Did I miss something in 2011 and ’13 and other more abbreviated Bruins postseason appearances in recent years, or is the fervor for debating who should be the banner captain on a given game night a relatively new phenomenon?
It’s an extremely cool tradition, of course, one that not only embraces Bruins history, but also emphasizes the all-for-one unity of Boston sports teams in this era of dominance.
No other city can match it. No other city right now could come close.
Where else in a matter of days can you get the nostalgia of having a championship team reunited (members of the ’11 Cup champs waved the flag before Game 1 of the Final) and get to see Bill Belichick thoroughly enjoy his turn to wave the banner? (He had Game 2).
Bobby Orr, Rob Gronkowski, Raymond Bourque, Aly Raisman, Julian Edelman, and Jaylen Brown have been among those to do the honors this postseason, often accompanied by a Special Olympics athlete.
It’s an awesome tradition. But I don’t remember anything like what’s happening now before Game 7, when it seems the choice for banner captain is a greater topic of conversation than anything about the winner-take-all game.
So I’ll play, too. It seems to me the obvious choice is the one Mr. Bertrand lays out here:
Tom Brady has never done it before. As a six-time Super Bowl champion and a pal of Bruins leader Zdeno Chara, he’s the perfect choice for a winner-take-all game. And the David Ortiz jersey requires no explanation. This is his city.
The only way Brady (wearing that nod to Papi) shouldn’t be the choice is if you’re a traditionalist like this friendly fellow here:
Banner captain: bring in as many retired numbers as possible... Orr, Espo, Bourque, O'Reilly, Middleton, Bucyk, Neely, etc. Space them out around Garden. Auction sweaters for Bruins Foundation. Few teams have that cache.— Kevin Paul Dupont (@GlobeKPD) June 10, 2019
I also like the suggestion of having as many members of the 1970 and ’72 Cup champs participate, especially from the former team, since that one defeated the Blues. It’s also a way to go back to involving Orr — who is always the perfect choice, no matter the circumstances — even though he’s already done it earlier in the series.
The most unexpected choice that would bring the house down? Gotta be Tim Thomas, right? Seems like he’s in incognito mode these days, though.
Ultimately, I think it will be Brady, with the Papi homage. It will be as inspiring as the waving of a banner in front of a packed house with the lights down low in a winner-take-all game can be. Pretty close to unforgettable, in other words.
Then it’s on to the game at last, and with a Bruins victory, a new question will arise:
Say, who do you think will wave the banner on the duck boats?