My Bruins, Our Bruins: 2011 Stanley Cup Champions
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I don’t know what to say. I feel like I am in the "History Will be Made" commercial where Billy Guerin, Ray Bourque, and Bill Ranford (against the Bruins in ’90) are at a loss for words because they have reached the hockey pinnacle.
It’s so surreal your vocal chords no longer function.
You are suffering from laryngitis of joy.
I can’t pinch myself black and blue anymore.
I can’t throw water on my face anymore or I may drown.
It’s not a dream. MY Bruins, OUR Bruins are Stanley Cup Champions.
No more heartbreak. No more disappointment. No more pain.
Just images, feelings and moments emblazoned in my mind.
Michael Ryder beating Montreal in their own house in OT.
Nathan Horton scoring in double OT and again in Game 7 dismissing the hated Habs. This was the moment that made this band of Bruins different. No longer did they melt under the pressure, they began to learn that they could overcome.
Tim Thomas frustrated the Flyers with his netminding brilliance, helping to rid Bruins fans of all the playoff pain we experienced a year earlier. It was sweet redemption and these Bruins yet again amazed us all with their passion and incredible will.
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Two things we questioned for much too long.
Seeing Tyler Seguin score his first playoff goal in person with my two best friends at the Conference Finals was incredible. Witnessing "The Kid’s" jaw-dropping encore in Game 2 versus the Lightning, the Bruins next superstar had truly arrived on the game’s biggest stage.
Feeling the pit in my stomach during Game 7 versus Tampa—hoping and praying the Bruins could go to the well one more time. Wondering if it was possible that my Bruins could beat Dwayne Roloson who was standing on his head. Would that shoe drop?
Not this time!
MY Bruins, OUR Bruins yet again found a way to win with the tip of Nathan Horton’s stick.
As the seconds wound down and the man-tears streamed down my face, MY Bruins made me so proud. They still had work to do, but win or lose they gained my utmost respect and undying devotion. These Bruins were warriors and could never be counted out anymore. I felt honored to have had black and gold blood running through my veins for all these years.
Winning the Stanley Cup would be icing on the cake, so I was hoping that icing would be very sweet.
The Finals versus Vancouver was a microcosm of their season. Their backs were against the wall being down 0-2. However, MY Bruins, OUR Bruins were not going to fold or pack it in as their predecessors may have done.
The Bruins got smacked in the mouth, were bitten and battered with dirty hits. Nathan Horton was knocked out of the series with a devastating blindside that made you ill.
There was one question running through my head.
How would they react?
How would they fight back?
All I could recall were images of the "old" Bruins doing nothing as Matt Cooke nearly decapitated their teammate, Marc Savard. I felt that same sick feeling in my stomach that day and I never wanted to feel that again.
MY Bruins, OUR Bruins were not going to let history repeat itself. They became even more resilient and reinvigorated. They fought, scrapped and scratched their way back into the series, imposing their will on the Canucks at home. Tim Thomas dominated between the pipes and Marchand got under Vancouver’s skin. The tide of the series was beginning to turn.
The "We Can" campaign was in full swing.
MY Bruins, OUR Bruins were in the Canucks’ faces and, most importantly, minds. "We’re not going to take it" could easily be adopted by the Black and Gold as their theme. They were no longer going to be called soft and uninspired. They were going to give birth to a new age of Boston Bruins hockey.
What Boston championship means the most to you?
This was never more evident as they faced elimination in Game 6. They came home and took care of business. The Bruins fed off the Canucks trash-talking and arrogance. MY Bruins, OUR Bruins took the series by the throat and weren’t going to let go.
On the eve of Game 7, I was nervous with anticipation and horrified by the memories of Bruins’ past heartbreak. However, as the day went on, the tension and stress diminished. Sure, I had butterflies before the game, but they were no longer the size of jumbo jets.
Something put me at ease, but what?
Game 7 was no longer an ugly term to me. MY Bruins, OUR Bruins proved to us all that they no longer would wilt under pressure; they would thrive off it.
This reminded me of Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS as the Red Sox took out 86 years of aggression, frustration and failure out on the Yankees. It was no contest. The old Red Sox were dead. This was their time just like this was the Bruins' time.
You could see in the Canucks faces that they were already beaten, but they could do nothing to stop Boston from reaching their goal. The Bruins second line skated around the Vancouver defenders like pylons and shattered Roberto Luongo’s fragile psyche. There was no doubt in anyone’s mind who the best goalie was and he was in the Bruins’ net.
Tim Thomas was nothing short of epic in this series. He was a difference maker, a game changer. There was no way he was going to relinquish this lead.
Game. Set. Match. The outcome became inevitable.
MY Bruins, OUR Bruins were finally going to reward us. This was their long overdue thank you to their fans for being devoted through 39 years of heartbreak and disappointment.
As I watched the conclusion of the game with my best friends, all the bad memories were washed away. No more falling short in the finals. No more Game 7 devastation. No more historic collapses. Those Old Bruins were just ghosts now.
Man tears streamed down my face.
Hugs with friends and family were exchanged.
Black and gold perma-grins were all around.
Chara raised the Cup over his head.
My screams of jubilation were interwoven with sighs of relief. They did it! MY Bruins, OUR Bruins are Stanley Cup Champions! I no longer had to live through Ray Bourque’s Cup because we finally have our OWN!
I will never forget this as long as I live. My hockey heart is finally at peace. The Maalox bottle can finally be retired.
THANK YOU BRUINS!
P.S. Claude Julien, I am sorry for the Mr. Potato head comments. The footage showed how much your players truly love you. Forgive me?
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