The NHL has long relied on its skilled forwards, which has allowed them to win the Stanley Cup with relative ease.
But a more talented group has emerged, and that group is arguably more well-rounded than the previous generation.
It’s not just the players who are better.
The style and talent of the players are better, too.
They are better players who don’t just play for one team.
They play for a team, for the fans.
They make the game better.
It takes more than winning the puck and scoring goals to win a championship, and in the NHL, that is what the Bruins do best.
In fact, that’s exactly what the Canucks are trying to do.
Vancouver has an NHL-leading 2.7 million fans, and their fans have been turning out in droves since winning the Cup in 2016.
When they lost to the Canadiens on Sunday, Vancouver fans took to Twitter to express their support, but their passion for the Canucks didn’t end there.
The Canucks also scored one of the biggest wins in the history of hockey when they won the Stanley War of 1812 in a 4-3 shootout win over the Boston Bruins.
After the game, coach Willie Desjardins made a point of thanking the fans who came out for the game.
“They are amazing.
They don’t know how much the passion of their fans is,” he said.
“We know that they are not only our best fans, but our most loyal fans, too.”
There’s a lot more to it than that, though.
Fans are more passionate than ever, and they’re also willing to put up with the worst in the game at times.
The best example of that is the Boston hockey fans who showed up to the 2017 Stanley Cup Final and booed the New York Rangers’ goalie.
It was one of those moments that has fans talking about the team’s future.
It might be the most memorable moment in franchise history, and it’s probably the best thing that can happen to the team.
After a great season, the Canucks need to get on a winning streak to take the next step.
But they’re on a path to winning in the playoffs and beyond, too, and the fan base is showing signs of growing with each game.
The team needs to show some leadership and be able to bring back some of those fans, especially since their success on the ice is being challenged by the likes of the Dallas Stars and Anaheim Ducks.
It can’t be that hard, right?
Not for a new group of fans who are willing to fight for what they believe in, even if it means they are missing out on a couple of big events.
The Bruins have already proven they are ready for the next challenge.
They have won three straight games to take a 3-0 lead in the Pacific Division, and when the Bruins take on the Sharks on Wednesday night, they’ll be one game ahead of the Canucks.
It will be a good night for the Bruins, but it will be an even better night for fans.
Follow Rob on Twitter: @rob_snyder