Pick your cliche for the Bruins this week: Do or die. Backs against the wall. Put up or shut up. Talk is cheap. I could go on, but you get the point. It has come down to facing elimination at home in game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
We will have an entire summer to rehash this Bruins run, whether it ends up with another Stanley Cup ring or a runner-up finish. But as I was thinking back over the last two months, it occurred to me that this has been unlike any other deep playoff run the Bruins have had.
I'm not talking about the epic comeback in game 7 vs. Toronto. I'm not talking about the B's uncharacteristically making things look easy against the Rangers and Penguins. What we haven't had that we're used to seeing, or feeling: Genuine hate for the opponent.
Sure, there have been hard fought battles. That's just what comes with the Stanley Cup territory. But have you really hated an opponent yet? I haven't.
OK, the Penguins aren't anyone's favorite around here, but it's hard to rile up as much hate for a team with no pushback. The Maple Leafs won a good chunk of respect from B's fans with the way they battled. The Rangers just didn't have it, but not for lack of effort. And the Blackhawks are the very definition of an honorable opponent that play the game the right way.
There has been no pointing fingers, or biting them. There have been few complaints about officiating from coaches in post game press conferences. We didn't have to deal with the diving Canadiens. And yet the playoff run has been just as fun in it's own way. Here's hoping the Bruins have another comeback effort and Cup-winning performance on the road this week, but whether we end the season with a parade or a near-miss, a stick tap to B's opponents is called for.