By Rich Levine
As the Bruins get ready for Game 7 at the Garden, theres a quiet confidence brewing in Boston.
And I mean really quiet.
Like the 18th green at Augusta. High tea at Buckingham Palace. An interview with Rajon Rondo.
But regardless of the decibel level, that confidence does exist. If you polled Bruins fans, I think a majority would still pick the Bs to win this series. Whether theyre making that decision with their heart or their head, it doesnt matter. Boston believes the Bruins can do it.
Its just that no one wants to talk about it.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a column where I called the Bruins the team that time forgot. Basically, that as the lone team without a parade during Bostons stretch of success, the Bruins are still treated with our old-school mentality. Back when you always anticipated the worse, and the idea of winning was always overshadowed by the fear of losing (again).
So when it comes to games like tonights against the Lightning, it gets a little weird. Theres confidence, yes. Theres no reason to believe this team cant go out there and win.
But theres also no reason to believe they will.
They havent earned that yet. There's no Bruins Swagger amongst fans. You can never assume any kind of victory.
Instead, heading into Game 7, you cant help but consider what happens if they lose. Not only how horrendous youll feel, but: What will the team look like from here? Is Julien gone? Chiarelli? Will Seguin make The Leap? What if Thomas comes back to Earth?
Or most importantly, when will they ever be this close again? How long will it be until the Bruins are one away from the Stanley Cup Finals?
Thats hard to say. On one hand, this doesnt exactly feel like the start of the next NHL dynasty. On the other, who knows? Theyll still have talent. Anything can happen. And thats the mentality well have going into Game 7. Ready for anything.
A win, and I dont know. Its impossible to sit here today and imagine the Boston Bruins playing for the Stanley Cup. Ive lived here too long, and seen so much, that its literally impossible to fathom what it would feel like if the Bruins win tonight and move on to Vancouver. I mean, these are the Bruins!
Still, with a win, theyre only one step closer to the promise land. The toughest challenge still lies ahead.
But with a loss, the ladder snaps and the Bruins come tumbling down. The same place they started, except now the fans are in a little deeper, a little more jaded and less likely to ever believe that the Bruins will end this awful stretch.
But tonight, the belief is still there. Maybe that's the natural feeling when youve got home ice and the best goalie in the game, but when it comes to the Bruins, there's nothing natural about it.