup in 2011 (IF he get’s his head straight).
10. Hall and Oates – What would a top 12 be without #12? Adam Oates finally received his long overdue call to the Hockey Hall of Fame in June, reuniting him with some of his most prolific scoring mates, Cam Neely and Brett Hull (no word on Joe Juneau!). Oates was one of the most underrated centermen of his time, consistently setting up his teammates and being called upon to win key faceoffs. During a 5 year period from 1989 to 1994, the only person who posted more points than Oates was Wayne Gretzky. After his time in Boston ended, Oates went on to honor one of the greats by donning #77 for the rest of his career.
9. Horton Hears a Concussion – 2012 wasn’t all that great for Nathan Horton. The big right winger only managed 11 games after the 1st of the year before post concussion symptoms settled in, leftovers from being on the wrong end of a big hit in the 2011 Playoffs. Horton had just caught fire, lighting the lamp 8 times in those 11 games. Word in September had Horton pegged for an early season return. The only positive of the lockout is that it has given players like Horton a “no-pressure” environment to come back slowly.
8. Return of Brian Rolston - The man once traded for Ray Bourque made his return to the black and gold thanks to late season trade. The move gave the B’s depth for a playoff run while also revitalizing the aging vet. While it didn’t put them over the top in April, at least it made for a fun story line heading down the stretch. Interestingly, Rolston’s return came just months before Bourque’s son, Chris, joined the roster in a summer trade.
7. Dougie Hamilton Cruising - Dougie continues to stay fresh putting up big point totals in the OHL. He notched 72 through 50 games last season and is on pace for similar numbers again this year. With a bronze medal in the World Junior Championship to his credit, only the lockout continues to delay his debut. While the present may be bleak, the future looks bright in Boston.
6. Shawn Thornton’s Penalty Shot - It’s a thing of beauty. Normally, you’d feel pretty good getting a penalty shot for hauling down number 22 on a break away. As always, Thorny made em’ pay.
5. Tim Thomas’ Chicken Fiasco - Thomas really laid an egg with this one. At a time when allot of fans in Boston were still pretty fried up over his decision to sit the season out, Thomas turned up the heat on the stove with his half cooked statement supporting Chic-Fil-A. Not the best move for an out of work goalie in a city with an out spoken mayor.
4. Summer Lovin’ - The Bruins made a big splash in the free agent market this summer… without ever setting foot in the pool. Big extensions for Tyler Seguin, Brad Marchand, Milan Lucic, and Chris Kelly ensure that the Bruins core stays in tact that much longer. The cap hits could be high, but if the ceiling rises proportionately, Boston could be sitting pretty at the end of the day. Not giving in for Rick Nash or Bobby Ryan were the right moves as well.
3. First Round Bust - We knew it all had to come to an end at some point, we just didn’t want it to be so soon. The Bruins early playoff departure at the hands of the hapless Caps was particularly stinging. The current lockout has fans clinging to memories of 2011 more than ever.
2. Tim Thomas’ Sit Out - Just weeks after the early playoff loss, rumors started to swirl around Thomas wanting some time off. Timmy finally came out with the “3 F’s” at the beginning of June. A collective 4th f could be heard for miles around New England.
1. The Lockout - The biggest headline of the year has to be this deplorable lockout. As the nation heads for the Fiscal Cliff, the NHL is right behind them, readyto drive the zamboni right off the edge and into oblivion. Traditional markets like Boston will recover, but what about the sun belt? And what about all the love from new fans won over after the recent Cup win. How many of those fans have moved on, perhaps forever? Say what you want about pink hats, but some of them become permanent fans.