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Questions Answered

Posted By Matt Preston On Jun 16 2011 @ 1:06 am In Boston Bruins | 2 Comments

The Boston Bruins are the Stanley Cup champions.

By virtue of a 4-0 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night in Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals, I get to type eight words I was not sure I’d ever have the opportunity in my lifetime to say:

The Boston Bruins are the Stanley Cup champions.

A time will come for critical analysis and insight into this team, this series and this season, but not tonight. Tonight is a night to revel in a well-played victory. Time to just soak in the moment and enjoy what we just got to watch unravel before our eyes not just tonight, but over the course of the last 65 days.

Yes, it’s true that they say if you want to be a legitimate and credible sports writer, something I do strive to be, you cannot be a fan. It is a sad, but true fact. Tonight, however, I just don’t care. You can take your artistic and journalistic integrity and shove it.

The Boston Bruins are the Stanley Cup champions.

And it’s a pretty good feeling.

In my playoff preview on April 10, my exact words were, “The good news is if the Bruins actually do make it to the Stanley Cup for the first time in over 20 years, it is going to be a memorable road.” I’ve been trying to be a sports writer since I was a freshman in college 10 years ago and that could be the first time I was dead on with any sort of pontificated prediction I made, as it certainly was a memorable ride.

Down 0-2 to the rival Montreal Canadiens in the first round and headed to enemy territory for Game 3, the Boston Bruins were still a team that could not win when it mattered and dead in the water. Five games later, Nathan Horton put away an overtime game-winner and the Bruins had earned themselves a date with the team that made them a historical footnote just one year earlier.

The Bruins made quick work of the Philadelphia Flyers in the second round, earning the four game sweep. The cynics like myself weren’t fully convinced just yet, however, but the Bruins were on to the Eastern Conference Final for the first time in almost two decades, where they faced the Tampa Bay Lightning.

For the fans, when the Eastern Conference rolled around, they were beginning to believe. It was tough to put your finger on and you still weren’t fully convinced, but there was something about this team. The Eastern Conference Final saw the emergence of the future, a save that will forever be remembered by the faithful of the Black-and-Gold and yet another Game 7 and another Game 7 winning goal from Horton.

The more you thought about it, the more it was beginning to look like one of those memorable runs. The Bruins were a team that was doing everything that was necessary to win. Winning on offense. Winning on defense. Getting carried by a goaltender. Winning on sheer will, blood and guts, and getting all the bounces they needed. They might not have had championship talent, but as afraid as we might have been to admit it, they were starting to look like a championship team. Deep down, everyone knew this was a special time and the Boston Bruins were going to the Stanley Cup.

Next thing you know, it was Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. This was it. The moment we had all been waiting for since the puck dropped in Prague back in October. This was the moment all the questions and doubts we had about the Boston Bruins would be answered, and Black-and-Gold answered the bell.

The Stanley Cup was on the line and the Bruins finally played the way you wanted them to play all season. They suffocated on defense, but – more importantly – they also pressed on offense, controlling both ends of the ice, while goaltender Tim Thomas became an iron curtain. While I can’t say I have always had faith in them to do so, all season I have said that when the Bruins played at their best and played like they were able, something they rarely did throughout the course of the season, they were unstoppable. They played that way in Game 7.

As a result, the Boston Bruins are the Stanley Cup champions and all the questions we’ve asked about whether or not this team could be a champion were answered. And right now, nothing else matters.

Amazing.

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