*(Not affiliated with the Boston Bruins or the New England Hockey Journal)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Erasing the stain

Have another column on the Boston Bruins' Stanley Cup championship over at New England Hockey Journal website.

The focus: on how the Bruins erased the stain of their humiliating defeat of a year ago in dramatic fashion. Couldn't have happened any better, and when I spoke to a pair of front office members this afternoon, they could only chuckle in disbelief at how it all worked out.

Here's a teaser from the piece:

Boston hockey’s rags-to-riches tale is no less compelling in the annals of sports lore. In the span of a little less than 400 days, the Bruins went from bums and chokers to Stanley Cup champions.

With one resounding Game 7 road victory (the first such event in the team’s 87 years, and what better a time to make history?) the B’s erased the pain, the humiliation and devastation of having blown a 3-0 series lead to the hated Philadelphia Flyers in May, 2010.

The Bruins didn’t just bounce back from what was just one more kick to the crotch of a franchise and fan base that had seen its share of nut-punches since Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito and their merry band of hockey miscreants beat the New York Rangers on Broadway to snatch Lord Stanley’s chalice in 1972. No, these modern wearers of the spoked-B eviscerated decades of frustration, always capped with a half-hearted “there’s always next year” spoken quietly by only the most fanatical of the Gallery Gods and Bruins devotees.

Although sweet, Boston’s 1972 Stanley Cup championship had become obscured to the mists of legend, like the elusive sword of fable Excalibur, as it might have appeared sinking into the waters clutched in the Lady of the Lake’s grip.

That moment, captured in the washed-out, grainy images of that last decade of bare-headed hockey heroes flying down the ice with their hair on fire, stood as the last testament of Boston hockey supremacy. But in the pre-video and internet age, it was almost as if the Bruins never won at all.

In the 39 years since the WHA and Ken Dryden (at one time a Bruins draft pick until the team foolishly traded him to Montreal) helped break up what should have been a powerful dynasty of multiple Stanley Cups on Causeway Street, the Bruins and their fans have seen some doozies.

Full story here.

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