(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
BOSTON-- Have you licked your wounds yet? Boston Bruins Nation is still licking theirs after a heart-breaking 3-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, one that saw visiting Chicago score two goals in a span of 17 seconds, and it turn robbing the Bruins of their second Stanley Cup in three years. While the Stanley Cup is hockey’s ultimate prize, this season the Black and Gold accomplished something far greater than any trophy could measure.
On April 15, the entire city of Boston was rocked emotionally and physically due to the events of the Boston Marathon bombings. That evening’s game was canceled, and the Bruins did not resume play until the 17, when they took on the Buffalo Sabres. As a video montage saluting law enforcement and recapping the horrific day in pictures flashed on the gargantuan Jumbotron, there was no doubt that the following national anthem was going to be special.
As Bruins singer Rene Rancourt began the national anthem, the whispers of voices could be heard. Beginning with “What so proudly we hailed” the veteran songster and fan favorite let the crowd take over. Take over, they did. Bellowing from the rafters the harmony of 17,565 voices reverberated through the Garden. Even typing this, it gives me chills. The voices, though it would have been understandable, did not suggest pain. Rather, they gave off an air of patriotism and unity, traits that would increase over the next couple of days, as the tough, gritty city of Boston worked to find the individual responsible over the next couple of days.
As the national anthem commenced and the voices rang strong, it became apparent that the citizens of Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts were not going to let this tragedy impede them from living their daily lives, and stayed strong throughout the emotional week. On the ice the Bruins were defeated by the Sabres 3-2 in overtime, but just like the city they represented, they fought to the end and were not letting the Sabres get off easy. The games provided the grief-stricken city an escape, if only for a few hours and the TD Garden severed as a proverbial safe house from the madness and chaos located outside its doors.
Especially during that period of time, the team embodied the city. Bruisers like Milan Lucic and Shawn Thornton could easily be equated with the city: tough and scrappy players who do not take kindly to enemies hurting their territory. Much like the city itself, the Bruins, although struggling towards the finish line by the end of April, managed to finish well enough to make the playoffs, and all the way to the Stanley Cup, where after a valiant effort throughout, they lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games with the final one being last night as the ‘Hawks defeated the Bruins 4-3. Much like the city emblazoned on their sweaters they fought to the bitter end and continued to fight even as the odds were against them. Even though they did not reach the ultimate prize, they gave the fans something to cheer about.
Through thick and thin, the team like the city itself was strong. Boston Strong.