Bruins and city share love with the Cup

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Bruins and city share love with the Cup

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
BOSTON The Bruins basked in the love of over one million Bruins fans Saturday while fully enjoying their rollicking rolling rally from TD Garden to Copley Place, and the celebration alternated between hearty waves, aggressive thumbs ups to the crowd and Brad Marchands boozy singing of Black and Yellow through the parade route.

The bottom line was this: the love-fest between the city of Boston and the game of hockey is again in full bloom just like it was in the early 1970s when the Bs were toast of the town and their players were considered rock stars.

I just feel like everybody in the city feels like we do, said Andrew Ference. Weve waited our whole lives with a lot of work and dedication to raise a Cup, and all of the hockey fans here have put in their hard work by supporting the team for so long.

Its amazing how many people will come up and introduce themselves, and say Ive been a season ticket holder for so many years. Thats hard work. Thats a chore. Thats incredible dedication to the sport and to the team, so of course theyre excited as we are. Im sure in some cities you celebrate with the team and thats about it. But thats not the way it is here.

That much was clear when Tim Thomas was treated with chants of MVP as he walked to his car holding his daughters hand after the rally was over, and Patrice Bergeron exhibited the same kind of passion fist-pumping the crowd like a jersey shore extra as he did keeping offensive players in tight check during the postseason.

It was a light, festive vibe throughout the crowd with signs like Roberto Luongo is golfing right now, this is better -- and Bite This! with a picture of Alex Burrows biting down on Patrice Bergerons finger underscoring the hard feelings and emotion that went into seizing the Stanley Cup.

All of those emotions turned from taut suspense and piercing intensity into simple, weightless elation, and the players picked up on all of it. The best sight: the scores of young children taking it all in with a newfound love of hockey that might not have been there for the prior generation of Boston youngsters.

Its incredible. Its such a great sports town anyway, said Recchi. With the Red Six, Patriots and Celtics all winning over the last 10 years, its great for the Bruins to be able to do it. It had been a long time. Its great to give them an opportunity to see the Stanley Cup, be a champion and bring a championship to the city. Theres nothing better.

I love this city. I love everything about it. Its been an amazing experience since I was traded here a few years ago. I love the people and Ill be back here a lotthats for sure.

There were a handful of arrests, one attempted purse-snatching on Boston Common and a healthy number of dehydrated souls passing out in the intense June heat while the Bruins rolled through the streets of Boston on the duck boats but nobody was complaining as hockey has once again seized a front page in the summertime along with a Boston Red Sox club that ostracized them for so many years.

Players were obviously excited about watching hockey make such a stunning comeback four years after hitting rock bottom in the two years that marked the GM baton passing from Mike OConnell to Peter Chiarelli.

The rolling rally and Boston love-in with the Stanley Cup simply put all of those efforts into proper perspective.

It would seem hockey will have a bountiful run in the Hub with a young corps thats been managed into a positive cap situation moving ahead, and that bodes well for the Black and Gold.

But thats a story for next season.

This year the Bs will keep parading the Cup around New England over the next few days before the trophy starts getting distributed to individual players and team staff through the next two months. Andrew Ference said everything the Bruins have done with the Cup including his novel approach of putting the 35-pound piece of hardware into a baby carriage on Thursday is about sharing their big trophy utterly and completely with the city.

Its not like the World Series trophy in 2004 or 2007 that felt more like a museum relic than something to be enjoyed interactively. The Cup is everybodys toy and deserving of a photo op or a smooch to the chalice for every red-blooded Bostonian thats lived and died with the Black and Gold over the last four decades.

Everybody wanted to take the Cup out, said Ference. Its there for everybody to enjoy. Theres no reason to lock it away. Thats the whole point of the trophy. It turns everybody into little kids.

They asked me what it was like to lift the Cup, and honestly it was great. But it was just as cool to watch your teammates reactions when they lift itor other peoples reactions when they touch it. Just walking down the street with it and walking people jump out of their cars just to touch it is awesome.

Shawn Thornton got some alone time with the Cup on Friday in honor of his wedding anniversary, and he recounted -- with equal parts amusement and annoyance a surprising number of Charlestown neighbors that simply walked right into his backyard to sneak a view of the legendary three-foot high trophy.

The Bruins should be prepared for these kinds of guerilla tactics in Boston, however, because its a pretty damned big deal that the Stanley Cup has returned to the Hub.

Everyone wants a piece of Cup after watching these Bruins in action over the course of 107 compelling, infuriating, draining and largely winning games, and thats a very beautiful thing.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Spooner on trade rumors: 'I definitely want to play here'

Spooner on trade rumors: 'I definitely want to play here'

BOSTON -- Ryan Spooner has definitely heard the reports out there that he’s being shopped in trade by the Boston Bruins, and he played like a guy that didn’t want to be moved in Monday’s win over the Florida Panthers at TD Garden.

Spooner had his good skating legs, created chances for his teammates and set up the third period goal that got the B’s into overtime when he flipped a shot at the net that was tipped in by David Backes while camped out around the crease. Spooner finished with an assist and a plus-1 rating along with five shot attempts in his 14:24 of ice time, and looked much more like the energized, creative player that was at the heart of some pretty good offensive things last season.

In other words, Spooner looked much more like the talented young player that finished with 13 goals and 49 points last season while centering the third line.

“I think there were five or six games there where I felt I wasn’t playing a bad game. Then six or seven games there where it was hard to get, I guess, the ice time that I wanted,” said Spooner. “At the end of the day, I’ve been a little bit inconsistent.

“I just have to go out there and use my speed and my skill and I found that in the game here. I thought that I did that and I just need to play with that, and I should be fine.”

Multiple sources have indicated to CSN New England that the Bruins are talking about a possible Ryan Spooner deal with multiple teams including the Carolina Hurricanes, San Jose Sharks and New York Islanders. Part of it is certainly the need for the Bruins to collect a bit more goal-scoring as Monday night’s win was just the eighth time in 26 games this season that Boston’s offense has scored more than two goals.

Part of it is also, however, a challenging season for Spooner where he’s been in and out of Claude Julien’s dog house while getting dropped to the fourth line at times, and even being left off the power play a handful of times as well. He’s played out of position at left wing rather than center and has underachieved to three goals and nine points in 25 games largely played with David Krejci and David Backes.

Whatever the history and the number of potential trade scenarios, Spooner said was “fed up” with all of it in his own words as he headed into Monday night’s game, and one thing remained true above all else: He wants to stick around as a member of the Bruins.

“I try to just put it in the back of my mind. When I was 17, I went through the same thing [in junior hockey]. I definitely want to play here,” said Spooner. “I want to help out and that’s kind of where I’m at now. If I play like I did [against the Panthers], I think I’ll be fine. I just want to go out, I want to help out, and that’s kind of where I’m at right now.”

The Black and Gold are looking for a top-6 forward capable of putting the puck in the net on the trade market in any possible deal involving Spooner, but it would seem that the 23-year can control his own destiny in Boston if he starts generating offense and putting the puck in the net. Spooner did just that on Monday night while setting up a third period goal, and lo and behold the Bruins offense posted four goals after struggling to get more than two for most of the season.

That could turn into the kind of trend that keeps Spooner in Boston if he knocks out the inconsistency in his game, and instead steps on the gas pedal and brings the speed and skill that got him to the NHL in the first place. 

Chara 'felt pretty good' in first game back

Chara 'felt pretty good' in first game back

BOSTON -- Zdeno Chara knew which question was coming, so he didn’t even wait for it to be asked in the postgame B’s dressing room.

“I felt pretty good for the first game. It was a good game to come back,” said Chara, who finished with a minus-1 rating in 23:31 of ice time. “Obviously, Florida is a very good skating team and it is always kind of challenging to play them. But I had no issues. It felt good to be back and, obviously, big win.”

Surprisingly the Bruins didn’t have many issues from a defensive standpoint in the six games that their captain missed with a lower body injury, and finished with a 3-2-1 record and 10 goals allowed in the aforementioned six games.

That was something Chara, off to the best start to a season in at least a couple of years, remarked on both right before and after returning to the B’s lineup on Monday.

“I was very proud. It was exciting to see how they battled and it’s never easy. Every game is a challenge and every game is a big game,” said Chara, who has one goal and six points along with a plus-11 rating in 20 games this season. “There’s never an easy game. But guys were battling. They were playing some hard opponents and they won some really big games by gutsy efforts.”

Still it was good to get Chara back into the mix as a top shutdown pairing with 20-year-old Brandon Carlo, and that allowed the rest of the defensive pieces to fall into place for the Black and Gold.

Clearly there was a little bit of rust on Chara after just practicing for a couple of days and he’ll really be pushed with so many games coming up in a short period of time, but it is nearly impossible to push the 39-year-old out of the lineup after he’s worked his way back in. The timing, the reads and the positioning will all get back to top form quickly for the 19-year veteran, but his coach thought it was a good first step with him while showing no issues moving around on his skates throughout the game.

“He played okay. It was his first game back and, you know, a lot of responsibility,” said Julien. “You expect guys to work themselves back in, and I think he did a good job.”

Now Chara will focus on working himself back into the rhythm he was in prior to the injury, and preparing his nearly 40-year-old body for the grinding schedule that awaits them for the rest of this month.