Saturday, May 7, 2011

It Makes Me Happy to be a Bruins Fan

Last night my aunt and I attended game four of the second round of playoffs where the Bruins had the chance to sweep the Philadelphia Flyers and proceed on to the next hurdle -- to win the title of Eastern Conference champions (and then the final round to vie for that big old silver Cup that so many other teams have claimed in the last thirty eight years while we haven’t).

My aunt is the original hockey fan and probably one of the main reasons I got into the Bruins back in high school.  As a fan for umpteen years now she knows the stats, the players, the game, and was in the Garden on the night that Bobby Orr made that "leap" that will live forever in infamy on film.  Cool.

I used to attend the Arlington High hockey games at the rink in Arlington and sometimes my friend and I would be lucky enough that her dad offered us the tickets he got to go see the Bruins.  Back then they were only skating though, the glory days had sadly come to a close fifteen or so years prior but the last time they won the Cup was before I was even born.

When we (and by “we” I mean the entire town because if you’re a sports fan from Boston you know exactly what I mean when it comes to your respective team) knocked out the Habs (Montreal Canadiens) in the first round something magical happened here.  I don’t want to say it was exactly the same as when the Sox pulled it out against their bitter rivals the Yankees back in 2004 but, well, okay, yes I do.

I just couldn’t help but draw the parallel.  And come to find out, I wasn’t alone.  The pressure for the Sox to rise above what ever curse was haunting them for over 100 years finally broke when we beat the Yanks that year.  It almost didn’t even matter that we hadn’t won the World Series yet.  After taking the AL Championship, just getting there for the first time in decades was enough.

And when the pressure was off we simply swept St. Louis in easy fashion then a whole bunch (read: millions) of people took a day off of work to go out and watch the parade.

It’s been since 1972 for the Bruins.  But that pesky rival Montreal always seemed to get the best of us.  Even though we made it to the playoffs last year and lost to Philly, not Montreal, there was just some overwhelming cloud of Hab hanging over us.  When we beat them in game 7 of the first round last month it was like a million Bruins fans finally exhaled.

The pressure was off.  The unbeatable had been beat.  The Referees owed their bookies a lot of money no doubt.  But we were off to round two.

When we won my aunt and I were on the phone within minutes discussing which game we were getting tickets to.  There was no question of ‘if’ we’d go.  I didn’t care what I had to spend, she and I were going to be in that stadium for a playoff game again this year.

The schedule was announced and we both agreed that Friday night would be best.  It wasn’t a school night and it was game 4.  Game four.  I said to her ‘If we happen to sweep Philly we will be in the building when it happens.  We are so there.’

And then I just kept repeating the ‘if’ over and over again.

But I knew.  Don’t ask me how, maybe it was the exhale on April 27 when Montreal went home after the battle was won by us, but I just knew.

So we spent an unholy amount on seats that required an oxygen tank to get to and tossed on our lucky shirts.  I even made a pair of black and gold earrings before we left last night.  We were on the way.

And by we I mean the entire town because the Bruins had already taken the first three games.  If we swept Philly we were going to be in the building.

The first three had our boys looking mighty strong, following through on checks and skating like they owned the ice, like the puck was meant for no one but us.  And it was.  We did so well that their starting goalie was pulled in favor of their back up goalie, Sergei Bobrovsky, in every single game.  Not to say their back up was anything to sneeze at but like I said to my aunt, he’s young and less experienced and we have some serious veteran power on our team.  He would be no match for it.

At first last night I thought for a brief moment that maybe I was wrong.  Maybe this twenty two year old first year semi-rookie* was going to give us a run for our money.  It was 1-1 going into the third period and I just sent out a little prayer we’d just win it in regulation because with an start I didn’t think I’d be able to stay up through another all too familiar double overtime.

Then Boychuk scored and I said to my aunt ‘that’s it, now its 1-2 in the third of game four on May 6*.  We have scored the final goal.  We will now win on 1-2-3-4-5-6.’

I was, however, a little off.

Lucic promptly scored for the second time.  Up 3-1.  They pulled Bobrovsky.  Then Marchand hit the empty net.  Bobrovsky promptly returned.  But it was no matter, they pulled him again in a scramble attempt but their offense was no match for our spirit on the ice or in the stands last night and Palle sealed the 5-1 victory with another empty net goal seconds before the buzzer.

Holy crap.  Last night we swept through the second round, taking that victory for the first time in nineteen years.  Nineteen years.  Probably the same amount of time since the last time I went to a game with my friend.  And there sure is something amazing about seeing 17,000 other people jump out of their seats at the exact same moment when one of our guys lights that lamp.  There’s something amazing about this team.  This year.  In this town.

It’s their turn.  It’s their time.  Let’s bring it on home boys.  Sweep right through Tampa Bay.  And then follow through until the end.  Until that silver is in your hands.  Do it for Ray, for Cam, for the last 38 teams that wanted it so badly but couldn’t get past the force standing in their way.

The pressure is off, whatever black cloud was sent here by way of Canada has been lifted.  Now its time to lift the Cup.

*(When I looked up Bobrovsky I learned that he happened to sign with Philly on May 6, 2010.  Hell of an anniversary present there Sergi.  But honestly, I’m not at all sorry.)


Almost Precious said...

They've waited a long time for this moment. Congratulations !!!

It's really grand when a team finally breaks through a hex and prove themselves. Guess you'll be floating on cloud 9 for quite a while. :)

pastrywitch said...

RAWR!! Go Bruins!
I don't actually have a team, but your enthusiasm is contagious :)