Bruins myths and mysteries
Why is Boston called the 'Hub of Hockey'?
In 1924, the Bruins were the first American team to join the NHL, and they are one of the league's "Original Six" teams (the others are the Blackhawks, Canadiens, Maple Leafs, Rangers and Red Wings). The Bruins' website also references an Oliver Wendell Holmes quote from the mid 1800s in which he called the State House in Boston "the hub of the solar system." The Bruins are rich in tradition. They have had some of the best players of all time (including Hall of Famers Bobby Orr and Lightning founder Phil Esposito) and have won five Stanley Cups, second to Detroit (11) among American teams. But they haven't won a Cup since 1972.
The Gentle Giant?
Bruins captain Zdeno Chara, a 6-foot-9, 255-pound defenseman, is known for his tough, physical play. He came under fire in March for what some called a dirty hit on the Canadiens' Max Pacioretty. He checked Pacioretty into a stanchion, and Pacioretty sustained a concussion and fractured neck vertebra. The forward missed the rest of the season. But Mike Milbury, the Islanders' coach and general manager when the team drafted Chara in 1996, told the New York Times that the Slovakia native, a son of an Olympic wrestler, has a softer side. "It didn't come naturally to him," Milbury, now a television analyst, said of Chara's toughness. "He's a genuinely kind person who wants to play hard, but he doesn't want to hurt anyone."
House of Horrors
To say the city of Boston hasn't been kind to the Lightning would be a huge understatement. Tampa Bay has won just four of 35 games all time in Boston. It has lost 22 in regulation and three in overtime or shootouts. (There have been six ties). But Lightning coach Guy Boucher said the past is the past. "I think it's important we focus on our game, what we need to do, rather than going out there and thinking that there's going to be either ghosts in there or whatever," he said.
What is 'Nutty?'
The Bruins' old theme song, known as Nutty, is still sometimes played at the TD Garden during games. It originated in the late 1960s when Boston television station WSBK wanted proper music for introducing Bruins telecasts. With the Boston Ballet's Christmas performance of The Nutcracker being a big part of the city, the station used the Ventures' rock version of the ballet's overture, Nutty. The song has been identified with the team since then, though the regional sports network NESN, which broadcasts most of the Bruins' games these days, uses a different song. Nutty was also covered by Boston band the Dropkick Murphys, which also wrote a song about the team, Time to Go.
Joe Smith, Times staff writer