Heading into Game Six of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, I found myself reflecting on what it means to be a Boston Bruin. When I came to Boston in 1986, I knew I was joining a storied franchise. Playing for an Original Six team was huge…it was a big deal for me, a big deal for my family and it still is a big deal. You knew what it meant to put on “that” jersey. I knew that the guys who went before me were some of the best. I knew I had a lot to live up to.
I truly understood and respected the Bruins jersey when I wore it. I knew that the likes of Eddie Shore, Milt Schmidt, John Bucyk, Gerry Cheevers, Brad Park, Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito, Terry O’Reilly, Wayne Cashman, Keith Crowder, Stan Jonathan, Reggie Lemelin – I could go on and on – all wore that jersey around the locker room. Their strong presence could be felt. Boston loved its Bruins and I knew it. I could feel the fans longing for the Stanley Cup Championship teams of the 1970’s. When I stepped onto the ice at the old Garden I knew what the people of this great city expected of me. I took pride in putting on that jersey. I played with all my heart and soul every single game. I did it for myself, my teammates and all the fans watching. I felt accountable every time I put that “B” on. I loved playing for the Bruins, I loved the franchise and I still do.
Now that I am playing a different role in the organization, the accountability for wearing “that” jersey has a new meaning for me. As I watched our current team, heading back to Carolina for Game 6, I knew the players felt that same sense of accountability. The Boston Bruins are in a different place than they were just three years ago. Our people (owners, GM, management, coaches, scouts) are all on the same page. We know what type of player we want to wear our jersey. We know exactly what characteristics we are looking for in a player. Specifically, we are looking for someone who understands the meaning of being part of an Original Six team – a player who understands the history of the franchise and who knows that different types of players brought various qualities to the organization to make this Original Six team what it is. The men who made this franchise great were proud to wear “that” jersey.
We are looking for accountability.