Raise the banner

The Boston Bruins raised their Stanley Cup Championship banner to the rafters last night. I enjoyed the ceremony. These things tend to get dragged out a bit, maybe too long, but I liked last night’s event. It was really nice for the home town crowd to see their team with the Cup on the Garden ice. It was great to have Mark Recchi there as well, such an integral part of last year’s championship team. A lot of people were calling for Recchi to be scratched from games towards the end of last season and into the playoffs. He ended up playing in all 25 games, scoring 5 goals, and getting 14 points. His career is now done with the next stop being the Hockey Hall of Fame. He brought a lot to the dressing room and on the ice in his 2+ years in Boston.

Before the banner was raised to the roof while the crowd roared, there was more ceremony. After hearing from the owner, president, and general manager, there were several legends of past Bruins Cup winners introduced. I know this title belongs to the 2010-11 Bruins, but they were certainly willing to share that spotlight with the players that came before them last night. This is what makes the hockey family so unique. Maybe I just don’t know about it or see it in the other sports, but there’s always a direct correlation between the present and the past in hockey. There are always former players around the present teams. The hockey fraternity is always open, welcoming somebody back. Perhaps it has to do with how these men all started at the same place, in a cold rink, or on a cold pond somewhere, learning to skate and play hockey, in the freezing cold, at some, far from prime time, hour of the day or night. It’s a commitment, more so than any other team sport, that starts from day one. By the time these guys are 12 years old they already feel like they are a part of something special. I don’t know, I just think there’s more sense of team with these guys, and it doesn’t seem to end when they’re done playing either.

Last years’ Bruins squad was certainly scrutinized throughout the season, and certainly when they lost the first two playoff games at home against Le Habs. The team had been under achievers in recent years, and nobody knew what to expect in the playoffs last season. Then came this team, that pulled together, played together, fought together, rallied around their fallen, and did the improbable. They won the whole thing. Who would have guessed that the drought was going to end last year? Not many. This was a team effort, a depiction of how team works, The Team that played the best team hockey, and they won. Without a player in the top 35 scorers in the league, they somehow found a way to score enough to win it all. Certainly Tim Thomas helped that cause as on many nights he only needed a goal or two in order to win.

The Bruins didn’t win their season opener last night. Though, they did do something that no other team can do, for another year anyway, they got to raise the banner.

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