(El Pres Editors Note: I literally and I mean literally spit out my coffee and I wasn’t even drinking any when I heard this last night.)
Did that really just happen?
Yes. Yes it did. Let it sink in, Bs fans: the Boston Bruins have won the Stanley Cup. And on Jeremy Jacobs’ and Claude Julien’s clock.
After 39 years of futility, anger, frustration, heartbreak, and many bouts of fan self-doubt, the Bruins beat the entitled, arrogant, cocky, and supposedly vaunted Vancouver Canucks 4-0 in Game 7 to bring the Stanley Cup back to Boston for the first time since the days of Bobby Orr, Johnny Bucyk, and Derek Sanderson.
So this is what if finally fucking feels like, eh? Pretty goddamn good, I’d say.
The Bruins once again relied on the supernatural talents of Conn Smythe winner Tim Thomas to weather the early storm then rode March-mont and Patty Bergeron to a dominant victory over a team that looked defeated when they left the ice in Boston on Monday night.
After the Bs went up 1-0 on Bergeron’s goal from a great March-mont feed, the Rogers Center was deflated quicker than the Hindenburg. When the Bs doubled the lead after March-mont’s wraparound, I had to do all I could to remind myself that there was still a lot of hockey left. When Patty B’s shorthanded breakaway found its way past Luongo, I started looking at Expedia to price out flights to Vegas to cash my 16/1 ticket. And when the little shit hit the empty-netter, I knew that this whole Bruins Stanley Cup thing had finally come full circle.
39 years after my nine-months-pregnant mother attended into Games 1, 2, and 5 of the 1972 Cup Final with my dumb ass tucked in her womb (talk about the ultimate obstructed view), the Bruins are bringing the Cup back to Boston. But this time, I can actually see it. Though it was a bumpy ride at times over the last few decades, I wouldn’t trade it for a fucking thing. So thanks Ma and Dad for getting me hooked on the Black and Gold from the hop, it’s been a real treat.
A few more buds for your STANLEY CUP CHAMPION bowl…
*Patrice Bergeron is one of the most even-keeled, introspective, and conservative personalities on the Bruins (at least publically). To see him show such emotion, such personality in the locker room after the win was an eye-opening treat. The heart-and-soul of the Bs, who had a monster playoffs on both ends of the ice, was giddy and exuberant, two qualities that fans have scarcely seen from the quiet leader. After his awful concussion a few years ago, many wondered if he’d ever get back on the ice, let alone play a 107 game season. Well Patty, you did it kid. Can’t say enough good things about him and I couldn’t be happier for him.
*Congratulations to the great, classy, and humble Mark Recchi, who joined very elite company by winning his third Cup with three different teams in a surefire HOF career. Rex was no bystander either. Despite early and repeated calls to disperse his ice time elsewhere, Julien stuck by his aged warrior and was rewarded with a great SCF showing by the guy who re-upped for one more year because he believed in the team in the room. And because he believed, I believed…to the tune of a few extra Gs on the Bs to win the Cup when I was in Vegas back in September. So thanks for that too, buddy.
*The last Bruins player to leave the ice was Gregory Campbell. I’m still waiting for the conspiracy theorists to explain how this was somehow proof that his dad rigged the series.
*I’m sitting in my hotel room right now watching ghetto bird spotlights shine on the street below me. I had family members texting me from home, asking if I was OK, telling me to be safe, saying don’t venture outside. I relayed the same messages to friends who were outside the building (and they were fine). In a quirky bit of fate, it was a former UVM teammate of Tim Thomas (and buddy of mine) who texted/warned me from Florida to tell me that it would be no joke outside after the game. And he was right. “Absolutely disgraceful, shameful and no way represents…Vancouver”, were the words uttered by the eloquent yet visibly angry mayor. “It’s embarrassing”, said a woman on TV. As a proud Bostonian, I know what it’s like to have your town besmirched by knuckleheads. But I gotta say, the people of Vancouver that I encountered during my brief stay here were incredibly polite and accommodating. And with the exception of Gary Bettman, who was booed so loudly that you couldn’t hear a damn thing he said and had several drinks thrown his way, the fans showed an appreciation of the game at the conclusion. Even in defeat, the crowd seemed thankful about seeing the Cup in their hometown and Thomas received a hearty applause for his Herculean efforts upon receiving the Conn Smythe Trophy, as did local kid Mark Recchi when Zdeno Chara handed the Cup off to him. My only beef: some fans’ utter disrespect during the U.S. national anthem. It was the polar opposite of how Boston fans reacted to the Canadian anthem at the Garden. Additionally, the singer’s rendition was the aural equivalent of a two-pump chump.
*Hey Toronto, in case you checked out after the regular season, Tyler Seguin, Tuukka Rask, and Tomas Kaberle are all going to have their names engraved into the Stanley Cup. Thanks again.
*Speaking of Kaberle, he had a nice finish to the playoffs and seemed to settle down more as the playoffs wore on. We’ll worry about re-signing him later. Let’s just enjoy this for now.
*Sitting here watching TSN SportsCentre, I’m guessing that these jokers didn’t get the memo that the ESPN Catchphrase Contest ended about 12 years ago. Guys, Keith Olbermann isn’t walking through that door. And if he was, he’d be outlandishly liberal, obnoxious, and unemployed.
*The post-game presser with Thomas and Bergeron was one of the more comical in recent memory. Thomas’ ability to respond to painfully obvious questions makes me think he was a huge fan of MAD Magazine’s ‘Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions’ during his youth. His playoff numbers of 1.98 and .940 are insane and he’s the oldest playoff MVP ever. When he collects his Vezina next week in Vegas (to go along with his Conn Smythe and Stanley Cup), he’ll officially conclude perhaps the greatest season an NHL goaltender ever had. Not bad for a guy that nobody wanted, time and time again.
*Great to see Nathan Horton raise the Cup after what happened to him earlier in the series. They really don’t come any nicer than him.
*I made it a point in the raucous post-game locker room to seek out Claude and personally congratulate him and apologize to him for doubting him in a December blog I wrote (after which the Bs got points in 12 of the next 14 games). The incredibly classy and graceful coach shook my hand and graciously accepted my gratitude with a huge smile on his face. After the way the coach has weathered his storms in Boston, I shouldn’t be the least bit surprised. Julien could give a master class on taking the high road and I can honestly say that I’ve never been so happy to be so wrong in my life.
*I had the great pleasure of meeting Boston media icon Jackie MacMullan on the way out to B.C. and I gotta say that more people in her field should take her cue when it comes to humility. Without a shred of the ego or elitism so unreasonably common in her line of work, the former Globe scribe was more than happy to split a cab with a scrub blogger decked out in grubby sweatpants and Bruins gear.
*Dennis Seidenberg, the unheralded German who arrived at last season’s trade deadline but was unable to participate in the ’10 postseason due to a lacerated tendon, was the Bruins biggest unsung hero of these playoffs for the ages. Paired with Zdeno Chara, Seidenberg used his brand of physical, smart hockey to stymie the opposition and it was one of the key cogs in the Bs’ Cup run. He arguably became Julien’s most relied-upon D-man as the playoffs wore on and Seids never failed to deliver. He’s just the second German to win the Cup (after Uwe Krupp in ’96 with Colorado).
* A few years ago when the Cup was in town for the Wives’ Carnival, Shawn Thornton coerced the Cup keeper to make a pit stop at an old gangster bar in C-town and made everybody’s night, especially the guy who he put in charge of “babysitting” it for an hour or so. As a former winner, he’s got that rare clout. After sharing a big bear hug with Shawn Thornton after the game, that babysitter commented to him that he could now bring the Cup down to the Spud (aka The Ironside Grille in Charlestown) as a Boston Bruin. He quickly shot back with a big shit-eating grin, “I might bring it down to Old Sully’s”, in reference to the hidden hole-in-the-wall that was featured in “The Town”.
*I want to give hearty and heartfelt thanks to the gang in the Bruins media relations office for letting this wise-ass into the inner sanctum of Boston’s media to help me provide my skewed view of all things Bruin. Matt Chmura, Eric Tosi, Kelly Mohr and crew took care of me all year long and allowed this kid who grew up in the real Garden to realize his lifelong dream of not only seeing the Bruins win the Stanley Cup, but also allowing me to celebrate with the team immediately after. Thank you so much guys. As corny as it might sound, you truly did help make my dreams come true and I will be forever grateful.
*In that same vein, I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Dave Portnoy for letting me give my take to all of the Stoolies worldwide for the last few seasons. It was five years ago that El Pres did a “calling all cars” for a Bruins blogger. I answered the call and whatever it was that I pounded out on my keyboard apparently tickled his fancy. So Dave, I’m eternally grateful to you as well. Without you giving me crack at the starting line-up on the best blog on the planet, then this moment in my life is only one of the great ones, not the transcendent one that is truly one of the two or three best days I’ve ever had on this planet. From the bottom of my heart, thanks man.