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Bruins ratings up big for NESN

Despite dire warnings that the NHL’s 119-day lockout, its third season-altering (or in the instance of 2004-05, season-eliminating) labor showdown since 1994, would turn off a significant segment of hockey fans for good, those of us who have lived New England’s unyielding and sometimes unrequited affection for the Bruins weren’t particularly alarmed.

The Bruins truly are part of the local fabric, and if you find such a statement to be teetering on the edge of cliché, well, you must not have been in the heart of Boston on that perfect day for a parade in June 2011. Hockey matters intensely here even in seasons that come up several pages short of the storybook ending. When the 2010-11 Bruins secured the franchise’s first Stanley Cup in 39 years, the first since the golden days of Orr and Espo, it only reinforced the bond.

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