Bruins add their stamp to Boston sports history

Posted June 17, 2011, at 9:42 p.m.

Sports and its most noted names and teams are generational matters except for the few who need no first names: Williams, Russell, Mantle, Gretzky, the ’27 Yankees and the Big Red Machine.

The rest are recognized if they win or pull off some amazing individual feat.

Teams that gain championships are remembered with decreasing interest as the years go on, otherwise there would be no celebration for the new champions each season.

The Boston Bruins of 2010-11 have now put their stamp on Boston sports to move in front of, but not obliterate, the Bobby Orr years of the early 1970s. Take your place at the front of the line, Tim Thomas, Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron and company.

The parade today in Boston to celebrate the winning of the Stanley Cup is to celebrate a team not picked to win when the season started, not when the playoffs began and not when the Stanley Cup Finals opened.

They were underdogs every step of the way, and if there is one moniker that will hang with this team forever, that is it.

In Edmonton, the Gretzky, Mark Messier, Grant Fuhr years are remembered for the exceptional talent amassed and held onto for half a decade.

The Ranger Cup win in 1994 was a drought-ender that left Brian Leetch and Messier in the hearts of New York hockey fans.

Steve Yzerman and the Red Wings of the past two decades were balanced teams with goal scorers and grinders who wore winning year after year on their sleeves and carried the Motor City when it needed something to cheer about.

This Bruins team began with little expectation from anyone. They just kept winning while fans waited for them to lose the next game or the next round. Believers were not in great numbers.

That makes this year’s drink from the Cup that much sweeter.

I was in Toronto the night the Bruins won. I watched the win on television and then could not shut the set off as the mayhem in Vancouver went on into the night.

I was in Vancouver in 1994 when they lost the finals to the Rangers. They could have wrapped the Cup up at home in Game 6 and when they did not, there were cars burned and damage done in the city, although nowhere near the extent of the damage this year.

The hooligans were the same. They were not the hockey fans who left the arena disappointed and headed home. They were not the families and fans watching on big screens in the street.

They were the drunken fools who had started swigging at 10 in the morning and never stopped and used the game as an excuse to be idiots.

They were the punks who hang around downtown night after night, but never in a setting where they can do their evil as they did after Game 7.

The violence and damage after the game in Vancouver was sickening, as were the fools jumping on burning cars, looting stores and fighting in the streets.

Vancouver is not that kind of city. The team lost and will regroup and so will the city.

Meanwhile, let the parade in Boston begin.

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