You suck/no, you suck: Sobotka vs. Metro

We've reached the final of the Most Heroic and Greatest and Most Awesome Best Bruins of the Last Ten Years bracket: Vladimir Sobotka vs. Glen Metropolit. Here, two writers try to earn your vote.

Dan Ryan Says: Vote Metro. Vote Often.

Bruins fans have always appreciated the grinders: the players who may not be the most talented guys on the ice, but will work harder than anyone else and give the team 100% on each and every shift. Over the last ten illustrious years, no Bruin has grinded harder than Glen Metropolit.

Make no mistake: Metro earned everything he got as a Bruin. At the start of training camp in 2007, the 33-year-old Metropolit was offered a mere tryout with the Bruins, not a contract. And while that team wasn't exactly filled with stars and promise, it's still hard to make a rebuilding NHL team as an aging veteran. But make it he did, and he made the most of his opportunity: Metro played in all 89 Bruins games that season (82 regular season and seven playoff), recording a total of 34 points (12 goals, 22 assists).

Metro is the stereotypical hockey journeyman, and his career reads like a road map of obscure hockey destinations. He's played on teams in Nashville, Atlanta, Pensacola, Quebec, Grand Rapids, Portland, Washington, Tampa, Helsinki, Lugano (Switzerland), St. Louis, Philadelphia, Boston, Montreal, and Zug (Switzerland again). Zug! Metro and Johnny Cash probably would've gotten along well.

That Metro kept plugging after all of those obscure stops is remarkable, and is even more remarkable when one considers his upbringing. Metro grew up in a housing project in a rough neighborhood in Toronto, and used hockey as a distraction from more illegal pursuits. His brother Troy got wrapped up with the wrong crowd, but Metro dedicated himself to the game. He got a break as a teenager when he made an OJHL squad after the last round of cuts and never looked back, working harder than the rest.

As a Bruin, Metro always did what he was asked: he played on the fourth line in a grinding role, on the third line in a tertiary scoring role, killed penalties, and even filled in on the top two trios after Patrice Bergeron's season-ending concussion. Metro was a jack of all trades for the Bruins, a grinder's grinder.

And he occasionally did stuff like this, where he nearly single-handedly folded the Nashville Predators franchise:

Glen Metropolit nice goal (via Buddy Costantino)

As for Metro's challenger, Vladimir Sobotka: sure, he was a decent Bruin too. But let's just say that you'd never find Metro dying pink streaks into his hair (the fact that he had none is irrelevant), or dressing as a purple Teletubby for Halloween. Metro was a grinder to the core, worthy of earning the Dave Lewis Trophy as the Most Heroic and Greatest and Most Awesome Best Bruin of the Last Ten Years.

Some will argue that he should be disqualified for playing for the Montreal Canadiens for two seasons after leaving the Bruins, but here's a deep, analytical, number-crunching stat: the Bruins have NEVER not swept a Montreal Canadiens featuring Glen Metropolit from the playoffs. Never!

Secret double agent Metro! He deserves the title, so give him your vote.

Sarah Connors says: Vote Sobotka. This isn't even a question.

Glen Metropolit? Please, Vladimir Sobotka is taking this thing all the way to the bank. Sobotka is by FAR the most heroic and greatest and most awesome best Bruin of the last ten years, and aside from the fact that he never played for the filthy Canadiens like Metro (really? you're going to vote for a noted Hab? Gross. Go shower and think about what you've done.) here is a list of reasons why.

Reason 1: Because he started from the bottom (now he's here)

Yes, Sobotka was pretty much an AHL superstar. He was a point per game player through 68 regular season games over the course of three partial seasons in the AHL -- especially during that 2008-2009 season. Despite only playing 44 games in 2008-2009, he was third on the team in goals scored by the end of the year with 20, behind only Jeremy Reich and Mikko Lehtonen. (Blast from the past!)

Sobotka was also part of that 2008-2009 team that made a ridiculous run at the Calder Cup, so he has a place in the hearts of P-Bruins fans. Everyone loves him. He's kind of a big deal. Plus, his time in the AHL means videos like this with Brad Marchand and the third amigo Ned Lukacevic exist. Bless.

Reason 2: Everyone loves an underdog

It seems like every time Sobotka was called up in 2008-2009, there was a collective cheer from Bruins fans, and every time he was sent down there was a collective sigh. Sobotka pretty much played the role that Gregory Campbell does now -- play defense, lose fights, play lots of PK minutes. As an undersized Czech forward, you never expected the physical play that came out of that guy - so when he laid a big hit or got in a fight it was extra delightful.

It was frustrating and sad how he was bounced around so much, too. Going back through the Globe Bruins blog from 2009, it seems like every other entry is "sobotka sent down." "Sobotka called up." "Sobotka is the healthy scratch." But THEN! Occasionally he got to move up and play with forwards that weren't his typical linemates. The best was when he played with fellow Czech David Krejci and Good American Boy Blake Wheeler, because then stuff like this happened.


Reason 3: Because THOSE HITS, you guys.


Even starting in the AHL, Sobotka was the perfect compliment to Marchand. Marchand talked with his mouth, Sobotka had terrible English skills, so he talked with his behemoth hits. True story: one time in Providence, he hit a guy into the boards so hard he knocked the goal light off the glass behind the net. And the hit was clean as a whistle. Sobotka is all heart. He has eight career fights, two from the AHL, six in the show; granted, none of them are against heavyweights, and he's won exactly zero of said fights, but that's ALL HEART. Sobotka is a goddamn hero who will stick up for his teammates when necessary, despite the fact that he's smaller than pretty much all of them.

Reason 4: Let's be real, he is pretty easy on the eyes.

Look, there's a reason Sobotka made it this far and it's because he is strong in every area: good defense, occasional scoring, a team player, a little guy who fights and did pretty well for the Bruins in the AHL and the NHL - and on top of THAT, he looks like he belongs in a boy band. This is called playing to the ENTIRE audience and he does an excellent job at it.

So! When you put it all together, Sobotka is a ridiculously good looking yet tough little badass WITH GUMPTION (thank you Darren Pang) who could level people, lose at fights, is great on defense, and could score once in a while. Add that to the fact that he's kept on doing all these things for his new team PLUS he's added a scoring touch in the Blues system (6-16-32 in 134 games for the Bruins....and then went 7-22-29 in just 65 in his first Blues season) and...yep, seems like the most heroic and greatest and most awesome best Bruin of the last ten years to me. Sorry Metro, you just don't cut the mustard like Sobotka does.

Let's watch another video of him leveling a dude a foot taller than him, just for funsies.

WHO DO YOU THINK IS THE MOST HEROIC GREATEST MOST AWESOME BEST BRUIN OF THE LAST TEN YEARS?

VOTE NOW!

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