Due to a heat of the moment bet with @bigguyd, this entire column is going to be about the Boston Bruins and their fantastic run for the cup. If you know me, you know that this is a bit painful, as I despise Boston sports teams (besides the Celtics, to which I’m indifferent) with a fevered passion. As the Bruins have won the Stanley Cup for the first time in 39 years, joining other Boston sports teams in the circle of winners, I suppose it’s appropriate that they get their own dedicated column. I am a hockey fan after all. So how can I write a whole column about a team that I absolutely hate? Easy, get people to write it for me.
I’ll start with Don Martelli (@bigguyd.) Don and I have been friends for years, and he is a massive Boston fan, born and bred in the clam chowdah capital. We’ve had many arguments about Boston sports, mostly with me hating them and him defending them or throwing shit in my face. Don, his brother and father have a clock. This Bruins clock was a gift to his father 21 years ago, and never had a battery in it – until now.
There are moments in your life that you’ll never forget. Other than my wedding day and the birth of my kids, one day that’ll be etched in my mind forever is when I watched my dad put a battery in the Bruins clock.
The clock was a gift my brother and I gave to my dad 21 years ago as a Christmas gift. The clock, which features a Bobby Orr rookie card, has never had a battery in it — until last night.
As for the season itself, it was one filled of questions and doubts. After last year’s colossal collapse against the Flyers, this season was make or break for GM Peter Charelli and Head Coach Claude Julien. The boys played great hockey for most of the year. They had some bumps, but they surged at the right time. The team made a couple of trades that brought in some must needed veteran talent.
Out of all the Boston championships over the past 10 years, this is the most bitter sweet because of the clock.
The Bruins rolled into the playoffs on the back of their fast scoring line and superior goal tending in Tim Thomas. Thomas, who ended the playoffs with a .940 save percentage, took home – deservedly – the MVP award for the Stanley Cup finals. After handling the Canadians in seven games, the Bruins faced off in a tough series against the Flyers. As a Lightning fan I was hoping for the Flyers to pull it off, as I knew the Lightning would stand a better chance against their goal keeping. However, the Bruins came through and started their series against the Lightning. What followed was seven games of simply amazing Hockey on both sides. But the Bruins found a way to silence the Tampa Bay crowds and poke holes in the Tampa Bay defense and Roloson, running him out of the game several times.
David Krejci of the Bruins became the oldest player to lead in points in the playoffs. He finished with 23 points, 12 goals. Back to Thomas, the dude was a serious brick wall. While in the finals Vancouver was able to slip a few past him to go up in the series 2-0, when he was in Boston he was virtually unstoppable. The Canucks scoring line was unable to get anything past him when they needed it most. He came out of the paint to attack pucks and assisted his team in running off the cocky Roberto Luongo several times. While the series against the Canucks went to seven games, for me it was over after watching game 4. I should have known then that I’d be writing this column. The Bruins simply brought their A game, a sentiment shared by casual fan Kevin Riley.
Although the Bruins are not MY team, they are one of favorites. This is mainly due to Ray Borque, one of the most classy and distingused players in years (even though he is retired). Because of him, I keep taps on the Bruins. I think it’s great that they finally one a cup, since it had been since the 70′s since they last one. I think Vancouver had a decent shot at winning but it was the Bruins who brought their A game and it is my thought that and the end of the day, it was the Bruins who wanted it more. They played with more passion than Vancouver.
Vancouver seemed to bring their “dirty” game in the finals, rather than their A game. They were called multiple times for embellishment, and even had an incident when Alex Burrows appeared to bite into the glove hand of Bergeron. They played rough, they played nasty and were even able to knock down Zdeno Chara down once or twice. The Canucks played even rougher when they were down a goal, which they were in every one of their losses. In the finals, the team that scored the first goal won the game, so in four games the Canucks were playing from behind and playing dirty. Says new Bruins fan Aaron Gouveia;
I’m a bandwagon Bruins fan. Red Sox, Patriots and Celtics? I’m all in. But hockey was the only sport I didn’t play growing up, so I just never got into it. But this year, sparked by a hatred of the Montreal Canadiens in the first round, I watched every game religiously. Suddenly I was invested in lunch pail guys like Tim Thomas, whose story will no doubt be turned into a made-for-TV movie soon. Brad Marchand, the rookie pest who I’d fucking hate if he was on any other team, but who works hard and is relentless at all times. Shawn Thornton, the bruiser with a heart of gold who seems like a helluva guy to have a beer with (as long as you don’t make him angry).
Game 7 against Montreal, redemption against the Flyers, Game 7 against Tampa and then Game 7 for all the marbles against Vancouver. Ah Vancouver, the team I knew almost nothing about prior to the Stanley Cup Finals, who is now right up there in the loathsome category with those filthy Canadiens. Watching the highly skilled but castrated Sedin Queens disgrace themselves night after night, combined with Burrows’ bite and Rome’s cheap shot on Nathan Horton, you saw the Bruins galvanized. But more than that, it felt like the entire New England region was galvanized as well. There was this unspoken sense of “No way these sissified Canucks are taking us down.” And I truly believe that helped carry this team to a Stanley Cup victory.
Not only does this mean all four major Boston sports teams have won titles in the last seven years, it means I’m now a hockey fan. A Bruins fan. My wife won’t like another sport sucking up my time, but if there’s even a chance of another postseason like this one, I want to be there for the regular season as well.
That was the thing about this years postseason in the NHL. I am not a Bruins fan of course, but they were exciting as hell to watch, especially the amazing saves by Tim Thomas. If you weren’t a fan of hockey before watching the Stanley Cup playoffs, you certainly are now. Digital Dads founder C.C. Chapman feels just about the same on that point.
Hockey has always been a sport that I’ve been a fan of, but never rabid about it. But, when the hockey season ends I’m always bummed because those are the dark days of sports for me until the NFL season starts.
Having the Bruins in the playoff and having so many crazy games made for a kick ass playoffs. Having this series start off in the painful manner that it did and then to turn around into such a vast amount of awesome was fun. They’ve never won a cup while I was alive so this is a big deal. The parade on Saturday is going to be intense!
So in closing, congrats to the Boston Bruins on your Stanley Cup win. Cherish it, because the Tampa Bay Lightning are coming for it next year, and we can go back to #notitlesinboston.