It was just five months ago that I was walking out of Hurricane’s At The Garden on Canal St., eyes swelled, and head hung low after the Boston Bruins somewhat unexpectedly dropped game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden.
As a person that has followed the team so religiously since I was a young kid, the sadness and heartbreak I felt that night was incomparable to anything I have felt before as a Boston Bruins fan.
The streets were quiet, fans walked emotionlessly. Some were looking forward to the baseball post-season, some to the beginning of the Patriots training camp, others looking forward to the subway train home and for the night to end.
The days following weren’t much better. After traveling home from Boston, I recall watching the player interviews from the Boston Bruins locker clean-out day. I witnessed the pain that was still visible in the faces of Charlie McAvoy, Torey Krug, Patrice Bergeron and others.
I remember wishing that the new hockey season could start tomorrow, while at the same time not wanting to think about hockey again. I still couldn’t believe that it was over and that the Boston Bruins had lost when it seemed so probable, so destined for a different, much happier outcome.
Fortunately, the 2019-2020 season has begun with a sense of determination from the same team who infamously lost Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals on home ice. A team known for its veteran presence has found a way to convert any negative emotions they had, into a winning formula fueled by the hunger to win. The Bruins veterans look seasoned, the young guns look matured, and our goaltending has looked as solid as ever.
With all this said, this Saturday’s game versus the St. Louis Blues at TD Garden will be the most painful game to watch this year.
The final score this Saturday will not change my feelings. If the Bruins lose, it will remind the die-hard fans of the feelings they felt in June, and if they win, it will leave us thinking of the ‘what if?’.
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The Bruins have been here before. The same core of veterans on the B’s had to deal with nearly the same emotions just six years ago as another team, not named the Boston Bruins, raised the Stanley Cup inside TD Garden in front of a deflated crowd. They’ve had to deal with that same team returning to TD Garden the next season, and the media attention that a game like this garners.
Don Sweeney proved in the off season that not only can this team handle situations like this, but he still believes this group has what it takes to win the seventh Stanley Cup Championship in the organization’s history as he made no significant changes to the team’s depth chart. This should leave fans optimistic for the season ahead, even if Saturday’s game is not one to look forward to.
I’m anxious to see how Bergeron and his teammates react to the visiting Blues. I expect for it to be a competitive game, with both sides still having something to prove to the other. I also hope the Bruins enter the game on Saturday with that same tenacity they have shown lately and give the fans something to cheer about this time around.
There are still many questions waiting to be answered such as; will David Backes be in the lineup? How will they handle Ryan O’Reilly? Or was Jordan Binnington a one-hit wonder? I figure many of these will be, before the end of the game on Saturday.
Saturday’s game should also help the Bruins faithful move on from last year, if they have not already. It’s the only time that the Blues will visit Boston this season, meaning that the fans attending the game will only have this one chance to let the Blues hear their anger.
After the game, fans on both sides can move on, understanding that last year is done and gone, and focus on the year ahead.
So, while I sit here and reminisce on the feelings I had last spring, and the otherwise amazing trip I experienced in Boston during the 2019 Stanley Cup Finals, I look forward to one thing; being back in Boston in seven months’ time, and this time, leaving with cup number seven.