We took the weekend off from funny funny jokes and poorly done photoshops. We relaxed. Looked forward to the shortened work week ahead. High-fived a Marine and said thanks. We watched Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals. As Bruins fans, we’re disappointed that once again our favorite team is watching this game from home. We’re disappointed we’re once again not going to the TD Garden to see a Stanley Cup Finals game. But as hockey fans, we’re pumped. The Stanley Cup is the greatest trophy in all of sports. It is also the hardest to obtain. That is not an opinion. This is not up for debate. This is fact. These players play 82 games over a grueling 6 months just to earn the right to fight for this trophy. Saying “trophy” doesn’t even feel like you’re doing the Cup justice. After the jump, we discuss our love for the Stanley Cup Finals: Then, after those bruising, battering, emotionally and physically draining 6 months the real season begins.
These players have to win three series just to get to the Finals. They’re barely home. They barely see their families. They ignore injuries. They play every single game like it is their last. Blood, sweat and teeth are left on the ice. As kids, we played Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals countless times in our drive ways. We pretended we were Mario Lemieux, Wayne Gretzky, Ray Bourque, Martin Brodeur, Patrick Roy. We had tin foil trophies the winning team received. We jumped on our friends. We celebrated. And that is the beauty of the Stanley Cup Finals. Whichever team is lucky enough to win, to hoist that Cup, is instantly transported back to their childhood. As soon as that final buzzer goes off in the clinching game, grown men are reduced to children. They throw their sticks, their gloves. They pile on each other. They yell and scream. They hug. They cry. And all of it, every single moment, is glorious. Years and years of hard work, and sacrifice are instantly realized. The release of emotion is palpable through the TV screen. Seeing the players hoist the Cup above their heads is the greatest moment in sports.
But seeing the emotion, the celebration before the Cup is presented is almost as good. Even the “toughest” men get a little teary eyed watching the celebration. Their names will forever be etched in silver, next to hockey’s greatest legends. The symbolism is not lost on us here at Days of Y’Orr. We’ll never know the sacrifice these players go through. But we’ll watch. We’ll suddenly be fans of teams of teams we don’t root for during the regular season. We’ll watch with awe as Duncan Keith puts his face in front of another slap shot, despite already being down 7 teeth. Even though we hate the Flyers, we’ll watch with silent admiration as Mike Richards throws a big hit across the middle to turn the tide of play and get his team going. We’ll watch with excitement and hold our breath as Patrick Kane bears down on Michael Leighton on a breakaway. We’ll throw our hands in the air and high five our friends when Dave Bolland scores. You know half the people in the room with you have no idea who he is, but you… you, as a fan, appreciate his sacrifice. We’ll watch as a player gets absolutely nailed and think there’s no way he’s coming back. We’ll nod in approval when that same player takes his next shift. We won’t even be surprised. He’s a hockey player. We’ll admire his courage and determination.
Because the best part of all of this… is the players really don’t care about themselves. All that matters is winning. You can see it in their eyes. Every goal for their team is the highest of highs. Every goal against their team feels like someone just kicked them in the stomach and then booted their puppy while they were down. We’ll watch dead tired players suddenly spring to life like they’re an 8 year old chasing down the ice cream truck when the winning goal is scored in a triple over time. We’ll watch every single second of every single game just to appreciate exactly what these players are doing. And even though the Bruins are not playing… we’ll watch every second of the Stanley Cup presentation. We’ll feel bad for the team that is disappointed, knowing they may never get another chance. We’ll watch in anticipation as the winning team celebrates like they might never win again. Chances are they will not.
That is why this is so important to them. We want to see the players’ faces as they realize their dreams and hoist the Cup. We want to see their tears, a visible sign of the release of emotion of finally getting to the top. We want to see 35 year old men acting like 5 year old boys on Christmas day, experiencing the purest joy you can experience in the world of sports. We’ll think about how these players don’t even get paid for the playoffs. They’re not trying to win for extra money. They’re not taking shifts off to avoid injury. They’re playing with all their heart and soul because they want to lift a 35-lb piece of silver over there heads and call themselves champions. It means the world to them. Literally. Their entire lives are based around this one fantastic moment. Some of them are lucky enough to win the Cup early. Some wait their entire careers. But they’ll fight every year, every second of every game to get there.
This is the best time of the year. The only thing that could make this better is if the Bruins were in the finals. But we’ll enjoy every single second of these Stanley Cup Finals. We’ll see either Philadelphia or Chicago end a long drought for themselves and their fan bases. We’ll watch the joy, the pain, the highs of victories, the absolute heartbreak of defeat. And we absolutely can’t get enough. Lord Stanley awaits the etching of more names on his fabled Cup. But the road to get there is the greatest show on earth.
We leave you with videos of past winners, their jubilation and celebration. Can’t wait to see this year’s celebration. Enjoy these playoffs hockey fans. Every second. Because we have a long, hockey-less summer staring us in the face. But for now, we’ll relish every moment as much as hockey fans can.