People sometimes ask me what is the etymology of my AOL Instant Messenger Screen Name: Bruisninruins. Well, here is the fifteen-second version. I went to UCLA. UCLA played Duke in the 2001 Regional Semis. The game was in Philly. I went. UCLA Lost. The next day, some guys on my trading desk discovered IM. I signed up. The loss was still in my head. Ta Da …. Bruinsinruins.
Well, as bad as UCLA got under Steve Lavin and as bad as they played this past year under Ben Howland, those Bruins have never had as ruinous moment as the Boston Bruins enjoyed last night. In this instance, the hyperbole is justified. The Bruins are in Ruins.
I don’t care that not much was expected of this team. And I don’t care that they lost a couple of key players along the way. Because there are no excuses for what just happened in the Eastern Conference Semi-finals. None at all. Three game lead, squandered. Three goal lead, squandered. And finally, a “too many men on the ice” penalty ends the Bruins’ season. Wrap it all up and you have one giant bag of shit.
Thankfully, I was not heavily vested in this Enron-like meltdown. As I have mentioned repeatedly, I am just a casual Bruins fan so I maybe lost fifteen minutes of sleep over this. For me, this was not the 1986 World Series. Or the 2006 AFC Championship Game. Or even game seven of the 2003 ALCS. Not even close. Not even in the same hemisphere.
But that said, I feel for “real” Bruins fans and there are plenty out there because bad things just keep happening to this team’s fanbase. It’s almost been forty years since the Club last won a Stanley Cup and twenty years since they won a conference final. That is a long hard wait for a region where fans actually grow up playing hockey. And for this season to end the way it did must be a bitter pill for any “real” fan to swallow. I’m not sure anyone thought this team was going to be a serious threat to the Western finalist, but losing in one of the next two series would surely have been better than going down as a historically significant choke artist. And that is how the 2010 Bruins will be remembered. As choke artists and as Bruins in Ruins.