"The Boston Bruins. At last, the circle is complete. When Ray left you, you were but the learners. Now, you are the masters."
-- Butchered Star Wars paraphrase
Sorry... it popped into my head as time expired. And I figured, "Ah, what the hell. Use it."
So, obviously this post is a few hours overdue. I can explain that. I had a mandatory meeting. What can I say, it's a professional thing... just bad timing, what are you gonna do?
My original plan was to shut off my phone, stay off the grid, and run out of Gresso's plugging my ears to avoid any potential spoilers. Then I would drive home as fast as I could, and watch the game on tape. That's what VCRs are for, right?
Well, they put it on in the basement. I didn't have my contacts in, so I was able to mostly resist the urge to gaze over and squint across the room to see the TV during the meeting.
However, there were breaks in the meeting, so I got to see scores and highlights. When it let out, there was 1:30 remaining in the game. I couldn't look away.
Hell, could you?
I still watched the game when I got home.
So, anyway… I uttered that rather strange line as time expired, because it seemed funny at the time. However, the reason it even entered my head in the first place, was because it reminded me of 10 years ago, when Ray Bourque raised the Cup at the Pepsi Center in Denver, with the Avalanche.
Back in 2000, a then-struggling Bruins team traded Bourque to Colorado, so he could have a "last" shot at the Stanley Cup. It was not to be that year, as the Avs fell to the Stars in the Western Conference Final in seven games… again. The Avs resolved to win the Presidents' Trophy for next year, to ensure that any Game 7 the next year would be on home ice. They did it, and "Mission 16W" was born. They wrapped it up with a Game 7 win on home ice over the New Jersey Devils.
All that was missing when Ray hoisted that Cup… was a Boston Bruins sweater. It was a great moment, but I had to see Boston win a Cup.
Finally, that 10-year wait – and Boston's 39-year wait – is over.
Over, because the Bruins found a way to play their game in Vancouver.
The Bruins played a good, physical game, solid defense, and one more time, for the final game of the season, goaltender Tim Thomas played like the superhuman goaltender that he has been for this entire Playoffs.
The Bruins did what they had to do. They left it all on the ice… and in the back of the net. The goals came from two guys who might as well be called The Usual Suspects this year – Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand (two goals each). Bergeron got his fifth and sixth, and Marchand got his 10th and 11th… hell of a way for a guy to wrap up his rookie season. Those 11 goals were good for second in the entire Playoffs, just behind David Krejci.
The NHL makes a lot of talk about "history" and its promotional campaigns. Well, the Bruins certainly did that. Marchand's goal-scoring performance was tied for second-most in history by a rookie. Tim Thomas was only the second American player to win the Conn Smythe. The Bruins were just the third team to win the Cup in a Game 7 on the road. And speaking of Game 7, the Bruins were the first to win three Game 7s in the Playoffs.
(25 Playoff games... what the hell...?)
Obviously, that whole "ending a 39-year Cup drought" one is sort of the biggest one (heh-heh).
And the most beautiful, too.
Guess this kinda sums it up:
Congratulations, Boston. One hell of an end to one hell of a season.
Go Bruins. Actually... you know what, kick back for a few. You've earned it.
I raise my pint of Sam Adams Boston Lager to you. Cheers.
And thank you for reading.
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