Thursday, March 7, 2013

Leafs vs Bruins: "Bar Fights", Appreciating Boston, and acknowledging the "P-word"
Ever since me and my father got the hockey package, the ability to watch any team at any given moment has been a spoil for the both of us. I love sitting on the couch and being able to watch a west coast game before I go to sleep; I love that if someone is having a big game, or we could be on the verge of history, I can make the switch over to whatever channel and watch it. And, I love the fact that I can watch a handful of teams that I've grown to really enjoy watching over the past few years, and see how their styles match up. 

One of those teams that I always try to make time for is the Boston Bruins. And yes, I hate them. I hate them with a passion. I hate the fact that they're so tough, and that they have guys in their lineup who can play at the NHL level, as well as beat the crap out of you. I hate that they aren't just the goons that the entire league makes them out to believe, and that they won a Stanley Cup in 2011. 

I hate that my Maple Leafs aren't the Boston Bruins. 

The Bruins are everything I could want in a hockey club. Never mind the fact that Milan Lucic is the closest reincarnation to Wendel Clark that our generation has ever seen (wears #17, physical forward, can put up offensive numbers, will take on anyone in the league), or that their captain might be the best defenseman in modern-day history. 

Of course, whenever Leafs-Bruins comes into discussion, one can't go three seconds without mentioning the infamous Phil Kessel deal, which sent two first round picks -- who ended up being Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton -- as well as a second round pick to Boston, in exchange for the young sniper. 

And yeah, I'll make that deal again and again and again and again. 

Now, here comes that infamous "p-word" that can cause quite the stir in the city of Toronto.

This is porn to me 
The reason I write today's column, though, is that tonight signifies more than just two points in the standings. This years Maple Leafs squad is in a unique position that it hasn't been in for a while: a playoff spot. This team, with the help of solid goaltending from the likes of James Reimer and Ben Scrivens, is currently 5th in the Eastern Conference. And, despite failing grade nine math, I think that equates to a playoff spot. Maybe? I dunno, it's been too long. Beyblade's were still cool when Jeremy Roenick made me cry in 2004. 

I love playoff hockey, and I love watching the battles that take place in those best-of-seven series. The only reason that I have never been able to really fully embrace it, is because my team hasn't been involved for all those years. But, if what's transpired in the first half of this shortened season is any indication, the Toronto Maple Leafs could be in the playoffs for the first time in nine years. 

And what we have seen so far this year, gives me hope that this team can produce meaningful results. Watching the highlights from last night, I took great satisfaction in knowing that the blue and white absolutely punched the Ottawa Senators in the mouth. I love stuff like that. I love watching my favourite team trounce their most hated rival. This 2012-13 Leafs squad has made me get excited to watch every game every night for the first time in years.

Tonight, the Leafs are going into TD Garden, and will be facing the toughest team in hockey. For years prior, this team was bullied and pushed around, and no one was able to stand up to them. That's done. It's over. I'm sick of it, and so were they. Tonight, Randy Carlyle is going to play his tough guys against their tough guys. Claude Julien is more than happy to oblige him, and knows that tonight is gonna be a battle. Boston's in 4th, Toronto's in 5th: Leafs win, and those positions switch. That's all that matters. 

And folks, it won't be just about fighting. We could go all 60 minutes without a single scrap -- it's not likely -- but there's a chance. What is guaranteed, is that tonight will be a physical match-up that will be played in front of 20,000 screaming Bostonian's. They'll be chirping. They'll be scrums after the whistle. It's gonna be a bar fight. You ever been in a bar fight? You ever take on a bully who's living life a little fuller than you? When push comes to shove, it's a bar fight. BAR FIGHT. GET READY FOLKS!!! YEAAAAHHHHHH BABY!!!!!

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