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Thornton: Boston Bruins Fans ‘Should Be Excited’ About Team

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While many Boston Bruins fans are still hung up on the Bruce Cassidy firing or understandably grousing about a dysfunctional player development system that’s missed on a lot of draft picks over the last five plus years, it’s also always important to gauge outside perspectives when it comes to the Black and Gold.

The passion of the hockey fan can turn things hyper-critical when it’s not always as bad as it seems, but that being said the Boston Bruins are also coming off a season where they were first round playoff victims, even if they pushed a strong Carolina Hurricanes team to a Game 7 scenario. There’s also the undeniable fact that the Bruins are up against the salary cap ceiling with Boston Bruins GM Don Sweeney trying to figure out ways to move out contracts like Mike Reilly and Nick Foligno that simply haven’t worked out the way Boston hoped they would.

The bottom line, though, with this Boston Bruins team is that they still look like they will be playoff caliber in an improved Atlantic Division, and that Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci returning will make then an infinitely better, more entertaining hockey team capable of at least a shot at greatness eight months down the road.

Old friend Shawn Thornton works for the Florida Panthers as Chief Revenue Officer these days, but even he recognized what Boston Bruins have staring right in front of them as the last bastion of the 2011 Stanley Cup team gathers together for one last run.

“That core has been together for a long time,” said Thornton, while a guest on with WEEI’s Gresh and Keefe during the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon last week, “I think this town has been pretty fortunate about that core being able to stay together. They’ve brought in some ancillary pieces around them, some really good ones like Pasta [David Pastrnak] and some other guys.”

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“For them to come back another year, the town should be excited. You don’t have that run forever. It doesn’t last for 20 or 30 years, so we should probably embrace what’s going on this year. Who knows how long they’re going to be around?”

So while Boston Bruins fans will be, perhaps understandably, hung up on what they don’t have or anxiety-ridden about David Pastrnak’s future entering the last year of his current contract, perhaps it’s time to take a breath and realize that longtime B’s mainstays like Bergeron, Krejci and Marchand aren’t going to be around forever, just as we’ve seen with B’s pillars like Zdeno Chara, Kevan Miller and Tuukka Rask moving on in recent years.

It may be a lot worse a couple of years down the road unless the Boston Bruins begin finding young replacements for these players that are gearing up again this season and doing it at a reduced rate to make certain the team is a competitive one again this season.

Joe Haggerty has covered the Boston Bruins and the NHL for 18 years with NBC Sports Boston, WEEI.com, the Boston Metro and the Woburn Daily Times, and currently serves as lead Bruins reporter and columnist for Boston Hockey Now. Haggs always strives to capture the spirt of the thing any way that he can.

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Orrfan

Hey Thornton. If they play well and have a good season (and don’t die in the 1st round of the playoffs), we’ll all have a good time and appreciate what we have. Personally, I think the Krejci line will be so spectacular, both Bergy and Krejci may come back for another season or two.

Either way. I don’t need you telling me what to think. I’ll be excited when I feel it’s time to be. Not when you order me to. I’m sure you understand, the expletives are implied.

Jimmy Murphy

Lighten up Francis

Andy20

haha that was the first comment that popped into my head.

Rick W Murray

Yeah grateful for First round exits and the fact the Teflon Don has been extended. Not likely, I won’t be happy till Don and Lurch are out of beantown for good,

John MacLean

I’m with you here, Joe. I have so many memories of the old and the new Gardens. I remember sitting on a rail outside a parking lot ramp, and getting Peter McNab’s autograph as a kid, talking with him about Colorado, meeting Ray Borque in an alley walking over to Charlestown to meet my Mom, and the Terry O’Reilly retirement game. Now, I’m living in Vermont, and get season tickets to the UVM catamounts hockey games, and will watch many of the young Bruins prospects when they come to town. Don’t know how many B’s games I’ll get to see… Read more »

Ernest King

Hey JM, Nice post to read..Bergeron actually was drafted in 2003 in the 2nd round 45th overall..He made the team out of camp after barely turning 18 [born july 24/85] and was impressive scoring 16 goals 23 assists for 39 pts in 71 games..Very rare as I’m sure you know making the team after being drafted 45th..Hard to believe 44 players went before Bergy..On a personal note, I’ll be 60 in Feb and I still have that Bruin passion but I’m more understanding of the situation now than I used to be..Yes Sweeney has us in Cap hell because of… Read more »

John MacLean

I didn’t recall him being a second round pick. This core included players like Marchand and Lucic as well. It was a solid group once you added in all the other player streams. I’m interested to watch Lysell, and others, in the coming months.

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