Bruins

Bruins and city share love with the Cup

191545.jpg

Bruins and city share love with the Cup

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
BOSTON The Bruins basked in the love of over one million Bruins fans Saturday while fully enjoying their rollicking rolling rally from TD Garden to Copley Place, and the celebration alternated between hearty waves, aggressive thumbs ups to the crowd and Brad Marchands boozy singing of Black and Yellow through the parade route.

The bottom line was this: the love-fest between the city of Boston and the game of hockey is again in full bloom just like it was in the early 1970s when the Bs were toast of the town and their players were considered rock stars.

I just feel like everybody in the city feels like we do, said Andrew Ference. Weve waited our whole lives with a lot of work and dedication to raise a Cup, and all of the hockey fans here have put in their hard work by supporting the team for so long.

Its amazing how many people will come up and introduce themselves, and say Ive been a season ticket holder for so many years. Thats hard work. Thats a chore. Thats incredible dedication to the sport and to the team, so of course theyre excited as we are. Im sure in some cities you celebrate with the team and thats about it. But thats not the way it is here.

That much was clear when Tim Thomas was treated with chants of MVP as he walked to his car holding his daughters hand after the rally was over, and Patrice Bergeron exhibited the same kind of passion fist-pumping the crowd like a jersey shore extra as he did keeping offensive players in tight check during the postseason.

It was a light, festive vibe throughout the crowd with signs like Roberto Luongo is golfing right now, this is better -- and Bite This! with a picture of Alex Burrows biting down on Patrice Bergerons finger underscoring the hard feelings and emotion that went into seizing the Stanley Cup.

All of those emotions turned from taut suspense and piercing intensity into simple, weightless elation, and the players picked up on all of it. The best sight: the scores of young children taking it all in with a newfound love of hockey that might not have been there for the prior generation of Boston youngsters.

Its incredible. Its such a great sports town anyway, said Recchi. With the Red Six, Patriots and Celtics all winning over the last 10 years, its great for the Bruins to be able to do it. It had been a long time. Its great to give them an opportunity to see the Stanley Cup, be a champion and bring a championship to the city. Theres nothing better.

I love this city. I love everything about it. Its been an amazing experience since I was traded here a few years ago. I love the people and Ill be back here a lotthats for sure.

There were a handful of arrests, one attempted purse-snatching on Boston Common and a healthy number of dehydrated souls passing out in the intense June heat while the Bruins rolled through the streets of Boston on the duck boats but nobody was complaining as hockey has once again seized a front page in the summertime along with a Boston Red Sox club that ostracized them for so many years.

Players were obviously excited about watching hockey make such a stunning comeback four years after hitting rock bottom in the two years that marked the GM baton passing from Mike OConnell to Peter Chiarelli.

The rolling rally and Boston love-in with the Stanley Cup simply put all of those efforts into proper perspective.

It would seem hockey will have a bountiful run in the Hub with a young corps thats been managed into a positive cap situation moving ahead, and that bodes well for the Black and Gold.

But thats a story for next season.

This year the Bs will keep parading the Cup around New England over the next few days before the trophy starts getting distributed to individual players and team staff through the next two months. Andrew Ference said everything the Bruins have done with the Cup including his novel approach of putting the 35-pound piece of hardware into a baby carriage on Thursday is about sharing their big trophy utterly and completely with the city.

Its not like the World Series trophy in 2004 or 2007 that felt more like a museum relic than something to be enjoyed interactively. The Cup is everybodys toy and deserving of a photo op or a smooch to the chalice for every red-blooded Bostonian thats lived and died with the Black and Gold over the last four decades.

Everybody wanted to take the Cup out, said Ference. Its there for everybody to enjoy. Theres no reason to lock it away. Thats the whole point of the trophy. It turns everybody into little kids.

They asked me what it was like to lift the Cup, and honestly it was great. But it was just as cool to watch your teammates reactions when they lift itor other peoples reactions when they touch it. Just walking down the street with it and walking people jump out of their cars just to touch it is awesome.

Shawn Thornton got some alone time with the Cup on Friday in honor of his wedding anniversary, and he recounted -- with equal parts amusement and annoyance a surprising number of Charlestown neighbors that simply walked right into his backyard to sneak a view of the legendary three-foot high trophy.

The Bruins should be prepared for these kinds of guerilla tactics in Boston, however, because its a pretty damned big deal that the Stanley Cup has returned to the Hub.

Everyone wants a piece of Cup after watching these Bruins in action over the course of 107 compelling, infuriating, draining and largely winning games, and thats a very beautiful thing.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Bruins take down Islanders, extend point streak to 15 games

bruins_islanders_talkingpoints.jpg

Bruins take down Islanders, extend point streak to 15 games

GOLD STAR: Who else but Patrice Bergeron? The Bruins center finishes with three goals and his second hat trick in a span of six games, and now has 11 goals scored in his last 11 games during a wicked goal-scoring spree. Bergeron clearly wasn’t just about the goals as he also finished with four shots on net and won 12-of-18 face-offs in his 15:39 of ice time, but it’s amazing how he’s been able to get into so many great scoring positions while always facing the other team’s best defensive players. It speaks to just how good he is when he gets those chances in the slot, and how good both Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak are at getting the puck to him in the spots where he can do his offensive damage. Bergeron now has 19 goals on the season and continues to roll out some serious offensive numbers for a Bruins team that’s just destroying their opponents. Bergeron is the first Bruins player to score two hat tricks in the span of six games since Rick Tocchet did it in five games back in 1996 for the Black and Gold.  

BLACK EYE: The Barclays Center shouldn’t be housing NHL hockey games, and thankfully won’t be in the near future when the Isles move out of Brooklyn. That being said, it had to demoralize whatever fans have made the move to Brooklyn to see so many Bruins hats get tossed on the ice from Boston fans after Bergeron scored his third goal of the game. The Islanders games have always felt like de facto home games for the Black and Gold given the huge contingent of B’s fans that make the trip to New York for these games. But it’s all the more of a gut punch when it turns into those road warrior Bruins fans loudly and animatedly celebrating goals, wins and hat tricks in front of the Islanders players and coaches. That’s a tough spot for them to be in during what’s supposed to be a strong home ice presence, but that’s life at a Barclays Center that makes me pine for Nassau Coliseum. 

TURNING POINT: The Bruins gave up the first goal of the game on a bad Brandon Carlo turnover in the D-zone, and it could have gone against them in the second night of a back-to-back on the road. But the Bruins dug in, reversed the momentum and instead found the Bergeron line to lead the way with their first goal scored in the game. After that they just continued to pour on the hard work, the offense and the Bergeron goals as he scored three overall and the Bruins rode the momentum wave into five goals and a strong finish in the third period. In two straight games the Bruins have given up the first goal, and it doesn’t even cause them to bat an eyelash. 

HONORABLE MENTION: On the second  night of a back-to-back game Zdeno Chara logged 25:32 of ice time, blocked four shots including a couple during a penalty kill that left him shaking his right hand in pain on the bench and threw three hits while holding the high-powered Islanders to just a couple of goals in the game. It wasn’t a particularly dazzling night of work for the 6-foot-9 defenseman, but the Isles really had limited offensive looks thanks to Chara playing big, strong and powerful in the defensive zone. The big ice time number is perhaps most impressive of all coming after Chara also played a big role in Boston’s win over the Habs at the Garden on Wednesday night. We’re still a long way away from Chara proving he can do this kind of thing night after night in the playoffs as a 40-year-old, but he showed a little something on Thursday night. 

BY THE NUMBERS: 15 – the number of consecutive games with a point for the Bruins as they’ve posted an 11-0-4 record over those games, and matched a 15-game point streak from the 2011-12 season in the year after they won the Cup. 

QUOTE TO NOTE: “I like the way we closed out the game in the third period. In a back-to-back there were issues at the beginning and ending of the game, and we fought through it and didn’t let the game get away from us. In the third period in their building they were going to make a push, and I thought we were really, really good in terms of generating the offense and keeping the puck away from the front of the net. I was proud of the guys for that. That was a good, strong finish.” –Bruce Cassidy to NESN postgame about what we liked most in the 5-2 win over the Isles. 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Bergeron notches hat trick as Bruins defeat Islanders, 5-2

bruins_islanders.jpg

Bergeron notches hat trick as Bruins defeat Islanders, 5-2

NEW YORK - Patrice Bergeron scored three goals to lead Boston to a 5-2 victory over the New York Islanders on Thursday night, giving the Bruins at least a point for the 15th consecutive game.

Brad Marchand had a goal and two assists as Boston improved to 11-0-4 since its last regulation loss Dec. 14 against Washington - its best stretch since going 15-0-1 from March 2-30, 2014. Ryan Spooner had a goal and an assist, and Anton Khudobin stopped 22 shots.

Jordan Eberle and John Tavares scored for New York, which has dropped seven of 10 - with each of the losses coming in regulation. Jaroslav Halak made 29 saves while facing fewer than 35 shots for the first time in his last 11 games.

Bergeron completed his third career hat trick - just 12 days after a four-goal, five-point night at home against Carolina - when he took a pass from Marchand, spun and fired the puck in from the left circle at 3:45 of the third period. It was his 19th goal of the season.

Tavares pulled the Islanders within two with about 5 1/2 minutes remaining with his 25th goal. Marchand capped the scoring with his 20th with just over a minute to go.

Boston won for the second straight night after giving up the first goal of the game in the first period. The Bruins did the same thing in a 4-1 win at home against Montreal on Wednesday night.

In this one, they took control with two goals in the second period and sealed it with two more in the third.

Spooner put Boston ahead 2-1 near the midpoint of the second. Off a faceoff in the Islanders' zone to Halak's left, Spooner backhanded the puck past the goalie for his seventh at 9:47.

Just 15 seconds after New York's Anders Lee was sent off for tripping, Bergeron extended the Bruins' lead to 3-1. After Torey Krug's initial shot went off Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech's leg, Bergeron got the puck on the right side and beat Halak for his 18th of the season with 6:11 left in the middle period. Krug got his 200th career assist.

Eberle got the Islanders on the scoreboard 7:35 into the game. Mathew Barzal intercepted Brandon Carlo's pass in the Bruins' zone and passed to a streaking Eberle, who beat Khudobin from the inside edge of the right circle for his 15th. Barzal got his 32nd assist and 47th point - both tops among all NHL rookies.

The Bruins tied it with 6:19 left in the first when Bergeron took a pass from Marchand and fired it past Halak from the inside edge of the right circle.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE