One of the offseason features we're doing here at Days of Y'Orr is sharing stories from other Bruins fans about their experiences and thoughts about the Bruins fantastic, drought ending Cup run. Volume One can be found here. Here is the second installment....
Today's first story comes from Sean Hathaway:
I've been a Bruins fan all of my young life, so when I was diagnosed with leukemia nearly two years ago, I was thrilled to be treated in the Neely Pediatric Bone Marrow Treatment Unit.
If I had to go through chemotherapy, at least I did in a room with a Bruins jerseys on the wall and a spoked B on the floor. The unfortunate circumstances I was in afforded me some pretty great opportunities, though. I have met a slew of Bruins who have come through to visit me in the hospital and spend time with me. Patrice Bergeron even took me to a game for Hockey Fights Cancer night last year in his suite and allowed me to realize a life-long dream to ride the zamboni at the Garden.
The men who make up the Boston Bruins are fantastic human beings and I can't say that enough. Even with the celebrity and wealth that comes with being a professional athlete, they have not lost sight of what makes someone a good person. And of course, for me, it all starts with Cam Neely, even if he's in the front office these days. The man who, for me, more than anyone else, personified Bruins hockey, giving boundless passion and sacrificing health to this team. His off-ice contributions to fighting cancer have made these past 23 months far more bearable and for that I am eternally grateful and elated that he finally won, even if he couldn't as a player. To see all of the guys reach the pinnacle of the NHL is not only special for me as a fan, but as an indebted person who could never give thanks with the same meaning as winning the cup.
P.S. you guys have definitely been an integral part of Bruins culture - please don't stop
We figured we'd open with a tear jerker. First, we'd like to wish Sean a full recovery! Can't even imagine what you're going through man but it looks like you've kept a positive outlook.
Sean's post also highlights exactly what made this Bruins team so special. Just a bunch of great guys that were not only dedicated to winning, but understood what a championship would mean to Boston and their fans.
After the jump.... a couple more of your stories....
Our next story comes from Peter Mayer:
After Boston beat the Flyers to go to the Conference Finals, I allowed myself to dream. What would I do? How would I react if they finally won? I decided then and there that I would cry like a little girl. Or Alain Vingeault.
Through the peaks and valleys of the next two series, the crushing 5-3 loss in game 4 in Tampa that would've put them 3-1 up and the first two games in Vancouver, I tried to brace myself. "You've been through this before. First, with all those series against Montreal. Larry Robinson. Mats Naslund. Patrick Roy. Guard your heart. Remember Petr Klima. Remember 1996 and 2006 when they absolutely sucked. Remember 2003 when they blew the 3-1 lead against the Habs. Remember last year how numb you felt for days after losing to the Flyers. Remember. Guard."
And as much as I tried to brace myself for what I've taught myself to expect, there was still a part of me that wanted to believe. Days of YOrr and Stanley Cup of Chowder helped. The character of Tim Thomas, Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron helped. So when Ference made that great seam pass coming out of his zone with 7 minutes to go against Tampa in game seven, I said "great pass". Krecji went to the outside, and I saw Horton go to goal hard, and it was in. And as sure as I tried to brace myself for the inevitable back-breaking tying goal by Simon Gagne, it never came. He never got a sniff.
Fast forward to game seven in Vancouver. Sitting in my best good-luck spot on a hard tile floor in my wife's grandmother's house in eastern Arkansas, I watched my team play one of the best games I've ever seen them play. And while there was no doubt from the end of the first period on, it didn't seem real until Marchand scored the empty netter. It just all came out. The guys hugging on the bench. Recchi raising his arms as the seconds counted down. Dogpile on Timmy. I think I cried for the next 30 minutes as each Bruin lifted the Cup, I thought to myself, I never thought I'd see this.
I tried to explain to my wife, who was politely chuckling at me, that when you follow a team, you hope, you support, and every year it's a little bit short. I talked about how against Edmonton, they really only had one line, and the Oilers were stacked, so they were short series. The other team always had the hot goalie or the superstar. It was never the Bruins turn. And each year that someone else wins it, you realize that it might never come your way.
Driving to the airport the next day, it hadn't really sunk in. I don't think it's sunk in yet. But I realized that I will be able to tell my kids that I saw it. My dad told me about 1970 and 1972, and I was my son's age then. This season was about fulfillment and achievement. Thanks to your blog for letting the fans tell this story. Pass me a tissue.
Thanks for sharing Peter! Just watch the History of the Boston Bruins DVD to see how much bad luck they had in the late 80's, early 90's, ha. First they ran into Gretzky and the Oilers in the Finals. Then they ran into Lemieux and the Penguins in the Conference Finals. Then Neely went down. Etc, etc. Peter is right. Every year something else happened but every year true fans just kept coming back for more and we were finally rewarded. Still feels good.
Finally, our pal Paul gives his persceptive...
What's up fellas, it's Paul, one of your loyal readers, facebook lurkers, and resident smart asses. I originally intended on writing a quick piece about my personal experiences with this season- a season that found me meeting new people with which I shared this passion, and series that, infinitely more importantly, saw me finally, after 10 years of trying, bringing my own Dad back to the Bruins he so dearly loved when I was a kid, before the 90s lockout. As I wrote, though, it went in a very different direction as I kept going, and became more of an outline of the post-season, from this fan's perspective. This may be completely different from what you're looking for, but for what it worth, I enjoyed writing it, maybe you guys will enjoy doing the reading for once.
What can you say about your team winning the Stanley Cup? People say this is more legitimized by the fact that now Boston teams have all won their respective championships within the last 8 years... But personally, I couldn't care less about the others.
Baseball, to me, is a slow-paced, boring game that exists best as background noise on the TV during a bbq on a spring day. The Celtics have never not been awesome, but even basketball has it's inherent flaws. 43 minutes of mundane back-and-forth, and 5 minutes of non-stop "strategic fouling" at the end. Don't even get me started on football- the endless string of controversies and characterless players, with the shortest season of any major sport, yet the highest paid (and most commonly arrested) athletes.
Nope. Give me character. Give me loyalty. Give me passion.
Give me fucking Hockey.
None of these characteristics were on display better than in this NHL season, specifically the post-season. One would be hard-pressed to find a better story written by some expensive suit in L.A., and then you'd probably end up with some douche bag like Ben Affleck in the lead role. Fuck that. No, this drama isn't about some self-proclaimed underdog with a faked accent. This one is real, and all the accents were, too. Even the hilarious Swedish ones.
To say that a round one against the Habs wasn't exactly what we all secretly wanted would be a lie. I don't care what the season record was, what the stats looked like back-to-back, or what the play styles seemed to tell us... any true Bruins fan, even if secretly, wanted to meet the Habs in the post-season... and what better way than to get right down to brass tacks in round one? And again, in true Bruins fashion, they decided to fuck with our emotions, and play the "lol let's give our fans heart conditions" practical joke on all of us. Those rascals. We may not have realized it, as fans, at the time... but that series turned out to be more than just a way to start some of us down the paths toward a drinking problem. It threw the team into the fire. It had them melted down after losing two games at home, and re-forged by pulling their collective heads out of their asses and telling Montreal to fuck itself... Literally, in the case a select defenseman, who also happens to moonlight as a superhero with a green mullet. The adversity wasn't finished, however. The series would go the full 7, but every challenge contributed to solidifying that family in Black and Gold. That includes the ones on the ice, the ones in the stands, in front of the TVs, and in the awesome blog chat rooms as well (OHFUCKYEAH). After it was said and done, the Habs were given a rousing send-off to the Golf courses by their buddies from Beantown, by means of an overtime goal by Nathan Horton. Suck it, Montreal.
This brought our boys to Philadelphia (We can be sure there was a pause in the action first, for the Bruins players to be given vaccinations to make them less susceptible to the various diseases and infections one can catch by entering such a place.). One can also assume that the Bruins had a similar plan to drag this series out, to build their much-loved drama... but upon realizing this would mean they had to spend more time in Filthadelphia, they promptly said "Lol fuck that," and swept the Flyers. This not only vindicated the boys from Boston of their previous seasons humiliation at the hands of the Flyers, it also showed some of what they had gained from the series with Montreal. The quest continued.
The next series had the Bruins trading the smell of grease and the dead rodents in Scott Hartnell's mullet for the equally putrid smell of what was unmistakably Preparation-H and Death. Is this... Hell? Oh shit, nope, it's just Florida, but that's an honest mistake. Tampa Bay, to be exact. I don't know what was more intimidating in this series. Was it the much-talked about (Read: Obsessed over) 1-3-1 defense? Was it Guy Boucher's scar, that is rumored to be from when he killed a volcano-shark because it looked at him wrong? Was it the gerontophobia (look it up)? Retrospect tells us it was probably the last of the three, after the Bruins succeeded in solving the 1-3-1, and showed no fear in the face of a screaming Scar, who hadn't flipped his shit that hard since he heard Mufasa called him a loser at Lion College. Yeah what? You can hardly get a job cleaning toilets these days without a degree, you think being the f-ing king of the jungle doesn't at least require a bachelors? Fuck.
But I digress, the Bruins were in the Stanley Cup Finals. Whoa.
I've dragged this on for far too long, at this point. You'd think with a story as perfect as the Bruins vs. Canucks series, it would be half my little post-season recap. You'd think that I'd go into the overwhelming odds against the Bruins. You'd think I'd talk about the last two NHL scoring champions, twin brothers with connection bordering on psychic, being on the first line of the opposing club. You'd think I'd talk about the Olympic Gold Medal winner Goalie, and the shoe-in for the Conn Smythe named Kesler. But I won't. I won't because in the end, none of it mattered.
We, as Bruins fans, came into this series knowing relatively little about our Western competition. We knew that they were the last step toward our team winning Lord Stanley's Cup for the first time in 39 years, when I, personally, was -16 years old, and we knew that everyone had been telling us that they were the best. It didn't take long to realize that this wasn't going to be a pretty match up, as we learned our newest enemies weren't the honorable kind that try to win with dignity and strength. Rather, they were the kind that sneak up behind you in the dark and kick you in the testicles, then quickly scamper away... and when you finally do catch them, they pull out a rape whistle and get you arrested, and registered on some horrible list that means you have to introduce yourself to the whole fucking neighborhood. Pussy shit, basically.
When all was said and done, The Cup came home. It came home with a team that earned it, not a team that stole it. A team that won it through their hard work, their loyalty to one and other, and their love of the game of Hockey. They won it through standing face-to-face with the top scoring team in the league, the winners of the Presidents trophy, and saying "Sit the fuck down, your season is over.". Because these weren't divers, or cheap-shot artists. These weren't entitled hockey-snobs. These were the Boston fucking Bruins, and they came to earn The Cup. So that's exactly what they did, because that's what men do.
After 39 years, The Cup was back in The Hub, and it was Hockeytown, again. In the upcoming seasons, we can't say for sure what will happen. New challengers will approach, likely with more heart and honor than the Canucks, and it's safe to say that at some point, The Cup will leave, once more. But what's happened in 2011 can not be undone. While The Cup will inevitably continue it's quest around the NHL, one thing will remain unchanged: Boston is Hockeytown once more, and we all lived to see it happen.
Thank you to the 2010-2011 Boston Bruins, for making this fan and his dad's dream come true.
We really have nothing to add Paul. Couldn't have said it better ourselves. Still get chills.
Until next time!