I am separating myself from all elements of reality, competition, caution, and juju. Just for this one day.
As we wait for the puck to drop in Game 1 in Chicago, I am thinking about what it would be like if the championship Bruins could ride in those Duck Boats down Boylston Street two weeks from now.
How great would that be . . . carrying the Stanley Cup into Copley Square . . . after everything that’s happened this spring?
It would be the ultimate Boston Strong moment.
Some of the Hub’s innocence and soul was cut away when bombs exploded on Marathon Monday. We’ve been putting the pieces back since April 15, but we’ll never be totally whole. Boston’s spring of 2013 forever will be the season of Marathon mayhem.
But it can also be the season when the Magic B’s made Boston feel good about itself again. No team, no sporting event, can ever make things right for victims and families touched by the tragedy, but the Bruins have a chance to give Boston a great memory as we continue to recover from the carnage.
Everybody knows that next year’s Marathon will be one of the most emotional days in the history of our city. Thousands of runners will return to Boston to finish the race that was stolen from them. Thousands more will run in memory of victims and in defiance of terrorism. It will be an event that transcends sports.
In the meantime, a Bruins rolling rally — on the same street where the bombs exploded, just two months after the tragedy — would be a triumph that would match any victory our city has known.
Outgoing Mayor Thomas Menino has been the godfather of the rolling rallies, and a week before the bombs exploded, Menino said he was hoping for one last championship parade before he leaves office.
Security measures are going to be different now. We don’t know what kind of a celebration might be planned next time a Boston team wins a championship, but it would be infinitely inspiring to see the 2012-13 Bruins carry the Stanley Cup into Copley Square.
Please don’t read this as a prediction of the outcome of the series. The Blackhawks are a great team. They went 24 games without a loss at the start of this season. Chicago wants this Cup just as badly as Boston.
But there is stardust sprinkled on those black-and-gold sweaters. The Bruins at this hour have the look of a (get ready, here it comes) . . . team of destiny. And their 2013 playoff ride will forever be connected with our recovery from bloody Monday.
The Bruins were supposed to play a home game against the Ottawa Senators on the night that the bombs exploded. That game was postponed.
The Bruins were the first Boston team to play a home game after the tragedy and no one who was at the Garden will forget Rene Rancourt extending his microphone toward the crowd and letting 18,000 people sing the national anthem before the Bruins played the Sabres on Wednesday, April 17.
Just two days later, the Bruins postponed another game (against the Penguins) when our entire region was shut down while a bombing suspect was at large.
On Monday, May 13, the four-week anniversary of the explosions, the Bruins gave us the miracle of the playoffs. Trailing, 4-1, at home with 11½ minutes remaining in Game 7 against Toronto, the Bruins rallied to score three times. They scored twice in the final 1:22. They won in overtime and Dave Goucher called, “Bergeron! Bergeron!’’
The Monday Miracle kick-started a stretch of dominant, near-flawless hockey that has delivered the Bruins to Chicago for the Final. Since the middle of that fateful third period against Toronto, the Bruins have outscored opponents, 32-12, winning nine of 10 games.
If Tuukka Rask didn’t slip on the soggy ice in Game 4 in Madison Square Garden, the Bruins would be riding a nine-game playoff win streak and we’d be talking about the wild prospect of going fo’, fo’, fo’, in the final three rounds of the playoffs.
The Bruins haven’t trailed in a game since May 26.
Through it all, they have not forgotten their place in our town. Bombing victim Jeff Bauman was a ceremonial banner-waver before Game 2 against the Leafs. MBTA officer Richard Donohue, wounded during the manhunt, carried the flag before Game 3 against the Penguins.
The Bruins have been our feel-good sports team during this difficult time. They got angry John Tortorella fired in New York and embarrassed the mighty Pittsburgh Penguins in four straight games.
They have 19-year-old Dougie Hamilton and 41-year-old Jaromir Jagr. They have a Charlie Brown lookalike coach, the slow and steady Claude Julien, who understands why he sometimes gets roasted by the talk shows. They have Gregory Campbell, who got up off the ice and skated for a full minute after breaking his leg while killing a power play.
And now they have a chance to be the team that brings the Stanley Cup into Copley Square.