Yesterday, I was putting together my daily Today in Boston Bruins History article, which covers birthdays of past and present Bruins, milestones good and bad, past games, etc. After I was done putting in all the birthdays–big ups to Hockey-Reference for the database, which is amazing–I got to 2011 and realized wow, it’s been a year since Game 3.
I remember exactly where I was that night: parked on the couch, game on the HDTV, doublescreening (which is apparently what it is called when you are watching TV and using the Internet simultaneously, often marked by livetweeting the show you’re watching), thinking everything was going well and dandy except the Bruins hadn’t scored yet.
Then it happened, the Aaron Rome hit on Nathan Horton. I watched it live, frightened, upset because I knew quite a bit about traumatic brain injuries from when my mom was in grad school in the early 2000s learning more about the inner workings of our gray matter and I knew this probably was not going to be good. The way Horton helplessly had his arm raised, his eyes rolled back, unable to move…oh, it’s hard to think about even now. (Watching it happen on the champions DVD is still too difficult.) I distinctly remember saying “Oh my God, something bad has happened” as it unfolded.
Of course, we know now how it progressed from there– Horton went to nearby Massachusetts General (thank God for hospitals near sports arenas is all I have to say; take Philips Arena’s proximity to Grady Memorial, one of the most advanced hospitals in Georgia–its closeness may have really helped Ondrej Pavelec when he had that collapse in the 2010-11 season opener), updates were provided throughout the game as he moved all his extremities, the Bruins were otherwise preoccupied during their long power play but then ripped the game wide open in the second and third periods.
It was a turning point in the series, though. Discussing it with a friend recently, we decided the gentlest way to put it was that the team galvanized around a terrible incident and produced good from the bad. Hey, the Bruins are the Hufflepuffs of the NHL, after all, watching out for their own. But it really did change the course of the series.
Last night, I was parked on the couch again, doublescreening like a boss, watching as the Devils dashed all hopes of a Kings sweep, Kings inevitability, all of that. Some of it still remains (I seriously saw a headline that said something to the effect of “Devils delay the inevitable” and a lot of postgame coverage had little weasel words suggesting that the media would really like it better if New Jersey didn’t mess with their narrative by, you know, winning), but this is the Final we’re talking about here. Who knows what could happen at any given game? Could this be the start of a Devils bounceback that would cement a place in history? Or is this going to be the year that history is made for another California team? As we saw a year ago, series shifters can come from anywhere, good or bad.
I guess we’ll just have to see what happens on Saturday!
PS: Last night, I ordered the ~special edition~ of the Bruins championship DVD. It includes Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final and Games 3, 4, 6 and 7 of the Final. When it arrives, I’ll be sure to review it!