Haggerty: Time for B's fans to lay off Jacobs

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Haggerty: Time for B's fans to lay off Jacobs

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs

BOSTON -- Its high time that the crusty, stodgy, stubborn faction of Bruins fans get over itself.

All of those qualities served the fans well for long, torturous stretches during the 39-year span between Stanley Cups in Boston. The lean times allowed the most loyal group of followers in the city (Bs fans, hands down) to keep the pressure to step it up on their beloved Bruins.

There were no lack of things for the Bs faithful to get cheesed off about.

Whether it was an unwillingness to spend money on better players during the shared era of Ray Bourque and Cam Neely, or the shortsighted way the Harry Sinden regime consistently nickel-and-dimed young players, the Bruins built a stingy, unbending reputation as a place most hockey players wanted to avoid when they controlled their own fate.

Then there was the Bs botched lockout strategy of waving goodbye to Brian Rolston, Mike Knuble, Michael Nylander and Sean ODonnell, among others, during the work stoppage. That planned mass exodus was orchestrated by Sinden and owner Jeremy Jacobs, who believed they had inside info on the fiscal landscape once the lockout was over, but it led the Bs to miscalculate badly once the NHL resumed business.

The team paid for that gaffe big time.

The lockout purge left the Bruins essentially with an expansion-level roster, and ended up costing Sinden and general manager Mike OConnell their jobs. Sinden was kicked upstairs, and O'Connell was sent packing completely.

Every Bruins fan knows the history, and for reasons both good and bad they blame Jacobs.

Some is undoubtedly Jacobs own doing, and he deserved the fans' contempt at certain points.

But it was misguided for some fans to shower the Bs principal owner with catcalls and cascades of boos during the beautiful banner-raising ceremony Thursday night at TD Garden.

Already an unconventional public speaker to begin with, Jacobs is a verbal target for unsatisfied Bruins fans whenever he speaks publicly in the city of Boston. That was perhaps justified in the past, but it also simply shouldnt happen ever again.

But it did, of all places, during the banner-raising ceremony when Jacobs actually lauded the Bruins fans as some of the best in sports. It was the owners job to get the ceremonial show on the road and open up the pomp and circumstance, and instead he became a punch line one more time.

Some will say that fans in the upper reaches of the TD Garden balcony couldnt hear Jacobs on the microphone, and the cacophony of voices were simply imploring him to speak up.

Others will say that the boos were spaced out and sporadic while being thoroughly drowned out by the cheers.

There may be slight elements of truth to both these statements, but anybody in attendance recognized the loud boos fired Jacobs way the minute he stepped up to the microphone.

Theres a multitude of reasons for it, of course, given the long history of underwhelming fans since Jacobs bought the team in the mid-1970s.

Never mind the mere fact everybody thinks a frustrated Bruins fan writing scripts for 'The Simpsons' used Jacobs as the model for the Montgomery Burns character.
Forget the fact that provincial Boston people will always look at Jacobs as a high society Buffalo carpetbagger that spends a portion of his time in Boston playing with his hockey team like an expensive toy.

The mere action of booing anybody from the Bruins organization during a Stanley Cup banner-raising celebration is patently moronic.

The negative actions of a decent-sized group of Bs fans on Thursday night simply took away from an otherwise flawless, thoughtful presentation.

Some fans were so bent on voicing their disapproval with Bruins management that they failed to absorb the most important point of the evening: They won the Stanley Cup.

Theres simply no good reason for Bruins fans to be angry or seeking vengeance for what happened in 1993 at a 2011 Cup celebration. There is a deserved honeymoon period for any sports team that wins a championship, and that kind of amnesty should include much-maligned owners as well.

The advice at this address: There's already been plenty of negative backlash over the years for Jacobs and Delaware North when it was actually a relevant conversation topic.
Its time for Bruins fans to grow up and see whats really happening with their hockey team beyond the same stale, bored tired generalizations about the Black and Gold franchises ownership.

The NHL salary cap is in effect, and the fatherson duo of Jeremy and Charlie Jacobs have brought in a management team thats built a strong organization constructed with care, intelligence and forethought.

More importantly, Jacobs and Delaware North have a) spent to the cap since the NHL lockout ended, b) boast some of the best players in the world on their roster, and c) have locked up their core players to fair contracts without holdouts or bitterness.

The old way of doing Bruins business that spurred frustrated fans to create websites like Pleasesellthebruins.com is no longer applicable in Boston.

Booing the Bs ownership in such a bush-league manner makes a portion of the fan base look like bitter, petulant children who simply cant let go of a grudge, even though it's been years since they could legitimately have a real issue with the way the team is run.

Perhaps it will just take some time for Bruins fans to truly develop the taste for success and the hunger for bigger and better greatness, but a nice start would be to cut out the booing for an owner who cashed plenty of checks for the Stanley Cup champs and provided over 500 Stanley Cup championship rings for all manner of team employees before the players.

Cmon Bruins fans. Youre better than that now. Its time to start acting like winners instead of the disillusioned pack of whiners.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Win vs. Islanders 'a nice building block' for Bruins

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Win vs. Islanders 'a nice building block' for Bruins

BROOKLYN, NY – It wasn’t particularly entertaining and it won’t be all that memorable down the ride aside from the timing and importance of the meeting between the Bruins and Islanders. But it was a solid 2-1 team win for the Bruins over the Islanders at the Barclays Center on Saturday night with the B’s grinding all the way down to the end while protecting a one-goal lead through much of the third period.

Nearly everybody across Boston’s roster contributed in the major victory over the team trying to bypass them in the wild card standings, and it was a beautiful thing. Anton Khudobin stepped up when Tuukka Rask couldn’t start Saturday night’s showdown with a lower body issue, and Riley Nash supplied both Boston goals from a fourth line that’s played some of their best hockey lately.

It was unlikely heroes all around for the Black and Gold in the tightly-wound contest, but that diversity of talent and production can be a very good thing for a team looking to make that playoff push.

“You have to stay with it. You have to stay in the moment and stay with the game no matter what’s happening during the game. That’s how you get results, and that’s how you find ways to persevere through adversity,” said Patrice Bergeron. “We just got back to playing stingy, especially in the neutral zone. We got away from it the last few games, and it was nice tonight to be back playing a low-scoring game like what we’re used to playing.”

When it was all said and done the Bruins only allowed 19 shots on net and also killed off six penalties in the kind of grinding defensive showdown that you haven’t seen all that much out of the Black and Gold lately. It was exactly what Cassidy was looking for to snap the four-game losing streak, and once again start pushing the Bruins upward into the playoff chase.

“That’s the type of win that goes a long way in the room when your goaltender is battling hard and fighting that hard to see pucks and find pucks and your D are blocking shots. And you kill that many penalties. It was a nice building block for us,” said Cassidy. “From the goalie on out, everybody was in there [in the win]. It was a tough game. It was a nice Bruins win. We had been doing it with offense earlier, and we’ve got to be able to do it both ways. You need to be able to win 2-1 hockey games, and it had been awhile.”

Now it’s simply up to the Bruins to be feeling good about their latest win while going back to basics, and looking for more next time around after ending their worst losing streak of the season.

Anton Khudobin battles for a huge win filling in for Tuukka Rask

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Anton Khudobin battles for a huge win filling in for Tuukka Rask

BROOKLYN, NY – Things didn’t go so well last season for the Bruins when Tuukka Rask suddenly wasn’t well enough to play in the last game of the season, so there was good reason for the B’s to be a little nervous when their No. 1 goalie again couldn’t answer the bell Saturday night vs. the Islanders.

Anton Khudobin had won four games in a row headed into Saturday night, of course, and in his previous start he’d helped snap a 10-game winning streak for the Calgary Flames. So perhaps it wasn’t all that surprising when Khudobin stood tall for the Bruins making 18 saves in a tight, nervy 2-1 win over the Isles at the Barclays Center.

“You don’t have that many shots, but maybe 10 scoring chances…that can be tougher than seeing 30 shots and same amount of scoring chances,” said Khudobin. “But I’m glad got the job done, we got our points and we got the ‘W’.”

It wasn’t wall-to-wall action in a game where both teams combined for 37 shots on net, but it was still impressive that Khudobin and the B’s special teams killed off six Islander power plays in such a tight hockey game. After the B’s backup netminder was lauded for the way he battled in the crease and competed for pucks like his team’s very life was on the line in a pivotal game.

“That’s the type of win that goes a long way in the room when your goaltender is battling hard, and fighting that hard to see pucks and your D are blocking shots. And you kill that many penalties. It was a nice building block for us,” said Bruce Cassidy. “I loved his performance. He’s a battler. He got swimming a couple of times, but that’s Dobby. He keeps it interesting for you. He’s a battler and he always has been. That’s what we needed tonight.”

One could spend days analyzing Cassidy's words and wondering much of that was deserved, appreciative praise for Khudobin, and how much of that might have been a veiled message to Boston's No. 1 goaltender sitting back home in Boston. 

The best save of the night probably won’t even count as a save for the Russian netminder. It was John Tavares, after having beaten Khudobin once in the first period, moving into the offensive zone with speed during a third period power play, and getting an open look at the net front in the high slot. Khudobin thought quickly and dropped into the unconventional double-stack pad save that seemed to throw Tavares off just a little, and the Isles sniper smoked the shot off the crossbar rather than tying up the game.

“I didn’t touch it. I didn’t really have time to get there, so the only thing I tried to do was the two-pad stack, old school Bob Essensa-style,” said Khudobin, who has now improved to 6-5-1 with a 2.60 goals against and an .899 save percentage this season. “Then he hit the crossbar. You need to get some luck in this league, and if you don’t get luck you’re going to lose games.”

A little luck and a little good, old-fashioned battling between the pipes was enough for Khudobin and the Bruins in Saturday night’s mammoth win. Now the questions become whether or not to go right back to Khudobin again on Tuesday at home against the Nashville Predators.