After winning the Stanley Cup in 2011 and earning a trip to the finals as last year’s Eastern Conference champion, have the Boston Bruins become the team in Boston?
Although, over the past half-decade they have certainly been the most consistent, and they have brought the city its most recent championship. But with the always beloved Boston Red Sox entering the MLB Postseason as the American League’s No. 1 seed, and the New England Patriots heading into this weekend’s tilt with the Cincinnati Bengals at 4 – 0, there are too many good teams in Boston sports to declare any team the team.
In my opinion, last season was the Bruins chance to become the undisputed favorite team in Boston. In their history of sports fandom, Bostonians traditionally value toughness, underdogs and winners, and the 2013 Bruins fit the bill in all three categories. With top netminder Tuuka Rask and bruisers Milan Lucic and Zdeno Chara leading the way against the favored Chicago Blackhawks, those Bruins were 18 seconds of bad hockey (and bad luck), and an “anything can happen” Game 7 away from winning their second Stanley Cup in three years.
Instead, Game 6, played on June 24, ended up serving as a heart-breaking end to the Bruins’ 2013 season. The 48 hours that followed weren’t much better for Boston fans.
On June 25, Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers, and on the June 26 (the date Game 7 would have been played), former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was led away from his house in handcuffs, and subsequently charged with the murder of Odin Lloyd.
Had the Bruins forced a Game 7, they would have been the only thing for Boston fans to cling to. After losing two of Boston’s biggest sports figures in consecutive days, the Bruins could have made it all feel a little better, but they didn’t.
No, they lost. At home. After leading the game with just over a minute to play.
As I see it, that was their chance to become “Boston’s team” for the first time since the 1980′s. The Red Sox were in first, but were coming off a last place finish and playing with their third manager in as many years. The Patriots had lost fan favorites Wes Welker and Hernandez, and the end of Tom Brady‘s peak years was looming. Furthermore, the Celtics had gone from championship hopefuls to re-building in almost no time.
The Bruins had a great chance to become the team in Boston.
Fortunately, with a new season comes new hope and a new chance at claiming Lord Stanley’s Cup, and the 2013-14 Bruins seem poised to make a run at the championship.That said, there’s no guarantee that the Cup will come with the title of “Boston’s Team,” for that title is a much harder one to claim.