“The Bruins have won the Stanley Cup!”
Those words will live with me for the rest of my life.
For the first time since 1972, the Black and Gold have won the most beauteous and shiniest of all trophies in professional sports. The Bruins defeated the Vancouver Canucks, a team which lead the regular season in points, were a #1 seed and stacked with undoubtedly offensive talent like the Sedin twins and Ryan Kesler.
But when it comes to winning the Stanley Cup, stuff like that don’t matter.
What matters is Heart. Soul. Grit. Grime. Desire.
A desire that is a slowly burning fire in the hearts of each and every one of these players since they were old enough to skate.
For the Boston Bruins, that fire started in Prague at the beginning of the season.
It smoldered throughout the months, through each long road trip, overtime win, and shoot out loss.
The sparks started to pop and crackle during the first round of the playoffs versus the Canadians.
The fire began to grow with the sweep of the Flyers and the emotional victory over the Lightning in the Eastern Conference Finals.
When the Stanley Cup Finals began, that fire was burning bright and hot, but it IGNITED because of one hit.
Aaron Rome’s crushing hit on Nathan Horton in Game 3 was akin to pouring a can of lighter fluid on a campfire.
Once minute you’re slowing roasting marshmallows and the next, you are plucking blackened, charred, nobs of sugary goo off your sharpened branch.
That hit changed something in the Bruins. It made them angry. Vancouver’s post game jawing and comments to the press only fueled the fire more.
All season, the Bs played better when they were down, when people counted them out. They crushed the Canucks in games 3, 4, and 6, and games 1, 2, and 5 were only one goal losses.
The Finals gave the decided advantage to the home team, but the Bruins were a team that would not be denied.
With the exception of a couple of minor penalties and sloppy turnovers, the Bruins played a perfect Game 7. It was controlled yet intense. All four of the Bruins lines were churning and working hard to shut down the Canucks, as they’d done the whole series.
Tim Thomas cemented his legacy in the pantheon of Boston sports and became the oldest player ever to win the Conn Smythe as the playoff MVP.
The Bruins defense, led by Zdeno Chara and the exceedingly underrated Dennis Seidenberg, created ghosts of the Sedins and the rest of the Canucks forwards.
Mark Recchi, at 43 years young, won his 3rd Stanley Cup, and promptly retired. The guy is class all the way and because of him, Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and Tyler Seguin will be the future of the Boston Bruins.
What happened last night will be etched into the memories of every Bruins fan everywhere and with this victory, my beloved city truly stakes its claim as the “City of Champions”. 7 titles in 11 years.
A slurpee sounds pretty good right about now.
But only if I get to drink it from the Cup.