By Mark Paulette
Let me begin by admitting I’m a sucker for a good win streak. Sometimes, this infatuation can blossom into a wonderful love fest; just as it did when I became enraptured by Wichita State’s magical Final Four run in 2013 and their ensuing 35-0 start to 2014. The Shockers captivated me and I will forever be a diehard. Other times, a win streak can be a fickle ruse, like the one the Boston Celtics played on us, winning 11-of-12 just before the All Star break and looking primed to make a move to legitimize their claim as contenders in the east.
But losing 3-of-4 to teams below them in the conference, while cowering in the corner at the trade deadline like a witness-protection program-ee whose cover was just blown, has tapered my excitement for the Green. It’s like if you have a small child and you tell all your friends how great your kid is, only to have him pee on the walls when they come visit. You don’t get furious and yell at the kid, he can’t help himself. You’re just disappointed. That’s where I stand with the C’s, I’m just disappointed.
However coinciding with this disappointment, another Boston team has emerged, one which apparently has been around all along, but one I’ve never paid much attention to. Following the firing of Claude Julien, the longest tenured coach in franchise history, and the appointment of Bruce, a.k.a. ‘Butch’ Cassidy, the Bruins suddenly have a pulse. I won’t sit here and attempt to break down the contrasts in style between Claude’s bunch and Cassidy’s Sundance kids, because I’m simply not qualified. But what I do know is over the last seven games, the B’s have won six, scored three or more goals on six occasions and are averaging over four goals per game compared to 2.6 gpg in 55 games with Julien at the helm. Most importantly, this team is suddenly compelling.
Prior to the last week, my affiliation with the Bruins was very minimal, outside of spending an unwise amount of money on Stanley Cup Final’s game six tickets in 2013. But after watching two games, the first two regular season NHL games I have ever brought myself to watch, I will take sole credit for saying I’ve discovered an entertaining team. What’s not to enjoy when the team is scoring, winning and mixing in the occasional scrum? (Which if hockey has one claim over the other major sports, it’s that guys can drop the gloves and duke it out Street Fighter style at any moment.) The only downside to watching games is seeing David Pastrnak dominate at the ripe age of 20 and making me feel as though my 22 years and five days on this planet have been utterly wasted.
Perhaps the Bruins are shinning brighter in my eyes because of my dissatisfaction with their arena-mates. But much like the Celtics have become the kid that I am disappointed in, the Bruins have become the one with zero expectations who just aced a math test and are now cleaning their room without having to be asked. How long will this good behavior last? That remains to be seen. But as long as they continue this exciting brand of play, I’m on board, and I’d encourage others to check out this mystery team too.
At least until the first pitch is thrown on Monday, April 3. Sorry Bruins, at that point my gaze will shift to my star pupil, and there’s not much you can do about that.
Mark Paulette is the senior producer on The Drive, weekdays 4pm to 6pm on 92.9fm The Ticket and streaming live at DriveShowMaine.com. Follow us on Twitter, @DriveShowMaine and “Like Us” on Facebook, Drive Show Maine.