THE CITY’S GAME
Once upon a time, the Bruins owned Boston. It was the early ’70s and Bobby Orr was in his glory. A center named Derek Sanderson owned the night — both on and off the ice — and a popular bumper sticker of the day read “Jesus saves, but Esposito scores on the rebound.” These were the Big Bad Bruins, and together they won two Stanley Cups.
Then came the long, cold winter. There were too many men on the ice against Montreal. There was the fog game against Edmonton, when the old Boston Garden — which lacked air conditioning, among many other amenities — overheated and turned the arena into a sauna. A man named Ulf turned beloved forward Cam Neely’s knee into spaghetti with a vicious cheap shot. And on and on.
Bruins fans remained loyal because hockey in the Hub will never go out of style. It’s part of our daily lives, from the youth leagues to the colleges, where Boston University and Boston College annually rank among the country’s best with squads full of kids from local powerhouses like Catholic Memorial.
Nearly 40 years after the great Orr last hoisted the Cup, it’s happening all over again. The Bruins were the last entrant into our parade of champions, but with the notable exception of the 2004 Red Sox, their Stanley Cup run was arguably the most satisfying.
History is a living thing in Boston, and while the new Garden has replaced the old with better seats, luxury boxes and, yes, air conditioning, you can still get a beer and a shot at the Penalty Box bar across the street before the game. Tavern walls from trendy Boylston Street to side-alley Southie dives have found room for new heroes like Tim Thomas and Zdeno Chara alongside the famous shot of Orr majestically flying through the air.
The Bruins own the city again. And it’s like they never left.