PITTSBURGH -- The Bruins appear to have a new tradition for player of the game honors. They used a 1980’s Bruins starter jacket that became legendary back when they were on their way to a Stanley Cup championship two seasons ago.
Nathan Horton was wearing a giant red T-shirt -- one that looked big enough to accommodate either Zdeno Chara -- with a red rooster face on the front of it following Boston’s 4-1 victory over the Washington Capitals at TD Garden. Horton had three points along with his first career regular season Gordie Howe hat trick in the decisive win over the Caps, and was awarded with “red rooster” status following the game.
The red rooster T-shirt, just like the vintage Bruins jacket two years ago and the short-lived Bruins chain last season, were the brainchild of veteran B’s defenseman Andrew Ference after a foray onto the Internet.
“It’s just something I found online and thought the guys would have some fun with it. The rooster is supposed to symbolize good luck in Europe,” said Ference. “That’s why you often see a rooster in the kitchen at people’s houses.”
That was the only explanation behind the idea from the thoughtful Bruins alternate captain, and it doesn’t appear to have any connection to the excellent Alice in Chains song. Ference spoke about it briefly after the game and later pimped the T-Shirt makers' website on his Twitter account on Saturday evening before the team left for Pittsburgh.
Nathan was more than deserving of the inaugural rooster. Nice Gordie Howe. To find your own amazingness check out themountain.me
— Andrew Ference (@Ferknuckle) March 16, 2013
According to Wikipedia, the association between the rooster and good luck comes from a Portugal legend: “The Old Rooster of Barcelos.”
The legend of the Rooster of Barcelos tells the story of a dead rooster's miraculous intervention in proving the innocence of a man who had been falsely accused and sentenced to death.
According to the legend, silver had been stolen from a landowner in Barcelos, and the inhabitants of that city were looking for the criminal who had committed the crime. One day, a man from neighboring Galicia turned up and became suspect, despite his pleas of innocence. The Galician swore that he was merely passing through Barcelos on a Pilgrimage to Santiage de Compostela to complete a promise.
Nevertheless, the authorities arrested the Galician and condemned him to hang. The man asked them to take him in front of the judge who had condemned him. The authorities honored his request and took him to the house of the magistrate, who was holding a banquet with some friends. Affirming his innocence, the Galician pointed to a roasted rooster on top of the banquet table and exclaimed, "It is as certain that I am innocent as it is certain that this rooster will crow when they hang me." The judge pushed aside his plate because he decided to not eat the rooster. But still, the judge ignored the Galician's appeal.
However, while the pilgrim was being hanged, the roasted rooster stood up on the table and crowed as the Galician predicted. Understanding his error, the judge ran to the gallows, only to discover that the Galician had been saved from hanging thanks to a poorly made knot in the rope. The man was immediately freed and sent off in peace.
Some years later, the Galician returned to Barcelos to sculpt the Calvary (or Crucifix) to the Lord of the Rooster (Portuguese, "Cruzeiro do Senhor do Galo") in praise to the Virgin Mary and to Saint James. The monument is located in the Archeological Museum of Barcelos.
Whatever the origin, the Bruins appear to have embraced the T-shirt as their good-luck token and a fitting way to recognize an individual player’s efforts when they end up on the winning side of the ledger.