As exciting as Tuesday’s NBA Finals game was — hello, Ray Allen! — there’s nothing as intense as the chase for Lord Stanley’s Cup. Why else would hard-working hockey fans be willing to slake their thirst with $9 beer? The action at TD Garden Wednesday was that good.
Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals drew a loud crowd that included more than a few young women who resembled Blake Lively’s no-nonsense character in “The Town.’’ (Think blue eye shadow and a Boston accent). There were also a few of the usual suspects, including actor Dennis Leary, filmmaker Bobby Farrelly, Reebok’s Paul Foster, the UFC’s Dana White, wrestler and actor John Cena, former Bruins Ray Bourque and Mark Recchi, Patriots Logan Mankins, Dan Connolly, Rob Ninkovich, Stephen Gostkowski, and Danny Aiken, former Patriots Wes Welker,Joe Andruzzi, and Troy Brown.
We ran into Patriots owner Robert Kraft heading to his seats.
“This is a catalyst for what we hope our season will be like,’’ he said, barely audible above the crowd.
Perhaps trying to establish his Bruins bona fides, Kraft said he used to go to the old Garden and admire Phil Esposito’s work in front of the net.
“I hate to tell you how long I’ve been going to games,’’ he said.
Wednesday’s game was the first of the season for Pats linebacker Jerod Mayo and his wife, Chantel. But they were psyched.
“The Bruins play seriously physical,’’ said Mayo, looking like a slab of chiseled onyx in his B’s T-shirt. “I hope they keep it up tonight.’’
Before the game, there was a circuslike atmosphere outside the Garden as lager louts in throwback spoked-B jerseys weaved through the crush on Canal Street. Joining the festivities were Dave Hanson and Steve and Jeff Carlson, the Hanson Brothers in the incomparable 1977 Paul Newman movie, “Slap Shot.’’ (In the film, the Hansons, who sport mullets and thick glasses, provide plenty of comic relief with their on-ice rough stuff and off-ice assault of a vending machine.) Indeed, the movie is such a cult classic that 36 years after it was released, the Hansons remain very much in demand, making up to 40 paid appearances a year. (Wednesday, they hit a half-dozen bars around the Garden.)
“We’ve raised $27 million for charity,’’ Steve Carlson told us. “The chicks love the glasses, but we have to be careful not to look at the sun because you can start fires with glasses like this.’’
Carlson knows something about hockey, too, having played 14 seasons of pro hockey. (He’s one of only two players to be teammates with both Gordie Howe and Wayne Gretzky.) So who is he picking to win the Stanley Cup?
“Chicago’s speed and skill against the hard-nosed Boston Bruins makes for an interesting series,’’ he said. “I didn’t think the Bruins could play the dump-and-chase game against Chicago, but they’ve turned it up another notch. . . . I feel like Boston is gonna win in six.’’