Alcohol (for some).
General "F-bomb" warning to any and all within earshot who might be offended by such language.
Two best logos in hockey collide. Wicked psyched to be in Chicago! twitter.com/RealJackEdwardâ€¦— Jack Edwards (@RealJackEdwards) June 11, 2013
Original Six matchup. Old-time hockey. And we're not just talking about Jaomir Jagr.
Guess we're ready for the Stanley Cup Finals to begin tonight at the United Center in Chicago. Throughout their 2013 playoff run, the Bruins have done a great job at making the self-anointed experts and insiders look like fools. While they were favored by virtue of seeding and home ice against Toronto, the long knives came out in that series long before Boston fell behind 4-1 in Game 7.
It was all over after Tuukka fell on his Rassk in Game 4 against the Rangers.
And even though Boston took 3-0 leads against both the Rangers and Pittsburgh, the talk of 2010's phantastic collapse against Philadelphia was never more than one click or commercial break away. And we all know the Bruins never had a chance against Pittsburgh.
Of course, the invincible Penguins turned into the invisible Penguins once they actually started to play.
Now the Bruins find themselves once again as underdogs against the vaunted Chicago Blackhawks. Boston is +135, while Chicago is -155. (A $100 bet on Boston would net you $135, while you'd have to bet $155 to win $100 on Chicago.)
The "underdog" role extends beyond Vegas. All the experts give the Blackhawks the edge. That alone means the Bruins have this one in the bag.
For more than a month, we've been telling you about how special this season has become for the Bruins and their fans since they were the first team chosen by fate to rally the city en masse following the Boston Marathon bombings.
It all began on April 17, during the National Anthem.
There was no hockey insider expertise at play when these words appeared in the hours after Boston Game 7's victory over Toronto:
It also came four weeks to the day of the Boston Marathon bombings. In just 28 days, Boston has transformed from a city in stunned shock, pain and horror into a city that literally overnight has fallen back in love back its hockey team.
Something special happened in this game. Something that has to carry past this series and beyond the New York Rangers in the next round. The Celtics were never really in it this postseason. They were lost in the post-Marathon sports shuffle. But the Bruins have been there front-and-center since evil crossed the finish line at 4:09 of the Boston Marathon.
Those same Bruins, who carried the burden of being the first team back in action in Boston after the bombings, found sudden life in sudden death.
Toronto Stronger? Like hell it is.
You do have to give these Maple Leafs fans for having the stones to put this clip on You Tube, of their reaction to the Bruins' comeback.
Then we had Torts and Rangers gagging, Sidney Crosby, Owen, Gregory Campbell on one leg and a sweep of Pittsburgh.
There's no doubt this Stanley Cup would be special and unique among the other seven titles the city's sports teams have captured during this spectacular decade-plus of dominance.
This is the 11th time in the past 11 years a Boston-area team has played for a major pro sports title. Those teams - Celtics, Bruins, Patriots and Red Sox - are 7-3 over that run. A title here would not doubt provide a tremendous emotional relief, much like Boston's 2004 World Series titles that sent thousands of New Englanders directly to their parents' and grandparents' graves right after the Duck Boat parade.
With all that Boston Strong fate and karma on the side of the Bruins, many of us believe there's no way they won't win the Stanley Cup.
Of course, our hockey heads tell us that none of that means anything once the game begins.
Thankfully, we don't always let our heads over-rule our hearts. If we did, many of us would have never asked out that girl who eventually became our wife.
With that as our backdrop, here are 10 reasons why the Bruins will the Stanley Cup, none of which have anything do with the Patrick Kane-David Krejci matchup:
1. Tim Tebow. Need we say anything more?
2. Basketball Dynasties. Chicago has Michael Jordan and those six NBA titles. Very impressive stuff, indeed. Jordan and Bill Russell each won NCAA titles (thanks, Fred Brown) and Olympic gold medals (Jordan won two). But nothing in the history of the NBA compares to what Russell (with some help from Sam Jones) did during his dynastic years with the Celtics. Russell won 11 NBA titles in 13 years with Boston and never lost a Game 7 in his career. Top that, anyone.
3. Big Z: Not only is Zdeno Chara, at 6-feet-9, the tallest player ever in NHL history. He would be able to post up Jordan on skates. Not even Larry Bird could do that.
4. Super Bowl XX: Yes, the Patriots got demolished in that game 46-10, in perhaps the greatest single 60 minutes of dominance in the history of New England. But what was the name of the team that won the game? It was" Da Bears". The Bruins are also bears. So, Chicago hockey fans find themselves rooting against the bears in this series. Good luck with that, folks.
5. The Logo: Speaking of bears, the Bruins have not only have a fuzzy and fun-loving mascot in "Blades," they sport a very politically-correct logo - whether it's the spoked "B" or the hockey bear. The Blackhawks are the Redskins of the NFL. It's foolish to think sports nicknames and logos are somehow latently offensive or racist, especially in 2013 when no one associated with those teams feels that way. The Florida State Seminoles have worked with the Seminole tribe for years to provide scholarships to its members and a portion of the sales of FSU merchandise. My college, Marquette University, was called the Warriors until a few decades ago, when they became the Golden Eagles. I will be a Marquette Warrior the rest of my life, along with Doc Rivers. The origin of the Blackhawks team name comes from a military unit in World War I that named itself after a Sauk Indian chief who allied with the British in the War of 1812. The team's name before that: Rose Buds. That works for us. OK Chicago fans, after me: "Let's go Rose Buds!"
6. The Curse of Theo: The legacy of Theo Epstein in Boston includes two World Series championships, David Ortiz, Dice-K, J.D. Drew, Adrian Gonzalez, multiple attempts to move Manny Ramirez, John Lackey, Eric Gagne, loads of terrific draft picks and the gorilla suit. I'd say that's a mixed record if there ever was one. Theo's presence is either a blessing or a curse, depending on how you want to look at it. We'll go with curse.
7. Cubs vs. Red Sox: Boston and Chicago each had teams in the American and National League at the dawn of baseball's modern era in 1901 (the Braves left town for Milwaukee for the 1953 season). In the past 112 seasons, Boston and Chicago have only met once in the World Series. That series was won by the Red Sox in 1918, right before the end of World War I and a massive influenza outbreak. Clearly, Boston still has the momentum on its side. For those wondering, the Bruins are 4-2 all-time vs. Chicago in the NHL playoffs.
8. Gangster-Inspired Movies: On the surface, Chicago rules when it comes to gangsters. Al Capone set the standard. And it appeared that Robert DeNiro would be a walk in this category after his portrayal of the baseball-bat-swinging thug in the classic "Untouchables." Speaking of movie trivia,
Elliott Elliot Ness (Kevin Costner) also plays Superman's earth dad in "Man of Steel." We shall forgive him for "Waterworld." Capone and DeNiro met their match in White Bulger and Jack Nicholson in "The Departed." Nicholson's character was named Frank Costello but was based on the very real-life Bulger.
The characters alone give "The Departed" the edge here, especially Sgt. Dignam (Mark Wahlberg).
Lazio: Do you have anyone in with Costello presently?
Dignam: Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe f--k yourself.
Ellerby (Alec Baldwin): Staff Sergeant Dignam is our liaison to the the undercover department, his undercover work is extensive. He's here to give us his report. Sergeant Dignam.
Dignam: OK. My people are out there. They're like f--kn' indians. You're not gonna see 'em you're not gonna hear about 'em except from me or Captain Queenan. You will not ever know the identity of undercover people. Unfortunately, this s--thole has more f--kin' leaks than the Iraqi Navy.
Ellerby: F--k yourself.
Dignam: I'm tired from f--kin' your wife.
Ellerby: How's your mother?
Dignam: Good, she's tired from f--kin' my father.
You get the idea. Edge, Boston
9. Hatred of New York: Both cities have healthy rivalries with New York. Chicago sort of surrendered from Day One by adopting the "Second City" moniker. Meanwhile, Boston is the "Hub of the Universe." Bostonians are born knowing they're second to none, especially New Yorkers. My youthful years spent at Fenway Park during the heady days of the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry in the 1970s taught me first-hand how to properly deal with New Yorkers and Yankees fans who get out of hand. Chicago is a terrific city and it won't be easy to root against. But we'll manage. Many of my best friends and every college roommate I ever had are/were from the Windy City. They're great people. Maybe they just don't know how to hate as well we do. Maybe that's a good thing.
10. Bobby Orr. After 10 Hall of Fame seasons and two Stanley Cups with the Bruins, Bobby Orr signed with a free-agent with the Chicago Blackhawks on June 24, 1976. Since I'm picking the Bruins to win this thing in six games, the Stanley Cup championship would be won in Boston on June 24. That would be 37 years to the day of Orr's tragic and depressing official exit from the Bruins, which remains the subject of historic debate. Orr played 26 games with the Blackhawks over two seasons. Since knee surgery was in the pre-historic stage back in the swinging' '70s, Orr's No. 4 hangs gloriously from the rafters at TD Garden and not from the United Center. Orr told WEEI's "Dennis and Callahan" last week he was unequivocally rooting for Boston in this series, despite the way his exit was handled by the team.
So the Bruins have "Boston Strong," Tim Tebow and Bobby Orr on their side.
That's all the karma any team will ever need.
Hearts over heads.
Works every time.
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