This has been a fun year. No matter what happens in game 7, this has been the best year I've ever enjoyed watching hockey. I'm new to this blog and I hope my occasionally unique sense of humor hasn't earned me any enemies yet. New here, but not new to the Bruins. I have been a Bruins fan since I was old enough to understand what was going on in a hockey game. It was back in the days in the twilight of Neely's career. When it was truly apparent how great he had been. You'd get little glimpses of the greatness, but with the understanding that the great nights weren't going to outnumber the not great nights.
I was raised on the old stories. My Grandfather's old truck carried the faded bumpersticker all the way to the junkyard (Jesus saves and Esposito scores on the rebound). But in terms of what I've actually experienced as a Bruins fan, I haven't had that many electrifying years. I remember how excited I was when we drafted big Joe Thorton. I remember the GAS line with little Sergei Samsonov who couldn't defense his way out of a wet paper bag. They were fun to watch and man could they fill the net. I remember the last series in the Garden. I was young. Hadn't physically experienced the garden or any of the amazing things that had happened inside. But I remember being crushed at the thought that all those memories would get bulldozed. Things I'd never seen, but had heard over and over through the years.
The only time I ever got to see the Bruins in person wasn't even in Boston. My uncle got us tickets to see the Bruins and the Whalers one year when we came up to visit. Live hockey is the greatest sports experience in the world. I got to see Bourque score one of his goals. It seemed like it happened once a game. Face off in the other teams zone. Puck gets won back to Bourque. He fires it before you even realize it was on his stick. And the lamp lights while the Goalie's sitting there looking from side to side like "what went wrong?" And I remember the play like i was yesterday. I was like 11. But I remember it. Because as soon as I saw Bourque skate into position, I leaned over to my Dad and said "Just watch, they're gonna win it back to Bourque and he's gonna score." And my Dad laughed and said "We'll see." Five seconds later we were all standing cheering and my Dad kept telling my Uncle that I had made it happen. But that's my 2nd favorite memory before this year.
Before this year. The best time I ever had as a Bruins fan, was watching Ray Bourque skate with the cup wearing another team's jersey. It was true elation getting to see him win it, hoist it, and skate with it. Old number 77. One of the best Bruins ever. And the best one I've been fortunate enough to watch play. But it was a bittersweet kind of happy. Seeing him in the Ave's jersey. Knowing that Patrick Roy, the hated goalie of Montreal, had helped him get it. It was happy, mostly happy anyway. I was glad he got one before he hung up his skates.The best, until this year.
But this year. This year has been amazing. And it trumps them both.See, the last 4 years or so the Bruins have delivered plenty of heart breaks. And they always seemed to come in those soul crushing tight contests in a game 7. Some of them made that much more painful by being against Montreal. And this year, it seems like the puck is taking the lucky bounces towards Boston. I have to admit, in my life as a Bruins fan, I've become accustomed to the ferocious B's snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. So I have been so scared to hope in this series against Vancouver. Even now, thinking forward to game 7, my imagination is conjuring all the many ways that the Bruins might crush my hopes as they've done so many times before.
But underneath the fear and the pessimism is that warm glow of hope. That 6 year old that cheers in the face of opposition. The unrestrained enthusiasm blind to the possibility of anything but success. I left my feet more times than I could count in game 6. Made enough noise through the 2nd period that my neighbors on both sides knocked their complaint. By the third my neighbor above did the same. And that's when I decided to write this, rather than suffer the wrath of the condo association.
With the joy of that young Bruins fan I once was. The one that hadn't tasted disappointment so many times as to forget the flavor of hope. I want to officially predict the outcome of game 7. A day that I believe will be forever remembered in Vancouver as Black Wednesday*. Final score 29 to 0 (three of the goals will be own goals by Burrows who will get so turned around in the chaos of the Bruins assault that he'll bang a hat trick past Rask**). I firmly believe the game will be called at the end of the 2nd period. Primarily to prevent any deaths from tv viewers due to overexposure to awesomeness***. And after seeing the true power of the Bruins unleashed in those 40 minutes the entire NHL will need a diaper change.
*As in "No son, I still remember exactly where I was on Black Wednesday" or "Thursday was horrible I couldn't get a latte anywhere, everyone was closed in the aftermath of Black Wednesday." or my personal favorite "After Black Wednesday I have to be careful, whenever I see someone wearing the colors black and gold together I go into a sobbing fit . . . and my wife is a Steelers fan."
**After both Luongo and Schneider give up a baker's dozen to the Bruins in the first period, the Bruins bench will agree to lend the Canucks Tuukka. Tuukka will happily agree because it gets boring being Timmy's back up. Timmy will start to offer to play for the Canucks so that Tuukka doesn't have to sully his back with one of their jerseys, because Timmy is a classy guy like that. But Tuukka will convince him it's better this way, because Tuukka is too.
***In the middle of the 2nd period at least three people in the arena will have been found suffering from symptoms. Two members of the Canucks will also report symptoms but will be found to be faking those injuries in an attempt to draw penalties.
Thanks to everyone that has welcomed me. It's been an amazing year.