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Game 3: Will

June 7, 2011

Could anyone really stop freight-train Marchand? No.

Per the NHL just now, Canucks defenseman Aaron Rome has been suspended four game. Or, the remainder of the series. Per the Bruins, just an hour ago, Horton has been released from MGH and is resting at home. He too will miss the rest of the series. But with a severe concussion.

Last night the unthinkable (or, perhaps entirely thinkable) happened just fie minutes in, when Horton was downed by a blind-sided hit while entering the zone with his line. The hit left him unconscious and initially motionless on the ice. It was a shocking hit. The kind that raises the hair on your neck. Immediately it was clear that this was the end of his season. When hits like that occur, a million thoughts flood in, especially as a Bruins fan: will he move? Will he be okay? Will he ever play again?

Bergeron. Krejci. And of course, Savard. I dare say no franchise has been as affected by the concussion epidemic in recent years as the Boston Bruins. Coincidence, if anything. But the familiarity that the media in Boston, its fanbase and the organization have with concussions rivals any other. That and the fact Boston’s is the global medical capital.

As it stands now, line-up changes are one thing, Horton’s long-term future as a human being, as a player, is altogether another. That’s all Bruins fans care about.

Sure, Seguin will be popped right in again and now Keith Ballard will jump back to the Nucks’ d-corps. But a player that had blossomed these playoffs will be at home. And that’s a shame.

But what was a shameful mark on the NHL in period one was converted into a triumph of will and power during the next forty minutes, as the Bruins sent a message loud and clear: we belong in these finals too, and we’ve worked every bit as hard. Whatever was said in the locker room in the first intermission ignited a desire to win, and to win big.

Maybe it was the eight goals.

Maybe it was Thomas’ shoving Daniel Sedin.

Maybe it was the shorthanded goals. Or even the power-play goal.

Maybe it was the taunting and the careful placement of fingers by Lucic and Recchi to the mouthes of Lapierre and Burrows respectively.

Maybe it was the fight between Seidenberg and Kesler.

The game turned, and turned dramatically. Whether the series also turned remains to be seen. But a final score of 8-1 is something rarely seen in the playoffs. The penalty rap-sheet was littered with players and ill intentions. How many forwards were actually left on the two squads by the end of the third? Eight or nine? Game misconducts galore.

But the game was cathartic and it was necessary. Maybe it was dramatic hockey, as games one and two were. But it was theatrical hockey. And the Bruins proved one thing: haters gonna hate. But the Bruins are gonna show up.

 

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