Archive for the ‘Stanley Cup’ Tag

Boston Bruins Stanley Cup Parade!

Saturday is my favorite day of the week. Why? Because on Saturday I get to do one of my favorite things in the world: sleep in until 10 or 11 am, get an iced coffee, and lounge in bed watching The Baseball Show on CSN.  But not this Saturday. This Saturday I set my alarm clock for 6:15am on a Saturday. What could possibly make me get out of bed that early? The Boston Bruins won the Stanley Fricken Cup for the first time in 39 years!

Because I was planning on driving into Boston from Western MA for the parade, I had to get up early (but not as early as the BF who woke up at 3am and drove up from Long Island).  Did I mention that I hate waking up early?

Normally, I’d park my car at Riverside Station and take the T into the city, but traffic for the station was backed up off the highway. At 8:50 in the morning. And most car occupants were adorned in black and gold. The not-quite-as-sleepy-or-grouchy Chris made the executive decision to park in Brookline, where my old college roommate lives. After a quick pit stop (due to my impatience)  to visit, we grabbed a green line train into the city. A train almost entirely filled with Bruins fans. With more Bruins fans attempting to get on the train at each stop. And even more bruins fans in cars and buses along the route. It seriously was insane.

My original plan was to take the T into Copley Square and walk along the route to find a spot. I didn’t realize Copley station would be closed to all trains on the day of the parade. It made sense but still threw off my game plan. Though I’d love to say I know Boston like the back of my hand, I don’t. Chris and I decided to just follow the Bruins fans and we’d find our way (hey, it worked when we got lost trying to get from the Pru to Fenway Park!).  When we stumbled upon barricades and a decent crowd of people gathered in front of the Prudential Center, we stopped and grabbed a spot right against the barricade. We didn’t realize until later that we were actually sitting past Copley Square, where the parade officially ended.

Fans lined up along the barricades and grabbed Bruins merchandise in the plaza across the street.

I wanted a bear claw, but didn’t want to lose my spot so I stayed put. Then I saw something even more amazing….the Puck Hat! I need one of these.

Sadly, I did not get to see the very few comments Mayor Menino allowed the B’s to make before they boarded the Duck Boats. Supposedly, there were large TV screens set up along the route so the crowd could watch the parade progress, but there weren’t any TV screens set up at the Pru. Which also meant, I missed the mad rapping skill of Mr. Brad Marchand:

Then the Bruins Stanley Cup Parade was underway!

(from Boston.com's Bruins Blog)

The crowd continued to grow as the parade approached:

We got to the city around 10 am. The parade wasn’t even scheduled to drive by us until at least 1 pm. Though we both were exhausted, we were so happy to be in Boston for the parade!

Every ten minutes or so, someone would start a rumor that the boats were approaching and the crowd started to get anxious! Around 1 pm the police fired up the motorcade that would lead the duck boats away:

And then the Duck Boats were coming! The Duck Boats were coming!

Even though we’d been waiting for hours, it seemed to take forever for the boats to reach us once they were in sight.

And finally we saw the Cup! Not only did we see it, but the boat with Chara, Timmy Thomas, and the two trophies stopped right in front of us and stayed put for a good ten minutes.

It was so shiny! And BIG. Seeing the Cup on TV does not do it justice.

Then, you know, Zdeno Chara pointed at me. No Big Deal.

Chara’s gotta be one strong guy; that Cup weighs 35 lbs and he’s been lifting it since Wednesday night!

Timmy Thomas’s MVP Conn Smythe Trophy was on the boat too, though he got tired of lifting it after awhile so we only got a quick glimpse:

And here’s the MVP now!

The Duck boats lined up 2 by 2 and progressed off the parade route to almost deafening cheers. I cant describe the happiness and elation present in that screaming crowd. It was amazing. I think the most amazing part is that we cheered for every boat, not caring if we actually knew the person riding on it..

The NESN boat, carrying analyst Andy Brickley (in grey) glided by:

Followed by rookie Tyler Seguin:

I have no idea who this guy is, but if you wear an outfit like that out in public, you deserve to ride on a parade float:

It was awesome that Marc Savard (who is recovering from a severe concussion) was able to join his team for the parade! I really hope we see him back on the ice one day:

Here comes Peverly:

And Andrew Ference (who got a new Stanley Cup tattoo this week) & Gregory Campbell:

The perpetually stuck in the 80s Renee Rancourt was there, too…..but he didn’t sing:

Chara gave the fans one last look at the Cup:

And then it they road off into…well, it was day time so they couldn’t ride into the sunset, but you get the picture.

After the boats left, it was mayhem in the streets of Back Bay. Happy mayhem, but still kinda hectic. Black & Gold was everywhere. I kinda felt bad for any unsuspecting shopper on Newbury Street that happened to wander into this…..but then again, you must live under a rock if you didn’t know Saturday was Parade Day.

Check out this dedicated fan:

After three plus hours in the sun with only a small ice coffee and a bottle of water, I was hot, tired, and probably suffering from a combination of heat stroke and dehydration (just try and guess how many bottles of water I drank in the past few days) but it was completely worth it! Boston PD estimated that almost 1.5 million people showed up to celebrate with the Bruins (and we didn’t have any riots, take that Vancouver!), and excluding a few drunks, word on the street was that it was a family-friendly event. If you want to read a great article on the Bruins’ reaction to the parade and fan support, check out this article from Boston.com’s Bruins Blog.

With a little luck, I’ll be at another one of these parades soon….now, please excuse me while I go knock on wood.


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A Great Year for This Boston Sports Fan

I’m a Boston sports fan. Growing up, it was an affliction. A curse, even. The Celtics won a title on June 8, 1986. I was barely two months old at the time. Luckily, I didn’t really start following the Bruins until middle/high school, and thanks to the dominance of Michael Jordan, I was momentarily distracted from the dark, post-Larry Bird era of the Celtics.

The Red Sox, however, were a different story. I can’t pinpoint the exact time I became a Red Sox fan, but judging by my family, I was born into it. I grew up loving players like Mo Vaughn, John Valentin, and of course, Nomar Garciaparra. The first time I went to Fenway Park was Nomar’s rookie season (1997). Barely 11 years old, I had to make a monumental decision when my mother told me I could buy one souvenir. I knew I wanted a Sox player shirt…but which one? My beloved Mo “Hit Dawg” Vaughn? Or the exciting new Nomar Garciaparra? I choose Nomar, a decision I regret only slightly to this day.

The Boston title drought would continue until 2001, when the New England Patriots won their first Super Bowl. The only major Boston sports team I didn’t follow, the dominance of the Patriots in the early 2000s did little to ease my personal sports-fan pain. In 2003, the Red Sox were bested by the hated Yankees in a heartbreaking loss. I walked into school the next day in a daze and found my locker adorned with a sign that said “The Wait Til Next Year Club”, a phrase my Yankee-loving grandfather had tormented me with for years.

Then, in 2004 the impossible happened. I was a freshman at UMass, and purchased a Sox shirt with “BELIEVE 04” on the back out of some random guys trunk in the parking lot behind my friend’s dorm. I stayed up late and watched as the Sox did the impossible, coming back from an 0-3 deficit to slay the Yankees in the ALCS. During my 8 am classes, I wore a Sox hat pulled down over my eyes and slept through economics. When the Sox swept the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series, I hugged my friend Timmy (who had gone to high school with me). Calls started flooding into my cell phone as I tried to reach my friends to celebrate. The impossible had happened. The Red Sox were World Series Champions.

Now, seven years later, the Sox have an additional title (2007) under their belts. The Celtics ended a 22 year title drought by slamming the door on the Lakers in 2008, and the Boston Bruins hoisted the Stanley Cup last night for the first time since 1972.

All in all, I must say that this has been a pretty amazing year for this Boston sports fan.

In mid-April, I took my mom, brother, and sister to Fenway Park. The Sox were in the middle of their dismal 2 and 12 start to the season. As what I can only assume was a PR move, the Red Sox invited fans to arrive at the Park early that day to walk around the warning track and participate in a meet and greet with the players. Though it was cold and misty, we trekked in early from Western MA to arrive at Fenway by 10:45 am and were some of the first fans on the field:

For some reason, though we were exceptionally close to the dug-out, most of the big name players bypassed us and started greeting fans further down the warning track, or on the other side of the dugout. A few of the newbies stopped, but the only player I recognized by sight was relief pitcher Matt Albers. While I was a little heartbroken, my nine-year old brother was absolutely crushed…..until David Ortiz defied the PR teams orders to go back into the club house and came over to greet more fans:

One of the best moments of my sports fan life. Second only to the time I met Trot Nixon. Papi’s love for the fans (and the game that he plays) was clearly on display that day.

Not even a week later, I was back in Boston. My Gram bought me tickets to my first-ever (non-preseason) Celtics game. Better yet? It was the post season. Against the New York Knicks.

As much as I love Fenway Park and baseball, I don’t think anything can rival the buzz that gets going in the Garden during a big game. The atmosphere was positively electric. And even though we were maybe two rows from the back of the Garden, you could see every pass and hear every dribble. Even Chris (my boyfriend and a Knicks fan) couldn’t help but have a great time watching the Celtics defeat the Knicks.

And I have to say, seeing all the banners hanging from the rafters was pretty inspiring……

And last night, I watched with some of my oldest friends as the Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup Finals. One of my friends (a guy) was so overcome with emotion as the Bruins celebrated on ice, he buried his face in the rally towel (a towel he procured during the heartbreaking playoffs last season) for a good three or four minutes to gather his emotions before the B’s received the Cup.

The entire night was so surreal. The Stanley Cup Champions shirt I’m currently sporting seems like it was a typo or some sort of sick joke. I’m still reeling from the fact that in the past seven years, my three sports teams–teams I watch almost every night and become so invested in over the course of the season, it feels like I am part of them–have brought home 4 titles in the past 7 years.

I’ll be at the Parade on Saturday, watching the Bruins and the Stanley Cup wind their way through the streets of Boston. Maybe then, with the light reflecting off the Cup as it sits atop a Duck Boat, this will all feel real…………………..

The Lucic Shirt Delimma

Note: I originally wrote this out of nerves late on Thursday night, then decided not to post it because I am far to superstitious for that. It would be like setting them up to lose. I watched the game with my boyfriend, Chris, our friend Josh & Josh’s friend at a Boston/UMass bar called Professor Thom’s in NYC. While it was really weird being away from my friends at home for a moment this big, watching the B’s advance to the Stanley Cup finals with 80+ other Boston fans in the middle of NYC ranks up there with my all-time most memorable sports moments.

This season, I promised myself that I wouldn’t let the Bruins break my heart.

I don’t claim to be a born-and-bred Bruins fanatic, but when I do something, I never do it half-assed. I read wikipedia articles, I watched any Bruins documentary I could get my hands on (like the History of the Bruins  DVD sitting on my TV stand). I know that the Canadiens are the hockey equivalent of the Yankees and that the picture of Bobby Orr flying through the air after scoring “The Goal” in the 1970 Stanley Cup Finals was a fluke shot that only happened because the photographer was in the wrong place at the right time.  I know that current captain Zdeno Chara is not only the tallest player to play in the NHL, but that his extreme height prompted the league  to exempt him from the sticks-must-be-no-longer-than-63 inches-rule (Chara’s, at 65 inches, is taller than me).

I say this to assure everyone reading this post that I am no Pink Hat. I actually care about the team, and not because they went on an absolute tear towards the end of this season. I get worked up when they lose, and because I am superstitious, assume that some tiny action (like wearing my Milan Lucic shirt) on my part upset the cosmos and caused them to lose. (Read: I will not be wearing my Lucic shirt Friday, because the last time I did, they lost….and I am not having that on my shoulders. No way).

This insanity is the reason I promised myself that this year, I could not get involved in Bruins hockey. The B’s had caused me to much pain over the past three years. What pain you ask? Let’s recap:

  • The 2007-2008 Season: The Bruins (#8)  play their arch-nemesis, the Montreal Candienes (#1) in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, stretching the series to a gut-wrenching game 7 (which no one thought they could do since the Habs had beaten the B’s in all 8 regular season games). I thought they could do it,, especially after the B’s eeked out a game 6  win at home. Then came game 7, a game I was excited to watch. The Bruins were shut out 5-0, with at least one goal scored in the final minute of the game.  Result: Two very scared roommates who couldn’t fathom why I was cursing and throwing things at the walls unless someone had climbed in my bedroom window and tried to attack me.
  • The 2008-2009 Season: The B’s go into the playoffs as the Number 1 seeded team. They sweep the Candienes (#8) and meet the Carolina Hurricanes (#6) in the Semi-Finals. The series stretched a game 7, with the Canes holding the lead until Lucic ties it up with 6:19 left in the third. I watch this unfold from a table in the Worcester Dining Common at UMass, blatantly ignoring the conversation of my companions. When the B’s go into overtime, I rush them along so I can make it back to my apartment to watch the game with actual sound…..and walk in the door just in time to see Scott Walker score the winning goal 1:14 into overtime. Result: I pulled my hood over my head, walked into my room without turning on a light, laid down on my bed and stared at the ceiling for a good hour (ok, maybe it was two hours), telling my boyfriend “I don’t really want to talk to anyone right now” when he tried to console me.
  • The 2009-2010 Season: I think this was the worst season of all. The B’s head into the post-season seeded #6 and matching up against the Buffalo Sabres (#2) in a six game series. They move on to the Conference Quarterfinals and take a 3 game lead over the Sabres, with Marc Savard (who had sustained a severe concussion on a dirty hit from Matt Cooke in March) returning to the ice and scoring the winning goal in game 1. Then it happened: the injuries started piling up, most notably David Krejci went down with a dislocated wrist five minutes into game 3.  The B’s then went on a three-game skid that resulted in a game 7 for a series that had started off 3-0 in their favor. They  did what only the Yankees had managed to do before them: blow a 3-0 playoff lead. They lost due to a too many men on the ice penalty (something, until that point, I had really only thought was a game-changer in Mighty Ducks movies). Result: I can’t remember. I’ve blacked out that period of my life because it was too traumatic.

So after all that, when I promised myself I wasn’t going to let the Bruins drag me in this season only to let me down, I really, really meant it. Somehow, somewhere, I folded.  My guess is missing the brutal force of Chara’s slap shot breaking Ryan Callahan’s leg had something to do with it (after all that heartache, I missed something that ridiculous?!?!).

And now, its 12:33 AM on Friday, May 27th. The Bruins will be taking the ice in just under 20 hours to play game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning (yes, apparently they do have ice in Florida).  I’ve spent the last hour  writing this blog post and debating if I should tempt fate and wear my Lucic shirt tomorrow. Tempt fate or play it safe? I can’t decide.

All I know is that tomorrow is do or die for the Boston Bruins…..and I’ll be in front of a TV screen in New York, hoping that for the first time this team doesn’t break my heart.

LET’S GO B’S!

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