Did you expect it to go any other way folks? In their 34th playoff meeting, the Bruins and Canadiens went the distance to seven games for the ninth time. But as predicted by many veteran writers to me, namely Stephen Harris of the Boston Herald prior to Game 6 in Montreal, the ghosts of the Forum or Habs history came out again and a Bruins team many had pegged to win the Stanley Cup, now finds themselves wondering what happened. Like Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito and Gerry Cheevers in 1971 or Brad Park, Jean Ratelle, Gilles Gilbert, Stan Jonathan, Wayne Cashman in 1979, the 2014 Boston Bruins got a harsh reminder of why the Habs have dominated this rivalry. Call it luck, skill, determination, or whatever, the Canadiens have the uncanny ability to derail likely Stanley Cup runs for the Bruins and it happened again in this most recent chapter of this storied rivalry.
This time around it was the Canadiens’ ability to manufacture the respect factor. Whether Milan Lucic, Zdeno Chara, Shawn Thornton, David Krejci, Brad Marchand, Claude Julien, etc. want to admit it or not they overlooked this Habs squad and also let their emotions get the best of them. And P.K. Subban and the Canadiens gladly took what they and this scribe considered to be disrespect and used it as a motivating factor to pull off one of the greatest upsets in Stanley Cup playoffs history and arguably playoff history. Then they literally kissed the Bruins’ Stanley Cup aspirations away. Boston fans will hate me for saying this but covering Subban and this Habs team over the last two rounds has reminded me very much of the 2001 New England Patriots who took onan ‘us against the world’ mentality and shocked ‘The Greatest Show On Turf” just as theCanadiens just shocked the President’s Trophy winners and their arch-rivals once again.
Now of course the Habs need eight more wins to win the Stanley Cup but there is definitely a team of destiny feel amongst this team and it will be interesting to see how they handle being the favourites in the Eastern Conference finals against the Rangers. Can they still ride that respect and underdog motto? One thing is for sure, they earned the RESPECT of many in the NHL and of this hockey scribe.
–Speaking of respect, there was a lack of it from both teams, both teams’ fans and the media from both Montreal and Boston in this series. As a native Bostonian and current Montrealer, as a reporter who has covered both teams and has friends on both teams and friends that cover each team, this was a tough series to be a part of in that respect. I had two close friends feuding throughout the series, I had old friends from Boston bashing me both publicly and privately and that was tough to handle. But I get it and I get the passion a rivalry can bring out in players, reporters and fans. But one thing I’ll stand by is that Milan Lucic’s behavior in the series, specifically after Game 7, Brad Marchand’s immaturity and selfishness, Dale Weise ratting outLucic to the media and the all around lack of class from someBruins andHabs fans disappointed me and I hope they can reel it in the next time these teams do battle.
–While there were some unfortunate aspects of this series, there were way more enjoyable aspects. Hanging out at McGreevey’s with Conor McKenna and Mitch Gallo, hanging at Bostonia with Francois Gagnon, Chris Stevenson, Sean Gordon, Chris Johnston and Bruce Arthur and listening to Ron Poster the TD Garden organist for Bruins games jam with a swing band or with the TSN panel crew and having late night pizza compliments of Marty Biron or visiting old haunts of mine like Donohue’s and Porter’s Pub. Even the rides back and forth with McKenna, Gallo and Mitch Melnick or Jonathan Bernier, Tony Marinaro and Johnny the man who found Carey Price‘s Dogs, and my midnight express with Joe Haggerty. This series was another reminder of why I love my job! And a special thanks to TSN.ca and the Boston Herald for letting me cover it for them!
-Now onto the Eastern Conference Finals. Reversing my Cup pick here: Habs in 5.