Photograph By Winslow Townson/AP Images
After reading your letter to Boston in The Players Tribune, I thought it was only necessary to write you back. I had the opportunity to watch you, first hand, in Boston for 8 years, since that day you were drafted in 2006, both as a fan, and as a media member.
Growing up, my dad had Bruins season tickets, he actually still has them to this day. Along with the fact he owns a local bar near the Garden, I basically grew up on Causeway Street.
I was 14 years old when you first came into the league. A very influential age for a young hockey player. Boy, did I want to be just like you, in every way. Your first NHL goal came against who else, but the LA Kings, but you also received a Gordie Howe Hattrick that game (1 goal, 1 assist and 1 fight). I thought it was the coolest thing in the world hearing the crowd yell Looooooooch! after things like that.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to emulate the style you brought to the game, being the smallest guy on my team every year made that tough.
I love fighting in hockey, so seeing you drop the gloves always was so cool for a young fan. I had the opportunity to meet you one year, it was the Beanpot, me and my buddies snuck into the premium section at the Garden.
You walked by with Phil Kessel. While Phil-The-Thrill shook us off and ignored us, you stopped, said hi and asked how we were doing. The coolest part? Your nose was completely mangled and had stitches in it from a few games prior.
I remember thinking, look at that. If my face looked like that, I would be wrapped in blankets with my mom feeding me. And this guy is out enjoying the Beanpot, having a couple beers and, is going to play in the next game.
That was toughness, that was the Big Bad Bruins my dad had always talked about.
Then 2009 came along, and the B’s entered the playoffs as the No. 1 seed and faced off against the Canadiens. In Game 2, you received a one-game suspension for a cross check. I was in my high school hockey locker room when I found out. I was devastated.
The team went on to beat the Habs, but lost the next series to the Hurricanes. The next season came and went, another early playoff exit, this time at the hands of the Flyers after being up, 3-0.
This is when it started.
This is when some of the bafoons that call themselves fans of this team suggested Peter Chiarelli trade you. I was disgusted. Trade Looch? He IS the Bruins. You have no Bruins, without Looch.
Boy, did you prove me right.
The next season, you brought me a Stanley Cup. You brought me and the Boston fan base, what no one had brought us in 39 years. You scored 30 goals that season, 30. While 10 or so were empty nets, and my friends never let me forget about that, you still netted 30, and that’s an accomplishment anyone should be proud of.
I have been to every championship parade in this city since 2001, and while I don’t think anything beats the 04’ Red Sox, I still believe the Bruins was one of the craziest.
You gave the city back its hockey team. You made us big, you made us bad, you made us the Bruins.
Watching the guys raise that banner on opening night the next season was unlike anything I have ever experienced.
I always wanted to cover the Bruins as a job. So I made that dream a reality, covering the team for Dirty Water Media while working an internship for Ch. 7 News.
Covering you was tough though, because the numbers didn’t always support you, like I did. I would write countless articles proclaiming that you were the glue of this team, and the team goes, as Looch goes. Along with countless arguments with friends, people on trains, coworkers, any chance I could defend you, I would. I thought you were that important to this team.
“Intagables” I would say. “No one realizes, Looch brings the intagables!”
Your last season in Boston, I began covering the team for ESPN New Hampshire. I had to take my fan cap off and come to a realization. It was time for you to go. Your contract was coming to an end. Chiarelli put the team in complete cap-jail, and your numbers just weren’t there anymore. Someone had to go, and unfortunetly, due to your contract, all signs pointed to you.
Can we attribute some of that to David Krejci missing a majority of the year? Yes. Could you still be here if Krejci never got hurt? Possibly, we may never know.
I finally came to a conclusion, I was OK with trading you, but I wouldn’t really admit it much, especially to the people I use to get in screaming arguments with while defending you.
I would always say, “Only if the return is high, I want a kings ransom.”
And it was.
Don Sweeney pulled off a trade, sending you to LA for what he turned into two first-round picks along with Colin Miller, who I like.
You’ll take to the Garden ice tonight, not in the Black and Gold you once dawned so proudly, but in Black and Silver. While we will never see you pump up the Garden crowd after a fight, or stick your fingers in Alex Burrows face again, we wish you the best. Watching you come back to the Garden for the first time, sure, I’ll be battling butterflies. Who knows? Maybe you’ll go out there and drop the mitts, and get our blood flowing like you used to, for old time’s sake.
Milan: Thank YOU. For Everything.