Anatomy of a Championship Evening
Wednesday, June 15
19:30 — Just arriving at Perfect Game after tutoring my English student for two hours. Being from Puerto Rico, she knows almost nothing about hockey and cares even less. But she liked my Bruins earrings.
19:31 — Can’t believe my luck to get a parking spot directly across the street from the bar. And as a bonus, the meters stopped running 90 minutes ago.
19:32 — The place is packed, inside and out. They have tables set up in a roped off area on the sidewalk. Not sure how they get around the city’s open container law.
19:33 — Not a seat to be found, except for one table for three near the front that is marked “Reserved.”
19:45 — The Den Mother’s Mother (DMM) arrives after parking a few blocks away. She’s furious because she called earlier and was told they don’t take reservations. We talk to the manager, who puts us at the reserved table because “the people who reserved it didn’t get here by 7:00.”
19:51 — Ordered a cheeseburger and a Wachusett Blueberry Ale, local brew, no imported Canadian stuff tonight, baby!
19:57 — All televisions in the place are switched from NESN (Sox at Rays, scoreless) to NBC.
20:10 — Everyone is buzzing now that the teams have come out and we’re getting ready to start. Our table is in the perfect spot, right next to the windows, which are open onto the sidewalk. The people outside have a good view of the screens above the bar.
20:17 — Entire bar is singing The Star Spangled Banner at the top of their lungs.
20:29 — Nothing to say except that we’re underway and I’m a wreck.
20:42 — SCORE! Bergeron from Marchand at 14:37. It’s the first time in the series that the road team has scored first. The bar erupts, lots of high-fiving, followed by sustained chants of “Let’s go Bruins!”
20:57 — End of first period and I’m in my car charging the phone because I failed to bring a charger to work today. My friend Shannon just arrived.
21:06 — Chants of “Yankees suck” are coming from the overflow crowd on the sidewalk.
21:16 — Back inside now. I’d feel a lot better if we could get another goal, and quickly. We have to turn up the pressure on Luongo; we were outshot badly in the first.
21:35 — SCORE! Marchand from Seidenberg and Recchi at 12:13. Chants of “We want the cup!” I just ordered a brownie because I’m a nervous eater. At least I’m a tad more comfortable now.
21:41 — I just said to Shannon that if the Bruins hold on and win this thing, I may have to take my uterus out of retirement and have Tim Thomas’ babies.
21:45 — SCORE! Bergeron, short handed, from Seidenberg and Campbell at 17:35. Bar patrons are now singing that “Ole ole ole” thing they do at soccer matches. I can’t believe this. Keep reminding myself there’s a lot of hockey left.
21:53 — Second intermission, back in the car to charge the phone. I’m getting a little emotional, dying to text the love of my life but am determined to be strong. I need to pull myself together.
21:59 — Bruins radio guys just said that Tim Thomas now holds the record for most saves in a single postseason.
22:05 — Sidewalk patrons are now singing “God Bless America.”
22:10 — Back inside now. Shannon and DMM ask me if I’m OK. I clutch my chest, and they laugh at me.
22:21 — Bruins power play really does suck. Honestly, that’s my only complaint about this series. It’s hard to believe they made it this far without a decent power play.
22:22 — Text message from the Den Son: “Who the hell are these people [players] and can we get them for the regular season?”
22:25 — Happy birthday to Ashley, a young woman out on the sidewalk who turned 21 today.
22:27 — 5:51 left. Can’t breathe.
22:40 — 2:44 left – SCORE! Marchand, unassisted, into the empty net. Can’t imagine what Vigneault was realistically hoping to accomplish by pulling his goalie in a 3-0 game, except maybe to avoid the shutout and maintain some shred of dignity. Oops!
22:44 — 1:25 left and it just occurred to me that there have been only three penalties in this game. Neither the penalties that were called nor those that weren’t have bothered me, though I was a bit peeved about the attempted hit to Chara’s head that missed only because he’s 6’9″ tall.
22:45 — CHAMPIONS!!!!!!
22:46 — Text message: “WEEI FLASH: BRUINS win the Stanley Cup in VAN w/4-0 Game7 shut out. Thomas 38 saves.”
22:47 — The bar PA system is playing “Dirty Water,” but you can’t hear it over the crowd screaming and chanting “MVP” every time Thomas is shown on TV.
22:49 — Thomas is being interviewed by NBC. We can’t hear what he’s saying over the chants of “Tim-my Tho-mas” and “We got the Cup!”
22:51 — Nathan Horton is on the ice wearing his jersey. He looks great. Text message: “CBSBoston: Bruins beat Canucks 4-0 in Game 7 to win their first Stanley Cup since 1972.”
22:52 — Tim Thomas, 2011 Conn Smythe winner. As if it was ever in doubt.
22:53 — And there’s the Cup! OH. MY. GOD. It’s prettier than I ever realized 🙂
22:54 — Here’s Chara, hoisting that Cup higher than it’s ever been hoisted! Then passing it to Recchi, then on to Bergeron, Thomas, Kaberle, Ference, Thornton, Seidenberg, Ryder, Kelly, Horton…
22:56 — Text message: “SportsHub: The Boston Bruins are Stanley Cup Champions!”
22:58 — NBC cuts away to interview Old Man Recchi, then cuts back to show Paille lifting the Cup, then Krejci, Lucic, Peverley, and they just cut to the announcers.
23:00 — Now we’re seeing the Cup passed to Boychuk, McQuaid, Marchand, Seguin, then they cut away to show coach Claude (whose head some fans wanted on a platter back in the first round). Now back to the players, Kampfer, Whitfield, Arniel, the suits… Obviously I missed several players when NBC kept cutting away for interviews or other camera shots.
We hung out a while longer, soaking in the reality of what we just saw. Then I drove DMM and Shannon to their cars and headed down the highway toward home. The Den Son called to talk about the game and the series. Even he was crapping on the Canucks as having gotten what they deserved for being such big mouths. I had absolutely no antipathy toward their team going into this series. They’ve managed to change my attitude. But I refuse to get sidetracked by the negative. This is the Bruins’ night.
In a few hours, I’ll drag myself out of bed, exhausted but happy, and get ready for work. I’ll pick up a few newspapers on my way to the office. I’ll patiently await an announcement about the victory parade so I can put in for the day off. I’ll use my lunch break to go out and buy a Stanley Cup Champion t-shirt.
But mostly, I’ll enjoy this amazing story, one that wasn’t even a wishful thought a couple of months ago.
It’s good to be us.