Postgame Spread
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Thursday, June 01, 2006

Ain't Got No Man-Crush On This Team, Believe Me    

Not that it matters, but I thought I should at least ring in with some Bruins talk.  Why wouldn't I want to discuss the most pathetic franchise in Boston, and arguably in the entire NHL?

They hired a new patsy fall guy whipping boy general manager recently, Peter Chiarelli.  Harvard Law grad, not much of a player.  He was their second third twelfth last choice.  They were turned down by one of their top choices, Ray Shero, in favor of the same job with the Pittsburgh Penguins.  This is the same Pittsburgh franchise that is a constant threat to leave town, declare bankruptcy, or just up and fold.  Yes, that job is more attractive than the Bruins' GM job, and rightly so.  I'd rather lead a team into folding than lick Jeremy Jacobs' and Harry Sinden's boots for a few years.  It's not like there's a possible bright side.  Those morons are just going to do to Chiarelli what they did to O'Connell... make him execute one of Sinden's trademark talent-for-profits trades, then fire him and pin the trade on him once he's gone.  (Any longtime Bruins fan can recognize Harry's stench on the Thornton "deal."  Regardless of what Harry says, that trade was an executive order.)  Once again, an opportunity to do things right, instead of in spite, passes them by.  Nice job, guys.  Way to get the message.

Like every Bruins rant, this one ends with the observation that the Bruins will never win with Jeremy Jacobs as owner.  But this time I will use the magic of allegory to make my point.

Jeremy Jacobs is a cigarette smoker, and the Bruins are his lungs.  Jacobs smokes because he enjoys it, because he likes the secret-brotherhood-type benefits that come with being a smoker, and because he can.  For the first 10-20 years or so, he considers the health arguments against smoking to be irrelevant... he observes no negative side effects, thus reinforcing that voice in his head telling him that these things aren't that bad for him.  Given that the social profits are so compelling, he keeps smoking.

Eventually, the other shoe drops.  He starts hacking up black crud (1996).  He gets his first tumor (2000).  Recently he's been in the hospital recovering from a near-fatal case of pneumonia (2005-06).  The signals, which had been there the whole time, don't become real until he has inflicted serious physical damage upon himself.  But anyone who has watched smokers slowly kill themselves before knows it's not that easy.  So there's Jeremy Jacobs, recovering from pneumonia in the intensive care ward, sticking his face out the crack of his window so he can sneak a cigarette.  Sure, he'll occasionally tell you how he knows it's bad for him, and he knows he has to quit, but it's all lip service.  Deep down inside, he still has no idea what the big deal is.

You wonder what has to happen before this fucking stupid person realizes what he's doing.

In the hours before a pivotal Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Finals, between two franchises that went from train wreck to Cup semifinalist since last season, it's important to celebrate what happens when a team is sincere about change.  So hats off to the Hurricanes and the Sabres.  Two real teams, with real players and real plans.

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