June 15, 2011.
Just mentioning the date is enough to make many Bruins fans stop in their tracks and wax nostalgic about the days of Rich Peverley, Chris Kelly and pre-economic anxiety Tim Thomas.
It’s a date that sits atop the list of life highs of every Bruins fan, just ahead of “birth of first child” and slightly behind “Bruins draft David Pastrnak.”
It’s a date that is tattooed on bodies, engraved in stone and plastered on t-shirts across New England.
And if a new report is to be believed, it’s a date that could be wiped from the history books.
In this EXCLUSIVE bombshell report, we can confirm, through a highly placed league source, that the NHL is investigating a possible offside that occurred with four minutes left in the second period of Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, throwing the results of the entire postseason into question.
“It’s about the integrity of the game,” said our league source over lunch. “Our fans have come to expect the best from the NHL. We don’t tolerate tomfoolery. We’re consistent in our discipline and our practices. We listen to our fans, and we ensure that the game doesn’t become a watered-down, slow-paced version of itself.”
“Our game would devolve into chaos if we didn’t inspect every little aspect of it after the fact,” the source continued, as he ordered a second cocktail upon learning that we’d be picking up the tab. “Fans don’t want run-and-gun, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants officiating. The fans want us to take the time to inspect every goal.”
After being promised that he could order another plate of crab rangoons to take home, the source produced a small iPad that contained the play in question.
“This is one of the ones used on the ice,” he boasted as we waited for 15 minutes for the tablet to load.
When the tablet was ready, he clicked on a file marked “TOP SECRET,” which sat right next to a collection of apps titled “GARY’S FOLDER - DO NOT TOUCH.”
The footage was grainy, like all YouTube videos of the Versus era.
The play in question occurred when Zdeno Chara made a rare foray out of the offensive zone to lead a rush. He managed to enter the zone and rim the puck around the boards, where it was retrieved by Brad Marchand.
The dump-in resulted in a shot on goal for the Bruins, but Roberto Luongo stood tall. Kevin Bieksa cleared the puck soon after the shot, and play continued as normal.
“Did you see it?!” the source exclaimed.
When met with a puzzled glance, he said “let me show you again.”
He slowed the video down to 1/100th of its normal speed and zoomed in 10x on Marchand’s skate.
“Watch the left heel,” he said.
As we watched, we noticed nothing out of the ordinary.
“Watch again,” he said, as he zoomed in 100x. “Look at the white spot.”
We finally saw what he was saying: the back of Marchand’s left skate was on a tiny piece of white snow that had landed on the blue line.
“That’s offisde!” he said gleefully. “Even though it’s just snow, it’s offensive zone snow on the blue line. Does that look blue to you?! Nope!”
He had a point: it is, after all, called the blue line. And that snow was not blue.
When pressed on why this was an issue, he explained:
“The Bruins never should have gotten to enter the zone. When Brad Marchand took that shot, the Vancouver goalie was forced to make a save, and that made him tired. Because he was tired, he wasn’t at the top of his game. That’s not fair.”
The Bruins would finish that period without another goal, and would add a goal in the third to help seal the win.
“If he doesn’t have to face that shot,” said the source, “he probably doesn’t allow that goal in the third. If he doesn't feel bad about that goal in the third, they probably win Game 6, instead of Luongo feeling sad about it a few days later. To let this go wouldn't be fair. It’s all about integrity.”
Most members of the 2011 team refused to comment.
Only Tim Thomas answered the phone, ignoring the question and instead asking if we had any interest in freeze-dried military rations.
The investigation has received the full support of the Vancouver Canucks organization and Canucks fans, many of whom report having regular nightmares about Brad Marchand.
The rogue anarchists responsible for the riots after Game 7 - none of whom were Canucks fans, nope, not a one, completely separate - couldn’t be reached for comment.
The NHL expects to finish its investigation into the possible offside by late 2019.