I'm not a big believer in the whole, "everything happens for a reason" thing. The Newtown
tragedy wiped any thought of that holding true for me. Nobody anywhere can tell me a good
reason why 20 little children were brutally killed in their elementary school back in December.
But I do believe in destiny, especially in sports. The 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team, 1979
Pittsburgh Pirates, 1985 Villanova Wildcats, and 2004 Boston Red Sox all come to mind when
it comes to being "teams of destiny." There were defining moments, obstacles to overcome, and
a certain magic they possessed during their runs to glory.
In 2013, the Boston Bruins are destiny's child. I could be so far off the map on this, but I don't
care. If you've covered sports and been around the games as long as I have, you pick up on
things, storylines, and just get the "feeling" that one experiences when they know somebody's
on the verge of doing something special.
There is definitely something in the air in Boston. Back in April, the marathon bombings
knocked the wind out of the city, temporarily. Beantown's beloved marathon was dinged
forever by two terrorists who were responsible for four deaths and more than 200 injuries.
17 people lost at least one limb, some of them two.
But Boston rallied and are galvanized by the motto, "Boston Strong." Boston has always been
a tough and resilient town, but the bombings tested its people like never before, and they passed
it with remarkable ease.
Now, they have their beloved Bruins in the NHL's final four. I feel the script has already been
written by somebody up above. And the final chapter will include them parading down Boylston
Street hoisting the Stanley Cup in front of those same people who lined the streets for the marathon.
They will stop and give a moment of silence to the victims who died in the tragedy and then
raise the trophy defiantly as if to say, "Terrorists, you may have shaken our city, but you will
never break us. Never."
It will be a perfect ending to a season that's been filled with a lot of drama and key moments like:
IGINLA TRADE DRAMA At the trade deadline, the Bruins thought they acquired the
captain and heartbeat of the Calgary Flames, Jarome Iginla. Fans went to bed thinking the team
had acquired a key piece to its Stanley Cup aspirations. Unfortunately, fans woke up the next morning to the shocking news that Iginla was instead traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins, who
were already the most talented team offensively in the NHL. Iginla exercised the power given
to him in his contract and chose the Penguins over the Bruins, saying he felt the Penguins gave
him the best chance to win a Stanley Cup.
Wow. The Penguins and Bruins are in the conference finals. You don't think the Bruins are
going to be fueled by this? And it makes for great drama and a better script. Yep, Iginla chose
the Penguins because he thought it was going to be his ticket to hoisting Lord Stanley. Can't
wait to see his reaction when he has to watch the Bruins celebrate their ride to the Finals.
MIRACULOUS COMEBACK In the first round, the B's coughed up a 3-1 series lead to the Toronto Maple Leafs. In Game 7 at home, they trailed 4-1 with just over 11 minutes to go. A comeback like that was unheard of, but they did it, tying the game in regulation and winning
it in overtime. Reminds me of the comeback of the Baltimore Ravens against the Denver
Broncos when Joe Flacco heaved a 70-yard pass to Jacoby Jones, who somehow, someway,
got behind the Broncos defense to score an incredible touchdown. Great teams and teams that
are destined, usually have a defining moment or game that propels them to the championship.
The comeback by the Bruins was their moment. In the next round, they dusted off the New
York Rangers in five games. Coincidentally, they finished off the Rangers on the same day,
more than 1,000 runners were allowed to complete the Boston Marathon. Hmmmm. Interesting.
UNDERDOGS VS PENS. Pittsburgh won all three games during the season series between
the two teams. They have Sydney Crosby, Yvgeny Malkin, Iginla, and a cast of incredible
talented playes and are the favorites to beat the Bruins. But you can throw out the records for
this one. This will be all about blood, guts, and desire. And the Bruins fit the bill for all of those.
HOLLYWOOD ENDING-FEEL GOOD STORY. Let's face it. Our country is hurting.
Since December, there has been Newtown, Boston bombings, Cleveland abduction case,
Oklahoma twisters, and many other tragedies. The country needs something to grasp on to
and feel good about. I have a feeling the Bruins are about to become America's team. Oh,
sure, they won't be well-liked by the fans in the city that they'll be competing against for
the Stanley Cup, but the rest of the country will be pulling for them.
To see the Bruins parading down Boylston Street, the site of the most devastating tragedy
in their city's history, will be something truly special. It's going to happen, I can just feel
it and I'm not afraid to say it and write it down. Go Bruins!