It was if I was watching a frantic movie thriller that had a few key frames cut out just when the killer was revealed. Before I could even add the “F” to “WT,” the credits were rolling of the Carolina Hurricanes celebrating a Game 7 win exactly where they put the Bruins: on Boston Garden ice. At fifty feet from the crime scene, I should have witnessed the execution, but the speed of NHL hockey sometimes defies the senses and Scott Walker’s rebound season killer eluded mine. Instantly, the hopeful, collective spirit that inflated the building for nearly four full periods expired into a vacuum of despair.
My rookie season of NFL fandom was 1969 when I watched the Bruins in the playoffs with my dad. The “Big Bad Bruins” of Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito and Gerry Cheevers swept Toronto in the first round, but then exited the tournament via the traditional “handshake line” through the Montreal Canadians. It seemed more like the receiving line at a wake. “Get used to it,” my Dad said as he turned off the TV.
This year’s game 7 ducat was courtesy of pal Jeff who scored the pass, but twin priorities for Jeff put me in Section 5, Row 6 for game 7. It was a great seat, just six rows from the ice at “the end where the Bruins shoot twice.” That’s an important consideration in a 3 period game. On this night unfortunately, it was the end where Carolina also shot twice. And last. Just before the wake.