In 1971 my love for hockey was conceived. My team was the Boston Bruins. I loved Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito, and the rest of the black and gold from “bean” town. Around 1981 or so I started rooting for the Washington Capitals. So I have two favorite hockey teams. The Boston Bruins are my “sentimental” favorite, and the Washington Capitals are my “local” favorite. Both teams disappointed me and their fans alike this playoff season.
It’s not just they were both eliminated in their respective playoff rounds; it’s the way they crashed and burned. The Caps plight was well documented. The team with the best regular season record blew a 3-1 games lead to a # 8 seed. They made history. The Bruins made it past the first round and looking to be cruising in the second round. Up 3-0 to the Flyers, they looked like a lock to go the Eastern Conference finals. But they did something that doesn’t happen much in sports: they blew a 3-0 lead to Philly. Losing four straight and becoming the first pro team since the New York Yankees to blow a 3-0 lead. That happened ironically against the Boston Red Sox in 2004.
In the NBA, NHL, and MLB teams have had 3-0 about 200 times. Only four times has a team come back from a 3-0 deficit. They were the Toronto Maple Leafs of 1942, New York Islanders of 1975, Boston Red Sox of 2004, and of course the Philadelphia Flyers of 2010.
The last NHL team to blow a 3-0 lead was the 1976 Pittsburgh Penguins. Now both my “favorite teams have made history. I guess I was on the wrong side of history. But not all is lost. Both Detroit and Pittsburgh have been eliminated. The final four pits Chicago against San Jose,(# 1 & 2 seeds in West), and the Flyers against the Canadians (#7 & 8 seeds in East). It will be the first time the 7 and 8th seeds will face each other in the conference finals.
Part of me wants the Flyers to play the Blackhawks, but part of me wants an original six finals: Chicago vs. Montreal. The last time we had an original six finals was before the NHL brought in the WHA teams. That year was 1979. But I will root for Chicago all the way. My good friend Todd Englund who originates from Chicago, but lives here now is a diehard Hawks fans. They haven’t won the cup since 1960. So GO HAWKS!!!!