An original six team is appearing in the Stanley Cup Finals, can you guess who it is? It’s neither the Red Wings nor the Blackhawks. It’s not the Canadiens or the Leafs either. Is it the New York Rangers? 25 years ago, you’re damn right but no. The Boston Bruins are in the Stanley Cup Finals once again and it’s getting to the point that I wonder how much longer this lucky streak will run for the city of Boston.
It seems that ever since Mo Lewis gave New England the greatest prayer in disguise in the history of Sport, or the living world, the city of Boston has been a haven for Major League Titles. Six Super Bowls rings, Four World Series titles, two Stanley Cups and even a ring for the Celtics, over the Lakers no less.
This season has been especially bitter for me. The agony of living in a city like Buffalo makes watching Bostonians cheer on champion after champion is unbearable. Had the Celtics proved everyone right, it would’ve been too much for the rest of the civilized world. How spoiled can one city be?
And yet Boston, I understand that you too have gone through some painful experiences. Your Red Sox went 86 years without a ring. Your Bruins went 41 without the Cup. 2008 was a great season the C’s but a.) The team was snake-bitten after that and b.) You have just one ring in the last 33 years. The Patriots hadn’t won a Super Bowl in their first 40 years of existence either and the times they did go? Well, I’d be willing to bet that Tony Eason and Steve Grogan both had PTSD because of those ’85 Bears.
It was fun taunting New York about a 3-0 series lead. Tell me, does Philly ever bring that up? No, because they lost. You know who didn’t lose? The Giants, both times they played your Patriots. Watching perfection slip through your hands must’ve been horrible. Trust me, it would’ve been worse had you not gassed the Falcons of their superficial 25-point lead.
For the record, I called that collapse in the first half.
The point I’m trying to make with all of this is that while Boston has my envy, I understand if the Bruins win the Stanley Cup. Going into this series, it looks like St. Louis is walking into the towering inferno. I find it so eerie that games one and two will be played in the same city where your last finals game was held.
Let’s think about all you’ve gone through in the time since. Players such as Brett Hull, Chris Pronger, Al Macinnis and even Grant Fuhr have come and gone without so much as a Stanley Cup Final visit. Memories of Owen Nolan’s slapshot from center or Steve Yzerman’s game 7 paint-peeler burn in your memory.
This season has been incredible for the league and you guys are the biggest story. At the beginning of the season, you were a train-wreck. Midway through, you were without a pulse and now as May closes out, you’re walking into the Stanley Cup Finals. I doubted you along the way but time and time again, you’ve proved me wrong.
I’m begging you, please do it in this round.
The way you’ve comeback this season is something that may never be matched again in Sport if you’re able to pull it off. To kill all of your demons in one year is the dream of many franchises across the globe of sport. The Red Sox did it in ’04, the Capitals did it last year, John Elway and the Broncos and the 2016 Cavs also come to mind. It would be wonderful to see the Blues win Lord Stanley.
Alas, I don’t think it will happen.
Boston plays old-school hockey. They don’t care if you like them. In fact, they rather you didn’t because they’re here to knock you off your game. Sports appear to have become an entity where competition is being replaced by friendship and mutual cooperation. The Bruins will put a severe dent in that thought should they win the Stanley Cup. They’re not here to be the good guys or role models. Lord Stanley is all they want.
In some regard, this can be seen as a good vs. bad match-up. Everyone appears to be pulling for the Blues if only because the country doesn’t want to see another Boston champion. Brad Marchand may’ve scored 100 points this year but is universally despised around the NHL. Zdeno Chara may be on his last leg but he’s still kicking everyone’s ass.
David Pasternak has emerged as a dangerous sniper while Patrice Bergeron solidifies himself as the best two-way player in the league today…and ever. Tuuka Rask…the brick wall of Finland that guy is. Year in and year out, he’s arguably the best goalie in hockey. It appears he will be winning the Conn Smythe trophy should the Bruins lose.
Is it wrong of me to sleep on the Blues like that? It might be. I feel bad testing them one more time but maybe that’ll be their midas touch. Every aspect of their game has stepped up when it’s needed to and a trip to the Finals is their reward. Of course, they’re not here merely as cons to the play that is the Bruins season. The Blues have had a season worthy of a Hollywood Screenplay. Of course, one might get laughed out of the room if they suggest such a film.
I expect the series to be close because these two teams mirror each other so well. The Bruins remind me of the Broad Street Bullies while the Blues are the team that’s put together a season one would expect from a Disney film. Should St. Louis win the Stanley Cup, I’ll be as happy for them as I’ve been any team ever. I won’t feel the same if the Bruins win but like I said, I’ll understand.
My prediction (which I hope I’m wrong about): Bruins in Six.