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Bruins get karmic boost from Cubs

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan  June 16, 2013 10:52 PM

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The Bruins could win their seventh Stanley Cup this week, if those lucky pucks keep bouncing their way.

Actively participating in the first 30 minutes of each game might help a bit, too.

The Bruins escaped from Chicago tied 1-1. They should have won Game 1 and lost Game 2. Funny how those things work out in the seven-game series. This series will likely come down to a fluke goal, a questionable power-play or a deflection off a skate (See Andrew Ference in Game 1.)

Thankfully, the Stanley Cup winner won't be decided by foolish t-shirts. Otherwise the Blackhawks would be marching up (or is it down?) Michigan Avenue today. There's already been the requisite and, sadly, expected idiocy from the other side in this series. The "Chicago Stronger" fad lasted all of about five hours. We've also been treated to a healthy dose of sports hate getting mixed with real hate on Twitter from Chicagoland. For everyone's sake, all of this childishness was dealt with via the swift and unforgiving hand of Digital Justice.

The juiciest sentence in the non-apology "Chicago Stronger" apology issued by the offending t-shirt company was this: "We are trying to profit off of our ideas, our artistic expression and an enthusiasm for sports that we share with several fervent fandoms."

Ideas? The worse part about the whole "Chicago Stronger" fiasco was its unoriginality. The "Fill-In-The-Blank Stronger" gimmick was tried in Toronto with disastrous results for the perp and his team.

The most karmic turning point for the Bruins in this Stanley Cup Final series may have come via Twitter, but it had nothing to do with t-shirts or #ChicagoStronger.

The Chicago Cubs Tweeted their support to the boys at 1901 West Madison St., Saturday night when the Blackhawks were up 1-0 and on the verge of blowing the Bruins right out of the United Center and into the middle of Lake Michigan.

The @RealOBF Twitter feed picked up on the curse-in-the-making right away. A few hockey minutes later, Chris Kelly (yes, that Chris Kelly) scored on the newly-formed Piezy, Segs and Kell line. Whatever works, Claude.

The Blackhawks got served a slice of Boston Cream Paille in overtime and all of sudden the Bruins had home-ice advantage in a best-of-five series to determine the Stanley Cup champion.

You can watch Paille's game-winner at 13:48 of overtime over and over again.

(HT/@BuzzFeedSports & @SethMookin)

It never gets old.

Pure hockey porn.

The billy goat, Steve Bartman and now the "Go Blackhawks" Tweet.

A new Chicago curse in the works?

You never know.

Maybe that was a gift from Theo Epstein? After all, the Cubs' GM grew up in Brookline and could have taken the Green Line from his neighborhood to the old elevated North End Boston Garden stop as a kid without departing the C Train. If he shows up for work this week wearing a "Blades" costume, Chicago fans can begin to panic. The Cubs no doubt supported the Blackhawks in 2010, but they didn't have Theo at that time, so all of this is raised to a whole new level.

The real key Saturday night, of course, was the continued brilliance of goaltender Tuukka Rask, who has done everything possible to emerge from the shadow of Tim Thomas but win the Stanley Cup, endorse Gabriel Gomez and renounce his Finnish citizenship.

Rask and Thomas both have no trouble speaking their minds. After Saturday's 2-1 OT win, Rask was very forgiving in his assessment, saying the lone goal he allowed really wasn't his fault. He's also supremely confident. His impending payday might be enough to lift the GDP of Finland by 10 percent. Talking to the press after the Bruins were able to silence the "Sadhouse on Madison," Rask had the smile of an 17-year-old boy whose fake ID was good enough to get him both the booze and the hotel room on prom night.

Game 3 of this wonderfully agonizing affair is tonight at TD Garden. Once again, the game will be televised on the NBC Sports 1992 Olympic Blue Channel, currently known as NBC Sports Network. These games have provided all of the anxiety-producing, stomach-churning, profanity-inducing action you'd expect from a cliche-laden Original Six matchup.

But these games are only fun to watch when the Bruins win.

That's what being a fan is all about.

Elsewhere in this week's Monday Roundup:

___________

John Lackey Ace: One of Theo's other gifts, John Lackey, has emerged as the anchor of the beleaguered Red Sox pitching staff.

Clay Buchholz has made just two starts in the past 25 days and Jon Lester has just two victories in the past month and is 0-4 in his last six starts.

Despite those woeful stats from their pair of aces, the Red Sox still have the best record in the American League (tied with Oakland at 42-29). Meanwhile, Lackey (4-5, 3.08 ERA) has gone 3-1 with an 1.87 ERA in 37.2 innings of work since May 15.

Tommy John surgery, 20-or-so fewer pounds and a divorce can often work wonders for a starting pitcher.

Thanks, Tommy and John.

Chicken's on me.

Two years ago, Lackey crushed a loaded field in voting for the first-ever OBF "Negative 10th Player Award." This season, he might be lock for its positive name sake.

Strange times indeed.

___________

Rose Thud: Justin Rose won the U.S. Open Sunday, beating Phil Mickelson by two shots. When Phil nailed that eagle on No. 10 Sunday, my moobs tingled. But Phil did what he does best and finished second for the sixth time in our nation's golf championship. At least it looks like he's slimmed down to a 44 AAA.

___________

Green Monster: The Red Sox have been rightfully bashed for the past two years for their slavish devotion to marketing and making personnel moves based on public perception. "Feeding the Monster," as Theo put it. But they are certainly not the only culprits in on the Boston pro sports scene who consider public perception and marketing strategy when making moves.

No one knows why the Patriots signed Tim Tebow, or at least no one is saying why they signed Tebow. But the Patriots have been on a downhill slide since the second-half of the AFC championship game.

After losing that game badly, they botched Wes Welker's deal and allowed him to slip away to Denver over a couple of million dollars, mere peanuts in the NFL. Tight end Rob Gronkowski is heading into his second lifetime back and fifth surgery overall in the past two years on Tuesday. Of course, he continues to party like hell in the process. Sadly, it appears his best days as a Patriot may already be in the rear-view mirror. All of this and he's not even 25.

Welker, Gronkowski and Brandon Lloyd together caught 61 percent (247) of the 402 completions Tom Brady made in 2012. Lloyd is a free-agent. Welker's in Denver. And not even the NSA knows when Gronk will be able to play.

Meanwhile, Bob Kraft's third Super Bowl ring continues to rest in the Kremlin's museum. A fitting tribute to all that yardage Vladimir Putin gained against the Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX. Perhaps it was payback for swiping Alaska.

Tebow is the best diversion no guaranteed money can buy. Especially during a week when the Bruins are fighting for their second Stanley Cup in three years

Meanwhile, the "sudden" departure of Doc Rivers, likely to the Los Angeles Clippers, has been in the NBA ether for weeks. As Michael Felger and others noted over the weekend, ESPN's Stephen A. Smith raised the likelihood of Doc leaving town immediately after the Celtics tanked against the Knicks. The local scribes indeed missed this one.

"News" of Rivers' unwillingness to guide the Celtics through three years of rebuilding (for a nice payday of $21 million by the way), broke again last week "from a source close to Rivers" through Smith's ESPN colleague Chris Broussard.

Again, perfect timing for the Celtics to throw in the towel on the next three or four seasons since the Boston sports world's eyes were turned toward the Red Sox, Bruins and Tebowmania.

The Celtics are finally allowing "Big Three/Four" era to come to a merciful close, something they should have done in 2011. The fact they can get compensation for a coach, even one as talented and coveted as Rivers, is a huge plus. The only Rivers who could really help the Celtics get better over the next few years is named Austin and plays for the New Orleans Pelicans.

If Rivers is coaching the team after all of this, it would be worst possible outcome for all sides at this point. A three-year lame-duck coach won't be able to motivate today's NBA superstars, no matter how good a job he's done in the past.

My Marquette-related bias toward Doc has been noted multiple times. He deserves more than the scorn of upset fans for his time and success here. Rivers, obviously, doesn't want to coach a Celtics team whose best hope is an eighth seed in the East. He's earned that right, even with this botched and gutless exit strategy. Like Terry Francona, time will allow him to be judged as a success and a winner in Boston.

But that will have to wait for the Bruins to win the Stanley Cup, or drive us all nuts in the process.

Don't forget to visit our Obnoxious Boston Fan blog. As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or e-mail me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com.

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Obnoxious Boston Fan offers a fun, unique and biting perspective on the Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins, Patriots and whatever else people are talking about in the world of sports. We More »
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