A confession: I did not watch Behind The B the last two times they tried it. But tonight? I change that. This year, we will be watching every single episode of Behind the B. And I have the Privilege of getting to watch the hour-long first episode. Why?
DAMAGE CONTROL, SON.
Over the offseason, a lot happened. A LOT happened. Fan favorites are gone, lots of maybes are in the system to possibly enter the team, and one player we all really don’t like for being an asshole is in and the organization has done everything but get on their hands and knees to get us to like him.
They have to put this into a context that can be swallowed by the viewer. I am eager to see how they try and maybe succeed to turn around my and other people’s expectations of the Bruins through the eyes of what the Bruins would like.
And without further ado, we begin.
- In-tense Cell-os. In-tense Cell-os.
- We come back to the ennui was last season, using 98.5 soundbites, we learn about Chiarelli’s firing, Sweeney’s hire, and in general recapping the first…5 weeks of the season.
- Narrator: Dennis Leary. Nice to see you again, bud.
- Don Sweeney apparently is taking the "I’m your dad and you’re in college across country." approach to calling up the team, seeming pretty affable as a human. He also meets with Cam Neely to make his job official.
- Smash cut to the draft, this is where things get good. Sweeney decides to go to interview players, and it is very interesting to watch him talk to players. He talks to Jake DeBrusk, and we find out how boring his life kind of is. Meanwhile, noted maniac John Whitesides walks around glaring at 18 year olds, wondering how much it would take to turn these fresh prospects into mush or into MEN.
- Smash cut to Kanata, Ontario. Ryan Spooner’s rise is chronicled. His family couldn’t be more proud, including his Granddad, who makes a scrapbook of every game and season he’s ever had. Also he has a puppy. Everyone likes a hockey player with a puppy. It seems like Ryan Spooner's life just seems pretty awesome with a supportive family and a nice household.
- Ah yes…THE DRAFT. That's where we were, back to Sunrise, Florida. This is where it comes together. Going over this next edition of "The Trade" was a candid move, but it was kind of...confusing. Sweeney looked eerily confident about trading Hamilton, but the other coaches in the room clearly didn’t look all that enthusiastic about it. Can’t imagine why. Lucic is also mentioned as part of the trade. Now they have the picks, and now they're down on the floor, taking calls. Once they had all three picks, they did consider moving up, but it would’ve required moving all 3, they only considered moving 2. A damning piece of evidence during this section is that the scouts are VERY insistent without specifics about "a certain prospect". They kept using phrases like "We like this guy, pick him, trust us." They knew. They had to have known. They knew they reached. And now they must lay in it.
- In a clever move, the narrator places no blame on anyone but the Salary Cap. Smooth.
- All three draft picks are run through the media ringer. A lot of attention is paid to Zach Senyshyn, trying to get fans to like him is always a nice touch, especially since they JUST admitted on camera that they might be making a huge mistake. Following Zach Senyshyn does reveal he's personable enough, and surprise...he was nervous and amazed he got picked. and with that, it's Draft day complete.
- Back in Boston, summertime and no more hockey being played. They go over Don Sweeney’s "better" moves, with Matt Beleskey’s signing being at the forefront. He looks at some things then goes to take a preview of what his number 39 would look like in the Black and Gold.
- It looks like Boston tourism and Red Sox tourism takes over this segment. It’s nice to see Hayes and Beleskey getting to see things from the prospective of any honored guest of the Red Sox.
- Annual Development camp, lots of prospects show up. Some you recognize, some are clearly sporting their summer hair and are difficult to recognize upon repeat viewings. Don acts like your dad coaching a little league team in the opening speech, going over everything in such a general way. Coach Julien then takes the stand gives his prospects words of encouragement, he says some shit but most importantly he uses noted Boston Legend David Pastrnak as an example of players that go to one camp, then end up playing on the main squad. Nice.
- AH HERE WE GO, CUT TO THE GYM WHERE COACH WHITESIDES GETS TO CHECK THE NEW MEAT.
- What follows is a bunch of training exercises done by most of the rookies, with Whitesides being a typical strength and conditioning coach. AKA being crazy. Don Sweeney watches on like the bad guy in a sports movie. He has an incredibly weird way of witnessing people. Oh, and uh training exercises? WHITESIDES USES THAT AS WARM-UP. EXERCISING ONLY LETS ME KNOW YOU CAN BREATHE, MAGGOT.
- Over to the rink and OH GOD OFLODNAP IS A COACH. Jake DeBrusk shows some real flash in that beauty of a chance we saw in a tweet, and the prospects get a quick pep talk from THE AMERICAN HERO TOREY KRUG. He talks about his experience with the first camp he attended. Naturally, he says that Whitesides scared him. Not surprising, he scares most people.
- More montages of Coach Whitesides yelling at people, and then more of Torey Krug discussing things..
- Torey Krug discusses how it was an awful feeling about going undrafted and how he got lip service from several teams, and it drove him to get just better. I think it worked out for him. Emphasizes the willingness to learn. Good advice from a guy who relatively came out of nowhere.
- And after all of this, Welcome to Rowing, Harvard style. This is a team building exercise that also is probably being monitored by coach Whitesides, who is probably clutching the bottom of the boat like a gremlin. The boats get into the water and THE RACE IS ON! Both sides go at it, but left boat (I cannot recognize these players as of right now) With that bit of brevity, development camp ends, and we get exit interviews. More Zach Senyshyn, I get the feeling that they really wanted you to like him. Don giving him props only confirms it, but he's not the only one; He gives DeBrusk props for being a player with high ability. Adam Creighton gives him praise for his offense…But does criticize his ability to move into the zone. He'll have to work on that in the upcoming year.
- Y'know that reminds me, Where the hell is Jakub Zboril? He wasn't mentioned once after he was drafted.
- But that's just rookie stuff. Max Talbot is charged up and is doing all sorts of big man strength training. He did NOT like the idea of "Reconstruction" (read: Rebuild) and believes that the core is good, and could win on it and go back to the playoffs. But enough of him being heated, here we learn about Max Talbot using his offseason to live like Hawkeye in Age of Ultron: Out in the woods where nobody would look for him and serves as a narrative convenient resting spot. He likes his garden, which we tour. The narration emphasizes that he is like any other guy…who gets paid a shitload of money yearly to play hockey and owns large amounts of property out in Quebec. Uh huh. Regular joe six pack. Watching him herd chickens is however, very funny.
- When does not catch a single chicken, he apologizes to Coach Whitesides, knowing he will be at his door with a golf club and a chicken suit, ready to teach him something insane about foot speed or something.
- ...Oh goody, we’re talking about Zac Rinaldo now. The show is perfectly aware of how much of a shitlord Rinaldo is, and tries DESPERATELY to make you like him. He’s living in his parent’s house, he has a little Bobby Orr jersey (which looks auspiciously clean...and modern), and he goes over the things he’s proud of, like his first goal (one of THREE.) and some highlights up on his wall. Oh, and he was even a piece of shit when he was Eight! Don’t you just love him? Yeah, me neither.
- Yet another smash cut back to Massachusetts. It's a Captain’s practice, everyone’s invited. Patrice praises David Pastrnak which is just awesome for someone who likes him like me, calling him "the most dangerous player". Some highlights of the practice ensue, and then someone off camera, presumably Patrice, addresses Zdeno Chara as ZEE-R or something like that. I...do not understand, I am full of questions. Why is that his nickname? What gives him this nickname? WHO gave him this nickname? Why?
- Tuukka, right off of the offseason, is right at home already making saves that are complete horseshit and he knows it. In general, a nice look at how the core of the team is preparing.
- And now, for the last few minutes of the show, we get a nice little video about IDENNITY. IDENNITY WHICH MOVES US. IDENNITY WHICH DECIDES FOR US, AND THE IDENNITY OF THE BLUE COLLAR TOWN THAT IS BOSTON. FORGET THAT MOST OF THE COMPANIES IN TOWN NOWADAYS ARE SOFTWARE FIRMS, MICROBREWERIES, ECONOMICS, HOSPITALS AND GOVERNMENT STUFF, JUST KEEP ASSUMING BOSTON IS STILL BLUE COLLAR EVEN THOUGH IT'S BEEN GENTRIFIED OUT THE ASS FOR DECADES.
- This was a long offseason, Dennis Leary. Just not for the reason you think.
All in all, and joking aside; this was a very solid start to the season. It definitely made Boston look like the place you wanna live. There are plenty of questions, sure. Like why Sweeney and Neely felt so resigned and relaxed to basically mortgage their future without a suitable Zdeno Chara heir apparent...or why they felt that rowing was such an important part of team building that they made them take a day to do it...but y'know what? It wasn't too bad, and they handled most of the problems they had with considerable grace. Not a bad start.
The Second episode happens during the preseason. All others take place throughout the season. Get ready.