Stanley Cup Final 2013: Why you absolutely should cheer for the Boston Bruins

Bruce Bennett

Are you a new member to the Bruins bandwagon? Welcome! Congratulations on your excellent life decision to root for the Bruins over the Blackhawks. Are you still a little torn? WHY? In case you are here to learn about the team you've decided to embrace, or to try to be swayed, here is a primer for the Bruins team and why they're awesome.

Reasons the Bruins are Awesome

  • >Did you see that comeback against Toronto? That was nothing short of magical. Don't you want to cheer for a team that has actual magic powers?
  • Then we steamrolled the Rangers in the 2nd round and the Penguins in the 3rd round. Those are two pretty unlikable teams, so you're welcome for the way we destroyed them.
  • The Bruins started a few traditions during the 2011 Stanley Cup run. One of them was to award the player of the game a "jacket" to wear. The previous player of the game chooses who to pass it on to after the next win. In 2011, the jacket was an old school Bruins Starter Jacket that e-bay savvy Andrew Ference bought for like $20. This year, it's an Army Ranger jacket that a friend of Ference who is an actual Army Ranger gave him.
  • The other tradition started in 2011 was to wave flags with each player's name and number on it before the game as the giant Bruins flag goes around the lower bowl of the arena. A flag captain is chosen for each game, and in 2011, it was various former Bruins greats. This year, the flag they wave is a "Boston Strong" flag and each captain is a victim of or first responder to the Boston Marathon bombings.
  • Each player on the team is awesome, and brings another reason to love this team to the table. Although they pride themselves on being a "team" without any "superstars" (not even The Jagr), get to know each player and tell me you don't love this team.
  • 2011 was really awesome.

The Team: Forwards

In an attempt to actually help you learn about the team in preparation for the finals, I'll present the order of the players in order of line combinations. This is how the lines currently look, which are significantly different due to the injury to Gregory Campbell (reason number one to love this team - even Blackhawks and Penguins fans know they watched him kill a penalty for almost a full minute on a broken leg and it was the most badass thing they have ever seen).

  • First line: Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Nathan Horton
  • Second line: Marchand - Bergeron - Jagr
  • Third line: Daugavins - Peverley - Seguin (formerly Peverley - Kelly - Seguin)
  • Merlot line: Paille - Kelly - Thornton (formerly Paille - Campbell - Thornton)

Milan Lucic, #17

  • Age: 25 (6/7/88)
  • From: Vancouver, BC, Canada
  • How he became a Bruin: drafted by the Bruins in 2006, 2nd round, 50th overall. (Draft pick courtesy of Edmonton in the Sergei Samsonov trade. Thanks!)
  • Career numbers: Regular season: 405 games played, 97 goals, 142 assists, 239 points, 600 penalty minutes. Playoffs: 78 GP, 18 goals, 30 assists, 48 points, 151 PIM.
  • Fun Facts:
    • He won the Memorial Cup with the Vancouver Giants of the WHL in 2007, and was MVP of the tournament. His number is now retired by the team.
    • He's a nerd about sports trivia and was the only player who knew the answer to "the last year two original six teams met in the finals."
    • >He once kicked someone's ass for calling him a hunchback. He has a condition called Scheuermann's disease, which causes a curve in the upper back, although it is painless.
    • He won the Bruins Seventh Player Award in 2008. The Seventh Player Award is voted on by fans and is awarded to the player that excels expectations every year, although it's become a sort of popularity contest because fans are a bit stupid.
    • Lucic's parents are Serbian immigrants. This isn't really relevant, except a lot of people automatically ask what country he is from, and don't believe he is Canadian.
    • His daughter was born on January 17th, because he wears 17. It's science.
  • Why you should love him: He is considered the "ultimate Bruin" often compared to Cam Neely because, I don't know, he is enormous, tough as hell, fights and scores. It's no coincidence he was born the day after Cam Neely (also from Vancouver). He is the last Bruin to score 30 goals in a season (2010-11). He skates shockingly well for suck a giant. He was even the only Bruin to be cheered while skating the Cup on the Vancouver Canuck's ice when they won in 2011, because he's from Vancouver. And because he's awesome.

David Krejci, #46

  • Age: 27 (4/27/86)
  • From: Sternberk, Czech Republic
  • How he became a Bruin: Drafted by the Bruins in the 2004 draft in the 2nd round, 63rd overall.
  • Career numbers: Regular season: 424 GP, 91 G, 218 A, 309 P, 158 PIM. Playoffs: 75 GP, 29 G, 39 A, 68 P, 30 PIM.
  • Fun facts:
    • Nicknames include The Matrix (dubbed by Jack Edwards) because of how he slows plays down with his awesome skills.
    • Represented the Czech Republic in the 2010 Olympics.
    • Led all playoff scorers in 2011 postseason (12 G, 11 A = 23 P in 25 GP). Leads all scorers in the current postseason (most points with 21, most goals with 9, 2nd in assists with 12).
    • Holds the record for most goals scored in a playoff season by a Czech player (THAT'S RIGHT, HE BROKE JAGR'S RECORD OF 11 GOALS IN 2011 WITH 12 GOALS)
    • Has two hat tricks in the playoffs: 2011 in an Eastern Conference Finals loss against Tampa Bay, and this year against Toronto, where he capped off the hat trick with the overtime winner.
    • Is the best at Words With Friends.
  • Why you should love him: How can you not?! He is one of the most talented players in the league, but so underrated, probably because he refuses to celebrate his goals like a jackass. He's also got a great sense of humor, such as breaking the tension one day during the Rick Nash trade sweepstakes at the 2012 deadline by saying that Tyler Seguin was traded for Nash. He is playing with his Czech idol, Jagr, yet is putting up as good - if not better - numbers than Jagr ever put up in his own career. BECAUSE HE'S AWESOME. #BecauseItsTheKrejci

Nathan Horton, #18

  • Age: 28 (5/28/85)
  • From: Welland, Ontario, Canada
  • How he became a Bruin: Traded (along with Gregory Campbell) to Boston from Florida (the team that drafted him 3rd overall in 2003) in June 2010 in exchange for Dennis Wideman and draft picks.
  • Career numbers: Regular season: 591 games played, 198 G, 204 A, 402 points, 543 PIM. (Regular season as a Bruin: 169 GP, 56 G, 51 A, 107 P, 161 PIM), Playoffs: 37 GP, 15 G, 19 A, 34 P, 43 PIM.
  • Fun facts:
    • Scored 31 goals in 2006-07 with the Panthers
    • Recorded a playoff Gordie Howe hat trick vs Philadelphia on May 4, 2011. Had another one this season vs Washington on March 16, 2013.
    • In 4 career game sevens, he has scored at least one goal except for one (2012 loss vs the Capitals).
    • Is second in playoff scoring with 17 points.
    • Leads all skaters in the playoffs right now with a ridiculous +21. The next highest is Krejci with +14.
    • He is an Unrestricted Free Agent this off-season :( The realization that he may not return to the Bruins is the primary motivational factor behind Lucic putting the Bruins on his back to mount the comeback in game 7 against Toronto (totally factual statement).
  • Why you should love him: He's always smiling. Look at that him. Smiling. Oh right and his ability to score huge playoff goals in his very first playoff appearances - in seven years with the Panthers, he never made the playoffs. In his first year with the Bruins, he won a Cup. In his very first playoff series (vs Montreal, 2011) he scored two overtime game-winning goals, including the series-clincher in game 7. He also scored the series clinching goal in game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals against Tampa Bay. In his first appearance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Because he's awesome.

Brad Marchand, #63

  • Age: 25 (5/11/88)
  • From: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • How he became a Bruin: Drafted by the Bruins in 2006 in the 3rd round, 71st overall
  • Career numbers: Regular season: 218 GP, 67 G, 66 A, 133 P, 185 PIM. Playoffs: 48 GP, 16 G, 18 A, 34 P, 58 PIM.
  • Fun facts:
    • In 2011, he was the leading rookie scorer in the playoffs (11 G, 8 A, 19 P, +12). That year he also set the Bruins record for goals by a rookie in a playoff season.
  • Why you should love him: It's hard to love him unless you're a Bruins fan. Which is precisely why many do love him - his ability to piss off literally everyone except his own team. He's also pretty clutch - his rookie season was 2010-11 and he scored 20 goals, plus another 11 in the playoffs, including 2 in game 7 against the Canucks. He was a big part of the Cup run as just a rookie.

Patrice Bergeron, #37

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  • Age: 27 (7/24/87)
  • From: Ancienne-Lorette, Quebec, Canada
  • How he became a Bruin: Drafted by the Bruins in 2003 at 45th overall in the 2nd round
  • Career numbers: Regular season: 579 GP, 153 G, 280 A, 488 A, 180 PIM, +70. Playoffs: 77 GP, 16 G, 37 A, 53 P, 62 PIM.
  • Fun facts:
    • Permanent alternate captain.
    • Scored the Cup-clinching goal against Vancouver in game 7. (Also add a shorthanded goal in that game!)
    • Longest reigning Bruin (has been with the team since he was 18, the 2003-04 season).
    • Despite suffering a broken neck and almost career-ending concussion, and 3 subsequent concussions (SEE YOU IN HELL RANDY JONES), he is one of the best players in the league, and definitely the best-two way player. He finally won his first Selke Trophy last season, and is a finalist again this year.
    • He is a member of the Triple Gold Club: he won a gold medal with Canada at the World Championship in 2004, at the Olympics in 2010, and a Stanley Cup (obviously in 2011). He also won a World Junior Championship with Canada in 2005.
    • He is everything a hockey player should be. He will even fight you, Evgeni Malkin.
    • He had his own episode of NHL 36, which was hilarious because he's so awkward.
    • >I can't even deal with thinking about how awesome he is anymore.
  • Why you should love him: WHY SHOULDN'T YOU LOVE HIM? OH MY GOD PATRICE BERGERON IS A PERFECT HUMAN BEING. He has been a Bruin since he was a wee 18 year old who didn't speak English, living in Marty Lapointe's basement, and spending the lockout year as a 19 year old playing for the Providence Bruins. There is nothing bad you can say about this man. NOTHING. I WILL FIGHT ANYONE WHO THINKS OTHERWISE! SERIOUSLY. HE IS PERFECT.

Jaromir Jagr, #68

  • Age: ANCIENT, AMIRITE. Sorry, that wasn't funny at all. He's 41. (2/15/72).
  • From: Kladno, Czech Republic.
  • How he became a Bruin: Traded to the Bruins from the Dallas Stars in exchange for LANE MACDERMID (brb crying forever) and some other prospects at the 2013 deadline.
  • Career numbers: Regular season: 1,391 games played, 681 goals, 1,007 assists, 1,688 points. Playoffs: 196 GP, 78 G, 118 A, 196 P.
  • Fun facts:
    • Like Bergy, he is a member of the Triple Gold Club. He is one of two Czechs to be a member of the club (the other is Jiri Slegr).
    • Once had the world's most magnificent mullet. Fact.
    • He has won the Golden Stick, an award given out in the Czech Republic annually to the best Czech hockey player, a record 11 times. He currently leads the voting for the 2013 award, but DAVID KREJCI SHOULD SWOOP IN AND WIN (last we checked, Krejci was fifth).
    • He won two Cups in his first two seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
    • He has played for the Penguins, the NY Rangers, the Washington Capitals, the Philadelphia Flyers, and Dallas Stars.
    • He also spent three years in the KHL over the NHL. He owns the KHL team HC Kladno.
    • >Has won the following NHL awards: Art Ross Trophy five times, Lester B. Pearson Award three ties, Hart Trophy. Also: he has played in bajillion NHL All-Star Games, including seven times being named to the starting lineup. He by far and away holds the record for most goals, assists, points, and everything by a Czech player in the NHL. HE IS THE JAGR. For more about all his records and crap, just do what I did...read his wiki page.
    • He wears the number 68 to commemorate the "Prague Spring".
  • Why you should love him: BECAUSE HE IS JAROMIR JAGR. Do you really need more of a reason?

Kaspars Daugavins, #16

Rich Peverley, #49

  • Age: 30 (7/8/82)
  • From: Guelph, Ontario, Canada
  • How he became a Bruin: Traded to Boston from the Atlanta Thrashers in exchange for Blake Wheeler and Mark Stuart on February 18, 2011.
  • Career numbers: Regular season: 380 GP, 77 G, 134 A, 211 P, 152 PIM (with the Bruins: 127 GP, 21 G, 46 A, 67 Points). Playoffs: 53 GP, 8 G, 12 A, 20 P, 33 PIM.
  • Fun facts:
    • Is the Raptor Jesus. Needs no explanation.
    • Eats pizza to celebrate winning the Cup.
    • PhD in fist pumping.
    • His full name is actually John Richard Peverley (this one is actually true).
    • Was never drafted - worked his way into the NHL after four years of college hockey at St. Lawrence, he played in the ECHL and AHL until he made it into the NHL with the Predators, and then was claimed off of waivers by the Thrashers.
  • Why you should love him: There's something so easily lovable about undrafted players that end up making such a big impact in the NHL. And are also dinosaur Jesuses.

Tyler Seguin, #19

  • Age: 21 (1/31/92).
  • From: Brampton, Ontario, Canada.
  • How he became a Bruin: Drafted 2nd overall by the Bruins in 2010. Draft pick was from Toronto, acquired in the Phil Kessel trade.
  • Career numbers: Regular season: 206 Gp, 56 G, 65 A, 121 P, 64 PIM. Playoffs: 36 GP, 6 G, 8 A, 14 P, 4 PIM.
  • Fun facts:
    • Scored three goals in his first two playoff games (which were the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals in 2011 vs Tampa - he had been a healthy scratch during the previous playoff games.)
    • Once had to re-take a shootout attempt because someone threw a hot dog on the ice. That was hilarious.
    • His first career hat trick was against the Maple Leafs in Toronto. That also amuses me to no end.
    • Played in the 2010-11 Young Stars game, and 2011-12 All Star game.
  • Why you should love him: Most people already do, if they're 15 year old girls. It took me some time to warm up to him, personally, because of all the hype surrounding his arrival as the number two overall pick. He earned my love though, because he is awesome at scoring goals (although not currently) and give him credit - he has let Claude Julien turn him into a two-way player in a way I never thought remotely possible. Good job back checking even when you can't score, kid.

Daniel Paille, #20

  • Age: 29 (4/15-84 - same day as Tim Thomas!)
  • From: Welland, Ontario, Canada.
  • How he became a Bruin: Traded to Boston from Buffalo in exchange for a third round draft pick on October 20, 2009.
  • Career numbers: Regular season: 427 GP, 70 G, 71 A, 141 P, 117 PIM. Playoffs: 62 GP, 6 G, 8 A, 14 P, 8 PIM.
  • Fun facts:
    • He was a first round draft pick - 20th overall by Buffalo in 2002.
    • He is so derpy that he scored a goal in the 2011 playoffs on an empty net despite his best efforts not to (so his linemate could score the goal). That would happen to him.
  • Why you should love him: He is the derpiest derp that ever derped. We got him for basically nothing from Buffalo, and he has blossomed into such an awesome role player that will almost never score on a breakaway even though he generates dozens. Oh Pie.

Chris Kelly, #23

  • Age: 32 (11/11/80)
  • From: Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
  • How he became a Bruin: Traded to the Bruins from Ottawa for a second round pick on February 15, 2011.
  • Career numbers: Regular season: 603 GP, 100 G, 129 A, 229 P, 312 PIM. Playoffs: 84 GP, 10 G, 19 A, 29 P, 33 PIM.
  • Fun facts:
    • Had a career amazing high 20 goals last season, because his teammates rule.
    • Went to the finals with Ottawa in 2007.
    • He is an alternate captain for away games.
  • Why you should love him: He, like Peverley, is a very important role player. His value was obvious when he went and broke his leg earlier this season and the team then forgot how to win games for a while.

Shawn Thornton, #22

  • Age: 35 (7/23/77)
  • From: Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
  • How he became a Bruin: Signed as an Unrestricted Free Agent on July 1, 2007.
  • Career numbers: Regular season: 495 GP, 33 G, 47 A, 80 P, 832 PIM. Playoffs: 83 GP, 1 G, 5 A, 6 P, 75 PIM.
  • Fun facts:
  • Why you should love him: He is hilarious, the definition of a "character" player that you always hear about the importance of having in a locker room, and is actually skilled for a "goon". Did I mention he's hilarious?

Injured Forwards:

Gregory Campbell, #11

  • Age: 29 (12/17/83).
  • From: London, Ontario, Canada.
  • How he became a Bruin: Traded to Boston from Florida with Nathan Horton June 2010 in exchange for Dennis Wideman and a draft pick.
  • Career numbers: Regular season: 569 GP, 54 G, 89 A, 143 P, 526 PIM. Playoffs: 47 GP, 4 G, 9 A, 13 P, 15 PIM.
  • Fun facts:
    • Won a Memorial Cup with the Kitchener Rangers in 2003.
  • Why you should love him: Did you not see this amazing penalty kill on a broken leg? We actually already loved him, because he is awesome, and he rules, and he puts up with all your shit about his dad's job.

Healthy scratched forwards

  • Jordan Caron, #38
    • My personal favorite. 22 years old. From Quebec. Spent the season in Providence. May or may not develop into an awesome player.
  • Carl Soderberg, #34
    • The Yeti. 27 years old. Has spent his entire career in his native Sweden, until he decided to finaly join the Bruins at the conclusion of the SEL season this year. Then it was an international battle that has turned out surpringly anticlimactic because he has not had enough time to adjust to NHL play to warrant being in the lineup. See you next year.
  • Jay Pandolfo, #29
    • I don't even know why this guy is here. 38 years old, from Massachusetts. Won Cups with the Devils back when he was young.

Defense

By defensive pairings:

Zdeno Chara, #33

  • Age: 36 (3/18/77)
  • From: Trencin, Slovakia
  • How he became a Bruin: Signed as a UFA on July 1, 2006.
  • Career numbers: Regular season: 1,055 games played, 144 goals, 334 assists, 478 points, 1,541 PIM (with the Bruins: 525 GP, 87 goals, 216 assists, 303 points). Playoffs: 123 games, 12 goals, 38 assists, 50 points, 166 PIM (with the Bruins: 78 GP, 9 G, 27 A, 36 points).
  • Fun facts:
    • Yup, tallest player to ever play in the NHL.
    • Yup, has like the three hardest slap shots in NHL history, breaking his own record most recently with a 108.8 MPH.
    • He has one career hat trick!
    • Won the Norris Trophy for best d-man in 2009, and the Mark Messier Leadership Award in 2011, and has played in six All-Star Games (including being one of the team captains in 2012).
    • He speaks like nine languages, just so he can talk to everyone basically.
    • He was honored for his 1,000th NHL game on March 27, 2012.
    • Only the second European born-and-trained Captain to win a Stanley Cup (other was Niklas Lidstrom).
    • Oh, and he eats twins as pre-game meals sometimes.
  • Why you should love him: He is like a loving papa bear with his teammates and it's the greatest. Even if he is creepy. He is a fun guy.

Dennis Seidenberg, #44

  • Age: 31 (7/18/81)
  • From: Schwenningen, Germany.
  • How he became a Bruin: Traded to the Bruins from the Panthers on March 30, 2010 with Matt Bartkowski in exchange for Byron Bitz, Craig Wellar, and a 2nd round draft pick.
  • Career numbers: Regular season: 581 GP, 35 goals, 154 assists, 188 points, 242 PIM (with Bruins: 224 GP, 18 goals, 63 assists, 81 points). Playoffs: 63 GP, 3 G, 18 A, 21 Points, 49 PIM (with Bruins: 44 GP, 2 G, 13 A, 15 Points).
  • Fun facts:
    • Has played for the Flyers (the team that drafted him), the Coyotes, the Hurricanes, and the Panthers.
    • Won a Calder Cup with the Philadelphia Phantoms in 2005 during the lockout.
    • Third German player with his name on the Cup (Randy Gilhen, 1991 with Pittsburgh, and Uwe Krupp, 1996 with Colorado).
    • Almost chose to pursue professional tennis, because he rules at that too.
    • Possibly plays the accordion.
  • Why you should love him: His German engineering makes him incredibly tough and awesome at defense. Also, he is great at scoring goals from the red line (not once but twice) and fighting Ryan Kesler for being a little bitch in the Stanley Cup Final.

Johnny Boychuk, #55

  • Age: 29 (1/19/84)
  • From: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • How he became a Bruin: Traded to Boston from the Colorado Avalanche on June 24, 2008 in exchange for Matt Hendricks.
  • Career numbers: Regular season: 246 GP, 14 G, 38 A, 52 Pts, 153 PIM. Playoffs: 61 GP, 11 G, 13 A, 24 Pts, 28 PIM.
  • Fun facts:
    • He won the Eddie Shore award in the AHL for Best Defenseman in 2008-09.
    • His older brothers used to lock him outside with 100 pucks and wouldn't let him back in until he practiced his slap shot with all 100 pucks. As a result he has a badass slap shot, second to only Chara's.
  • Why you should love him: He worked his ass off to break the Bruins lineup and make it to the NHL after spending his career in the AHL. And he is really awesome at throwing hip checks and slap shots. Also, he never breaks, even when it looks like he has surely torn every ligament in his knee or shattered every bone. He is pretty much made of adamantium.

Andrew Ference, #21

  • Age: 34 (3/17/79)
  • From: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • How he became a Bruin: Traded to Boston from the Calgary Flames with Chuck Kobasew in exchange for Wayne Primeau and Brad Stuart on February 10, 2007.
  • Career numbers: Regular season: 760 GP, 37 G, 156 A, 193 Pts, 645 PIM (with Bruins: 373 GP, 16 G, 78 A, 94 pts). Playoffs: 114 Gp, 8 G, 29 A, 37 Pts, 120 PIM (with Bruins: 63 GP, 5 goals, 15 assists, 20 points).
  • Fun facts:
    • Is Captain Planet, will save the world from pollution
    • Alternate captain for home games
    • Drafted by the Penguins, played for the Flames, including appearing in the 2004 Cup finals with them.
    • He has a career best four goals in the playoffs during 2011.
    • He appeared in the 2002 Young Stars game.
  • Why you should love him: He scored a goal in Montreal against the Canadiens during the playoffs, and flipped the bird to the crowd. You know you want your favorite player on your favorite team to do that to your biggest, most evil rival. Also, he is going to save the Earth, and he is awesome at twitter (@Ferknuckle).

Adam McQuaid, #54

  • Age: 26 (10/12/86)
  • From: Cornwall, Prince Edward Island, Canada
  • How he became a Bruin: Traded to Boston from Columbus for a fifth round draft pick on May 16, 2007.
  • Career numbers: Regular season: 190 GP, 7 G, 23 A, 30 Pts, 276 PIM. Playoffs: 48 GP, 2 G, 5 A, 7 Pts, 26 PIM.
  • Fun facts:
    • He is a finalist for the Masteron Trophy this season. In September, he had emergency surgery to remove blood clots, and was diagnosed with a condition (Thoratic Outlet Syndrome) that resulted in the formation of blood clots. He was supposed to miss the entire season, having part of his rib and neck muscle removed in the surgery, but was ready for the start of the season when the lockout ended.
    • Scored the only goal in the 1-0 game four sweep of the Penguins, aka the series clinching goal.
    • Beautiful hair.
  • Why you should love him: He is a tough hombre. He may injure himself tripping over suit cases, but he also grows an awesome mullet and oh yeah - he is a finalist for the Masterton Trophy this year.

Torey Krug, #47

  • Age: 22 (4/12/91).
  • From: Livonia, Michigan, USA.
  • How he became a Bruin: Signed as a UFA on March 25, 2012 upon the completion of his junior year at Michigan State University. He was never drafted.
  • Career numbers: Regular season: 3 games played, 0 goals, 2 assists. Playoffs: 9 GP, 4 G, 2 A, 6 Pts.
  • Fun facts:
    • Spent this season in Providence, breaking the club record for points by a rookie defenseman, and named to the All-Rookie team.
    • Scored four goals in his first five NHL games, all vs the NY Rangers.
  • Why you should love him: Like Peverley, he went undrafted. Now he's all the rage because he's tiny but really awesome at handling the puck and also pretty tough but mostly just adorable and great at scoring goals - the elusive puck-moving defenseman!

Healthy scratch defensemen

  • Matt Bartkowski #43
    • 25 years old, from Pittsburgh, PA. Acquired from Florida in the trade with Dennis Seidenberg. Signed a contract extension for the purposes of being traded to Calgary for Iginla, and it was kind of hilarious when that fell through and the Bruins were left with his contract. Then he went and scored his first NHL goal in game seven against Toronto and took off from there. Lost his spot in the line-up when Torey Krug became way more awesome and Ference and Seidenberg became healthy. Career regular season: 20 GP, 2 assists, 10 PIM; playoffs: 7 GP, 1 goal, 1 assists, 2 pts, 4 PIM.
  • Wade Redden #6
    • 35 years old, from Saskatchewan. Has played in two All-Star games. Played for the Senators, Blues, and Rangers. Appeared in the 2006 Final with the Sens. Was acquired at the trade deadline from the Blues in exchange for a draft pick. Lost his spot in the lineup when he got injured and the awesome rookies from Providence happened. Career numbers, regular season: 1,023 GP, 109 G, 348 A, 457 Pts, 665 PIM; playoffs: 106 GP, 13 G, 36 A, 49 pts, 55 PIM. Played 6 games with Boston this year, scoring 1 goal and 1 assist. He played 5 playoff games, with 1 goal and 1 assist.
  • Dougie Hamilton #27
    • 19 years old, from Toronto, Ontario. Drafted 9th overall by the Bruins in a pick acquired from the Phil Kessel trade in 2011. Played in 42 regular season games, had 5 goals and 11 assists for 16 points, and 14 PIM. Has appeared in 7 playoff games, recording 3 assists.
  • Aaron Johnson #45
    • 30 years old, from Nova Scotia. He has played a career total of 291 games with the Blue Jackets, Islanders, Blackhawks, Flames, Oilers, and Bruins. He has 17 goals, 45 assists, 62 points, and 227 PIM. He played in 10 games for the Bruins, recording zero points. He has never played in a playoff game in his career. I don't know why he is here, much like Jay Pandolfo.

Goaltenders

Tuukka Rask, #40

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  • Age: 26 (3/10/87)
  • From: Tampere, Finland
  • How he became a Bruin: He was drafted by the Maple Leafs (of course) 21st overall in 2005, and traded to Boston for Andrew Raycroft on June 24, 2006.
  • Career numbers: Regular season: 138 GP, 66-45-16. 16 shutouts. .927 save %. 2.15 GAA. Playoffs: 29 GP, 19-10. 2 shutouts. .930 save %. 2.13 GAA.
  • Fun facts:
  • Why you should love him: Tuukka is awesome and there are so many reasons to love him, I can't even wrap my head around it. I tried by making this list (with this second part) but that may still not do him justice (it doesn't).

Other goalies

  • Back-up: Anton Khudobin, #35
    • 27 years old. From Kazakhstan, plays for Russia in international competitions. Acquired by Boston from Minnesota on February 28, 2011. Career numbers: 21 GP, 14-5-1, 2 shutouts, .933 save %, 2.03 GAA. UFA this off-season. Awesome at instagram.
  • Black Ace: Niklas Svedberg, #72
    • 23 years old. Undrafted and signed as a UFA by Boston May 29, 2012. Has yet to play an NHL game, but won the AHL award for goalie of the year in his rookie season this year, after winning a SEL championship last year. Could also be a Swedish super model.

The Core

Often cited reasons for the Bruins success is their ability to keep the "team core" together. After the 2010 collapse against Philadelphia in which they blew a 3-0 series lead, that core consisted of Chara, Bergeron, Marc Savard, Mark Recchi, Ference, Krejci, Lucic, and a few other players. We know Savard won't be back to play because of concussion problems, but he is still listed as a member of the team.

Of the players that were around to win the Cup in 2011, 16 are still here. The guys that are gone are Recchi (retirement), Michael Ryder and Tomas Kaberle (free agency), and Tim Thomas (crazy). They assembled important pieces right before the trade deadline in 2011.

Basically, it's easy to love this team if you don't have a vendetta against them because you're, say, a Habs fan. They may spew a lot of silly lines about how they're a "team" and that may be getting repetitive, but it's kind of the truth as much now as it was in 2011 - and it may be even more true now than it was before.

The Blackhawks may be the favorites going into this, but I think Bruins fans should like our odds given the history of this team and the make-up of it. It's a whole lot of awesome.

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