Tonight, in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Bruins and Vancouver Canucks, I believe the Bruins will win because they have come too far to lose, because they possess championship-caliber makeup, because they have won every game this season that the schedule has demanded them to win.
I believe the Bruins will win because Tim Thomas is a better goaltender than Roberto Luongo.
And because Thomas is a better teammate.
And because he is, in short, a better man.
I also believe, naturally, that Thomas has far more air in his tires.I believe the Bruins will win because they have more dignity than the Canucks, more character, more resolve and more downright likability, and that because of all that the Bruins have the support of the entire United States, most of the hockey world and even some of Canada.
And I believe the Bruins will win because they are tougher.
I believe the Bruins will win the Stanley Cup tonight because no team in NHL history has ever won three Game 7s in a single postseason and because, sooner or later, most every silly statistic like that gets disproved.
Because there are lots of ways to win and because every team is different.
And because this Bruins team is different, too.
I believe the Bruins will win because over the last 10 years, from the Patriots to the Red Sox to the Celtics, we have had the privilege in this town of learning what champions must possess and because the Bruins indisputably have it.
And because I still believe the Canucks do not.
I believe the Bruins will win because Dennis Seidenberg is built like Ray Bourque was, with legs like Roman columns, because I now understand just how much the Bruins missed Seidenberg a year ago.
And because that makes me realize, too, how much the Bruins also missed David Krejci.
I believe the Bruins will win because Brad Marchand is an antagonistic little menace who would do just about anything it takes to win, from treating Daniel Sedin like a speed bag to Roberto Luongo like a shooter tutor to Christian Ehroff like an overgrown weed.
And because, amid all of that, Marchand has scored nine goals in this postseason, bringing his 2010-11 contribution to the Bruins to an even 30.
And because, to the best of anyone’s knowledge, he still has not bitten anyone.
And because of that, I believe the Bruins have changed.
I believe the Bruins will win because Zdeno Chara deserves a title, because he was the concrete block on which this Bruins renaissance was built, because he was willing to come here in the first place.
And because he will continue to envelop Henrik Sedin as if he were a human Snuggie.
I believe the Bruins will win because Marc Savard and Nathan Horton will be watching, because Horton and Savard deserve to be remembered for what they have given the Bruins this season and in others, because that is the true definition of sacrifice.
I believe the Bruins will win because, as Pierre McGuire so aptly put it, Adam McQuaid is one “mean hombre.”
And because the Canucks have proven they will turtle when confronted by him.
I believe the Bruins will win because head coach Claude Julien is anything but a self-promoter, because he seeks no credit while being dealt blame, regardless of whether either is justified.
I believe the Bruins will win because Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille are among the most unsung heroes of this series, having been a big reason the Canucks are just 2 for 31 on the power play for the series, numbers that mean the high-powered Canucks have converted on a measly 6.5 percent of their chances with a man advantage.
And because, as the Bruins would be among the first to tell you, that is utterly inept.
I believe the Bruins will win because the Phil Kessel-for-Tyler Seguin trade has the potential to go down as axis on which Bruins history turned, because Seguin will be one of those rare players in history who will know nothing but success.
And because Kessel must be watching this now with a better understanding of what the Bruins were trying to tell him, show and teach him during his time in Boston.
I believe the Bruins will win because, over the last three years, the Bruins have now played eight playoff series and because, in the previous seven, Milan Lucic has combined for five goals and four assists in the final game.
Which is to say that Lucic finishes strong.
I believe the Bruins will win because Patrice Bergeron should be the first player all parents cite when trying to teach their children how sports should be played, on both ends of the arena, and how they should act beyond the lines and whistles, too.
I believe the Bruins will win because Mark Recchi really wants to retire and because, as he told us all at the end of the regular season, a title would make the decision easy.
I believe the Bruins will win because Shawn Thornton believes in honor, because he wears an NHL uniform with pride, wherever he plays, and because he wears the spoked B with as much dignity as anyone.
I believe the Bruins will win because Johnny Boychuk will stop pinching and keep on hitting, because collisions involving Boychuk often look like car accidents, and because Boychuk suffers more than his share of body damage.
I believe the Bruins will win because, pound for pound, Andrew Ference is one of the toughest little SOBs in the NHL.
And because Tuukka Rask, despite being pushed back to the bench this year, continues to greet Tim Thomas after every victory with a smile on his face.
I believe the Bruins will win because they have taken on the personality of their team president, Cam Neely, who routinely played as his team has been playing throughout these playoffs.
And I believe, finally, that the Bruins will win because their fans deserve it, because Boston has been in nothing more than a hockey coma for much of the last 15 years, because all the Bruins and their fans needed was a serious jolt of hope and because a Cup would put the final touches on one of the greatest runs in American sports history.
And because, in the end, a Stanley Cup would complete the set.
Tony's Top 5
Best offseason moves in recent Red Sox history