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Outta Sight!

Nobody, least of all themselves, thought a sweep of the Canadiens was a possibility for all the newcomers masquerading as Bruins
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We went up to that place. That place up North."

"Montreal."

"We went up to Montreal. We beat that other hockey team."

"The Canadiens."

"We beat the Montreal Canadiens in two games, and that gave us a lot of confidence. The other team—the Canadiens?—seemed to feel the pressure. So when we came home to...where are we?"

"Boston."

"Right. Boston. We just kept going. We won the next two games to make it four in a row, and the fans threw whisk brooms all over the ice on Saturday because that was a best-of-seven sweep, and there was a noise you couldn't believe in Boston Garden. So here we are, the Boston Bruins, us, in the eastern finals of this thing."

"The Stanley Cup."

"Right. The Stanley Cup. Randy Moog was just fabulous in the goal for us, and we went from there."

"Andy. Andy Moog."

"Who'd have believed it? We're just a bunch of young guys, and we haven't been here long, but this seems to be an awful lot of fun. Is it always so much fun? Randy, who's been around here for a while, says this is the craziest thing he's ever seen, but it all seems easy to us. You play. You win. People throw brooms on the ice. Simple."

"Andy. Andy Moog."

"Most of us played in other places for most of the season, so we're really not too sure of a lot of the incidentals. Joe Juneau and Gord Hynes were with the Canadian Olympic team, and Ted Donato and Steve Heinze and Clark Donatelli were with the U.S. Olympic team, and Glen Murray was with a team called the Sudbury Wolves in Junior A, if you can believe that. Adam Oates played in the league for the entire year, so he knows some stuff, but most of his time was in St. Louis. He played with that famous guy."

"Brett Hull."

"Right. It's all happened so fast that most of us haven't even had time to unpack. Even Oates. He said the season started back in the first week of October, and there was a thing called training camp before that, but we mostly arrived in February. Or was it the first week of March? Hard to remember, everything has been so fast. Anyway, the general manager, Harry Sinden, called, and here we are. We just do what the coach, Dick Bowness, tells us to do."

"Rick. Rick Bowness."

"None of us really expected any of this. Oh, maybe Oates did, because he was something of a star already, but the rest of us had no idea that we'd ever be playing as much as this. Shouldn't a team be pretty well set by the middle of February or the beginning of March? Shouldn't there be only one spot or maybe two open that late on an established, functioning team? Most of us thought so. Mostly everybody did. Harry, though...wait a minute, should we call him Harry or Mr. Sinden?"

"Harry."

"Harry thought his established team stunk. His best forward, Cam Neely, had been injured for most of the year with a bad knee. There was a moment of inspiration when Neely came back in January and scored nine goals in nine games. But then the pain returned, and he had to have an operation. End of season. Harry saw the way things were going and made some moves. Do you know the old saying in sports that you can't fire the players, so you have to fire the coach? There was a time when it looked like Harry was going to fire Dick Bowness, but he decided to fire the players instead. He changed all the cards, just like that. Draw poker. He just about drew a whole new hand. Hockey is a strange sport. You can make trades almost until the last three minutes of the last game of the regular season, and you can add players at any time. Harry just started dealing. He sent the Craig guy to St. Louis for Oates...."

"Craig Janney. Plus a defenseman, Stephane Quintal."

"Right. The Craig guy, it seemed, worked best with Neely. He was sort of a setup player, a straight man for the Neely punch lines. Without Neely, he wasn't as efficient. Oates is a more diversified player. Older, at 29, but more diversified. The rest of the guys...Harry went to the Olympics in France. He says he watched the games, but he had no idea what we could do. He thought we looked good for the future, but who can say if someone can just step from the Olympics and play for this Stanley Cup thing? Harry says he didn't have any choice. His team stunk. The Bruins were a little over .500, and nothing was working. He was putting together a new team. In February. Or may-be March. His assistant, Mike Milbury, was in Sudbury and said that maybe Murray could play. Bingo. Milbury also recommended we get Brent Hughes from the American Hockey League. Bingo. One day we're all over the place, and the next we're on the ice with Randy Moog and number 77, who just might be the best defenseman in all of hockey."

"Ray Bourque. Number 77."

"There were a lot of other almost new guys, too. Do you know how many guys played for this team this past season? Fifty-five. A team can dress only 20 for a game. Fifty-five. A normal year might see 28 different players on the roster. A tough year, due to injuries, might see 35. Fifty-five? The Bruins' farm team was in Portland, Maine, and guys went back and forth between the big club and the minors almost on a daily basis. Guys came and went, came and went. The bulk of the team is as anonymous as we are. Number 19, Dave Poulin, is a bona fide big-time player, but even he missed 61 games because of injuries and really didn't start playing until right before we arrived. Number 38, Rosie Ruzicka, and number 26, Glen Wesley, probably also are familiar names. The rest? Montreal coach Pat Burns probably said it best after we won those two games up there. He told his team, 'It's one thing to be beaten by Mario Lemieux, but another to be beaten by Peter Douris and Joe Lazaro.' "

"Jeff. Jeff Lazaro."

"Whatever. You get the point. Nobody seems to know anything about most of us. We're names pulled out of a hat. We're a collection of mysterious strangers rounded up from a bus stop. The television announcer, Fred Cusick, who is 73 and has been doing Bruin games for 39 years, says he made mistakes calling two of our big goals in Montreal. He says all the players seem to have numbers in the 40's. 'Who has numbers in the 40's?' asks Cusick. Those are supposed to be the numbers for the dogs. Now they're the numbers of some of our best players. That's us. A bunch of guys with numbers in the 40's. Ray Bourque, Randy Moog and a bunch of guys with numbers in the 40's."

"Andy. Andy Moog."

"Maybe our secret is that we don't know that what we're doing is supposed to be so hard. Dick Bowness has kept things simple, as simple as they could be kept, and we have done everything he wanted us to do. With enthusiasm. Maybe we will change after we've been in this league awhile—say four months instead of three—but now we mostly skate to the places where we are supposed to skate and drop everyone in sight. It all seems to work. We got by the Buffalo Sabres in seven games. Then we whipped the Canadiens, the best team in the division this season, in four. There was a worry when we had to play without Bourque in those last two games of the Montreal series. He'd broken the middle finger on his right hand and had to sit. But we just kept doing what we were supposed to do. It worked fine. Dick said he was proud."

"Rick."

"Anyway, where do we go from here? They tell us that this is the first time the Bruins have swept the Canadiens since 1929, which was the end of the first hockey season ever played at the Garden. Can that be true? They also tell us—announced in the papers, only last week—that a new, $160 million Garden is going to be built. Can this also be true? Probably anything can be true right now. We're on a grand, out-of-control roll. We even have a week off to get to know each other a little better and to wash our laundry. Won't that make us even better? An entire week? We might even practice. Then, again, why practice? Let's just keep playing. That's worked so far. We're the ultimate unknown quantity. We're the instant hockey team, just add water and ice. We're.... That next team we play had better watch out for us. Whoever it is."

"The New York Rangers or the Pittsburgh Penguins."

"Rangers. Penguins. Whoever. If they give us any trouble, Harry will just go out and pick up some more new guys. New guys and Randy Moog. Watch out."

PHOTO

PAUL BERESWILL

Shayne Corson wrapped up Dave Reid (17) in Game 3, but it was the Bruins who put the wraps on the series.

PHOTO

DAMIAN STROHMEYER

Juneau (49) joined the chase for NHL hardware after getting silver at the Olympics.

PHOTO

DAMIAN STROHMEYER

Murray, until recently a Sudbury Wolf, is having a rocking good time in the playoffs.