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NHL Boston Bruins

This Boston Bruins Game Might Be the Most Important of the Season

Greg M. Cooper – USA TODAY Sports

Just a few days ago, I know I would’ve placed this Boston Bruins game a little lower on the importance scale. It would be a midweek game near the end of the season against a Northeast Division team that has often ruffled Boston’s feathers, the Buffalo Sabres. It would be an opportunity for me to say that NBC Sports Network got a little closer to the bullseye when describing this game as part of their Rivalry Wednesday feature.

But now it’s not just another game. Note that it’s a rather simplistic response to reduce Boston to naught but its sports teams, casting them as mythical heroes in the fight against an unknown foe that hurt and killed innocent people on a day of fun. Surely by now you’ve seen it: four stylized representations of the city’s big four teams, all of them looking supremely miffed, with the caption either “You messed with the wrong city” or an expletive substituted for messed. Boston is so much more complex than that–and is there a right city to mess with? No, because the people of any city will respond admirably to tragedy.

That being said, even though the image of the four angry mascots is too simplistic, the fact is that sports are part of a complex web of things that will help people heal after tragic events. The Bruins are fully cognizant of that as they head into tonight’s nationally-televised game. They’re in front of their home crowd, which might include people who were there or were nearby when the unthinkable happened. They will wear blue and yellow  This might very well be Boston’s most important game of the season.

Good news came out of TD Garden earlier today when it was reported that both Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron are cleared and ready to play. Both of them will be in the lineup tonight. Newcomer Carl Soderberg won’t be in tonight because he needs time to learn the ropes, although he sounds pretty excited for this opportunity. Actually, newcomer defenseman Wade Redden will play tonight, his first game as a Bruin.

The Bruins know what they can do, how they can help and are aware that they’re going to need to do their all and bring their A game to a healing city tonight. Can they answer the call? Tune into NBC Sports Network, even if you live in New England, tonight at 7:30 p.m. to find out. That’s right, NESN is not airing this at all, so unfortunately Jack and Brick will have to wait. (It will be a shame if NBCSN doesn’t see fit to broadcast Rene Rancourt singing the anthem. Surely, yet another block of ads for bad beer and pricey cars can wait, even just this once.)

Please note that, if you choose to go to the game, plan to arrive earlier than normal and expect to be searched. Security is, obviously, heightened. This photo of Boston Police motorcycles outside the Garden is just one aspect of it:

http://twitter.com/GlobeKPD/status/324575924785909761