It was a good day for Boston sports

It was a good day for Boston sports
May 17, 2013, 2:00 pm
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Yesterday was a good day here in Boston. There’s was no barking from the dog. No smog. Mama cooked the breakfast with no hog. We even saw the lights of the Good Year blimp, and it read: “Torey Krug’s a pimp.”

The news started rolling in around 2 pm, first from the NBA’s pre-draft workout in Chicago, where Danny Ainge silenced any speculation that Doc Rivers will spend next season on TNT, in Orlando, with the Clippers, the Nets or anywhere other than the Celtics bench. “I talk to Doc all of the time,” Ainge said, “and we’re talking about our plans for next year.” So, yeah. There’s that. The Celtics still have their coach.

Later last night, down in St. Petersburg, beneath the catwalk (yeah, the catwalk) of Tropicana Field, Will Middlebrooks hit a bases clearing three-run double with two outs in the top of the ninth to propel the Sox to a 4-3 win over the Rays. This was Boston’s second straight victory after dropping nine of their previous 11, and on most nights, WMB’s heroics would have been the talk of the town. But —

Shortly after that, back at TD Garden, Brad Marchand scored his first goal of the playoffs, after a perfect, downright sensual pass from Patrice Bergeron, to give the Bruins a 3-2 overtime win against the New York Rangers. It capped off a crazy, emotional and historic week for the B’s. One that’s taken them from the brink of disaster (in some cases, the unemployment line) and has them surging towards the Eastern Conference Finals — even if there’s still a hell of a long way to go.

After the dust settled on the game-winner, Marchand found himself in the box with NBC’s Pierre McGuire, and while this is an obvious point, you know that the Nose Face Killah had to be feeling good.

Back in 2011, he scored 11 goals during the Bruins run to the Cup, which tied Jeremy Roenick for the second most by a rookie in the playoffs. He also scored two goals in the clincher at Vancouver, and all signs pointed towards him becoming a major force, in the regular season and playoffs, for many years to come.

But last year, he scored only once as the Bruins were upset in the first round by the Capitals, and this year, he went goalless in the opening round against Toronto. If not for that ridiculous Game 7 comeback, Marchand would have been one of many Bruins to be faced with an offseason of relentless media criticism and fan disappointed, so to find himself back in the familiar role as postseason hero, the focal point of a national TV interview, there had to be so many emotions — relief, redemption, straight up ecstasy — running through the 25-year-old’s body. And once the interview got underway, McGuire wasted no time in addressing Marchand’s state of mind:

McGuire: “You hadn’t scored any goals in the playoffs, before tonight obviously, were you starting to doubt yourself at all?”

Marchand: “Yeah, you know, it’s always frustrating when you don’t capitalize on your opportunities, but I got a nice text from (Mark) Recchi tonight telling me to keep with it, and it worked out.”

This was such an interesting and ultimately revealing response from Marchand. Here he was, on the heels of probably the most frustrating stretch of his young career, now suddenly back on top of the world, and before having a chance to even process what just happened, his instinct is to credit a pre-game text from a former teammate two years retired from the game.

For one, his answer serves as a reminder of the unbelievable influence that Recchi had on those 2011 Bruins. But on a larger scale, it speaks volumes about the dynamics at work within any professional roster, the lasting relationship between rookies and veterans, the importance of instilling a winning culture and then, once that happens, the difficulty in sustaining it.

We’ve obviously had a great run here in Boston over the last 13 years. The Decade of Dominance was something that we are all insanely fortunate to have experienced; it changed us forever as sports fans (for better and worse). But there’s also no question that this city’s legendary stretch is on the back nine, and even that’s optimistic. More realistically, the Decade of Dominance is already in the clubhouse half-drunk on $5 Bud Lights.

You look at the Patriots and only two guys — Brady and Wilfork — have won a ring in New England. By the time the next Celtics season gets underway, there’s a good chance that Rajon Rondo will be the lone holdover from 2008. Only four players on the Sox 40-Man roster — Ortiz, Pedroia, Lester and Ellsbury — have represented Boston in the World Series.

Of course, there have been additions along the way. For all the disappointment that Jason Terry brought this season (and I guess there’s no guarantee he’s back next season) he possesses a lot of the same wisdom that Recchi bestowed on the young Bruins. The Sox hope that Shane Victorino can play a similar role. As for the Pats, Jake Ballard is the only other guy with a ring and he’s yet to play a snap.

On one hand, this emphasizes the importance of Doc Rivers coming back for another year, and the short-sighted view of those who were looking to run Claude Julien out of town. It makes you appreciate the fact that the Sox seem to have found stability in John Farrell and that Bill Belichick isn’t going anywhere soon. These are four guys (although Farrell only did it as an assistant) who know what it takes to win; understand the championship formula. And that alone gives Boston’s four franchises a leg up on most of the competition.

But at the same time, as Marchand’s quote showed us, the coach can only do some much; there’s nothing like that relationship between a veteran and his rookie — or any young player. The respect, the understanding, the ability to relate in ways that most coaches never can. And moving forward, it will be up to guys like Marchand, Middlebrooks, Rondo, Jeff Green, Jerod Mayo to take everything they’ve learned from these guys and pay it forward the best they can. That’s the only chance Boston will have to keep this going, without starting from scratch. Because it won’t be long before the likes of Brady, Wilfork, Ortiz, Pierce, Garnett and Chara only exist in the form of a random text message. At that point, their only tangible legacies will be the guys they played with and the lessons they passed along.

And on that level, you can’t help but look at this current Bruins team as Boston’s greatest hope to extend this era dominance. From the recently departed leaders like Recchi to Chara to Thornton to Bergeron to Lucic to Rask to Marchand to Seguin to Hamilton and now Bartkowski and Krug, there’s a clear pecking order of past, present and future; there’s so much respect and understanding and potential for success.

But for now, maybe we should just focus on Game 2 — coming up this Sunday at the Garden — and pray the day’s as good as yesterday.