By Matt Moore, howiGit Contributing Writer, Boston, MA
We are now a few days removed from the Bruins capturing the Stanley Cup with a Game 7 victory in Vancouver; a victory that ended a 39 year drought for the Bruins organization. However the 2011 championship did so much more than just end a dry spell – it restored hockey to the forefront of the Boston sports scene. Much like the 2008 Celtics championship bridged a gap between generations of fans, this Stanley Cup united Bruins fans of all ages. Watching the Bruins’ playoff run with my father made things extra special, because I saw how much it meant to him as a fan that had been waiting since 1972 to see the Cup back in Boston. I was in Boston for the celebration parade, and you could see how much it meant to fans that Boston had finally won again. People all around shared stories of watching the Bruins in the 1970s, how they stuck through the low years and even the lockout, just because they knew the time would come when the Bruins would be champions again. Their faith was rewarded this season, and in doing so, the Bruins put themselves in the same category of the other title teams in recent Boston history.
The championship was made all the more rewarding because of the way the team played, and the characteristics they personified. The Bruin players endeared themselves to the fan base by playing a tough, physical brand of hockey that resonates with a city like Boston. They lacked true star power, but instead were a collective unit that succeeded; oftentimes when facing opponents with supposedly more skill. The phrase “will beats skill” was used often to describe the Bruins title winning team, and it really is appropriate. This isn’t to say Boston was without skilled players, but rather that they found the extra gear when needed to win games. It maybe cliché to say that a team takes on the identity of the city they play in, but that truly was the case with these Bruins. Every fan base may say that their team represents the qualities of their city, whether it is true or not. Perhaps Vancouver showed this to be true in the way they reacted to losing the finals. But I don’t know much about Vancouver or how they view themselves there. I do know that the inherent differences between the two teams became more and more evident as the series progressed. The Bruins played hard, physical hockey and knew when to play with an edge. This is how the teams of the 70’s played and were successful. When the Bruins mirrored those teams and that style of hockey, the results spoke for themselves.
This Bruins season will always be remembered for the amazing run throughout the regular the season, the three Game 7s they won, the performance of Tim Thomas, and the new hero that seemingly emerged each round. The good news continues though, as this team is built for years of success. The shift started with signing Chara and Savard five years ago, and now through drafts and trades, the Bruins have a balanced, talented, and most importantly, young core of players. Just looking down the roster shows the number of young, valuable players: Horton(26), Bergeron (25), Krecji (25), McQuaid (24), Lucic (23), Marchand (23), Seguin (19). We heard during the rally several members of the Bruins organization say that there won’t be such a long wait for the next Cup and they are eager to bring more to Boston. Looking at the roster, and what this Bruin team just accomplished, you can’t help but believe it.