The Bruins and Me
I haven’t felt this good since……..
It was the ’73-’74 NHL season, and my father and I were walking around Alexis Neon Plaza in Montreal before the Bruins were to play the Canadiens. I was a diehard Bruins fan and despised the Habs with every beat of my heart; my father felt pretty much the opposite.
We were strolling through a department store; I had my head down looking at something that had attracted my 13 year old eyes. As I walked around the end of the aisle I bumped into someone.
Looking up to say sorry, my jaw dropped open and my eyes bugged out like Marty Feldman.
“Hello son, how are you today?”, said Bobby Orr.
“Bobby Orr” I stammered.
“What’s your name?”
“Phillip, Mr. Orr.”
“Please” he chuckled, “call me Bobby.”
“Okay sir”, and he chuckled again.
In my opinion he is the greatest player to ever lace ‘em up and he was asking me what we were doing.
Although he always denied it – at least to me – I am certain my father was equally star struck.
I told Bobby we were going to see the game. He asked who I was hoping for. The Bruins, Mr. Orr, was my response. He then asked me who my Dad was hoping for. I told him, a little shame-faced, my Dad was a Habs fan.
Bobby Orr said that was okay and he’d forgive my father that slight while giving my Dad a big grin.
Then he opened his briefcase and pulled out an 8X10 glossy and asked me if I wanted an autograph.
I nearly fainted. I still have it to this day. Tucked away and never to be forgotten.
Later, at the game, I was the beneficiary of a constant stream of snide comments, pokes and jabs from my dear departed father as the Habs were pounding the Bruins 4-1 into the dying minutes of the 3rd period.
But these were the Big Bad Bruins, and a true Bruins fan never gives up, just like the players themselves.
They poured on the pressure: Orr, Esposito, Hodge, Bucyk, O’Reilly, good God what a team!
The Bruins score! It’s 4 – 2 with 3 or 4 minutes left. I glanced up at Dad…confidence exuded from his every pore.
Here come the Bruins with Gilles Gilbert racing to the bench for another attacker. Black and gold swarmed the ice. It was like they outnumbered the Habs 3 to 1. Ken Dryden was being peppered with shots from angles he didn’t know existed.
The Bruins score!! It’s 4 – 3 with just about a minute and a half to play. I glanced up at Dad. Stoic and iron jawed will…but was that a bead of sweat on his upper lip?
And here come the Bruins, buzzing around the Montreal end like a swarm of bees.
Tick tick tick…time was winding down. I felt my Dad stealing glimpses at me. I felt his unexpressed giddy laughter which he was politely waiting to bestow upon me until our drive home.
And here come the Bruins. Tick, 15, tick 14, tick and they SCORE to tie the game at 4.
I was screaming at the top of my lungs. I was screaming loud enough for four lungs!
The clock wound down and the game ended in a 4 all tie. The Bruins won by a million to zip in my mind.
The drive home was happy…but only by half!
Thank you Mr. Orr. Thank you BOSTON!!!!! I never stopped believing.
Dare I ponder two in a row? I think I dare. I think I dare indeed.
Oh how I miss my Dad. I wish he were alive today, so I could torture him!