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Sharks Gameday: Boston Doubles Down On Bostonness

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NESCNN Insider Joe O'Shawnthornton weighs in on exactly what our boys in black and gold need to do to get back to the the top of the NHL.

Jim Vandermeer helps Shawn Thornton squeeze a painful zit on his chin
Jim Vandermeer helps Shawn Thornton squeeze a painful zit on his chin
Elsa/Getty Images

Special guest columnist Joe O'Shawnthornton weighs in on tonight's opponent, the Boston Bruins.

Joe O'Shawnthornton

NECSNN Insider Joe O'Shawnthornton

Bruins fans know a winner when they see one, and it's been painfully apparent that the Bruins have been lacking that winning chemistry these last couple years. They missed out on the playoffs last season primarily due to a lack of will to just win the game. The Bruins front-office recognized this lack of backbone and mental fortitude and made some big changes over the off-season to bring back the thing we all know they've been missing: that grit and hard-work that comes from playing in this tough, beautiful city full of hard-nosed, passionate fans.

While you might have seen some previous columns of mine praising some of the miscreants no longer playing at the TD Garden, I've privately had my doubts about them for quite some time now. Tyler Seguin (9G, 26 points on the year) just didn't have the mental fortitude to bring what it takes when it counted. Yeah, he's putting up a lot of points now in Dallas and is just 23 years old, but his skilled, partying ways clashed with the work-ethic of the prototypical Boston forward: goes hard in the corners, crashes the net, counts out how many goals are needed to tie or win the game.

Nature's way of saying 'Run, lest ye be murdered!'

I felt the same way about Dougie Hamilton, last year's Bruins only young puck-moving defenseman and power play quarterback, who just didn't have that run-through-a-wall-for-the-Spoked-Wheel team-first attitude it takes to win here. His lack of mental discipline was evident after I published my column "Why Dougie Hamilton's Delay Of Game Penalty Proves He's A Weak Baby Who Should Be Slapped By Every Single Person Who Reads This Column, Here's His Home Address." We're a tough town, and there's a good give-and-take between the media and our athletes that Hamilton just was too much of a sissy to handle. He took things too personally.

I'll also point out that while I've written over 25 articles about Milan Lucic's style of play (see, for example, "Milan Lucic Embodies Everything Good About Boston Hockey"), I've had many off-record conversations over the years with Bruins players and management about how his lack of discipline and me-first attitude have hurt the team. Even though Lucic was traded to the LA Kings hours after my column "Why Lucic And His Passion Are The Key To Sparking A Bruins Resurgence" appeared on NECNSNN, I had privately discussed with several anonymous members of the Bruins staff  how he was a locker room cancer and needed to go, as detailed in my column following the trade "Lucic Was A Divisive, Selfish Player Whose Presence In the Locker Room Would Have Prevented The Bruins From Moving Forward."

The Bruins have rightly moved forward with new faces this year, real men who take seriously the commitment of playing Bruins hockey: tough, hard, no-nonsense hockey that the fans in Boston can be proud of.

Sharks @ Bruins
4:00 PM Pacific

Prediction: Joe O'Shawnthornton carries a lot of water in this town.