As the autumn wind makes its last go around, and as we stuff our faces with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pies there are lots to be thankful for as hockey fans this Thanksgiving. Here are five things that we are thankful for here at Bruins Daily.
1) New additions paying off
General Manager Peter Chiarelli made quite the headlines this off-season when he sent Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley to Dallas in exchange for Loui Eriksson and Reilly Smith. Additionally, Chia signed Jarome Iginla just months after he choose the Penguins over the Bruins at the trade deadline, while also saying goodbye to Nathan Horton, Jaromir Jagr and Andrew Ference, just to name a few.
The trade with Dallas will always be debatable, but so far the deal is benefiting both squads. Seguin, who was notorious for his off-ice antics, is finally shining bright with the Stars (no pun intended) with 23 points (12 goals, 11 assists) in 23 games, while Peverley continues to log good minutes on the team’s third line. Meanwhile – last night’s debacle aside – Eriksson is heating up in November notching 10 points, and Smith is surprising many as the team’s second leading scorer with 17 points.
Sure, Iginla has had an up and down season so far, but goals seem to come in bunches for the long-time Calgary Flame. Moreover, he’s doing all the little things right on the Bruins’ top line, which is benefiting Milan Lucic and David Krejci, who each have 18 points to lead the Black and Gold.
Things aren’t perfect by any means and there’s still work left to be done as seen in Wednesday’s 6-1 loss to the Red Wings in Detroit. But the new additions have fared nicely through 24 games of the 2013-14 season.
2) Claude Julien, Cam Neely and Peter Chiarelli
The trio are one of a kind, aren’t they?
The last time the Black and Gold missed the playoffs was in 2006-07, Chiarelli’s first year. In the off-season, he fired Dave Lewis and brought in Julien, who was fired from New Jersey just days before the start of the 2007 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Just a few months later, the Jacobs family brought in Neely to be the team’s Vice President.
Surely enough, Julien, Neely and Chiarelli continue to be key cogs with the Black and Gold as they haven’t missed the playoffs since that horrendous 2006-07 campaign. Additionally, they’ve witnessed three division titles in the old Northeast Division, two Eastern Conference championships, and a Stanley Cup.
Both Julien and Chiarelli have faced their share of public scrutiny here in Boston. But through it all, Neely, whose title was upgraded to President before the 2010-11 season, has kept those two in tact. It’s certainly paid off, as Chiarelli continues to wheel and deal successfully while Julien installs a tough, disciplined brand of hockey behind the Bruins bench.
The days of a revolving door of head coaches and Mike O’Connell as GM are long gone, Bruins fans. Be thankful that you have these three overseeing the hockey operations side of things.
3) Continued growth in The Hub of Hockey
Prior to Julien, Neely and Chiarelli, the Black and Gold hardly got any press. But who can blame the media as the B’s watched the Patriots, Celtics and Red Sox all win championships.
Nowadays, that is hardly the case. Sure, the Bruins took a backseat while the Sox went on their run to the World Series title this October. But no longer are they ignored by the likes of the sports segment of the local news and Glenn Ordway.
Instead they found a flagship station, 98.5 The Sports Hub, that often gives the Bruins great publicity thanks to Dave Goucher, Bob Beers, “Felger & Mazz” and “Toucher and Rich”, just to name a few. The broadcast duo of the homer known as Jack Edwards (the Johnny Most of hockey) and the insightful Andy Brickley continue to entertain the audience on NESN. Joe Haggerty continues to provide insightful commentary on Comcast SportsNet New England. And other publications like The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald, ESPN Boston, the New England Hockey Journal, and Days of Y’Orr (and of course, Bruins Daily) give the B’s some added exposure.
Additionally, the Bruins have sold out 180 consecutive games at the TD Garden. And youth hockey around the New England area is growing thanks to the Bruins’ success.
Not bad for a team that played in half empty buildings with little publicity after the first few seasons of the second NHL Lockout that cancelled the entire 2004-05 season.
4) No Lockout
Its safe to say that the NHL came out with record revenues after the lockout of 2004-05. But that was nearly wasted at this time last year as the players and owners bickered over the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Thankfully, after months of bitter negotiations, the two sides settled in time to salvage a shortened season. And they didn’t fare badly in the immediate aftermath as the Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks, two Original Six franchises, drew record television ratings in their battle for the Stanley Cup.
Although the salary cap took the hit and forced many GM’s to make tough decisions this off-season, the league is set to go on to bigger and better things. Just recently, Commissioner Gary Bettman and company orchestrated a record 12-year deal with Rogers SportsNet for the Canadian TV rights that will begin next season. The Winter Classic is scheduled to have over 100,000 in attendance and potentially record revenues at Michigan Stadium this New Year’s Day. And with more coverage than ever before on print, television and digital platforms, the salary cap and team revenues will both increase during the length of the new CBA, which expires on September, 2022.
None of this would have been possible if the owners and players cancelled another season. Thankfully, at least for the next eight seasons, we can focus more on the on-ice action, rather than HRR, concessions and all the other shenanigans during CBA negotiations.
5) Our readers
Because without you, we would not have seen record numbers during the 2013 lockout shortened season. We would not have had a content sharing agreement with Boston.com. We would not have launched a new website. We wouldn’t have debuted Bruins Daily TV in the fall. We would not have raised over $16,000 for charity at this year’s Frosted Fall. And certainly, we wouldn’t have had over 8,000 “likes” on Facebook and more than 2,600 followers on Twitter.
Simply put, without our readers, we wouldn’t be where we are today. And for that, we can’t thank you enough for supporting Bruins Daily as a source for Bruins news, commentary and analysis.
Hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving!