WINNIPEG - Itís time to get a little personal, which is not something I like to do in this space.
The occasion, however, calls for it.
In this business, youíre generally not supposed to show your colours. In fact, you really should fold them neatly and tuck them into the back of the bottom drawer.
Which is basically what Iíve done for the last 20 years.
These last two weeks, theyíve come out.
With three, musty-smelling jerseys to choose from, I went with the 1991-vintage replica No. 8: tackle-twill, with the giant ďBĒ on the front. No spoked circle, just the ďB.Ē
If this comes as a surprise to you, loyal reader, then Iíve served you reasonably well.
However, as Kevin Cheveldayoff, the GM of Winnipegís new NHL team, said the day he was hired, that silver mug does some crazy things to people. So do Game 7s.
Call this a temporary lapse of reason.
So this yarn is for all the Bruins fans out there, here in the íPeg, across Manitoba and from coast to coast. All of you whoíve quietly listened to the commentators blathering on about Canadaís team, knowing full well there are more of us outside the B.C. border than there are them.
This is for the ones I grew up with, Tike and Ken, who suffered through the heartbreak of the í70s, spawning recurring nightmares of Lafleur, Lemaire and Lambert, through the tease of the late í80s, where the daggers belonged to Gretzky, Messier and Klima, of all people.
This one is for the friends Iíd meet later in life, like Krak, Harmsy and Brooker. Itís for everybody on Thatcher Drive who wondered what the skinny guy with no clothes was doing sprinting down their street on election night, 1988. Hey, 22 straight series losses to the Habs produces some desperate promises.
Itís for the Sun gang, Scarface, Kinger and Rip, in what had to be, maybe still is, the most black-and-gold newsroom outside of Boston.
Itís for Mark Chipman, the boss of True North Sports and Entertainment, who said publicly not so long ago heís pulling for the Canucks and former Manitoba Moose head coach Alain Vigneault, but whoís only kidding himself.
I know Chipmanís history. I saw the Bobby Orr print hanging on the wall behind him during the Hockey Night in Canada interview. Itís OK to let your inner Bruin out, Mark.
This oneís for Grapes, whoís in a helluva spot with the pompom waving public broadcaster, as he sits in the Coachís Corner, his tailored trousers hiding the Maple Leaf tattooed on one cheek, the ĎBí on the other.
Itíll be interesting to see if the Coach, who has yet to get one wrong this series, picks with his heart or, well, his other heart, Wednesday.
Itís for Taz OíReilly, Nifty Middleton, Donnie Marcotte, McNab, Park and Ratelle, Schmautzy, Cash, Greg Sheppard, Stan Jonathan and Bobby Miller ó a list Bruins fans used to recite like the catechism: 11 20-goal scorers on the same squad, a record thatíll never be broken.
Itís for Gilly Gilbert and Cheesy, for Moog and Reggie, and all the rest who never quite made it this far wearing the B. For Bourque, Joyce, Janney, Wesley, the two Sweeneys, Milbury and, of course, Cam Neely.
Itís for the Chief, Dit Clapper, Espo, Milt Schmidt and the rest of the retired greats hanging up there with the Gallery Gods all these years.
Itís for the old Garden, ďthe best place in the world to watch a hockey game,Ē as Grapes said the day he ran into a fan from the íPeg, there, 22 years ago.
Itís for Bear, the perfect Bruin dog, and his mom and dad, for letting him (forcing him?) to stay up to watch Game 6, and now 7.
Last, but certainly not least, this one is for my own LGIW (thanks, Matty), who was wearing a ďBĒ even before I was, who was all for black and gold at the wedding and for the tables named after the greats, and who knows the one truth in life: that No. 4 is still the classiest and greatest player who ever laced íem up.
And itís to you, loyal reader, for allowing me to indulge.
Even if it is for just one day.