Once upon a time, the Boston Red Sox found creative ways to lose. Then, the ownership changed, the team got out of the dark ages when it came to evaluating talent and brought in players who had as much intestinal fortitude as ability, and -- lo and behold -- it won two world championships in four years.
And not to put too fine a point on it, but the Red Sox understood that the only way to beat the New York Yankees was to join them ... meaning that they went out and paid for the talent, and the heart, that it took to finally beat them when it mattered ... coming back from a 3-0 deficit in the 2004 ALCS to win the pennant and, then, the World Series.
When the ghosts of the so-called "Curse of the Bambino" were put to bed, we had every reason to expect that they'd stay exorcised.
The 2010 Boston Bruins unearthed them in the most hideous way possible. They blew their own 3-0 lead in the Stanley Cup Eastern Division Semifinals ... and then, capping it off, blew a 3-0 lead in Game 7, losing last night, 4-3, to the Philadelphia Flyers.
Pick an adjective. Any adjective. As long as it heaps scorn on the entire organization, it won't matter how unflattering it is. It applies.
This was a disgrace no matter how you look at it. Coughing up the series lead? All right. I can take this only so far. The teams are pretty much evenly matched. And when the Flyers got their big gun -- Simon Gagne -- back while the Bruins were losing two of theirs (David Krejci and Marco Sturm) it tipped the delicate balance between the two teams back to Philly.
But gacking up a 3-0 lead on your own ice? Come on. The Bruins had to have set some kind of a modern record for giving it up too. If you want to compare sports, it was like watching Manny Delcarmen work arduously to give it up an inning after the Red Sox have gone all out to stage rally and overtake their opponent.
Manny's done that enough.
Well OK. They blew the 3-0 lead and it was tied, 3-3, with less than nine minutes to go in the game. Then, the Bruins, rather than channel their most glorious times, chose, instead, to channel their most ignominious moment. They took a "too many men on the ice" penalty.
This would be like Terry Francona leaving his starting pitcher in four batters too long ... and watching said starter cough up a lead ... and a pennant. Grady Little did that in 2003 with Pedro Martinez. He was fired.
In 1979, Don Cherry -- a pretty good coach -- presided over a "too many men on the ice" situation in Montreal, in Game 7, as the game was winding down, and the Bruins a) gave up the game-tying goal; b) lost in overtime; and c) fired the coach.
I don't know what this means in the grand scheme of things, but if I were B's coach Claude Julien, I'd be combing monster.com.
Philly scored on the power play ... and the Bruins lost.
There's no point in turning this into any more of a rant than it already is. Somewhere around February, I stopped caring about the Bruins. They stunk ... and, surely, they'd gave the good grace to bow out early and leave us all alone.
Instead, we all got sucked in ... and then, one by one, we dropped off the cliff like lemmings.
Thanks a lot, Bruins.
Tell you what. The team needs an overhaul, not only in players but in mindset. Ever since the Jacobs Brothers bought the team, they've steadfastly refused to pay for talent. And they've always managed to alienate the talent they've been lucky enough to have (hi, there, Phil Kessel).
Enough. Go away. This one hurts. There's nothing worse than having your passions regenerated ... and then having them yanked out from under you.
The Bruins, today, are a laughing stock ... as well they should be.