March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb, but in the sports world, March comes in like a lion and out like a bear. I’m not saying this only because I am a Boston Bruins fan and the Stanley Cup Playoffs start in April. Well, maybe I am saying that.
Hockey may arguably have the best playoffs of any of the four major sports in the United States (and Canada). This season has been one of many surprises in the NHL from good to bad (depending on who you like) and it has been one of the most entertaining seasons in recent years.
The Las Vegas Golden Knights have been the biggest surprise of the league by far. If you asked me before the season which is more likely, the Golden Knights would be sitting in first place in the Pacific Division, 8 points ahead of second place, or that the Chicago Blackhawks would miss the playoffs for the first time in 10 years. I would have said the Blackhawks run would be over. Now normally I would not even think that, but guess what? Both of those things are true.
As I mentioned, the Chicago Blackhawks have missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in the last 10 years. Something that nobody saw coming before this season started. Once Corey Crawford went down on December 23, the Blackhawks season slid on a downward spiral. One they have not been able to gain traction on and climb their way back to the top.
Now on to the important part of the NHL Season in my eyes! The Boston Bruins, what a performance this season. No one expected the Bruins to be where they are today. Right now they sit in second place in the Atlantic Division, 3 points back of the Tampa Bay Lightning for first place and shutout the Lightning 3-0 on Saturday. There have been so many bright spots for the Bruins this season, including the incredible play by all the rookies who have laced up this year. Charlie McAvoy has been the best rookie for the Bruins this year and before he went down with an MCL sprain in his left knee, he had to be in consideration for the Calder Memorial Trophy going to the league’s top rookie. With 59 games under his belt, he has 7 goals (2nd among rookie defenseman) and 25 assists (tied for 2nd among rookies) for 32 points (3rd among rookies) and he leads rookies in time on ice per game with 22:06. For a rookie defenseman, these are all very solid numbers, especially adding in that 2 of his goals are game winning goals. The Bruins will be very anxious to get him back from injury hopefully before the playoffs begin.
Resiliency in the dictionary means: the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties: toughness. Well my definition of resiliency is the Boston Bruins. Whether it is a comeback win, finishing of games losing players to injury, or playing so well without arguably their best player Patrice Bergeron over the last month. This team just will not back down from a challenge and never quits.
There is so much more that I can say about how the Bruins have been great including the play of the aforementioned Bergeron, or Brad Marchand, or David Pastrnak. The one guy that I want to focus on is Anton Khudobin. The Bruins hand out a 7th player award to the player who performed above expectations as voted by the fans. Khudobin will undoubtedly be receiving my vote. As a backup goalie behind Tuukka Rask, a Vezina Trophy winner, he has been in career best form. In 25 starts this year he is 15-6-4 with a goals against average of 2.5 and a save percentage of .917%. I think that any team would give a lot to have their STARTING goalie have these numbers, and the Bruins have this from their backup.
PHEEWWWWW April is almost here, the Stanley Cup Playoffs are almost here, The Bruins ARE here. Now it is getting close to the time to for the world to see that the Bruins are the real deal.
Photo: Getty Images