Boston, Chicago ready to make history

Boston, Chicago ready to make history
June 10, 2013, 1:00 pm
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The Bruins and Blackhawks have both stared death in the face this postseason, and neither has flinched since escaping the white light.

Boston has won eight of nine games since their historic first-round comeback against the Leafs. Chicago has won seven of eight, and made easy work of the defending champs after pulling off a miracle of their own in the second round against Detroit. As a result, we’re looking at storybook battle for the NHL crown. The first Original Six Stanley Cup since 1979. A showdown between a pair of proud sports cities and Top 10 TV markets.
 
How do you do it, Gary Bettman? What’s your secret? A deal with the devil? Magnets under the ice? Do you realize how many people David Stern would be willing to have killed to ensure this kind of matchup?
 
But for all the hype surrounding this Boston/Chicago final, and the rich sports history that each city has under its belt, it’s a little odd to think how seldom those two histories have intersected before now.
 
For years, the Red Sox and Cubs led parallel lives as the sad sacks of baseball, but haven’t met in the World Series since 1918. The Sox and White Sox have met once in more than 100 years (the 2005 ALDS), but Boston was still too high on 2004 to care all that much about the sweep.
 
Michael Jordan had his coming out party at the Garden in 1986, but the Celtics won that series 3-0; Boston had been already been dethroned by the time MJ was ready to wear the crown. And yeah, that first round series in 2009 was special, but injuries and the Heat intervened before the rivalry picked up any steam. In the NHL, the Bruins and Blackhawks took part in four playoff series back in the 70s but haven’t met since. This will be the first time they face off with the Cup on the line.
 
In fact, in the last 95 years, Chicago and Boston have only met once after the second round in any sports’ playoffs: Super Bowl XX. And that was hardly the birth of a rivalry. Instead, it was a coronation for one of the great teams in NFL history; the Pats were merely wallpaper, just happy to make the Big Game for the first time.
 
Even when you look at individual athletes and personalities, it’s a stretch to stir up any bad blood between these two cities. How many beloved Boston athletes have made the jump to the Windy City? I guess Bobby Orr is the biggest, especially as it relates to this year’s Cup, but he was never healthy enough to make an impact with the Blackhawks. And after that, what do we have: Theo Epstein? Tom Thibodeau? Ellis Burks? Kevin Youkilis? Nate Robinson?!
 
On paper, we have a ton of respect for Chicago here in Boston -- for their teams and their fans and their place within the hierarchy of professional sports. At first thought, you wouldn’t hesitate to put that city right up their with the likes of New York, Philadelphia and Los Angeles. But on closer inspection, from a personally emotional perspective, there’s something missing. A certain level of respectful hate, passion and head-to-head history.
 
But something tells me that by the time the Bruins and Blackhawks are done, we won’t be able to say that anymore.
 
Both teams come into the Stanley Cup on top of their game, fresh off manhandling the best competition their conference has to offer. Neither fears defeat, because they were already there. They’ve come back to from the dead and have been on cruise control ever since.
 
Now, finally, their paths have crossed on sports biggest stage, and the Boston/Chicago rivalry will never be the same.