As Boston Bruins Brad Marchand prepares to play his 1,000th game in the NHL on Tuesday, the first-year captain is suddenly tasked with getting what’s becoming a rudderless ship back on track.
After another abysmal performance void of emotion and purpose in a 3-0 loss to the Washington Capitals on Saturday afternoon, the Boston Bruins were booed off the ice for the second time in three games. The first shower of boos came after a flat 4-1 loss to the middling Calgary Flames last Tuesday. Sandwiched in between that stinker and the dud the Bruins laid against another average-at-best team on Saturday was one of the Bruins’ best 60-minute efforts of the season in a 4-0 win over the league-leading Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night.
“They’ve got a quick memory, short memory. But that’s their right,” Brad Marchand said of the boos after the loss on Saturday night. “They pay for tickets to come watch, and they can cheer if they like what they see; they can boo if they don’t. So that’s up to them. Obviously, we know we have a very passionate sports city and very passionate fans, and they expect us to win every game. It’s not gonna happen, but they got to see the effort, and obviously they didn’t like it tonight.”
First of all, yes, the NHL betting odds that you can win every game are slim, Brad; they, just as you said, want a lunchpail effort in as many games as possible. Honestly, growing up in Boston and going to plenty of games in the old Boston Garden with my grandfather, I saw plenty of Bruins teams that were stuck in mediocrity like the Flames and Capitals. However, they were hardly ever booed off the ice because they never took nights off like you and your teammates have over the last week.
That leads me to the second point you made that I disagree with. Boston Bruins and Boston sports fans, in general, do not have short memories at all. In fact, they may have the longest memories of any sports market in North America. Until the string of championships over the last 20-plus years arrived, this fanbase was notorious for self-inflicted torture and reliving their teams’ epic failures and choke jobs. Thankfully, you and the Bruins, as well as the Boston Red Sox, New England Patriots, and Boston Celtics, have provided titles and plenty of winning, but still, and maybe sadly, Boston Bruins fans remember the bad times as much as the good times since the Patriots began the championship run 22 years ago.
So, with that in mind, and with some similar efforts against the Detroit Red Wings and New York Rangers over Thanksgiving weekend, as well as against the Winnipeg Jets over Christmas weekend, know that Bruins fans won’t be forgetting the last week anytime soon. In fact, they definitely haven’t forgotten what happened last April against the Florida Panthers and won’t until you and your teammates heed the advice of your head coach here:
“I love our fans. That’s what I think. They’re hockey-knowledgeable. They’re not wrong. I don’t have answers. If I did, I would’ve given them to them, but it’s not acceptable, and we’re not going to accept it. We will change, or things will change. We’re going to have to look at everything, but it just comes down to if there’s a puck between you and I, I want to break your leg to get it. And we don’t have that right now in two of the last three games. That’s what it boils down to, and it’s not acceptable, and we were just bad.”
You know this just as much as anyone in that dressing room, Brad, and that’s why, starting with your milestone game on Tuesday night, you need to lead the way and hope the fans who pay top dollar to see you play start to suffer from temporary amnesia. Unfortunately, though, unless you at least make the Eastern Conference Final this spring, the NHL betting odds that they do are slim.