It’s now a best-of-three.
The Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues enter Thursday night’s Game 5 tied at 2-2 in the Stanley Cup Final. Boston hosts Game 5 and — if necessary — Game 7 next Wednesday night, with Game 6 in between on Sunday night in St. Louis.
It’s an interesting spot for the Bruins, who are now dealing with several injuries to key defensemen in Zdeno Chara and Matt Grzelcyk. Chara suffered a broken jaw after taking a puck to the face in Game 4. Grzelcyk suffered a concussion in Game 2 and missed Games 3 and 4.
Grzelcyk practiced on Wednesday, but was wearing a non-contact jersey, while Chara was not even in the building. These are not the kind of conversations you want to have at a time in which there are legacies to be made.
What’s the window to create a legacy, anyways? Ten years? Well, three Stanley Cup Final appearances in nine years is quite the accomplishment, especially considering that the Bruins hadn’t won the Cup since 1972 before finally winning it again in 2011, which was also their first Cup Final appearance since losing to the Edmonton Oilers in five games in 1990.
And by legacies, I’m talking about the likes of Chara, Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, David Krejci, and Tuukka Rask. All five players hoisted the Cup in 2011, in what turned out to be quite a magical run.
The same five players were also part of the Bruins’ Cup Final appearance in 2013, but they lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games.
Now, in 2019, here they are again, going for their second Stanley Cup in three tries. And as I write this, they’re just two wins away from that accomplishment. However, they’re also now just two losses away from being the group that lost in the Stanley Cup Final more than they won.
The latter sounds harsh though, doesn’t it? Way too harsh. Because even if the Blues are the team hoisting la Coupe when it’s all said and done, the aforementioned core group of Bruins will always and forever be known as Stanley Cup Champions, and not Stanley Cup “failures.”
But imagine that group winning multiple Cups? You immediately go from being a “champion” to becoming a Bruins “legend.”
Not that Chara and Bergeron aren’t already Bruins legends. They are. And if Nos. 33 and 37 don’t get put in the TD Garden rafters when their careers are over, then we should all riot.
The Stanley Cup is the toughest trophy to win in sports. That’s maybe why it feels so damn special every time the Bruins get close to winning it. You could make the argument that Rask needs this Cup more than anyone, seeing that he was Tim Thomas’ backup in 2011 and was the losing goalie in 2013. But he’s still part of the original core, no matter how you break it down.
It’s a special group that has the opportunity to create a special legacy as two-time Stanley Cup champions. I’m not sure anyone would’ve predicted this back in 2010, after the Bruins blew a 3-0 series lead to the Philadelphia Flyers in the second round.
Next thing you know, they’re going into Vancouver and beating the Canucks in Game 7 to hoist the greatest trophy in sports, helping Claude Julien become the winningest coach in franchise history, and going to two more Cup Finals — one with Julien, and another, now, with Bruce Cassidy. Throughout it all, we’ve seen big names like Mark Recchi, Jaromir Jagr, and Jarome Iginla make pit stops in Boston for a chance to join a Cup contender.
But it’s Chara, Bergeron, Marchand, Krejci, and Rask who’ve been leading the way over the entire last decade of Bruins hockey.
One more Stanley Cup would make it a legendary decade.
Listen to “The Danny Picard Show” on PodcastOne, iTunes, and Spotify. Follow him on Twitter @DannyPicard. Subscribe to YouTube.com/DannyPicard.