New beginning for the Bruins

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New beginning for the Bruins

It wouldn't be a day here on Standing Room Only without some commentary on the Bruins, and today will be no different. After all, today the B's Stanley Cup defense officially begins.

Not to take anything away from the last six months, but all that's out the window. The slow start. The red hot November. The dominant December, flakey February and mediocre March. Tim Thomas skipping the White House? Tyler Seguin sleeping with more girls than you even spoke to? Old news.

It's all about now, and the only question on anyone's mind:

Can the Bruins do it again?

Answer: Of course they can. All things considered, the Bruins are more prepared to win the Cup this season than theyve been at any point in the last 30 years. Why? Because they already have.

Wasn't that always the biggest problem with the B's?

The culture of losing?

The fact that no matter how well they played in the regular season, there was always the expectation that when it came down to winning time, when the season was on the line, that the Bruins would come up short?

After all, it's not like the team was horrible for the entire 39-year Stanley Cup drought. Hell, in those 39 years they only missed the playoffs five times. They won 13 division crowns. They weren't the Los Angeles Clippers. They were just a solid franchise with no backbone.

But last year delivered a transplant. And now, with this core starting with the man in net, regardless of how you feel about his politics you do have faith. You don't look back on the regular season and think: "Eh, it doesn't matter, because they're going to blow it anyway." It's more, "Eh, it doesn't matter, because this team is built for the playoffs. They've shown us that already, and there's no reason to think they can't show us that again!"

Actually, OK. Maybe there are a few reasons to believe it won't happen. Namely, that only two teams have won back-to-back Cups in the last 20 years and the Bruins don't have Mario Lemieux or Steve Yzerman. On top of that, there are obviously injury concerns, especially on defense. Not to mention some pretty stiff competition in the Eastern Conference and beyond. Still, there's no doubt that the Bruins have a chance. A great chance.

Of course, at the end of the day, like in any NHL playoffs, the Bruins fate may still come down to how many games Tim Thomas can steal, how many times they can sneak in the first goal of an overtime, how many times there's a make or break moment and for one reason or another, the Bruins make it happen.

But for the first time in a long time, you're not crazy to think that the Bruins do have what it takes, and they will make it happen.

Either way, the story starts to unfold tonight.

The title defense begins now.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Survey: Tatum likely to have best career of incoming NBA rookies

Survey: Tatum likely to have best career of incoming NBA rookies

BOSTON -- Danny Ainge has maintained that if the Celtics had held onto the No. 1 pick in last June’s draft instead of trading down two spots, he still would have made Jayson Tatum his choice.
 
That confidence that Tatum will be an impact player in this league is clear in the recent NBA.com rookie survey, which was released Tuesday morning.
 
While Dallas’ Dennis Smith Jr. was voted as the most likely Rookie of the Year, Tatum and Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball were tied with 18.4 percent of the votes, as the players who would have the best careers from this NBA rookie class.
 
The survey was compiled earlier this month at Panini’s NBA Rookie Shoot in Tarrytown, N.Y., and consisted of questions being asked of 39 rookies.
 
Tatum, selected by Boston with the No. 3 overall pick, did not finish in the top five in any other categories.
 
However, he was among those players to receive some votes for Rookie of the Year; biggest steal of the draft, and best playmaker.