It's 3:45AM. I haven't woken up without an alarm at this time of the morning in anticipation since being a kid at Christmas. The day is finally here. No more lockouts, no more Fehr, no more Bettman, no more HRR, no more make whole, no more podium, no more snide comments and potshots. Finally I would be reunited with Lucic smashes, Seguin stickhandling, Patrice’s perfection, Thornton’s fists and Claude’s power play.
I forced myself back to sleep knowing that I had basically a 12 hour day with pre and post-game plans of epic proportions on the docket. While I made cookies I listened to 98.5’s hockey show. I even missed people mispronouncing names! It felt like everything was normal again.
As I drove into the garage down the street from the Garden I found my old reliable parking spot – yeah the superstition starts with the parking. I tied on my scarf and headed to make the neighborhood cookie deliveries.
In no time at all, I was in my same spot at the The Fours, with the same people as always. Some I had just seen a couple nights ago, but some I hadn’t seen since Joel Ward ended the Bruins' season on April 25th.
Watching the early games, the puck drop in other cities, rooting for and against other teams – it was great. I knew that our owner was having his press conference and I didn’t bother to look for details on it. It wasn’t about him or any other owner or league official. Saturday was about fans and players being reunited. I think we are extremely lucky in Boston to have an NHL team where we like not only the team but also their chances.
Rene Rancourt belting out the anthem might as well have been angels singing. The Bruins wasted no time giving the fans the stick salute. After the Caps ended the Bruins' season last year, my despair was turned around quickly with the stick salute from the Bruins. And here they were again, albeit after much more time between games than I’d hoped.. A little acknowledgement that they knew we’d rather focus on GAA instead of HRR.
Then the puck dropped. The Bruins took on the much favored New York Rangers. The Bruins looked sharp. The questions about Tuukka seemed to melt away. We got a look at Dougie Hamilton in his NHL debut. Two thirds of the Merlot Line reminded the Rangers what it’s like to be tough to play against. Lucic showed that’s he’s not fat and played like a beast. Chris Bourque played where his dad had made so many memories for us. Patrice showed us why he’s always going to be in the running for the Selke. Hank looked human. There was even a call to Toronto! I love calls to Toronto.
Then we all gathered a across the street and talked hockey and watched the west coast games. We laughed when Cory Schneider was pulled in favor of Roberto Luongo. When Jacobs was on the screen from his press conference earlier in the day – we all booed. Step away on the day that the Bruins and their fans are reunited – count your money that we begrudgingly give you – because days like opening night are among the best. Simply put – it’s not about you Jacobs.
3:45AM. I missed it all. We all did. Ultimately what Saturday was about was about getting back to our routines and rituals, and what a great reunion it was.