Back To Boston

by

It’s not just the name of one of my favorite Rosebuds songs.

It’s where the Bruins-Hurricanes eastern quarterfinal series is headed for a dramatic Game 7 thanks to yet another dominant win by the team in Black & Gold last night in Raleigh, stunning the Carolina fans who showed up ready to celebrate and left with their heads hung low.

Of course, they call themselves “Caniacs”, don’t you know?

I asked a neutral observer, a woman who is a self-professed non-hockey fan, what she thought of the nickname Caniacs. “Sounds gay,” she said. Her words, not mine.

Here in Boston we don’t have cute nicknames for ourselves as fans. We don’t tailgate before games and we think NASCAR is a boring, pale imitation of an everyday commute down Route 128, only without the embarrassing, ad-covered uniforms. Or the toothless rednecks.

Here in Boston we just want to watch hockey, to play hockey, to live and breathe hockey. There are rinks in every town, pee-wee leagues full to the brim with excited youngsters, high school programs renowned for grooming world class talent. It’s the home of the current National Champion BU Terriers, the Beanpot and a host of prime time Division 1 teams. It’s the home of Mike Eruzione and about half of the 1980 Miracle On Ice team.

Y’see, hockey is in our blood here. We grow up surrounded by it, immersed in it and the Boston Bruins are an integral part in that. They have always, as much as the Red Sox or Celtics or Patriots are beloved, been the team adopted by the working class folk of the area, the grind it out, bring your lunch pail, 10 hour workday types that are the heart and soul of the city and it’s environs. People who know how to put in an honest day’s work and people who know how to enjoy life when the sun goes down.

Not that the Carolinas don’t have their share of decent folk. And sure, they’ve even taken home Lord Stanley’s hardware a whole lot more recently than Boston has and, hey, good for them. But it’s still not the same. It’s not in their blood. You know it, I know it. They know it.

Anyway, excuse an excited Bruin’s fan his ramblings. Game 7 is on the schedule for 8 p.m. Thurday and the anticipation is already building like a gathering storm. Bruins fans have waited a long time for stuff like this to happen. You can’t blame us for getting a little rowdy.

Which is just how it’ll be inside the Garden tomorrow night.

And, oh, yeah, there’s also the little matter of two other Game Sevens in the quarterfinals, each to be met with just as much wild enthusiasm. As of this writing the much hyped face-off between young megastars Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin is ending with a resounding thwap upside the head of the Caps as Pittsburgh is already up 5-1 at the end of the second period.

The other Game 7 tomorrow, between the Red Wings and Ducks, has built momentum via the wonderful nastiness at the end of Game 6 where Detroit’s euro-stars got a mouthful of old school smackdown at the hands of the feisty Ducks. Looking like another hell of a night of hockey, folks.

Ain’t it awesome?

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