Chara in the Penalty Box (Photo credit: Dan4th)
I went to LA to watch the Celtics win game 4 of the 2008 Finals. I was in Fenway for the World Series in 2004. Bill Belichick went to my college, for goodness sakes. But the last time I watched a Bruins game was on Channel 38 when Bobby Orr was still playing. Until about three weeks ago, that is.
A few things led to my shamelessly lumbering aboard the Bruins express train: the Celtics losing to the devil team in Miami, finally figuring out that the Bruin's team captain is a 6'9" Slovak who works out with his dad's national Greco Roman wrestling team back home in the summers, and the realization that baseball has become a five hour waste of my time.
Now that I have been paying attention, I'd also add a couple more things. Beating Montreal in game seven overtime has to be one of the most exciting games in recent history. Coming back to defeat Philadelphia after last year's humiliation (I did watch the last 30 seconds of that game, which drove me further away from the sport) was sweet indeed. Watching Tyler Seguin, the Bruin's 19 year-old phenom, score two goals and assist on two more during his first NHL playoff game ever made it look like the had kid superhuman powers -- normally amazing defensemen looked like their skates were stuck in mud.
Then we get to the game seven against the Lightning. Flat out raw sports crack. No penalties. Non-stop action. A guys gets his nose broken through a pexiglass visor, causing him to literally run to the locker room to stop the profuse bleeding. And he is back on the on the ice before the period is out. Nathan Horton of the Bruins left the ice early on when he got his bell rung. He came back and scored the only goal of the game. Wow. I have never seen Shaq come back after breaking his nose or sustaining a concussion. Last time I checked he has a sore calf muscle. Same with J.D. Drew.
For me, the real draw is Chara. The guy towers over every other player on the ice. He had to petition the NHL to use a non-standard length stick. In a game during the season he nudged a Montreal player into the boards (by definition that means he elbowed him in the head) which happened to be the start of the glass. Montreal police investigated the hit.
The last thing I'll say is that when you look at the crowd during a tight hockey game you don't get the sense they are a bunch of investment bankers and corporate CEOs. No iPhones in sight. These people are going bananas, screaming at the top of their lungs, slapping the glass, and 100% committed to their team. You gotta respect that and climb aboard.
Originally published on The Good Men Project
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