One last thought on the Stanley Cup champs while marveling at how enjoyable it can be when a bandwagon turns into a fleet of duck boats . . .
It won't linger as the most memorable plot twist in the Bruins' storybook run. The peaks and valleys of the postseason journey, the rolling rally that was the most sheer fun of the seven (seven!) we have been fortunate enough savor the past decade, and the realization that the players, to a man, absolutely get what this means to the city and delight in sharing the accomplishment . . . those will be the nostalgic details we'll share and share again with our children as we help lace up their skates on a cold December morning.
But it is a pleasant effect to achieving a feat that satisfies generations of Bruins fans: Our perceptions of so many of these players have changed permanently, and for the better. Zdeno Chara is no longer the emotionless defensemanbot, but a Captain, capital C, whose cathartic howl after hoisting the Cup will live on in sports-radio sound-board clips long after he retires. It was Chara who literally brought the Cup to the people during the parade; who knew he was so good in front of a crowd?
Tim Thomas is no longer the unorthodox goalie who wasn't quite good enough to steal a series; he's the unorthodox goalie who is forever a Boston sports icon in the manner of Adam Vinatieri or David Ortiz, a man who rose to meet the big moment, at least when he wasn't sprawling spectacularly to prevent it.
It would be easy to turn a few lines of praise into a few paragraphs with just about everyone on and associated with the team. There couldn't have been a better Game 7 goal-scoring hero than Patrice Bergeron, who has overcome so much and at 25 carries the respect of a 10-year veteran. Claude Julien gets his just reward for staying true to himself, and it couldn't happen to a more grounded guy. Brad Marchand, Nose Face Killah himself, the 2011 Bruins' version of 2007 Dustin Pedroia. Nathan Horton, tagged with the "no heartbeat" label with hapless, hopeless Florida, proving to be not only clutch but a popular teammate who can't stop smiling about his good fortune in finally playing where and when it matters. The tireless Dennis Seidenberg. Nails-tough Milan Lucic. The relentless fourth line of Shawn Thornton, Daniel Paille, and Gregory Campbell. Everyone.
And everyone has gotten his due in the delirious aftermath, but there's one person involved with this who is probably worthy of a few more shifts of appreciation. (No, not you, Mr. Jacobs. And why is Cam looking at you like your name is Ulf?)
David Krejci, the unassuming first-line center, finished as the postseason leader in goals (12), points (23), and winning goals (four). He had a hat trick in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals and beautifully set up Horton's winner in Game 7 against the Lightning. His deft and subtle passing skills sent teammates in on Roberto Luongo probably a half-dozen times in the Finals. His knack for bringing out the best in his linemates helped Rich Peverley and Michael Ryder fit seamlessly on the first line after Horton's injury. He wasn't as pesky as Marchand or resilient as Bergeron, but when he was on the ice, he was often the best offensive player, and better in the Finals than all of the Sedins added together, parents included.
I'm sure most Bruins fans have been quick to salute Krejci. You guys have been quick to salute everyone, and it's been a blast to watch. But given how well he played -- and how much fun it is to remember all of the superb performances in this series -- what's one more tip of that brand-new championship hat to another player who did his part to make it all possible?
About Touching All The Bases
Irreverence and insight from Chad Finn, a Globe/Boston.com sports writer and media columnist. A winner of several national and regional writing awards, he is the founder and sole contributor to the TATB blog, which launched in December 2004. Yes, he realizes how lucky he is.