Band of Brothers

Band of Brothers

Band of Brothers

Game 4: Bruins Need To Continue The Brotherhood


"Band of Brothers“From this day to the ending of the world, But we in it shall be remembered-We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;For he to-day that sheds his blood with meShall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,This day shall gentle his condition.”Henry V"

King Henry V may have been speaking about war in William Shakespeare’s inspiring tale about the English overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds to defeat the French in Henry V, but these words could easily be used to describe the 2010-2011 Boston Bruins as well. For no team in recent memory, save perhaps the 2001 New England Patriots, have shown the brotherhood and camaraderie and teamwork that this year’s Bruins have shown.

So many times this season, the Bruins were counted out and written off as finished. Each time, the team came together, battled through the adversity, and rebounded. Most notable were a three-game losing steak in early February (including a bad loss to Toronto), which was followed by a seven-game winning streak; losing the first two games of an opening round series to Montreal – at home no less – before rallying to win that series in seven; winning Game 7 against Tampa Bay after surrendering a three-goal lead in Game 6; and, finally, raping up the emotions and rolling to a Game 3 win over Vancouver after heartbreaking losses in Games 1 and 2 and watching Nathan Horton wheeled off the ice on a  stretcher.

Tim Thomas, in particular, thrives off being counted out. The man battled through years of obscurity in the minors and in Europe (and even needed to prove himself several times here in Boston) before winning the Vezina Trophy two years ago. Even then, he had to win his job again this year, turning in another Vezina-worthy performance.

Thomas then showed he was capable of being a playoff goalie with brilliant performances in all three series leading to the finals. He was great in Games 1 and 2, giving the Bruins a chance to win both games, but one bad choice led to more questions about his style and whether he could win a Cup playing the way he did.

Thomas simply stated he knew a little bit about playing goalie and was not looking to take any advice at this point in the season: a nice way of flipping the bird at those who questioned him. He then went out and played brilliantly in Game 3, keeping the game scoreless as the Bruins struggled in the opening period.

Shawn Thornton is another Bruin who epitomizes the “band of brothers” attitude. He certainly is not the most talented player on the ice; he doesn’t skate that well, he doesn’t have great hands, and he doesn’t possess the vision needed to be an elite NHL scorer. What he does possess is an energy, a vibe, a toughness, and an attitude that makes him the heart

and soul of this team. He does all the little things that help a team win, and his mere presence on this team makes them all elevate their games just a bit. If there were any questions about what Thornton brings to this team, they were answered on Monday night. Thornton’s insertion into the lineup changed the way the Bruins played.

So many other players also possess the intestinal fortitude needed to battle through adversity: Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Nathan Horton, Milan Lucic, Andrew Ference, Adam McQuaid, Michael Ryder, Gregory Campbell, Daniel Paille, Tyler Seguin, Mark Recchi and others – even coach Claude Julien — have all had to overcome obstacles in their careers and have done so. Each, in one way or another, has battled and helped the Bruins win games here and there.

The Bruins have been tremendous all season with their backs against the wall. The play with raw emotion, attitude, and mental and physical toughness in those situations. They love and care for one another, and truly define the term, “band of brothers.” It is one of the few things for which I credit Julien, as his leadership style is one of the reasons why this team will battle to the end.

Despite the great win on Monday, the Bruins still have their backs against the wall tonight. A loss in Game 4 will make winning a Stanley Cup much more difficult, seeing the Bruins will have lost the momentum and edge they gained in Game 3. They need to play with that emotion, that physicality, that attitude, that edge through each of the remaining games of this series. If they don’t, the championship drought will be extended.

As Herb Brooks now famously told the 1980 U.S. Olympic Team, “Gentlemen, you don’t have enough talent to win on talent alone.” This is true of the Bruins. They are good, but they need more to win this Stanley Cup – they need the energy, the attitude, the edge.

And, yes, they need the brotherhood they have developed during this season.