Hearts of a champion
There were certain points during the 2010-11 season where the Bruins could have easily caved in to the pressure.
Instead the resilient Boston squad embraced the situations they were given and were rewarded with hockey’s ultimate prize in Game 7 Wednesday night in Vancouver: the Stanley Cup.
At the end of last season, many fans throughout The Hub of Hockey were left scratching their heads again after an epic collapse in the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Philadelphia Flyers. But outside of drafting Tyler Seguin with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2010 NHL Draft — acquired in the Phil Kessel to Toronto trade in 2009 — little did anyone know that the Bruins would reload, starting with the addition of Nathan Horton and Gregory Campbell from Florida in exchange for defenseman Dennis Wideman and the Bruins’ first round pick (15th overall) just days before the Draft.
By adding a few pieces at the trade deadline like Chris Kelly, Rich Peverley and Tomas Kaberle, and also clearing some of the dead weight that also haunted them in recent years, Bruins fans were poised, and for the first time in quite a while, took the Black and Gold seriously as a legit contender for Lord’s Stanley.
Before that the team bonded with a trip to Prague for the first two games of the year against the Phoenix Coyotes. From there, Tim Thomas, fresh off of hip surgery, took over the starting job as one of the many pieces (a huge piece, albeit) to the Bruins’ run.
In the months to come they rallied behind several incidents beginning with Zdeno Chara’s hit on Max Pacioretty back in March.
However, at the start of the playoffs, the doubters nearly found another reason to let their voices heard – particularly towards coach Claude Julien – when they started in a 0-2 hole against the Montreal Canadiens in the first round. On the other hand, Julien and the Bruins came together and fought back taking two games in a hostile environment known as the Bell Centre, eventually winning the series in seven games (something they hadn’t done in the postseason since 1994).
After erasing the past by sweeping the Flyers, the Bruins earned a hard-fought series win in the conference finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning in seven to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals. There, obviously, the Bruins once again fell in a 0-2 hole to the Vancouver Canucks and could have easily caved in.
After incidents from Alex Burrows in “Bitegate” and Maxim Lapierre’s taunt to Patrice Bergeron, and heartbreaking one-goal losses in Games 1 and 2, many thought that Vancouver would cruise to its first Cup in franchise history. But Aaron Rome’s hit on Horton in Game 3 once again tested the Bruins’ resiliency and once again they answered the bell with another rallying cry.
Despite falling in Game 5 after tying the series with two wins in Boston in Games 3 and 4, the Bruins easily cruised to wins in Games 6 and 7 (their first road Game 7 win in franchise history) and came away with the Cup.
This was certainly the Bruins’ time to shine in 2010-11. And now the sport is fully revitalized in The Hub of Hockey.