BOSTON — Can it really be real? The Boston Bruins have won the Stanley Cup for the first time since 1972. After dominating every game in the series at TD Garden, it took Game 7 for the B’s to dominate on the road in Vancouver.
For fans back here at home, it was delirium.
In downtown Boston before the game, black and gold jerseys bobbed down the sidewalks. Every window you looked into, the pregame was on. The game was on the big screen. Even…in the club?
Yes, organizers of a private party were afraid people wouldn’t come unless they put the Stanley Cup on. So, as 20-somethings in mini-skirts raised the roof on the dance floor, others watched the jumbo screen above them.
“This is the only way to show the game,” Yair Lebiel said, wearing a Bruins jersey as he sipped a mixed drink through a straw. “It says about Boston that we love our sports and we wouldn’t have it any other way.”
That was definitely the case at The Four’s.
The sports bar outside the TD Garden gets its name from Bobby Orr’s No. 4. He led the Bruins to their last two Stanley Cup wins back in the 1970s. And beneath framed and fading jerseys of that era, people wore bright black and gold ones, with names like Bergeron and Chara and Horton on their backs. When the Bruins scored in the second period, you could feel the place shake.
Because their Bruins were winning the way the Bruins are supposed to win — not by playing the niftiest hockey, but by playing more aggressively, scrapping out goals like the headfirst slide that put the Bruins up 3-0.
That’s when Ken Molino and Eddie Poulin realized it was going to happen. They’re both from Nahant, where Orr lived when they were kids.
“You never thought it was going to happen again,” Molino said. “They’ve just broken your heart so many frickin’ years.”
Seeing the city turn its attention to the Bruins was a bit of a shock for Poulin.
“We’ve been waiting a long time,” Poulin said. “A lot of these kids tonight, they’ve only been following them for 10 years, 15 years. But we’ve been waiting a long time to have it back in Boston.”
One of those young guns the old-timers were talking about is Jeff Herscott. After the Bruins scored an empty net goal to seal the game, the 21-year-old from Newton talked about it like he’s done it before.
“I’m going to walk out with a huge smile on my face,” Herscott said. “And I’m probably going to run around and scream ‘Go Bruins!’ for a while. I’m gonna wake up the next day and I’m not going to stop talking about it for a couple weeks. And then it’ll die down and I’ll want another championship. That’s how it works.”
Actually, that’s not how it’s supposed to work, but it’s true. That is the way it’s been working in Boston lately.
When the final seconds ticked to zeros and the Bruins hoisted the Stanley Cup for the first time in 39 years, people poured out of the bars like sands spilling from a broken hourglass. They danced and screamed, they banged on mailboxes. They high-fived each other and went crowd-surfing.
Some people just looked on, taking it all in. Jesse Sklarz from Ipswich shook his head, playoff beard and all, knowing that his blue-collar Bruins are the best.
“There isn’t a better team to represent Boston, in my opinion,” Sklarz said. “Just hard working, grind-it-out hockey. The Red Sox, we’ve got all the big bats now. Football, we’ve got Brady. But the Bruins, it’s a bunch of no-names! And we finally did it. It’s unreal.”
It is unreal. Pinch yourself. The gleeful reality is this: the major Boston sports team now suffering the longest championship drought is the New England Patriots.
They haven’t won in six whole years.
More Bruins Coverage: