By Kevin Flanagan
BSD Bruins Senior Staff Writer
Ever since Barstool Sports founder – and selfly titled “El Presidente” – David Portnoy highjacked the James Franco character Dave Skylar’s “they hate us ‘cause they ain’t us” line from the 2014 film “The Interview” in January of 2015 and made it the rallying call – not to mention yet another hot selling t-shirt that has made the media mogul millions of dollars – for the fans of the dynastic New England Patriots, the diehards in Boston have used the line to shut up haters from across North America, when it comes to their complaints about the regions sports franchises flogging theirs for the past two decades.
As the Bruins – who did their fair share of sucking since their last Stanley Cup Finals appearance in 2013 against the Chicago Blackhawks, which they painfully lost in just over a minute left in Game 6 at the TD Garden – await the Western Conference Champion St. Louis Blues for Game 1 of the NHL’s championship round, they will likely be despised by anyone in this hemisphere that can tell the difference between a puck and a dinner biscuit.
And the fans of the club – at least the ones who have strong ties to the other franchises in professional sports’ Hub of the Universe – they wouldn’t have it any other way.
There is no argument that the team that calls Causeway Street home has the most rabid and loyal fans in all of New England. Case in point, the glorified practice the team is due to run on Thursday night at the barn by the North End – a controlled intrasquad scrimmage that head coach Bruce Cassidy already admitted will have players switching sides within it for situations like “power plays” – will be practically sold out, and led to the likes of WEEI midday and NESN pregame host Dale Arnold to call for it to be televised for those who can’t attend it in person.
Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up. And that is likely to only piss off the haters that much more.
It’s no secret that the Bruins will enter the series against the Blues as heavy favorites, with betting sites like Bovada laying -$155 money lines that the Black and Gold will take home the seventh Stanley Cup in their storied history.
And to add insult to injury, the Washington Post ran a piece apologizing to sports fans everywhere for what they predict will be the 13th championship in 18 years for the city that essentially sparked the birth of the most dominant republic on the face of the earth.
Coincidence? I don’t think so.
— Dan Roche (@RochieWBZ) May 23, 2019
Look, anyone with any hockey sense knows that there is no way of guaranteeing victory to any team before they win the fourth game of any series. Goalies can get hot, top players can get hurt, and the puck – especially on the notoriously poor ice surface in Boston – can produce a bounce that can propel a club to victory that they probably didn’t deserve.
Zdeno Chara, Kevan Miller, and Chris Wagner may have missed the #NHLBruins ECF-clinching win in Carolina with injuries, but their teammates made sure they didn't miss the celebration.
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) May 23, 2019
However, for fans of a certain age – pretty much anyone born after 1988 or so doesn’t qualify – this two-decade run of dominance is sweet revenge for anyone that remembers the 1978 Red Sox, too many men on the ice in Montreal in ’79, Bill Buckner in ’86, and Aaron Boone in 2003.
So to the sporting world that looks upon Boston with spite, I say this. I feel your pain. For what it’s worth, should the Bruins become the third champion in eight months I would take a lot of joy in adding – get the duck boats ready, again.