It’s the eve before the biggest game in my history as a Bruins fan. I’m so nervous I’m going to have problem going to sleep. I had known about hockey quite early on since Las Vegas had a minor-league team, the now-defunct Las Vegas Thunder, and a friend was a big fan. Despite knowing so little about the game, I was hooked immediately when I came to Boston in the mid-90s. The grace and speed intermixed with the power and physical intensity, in my mind, elevate hockey above all other team sports. I remember cheering for the dynamic duo of Joe Thornton and Sergei Samsonov. Samsonov was my favorite player because of his small stature and mesmerizing puck-handling skill. I remember feeling sad when Ray Bourque was traded to the Colorado Avalanche in 2000, then being elated when he won the Stanley Cup the following season. When Bourque brought the Cup back to a rally at City Hall, I was among the thousands who showed up to cheer for him.
It has been a rollercoaster ride being a Bruins fan in recent years. But certainly my experience pales in comparison to those who have not seen them raise the Stanley Cup since 1972. Now they’re on the verge of erasing the frustration and anguish of a generation of fans. There would not be a better road to the Cup than this. They already overcame their arch-nemesis, the Montréal Canadiens, without facing whom the quest would somehow seem incomplete. By defeating the Philadelphia Flyers with a 4-0 sweep, they came close to erasing the ignonimity of the previous season—being only the 3rd team in hockey history and 4th team in sports history to lose a series after leading 3-0. They outlasted a talented Tampa Bay team with a late goal in the last possible game of the series.
And here we are. All the biting incidents, bone-crushing hits, concussion and resultant suspension, blow-out games, shocking overtime goals—they all mean nothing. Two teams, one game to decide who will raise the most legendary trophy in all of sports. One game to decide the fate of two fan bases—who will be elated beyond belief, who will plummet to the depth of despair. For my part, it’s my ardent hope to be making plans for lining up along Boylston Street waiting for the Duck Boats later this week. It would be the best time of my life as a sports fan.
The Boston Globe site has a feature in which people upload their fan photos. The photos consist of a multitude of babies, pets, black-and-gold face paints, flags and other paraphernalia, the Ice Girls, Blade the bear, a mohawk, a Bruins logo mown into the lawn, Bruins celebrities, Halloween costumes, and several replica Stanley Cups. Among the photos that caught my attention for their creativity and daringness are these.