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Is Owen there? Bruins fans find out on Friday

Posted by Eric Wilbur, Boston.com Staff  June 7, 2013 09:17 AM

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Owen is a popular cat these days, but nobody can seem to get in touch with him. (Potty mouth warning.)

Rumor has it that the chap is hiding out in the Steel City, though attempts to reach him have gone unsuccessful and it’s gotten to the point where Pittsburgh folks are getting a bit fed up with any attempts to reach the elusive fella. Yet, they do seem resigned to the fact that maybe, just maybe, he will indeed resurface at some point Friday for his potential big shindig in Boston.

"We were really good sports about the first couple [of calls]," Souper Bowl spots bar manager Jess Santavy said, "but it's like 40 times a day."

In fact, the stench of Owen has infiltrated all of Pittsburgh it seems. Nobody wants to meet him, and they damned well sure don’t want him to make a bigger name for himself when their beloved Penguins take on the Bruins in Friday’s Game 4 of the NHL’s Eastern Conference final. Larger than life. Bigger than Jesus. Why all the fuss?

"Because he's from Boston, and I don't like him!" local sports radio host Vinnie Richichi said.

Bostonians, they love Owen. A week ago, nobody could honestly have told you he or she would have the chance to meet him, so the opportunity shouldn’t be wasted. The new Owen Wilson movie opens this weekend. Spike Owen once played for the Red Sox. Native New Englander John Irving wrote “A Prayer for Owen Meany.” There’s a Boston Pizza in Owen Sound, Ontario. But this Owen, he's better.

With a win over the Penguins Friday, the Bruins can inexplicably insert Owen into the Stanley Cup playoffs history books. Owen who? Well, his surname hasn’t exactly been finalized. Not yet.

He’s gone by various aliases over the last seven days. One. Two. Currently, we hear he’s at Three, but they’re not telling us anything in Pittsburgh. They think they can snuff him out and keep him quiet until another year, when they may in fact be the ones calling for Owen. But Owen is coming Friday to Boston. He has to.

Eliminate doubt. The Bruins can hardly allow that elephant to waltz into the dressing room, allowing for a return trip to Pittsburgh. There’s only so much ineptitude you can expect from Crosby, Malkin, Iginla, and company. Settle this now. Save gas. It’s an earth thing.

Besides, it’s not like the Bruins have exactly had the easiest time closing out series when they’re delivered their first opportunity to do so. They failed against the Rangers. They almost gagged against the Maple Leafs. They were miserable against the Capitals last spring in that regard. 2010.

"It's a cliché now that the fourth game is the toughest to win,” Bruins head coach Claude Julien said. "But it's something we learned and it's something we remember."

In this instance, Barney Stinson is right; Johnny Lawrence is the good guy in “The Karate Kid.” No mercy.

“You just have to have that killer instinct and forget about what happened in the past or in the past three games and just focus on that one game,” Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg said. “And whenever we play in the moment, we play our best hockey."

What kind of performance is worthy of Owen? Games 1 and 2 against the Penguins are a good start. Game 3, for all its drama and intensity, should be a lesson to avoid. The Bruins played their worst hockey of the series, their worst since the series against Toronto, really, in Game 3, and it took a double overtime effort for it not to cost them. Tuukka Rask may have had his national coming out party as a result, but asking the man to stop another 53 shots is something nobody can really expect. After 11 periods of hockey over three games, Rask could probably use an extended break more than any one of his teammates in advance of Chicago or Los Angeles.

That’s why Owen is so sought out. It’s why he needs to come to Boston.

"We still have hope," Santavy told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "and we hope to be able to call the bars in Boston back."

Sorry, Owen is ours and nobody else can have him. Meet him tonight. He’ll be down on Causeway.

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About the Author

Eric Wilbur is a Boston.com sports columnist who is still in awe of what Dana Kiecker pulled off that one time in Toronto. He lives in the Boston area with his wife and three children. Comments and suggestions for the best Buffalo wing spots are encouraged.

Contact Eric Wilbur by e-mail or follow him on Twitter.

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