In 2008-2009, the Boston Bruins were the number one seed in the Eastern Conference, but nobody in the fan-base was really all that confident in their ability to win it because the Boston Bruins had historically kicked the fans in the nuts whenever they chose to get too confident.
In 2009-2010, the Bruins struggled all season long, turned it on late and reached the playoffs as the Eastern Conferences’s sixth seed, only nobody who was a fan of the Bruins were all that confident about the teams chances because they struggled all season long. The next year, fans still lacked confidence; a combination of playing Montreal and the aforementioned kick to the nuts caused some tension. Of course, the Bruins won it all that year and everything was supposed to be calmer.
Nope. The next two postseasons featured Bruins teams that started the season firing on all cylinders before struggling down the stretch for numerous reasons and they entered the postseason with tempered expectations. The first time, they lost to Washington in the first round of the playoffs. The one after that, last year, the Bruins struggled to take down Toronto, were all but eliminated, before basically ripping off nine and a third games of perfect hockey to make it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Despite their efforts in the final two games of the Cup Finals, all signs point now to a Bruins team that the fanbase can be confident in entering the postseason. The demons of the long wait between cup victories is over and the poor efforts of the Bruins in the regular season were a thing of the past. In 2013-2014, the Boston Bruins were the best team in hockey. It was not wire to wire, but there was always a sense that the Bruins could flip the switch whenever they wanted to and prove that they were the best. As the season progressed, they got better and played better as a team. The Bruins team that will take the ice tonight is very likely the best this Bruins team could be at any point in the season, so why isn’t the fan-base overly confident like they should be?
Two major factors. One, the playoffs are a merciless bitch. The second confidence is had is when two pucks bounce the other way and suddenly the team is an a two games to none hole in the first round. The other factor? The team they are facing. The Detroit Red Wings took it to the Bruins in this season, they have been playing playoff hockey for essentially a month and the Bruins goalie, Tuukka Rask, has his worst career stats against the Detroit Red Wings.
Ultimately, its probably better this way. As I live in Washington and have numerous friends who are fans of the sports-teams, I have been joking with them how it must be nice to not have any playoff stress this season. Typically, stress is a terrible thing to have, but in the case of the NHL playoffs, it’s lively. Caring about something so much that you can’t sleep after a triple-overtime loss in the playoffs has a weird way of making you feel alive. Every rush up and down the ice has so much possibility and tension, that each rush could be the rush that flips the entire playoffs on its end. Fans can’t be confident about any team, because one seeds lose can lose, all it takes are lucky bounces and a hot goalie.
The playoffs started two nights ago, but the real playoffs start tonight for Bruins fans. Nobody is confident in anything, but that’s the way it should be.