ST. LOUIS — As he spoke, Charlie Coyle’s eyes darted around the Boston Bruins’ dressing room inside Enterprise Center. There on the walls in the team’s dressing room were photos of Zdeno Chara, Bobby Orr, Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, David Krejci, and Tuukka Rask celebrating their Stanley Cup championships.
For Games 3 and 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, the team’s equipment staff wanted to make it a home away from home and use some of the wall space to inspire.
“Just little reminders,” said Coyle, “what it could be like, what’s here for us at stake and the great opportunity in front of us. You always catch yourself looking around and just kind of taking it in. It’s a good touch.”
Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said that he did not want to hide what could happen after four wins against the St. Louis Blues in this final series. Five current players were on that 2011 Cup winning team. They know the joy of winning. They also know, along with Torey Krug, what heartbreak in the Cup Final feels like after those 17 seconds in Game 6 back in 2013.
“This is what’s at stake, why we’re blocking shots, missing games,” said Cassidy. “This is why you’re taking a hit to make a play. This is what it’s all about. This is, I’d say the start of your legacy, and this helps build your legacy. We’ve talked about that. We don’t want to ram it down their throats, but it needs to be out there. We’re grateful to be playing. We certainly earned our way, and this is the prize at the end of the line. So, I think it’s good motivation.”
This isn’t the first time the Bruins have used this method to inspire. The equipment staff did something similar during the 2011 Cup Final games in Vancouver using photos of the great 1970s teams featuring Orr, Phil Esposito, Johnny Bucyk, Derek Sanderson and others. It’s no surprise that the leadership on that team eight years ago — Chara and Bergeron — wanted to bring it back for the start of this series, making sure the photos traveled with the team to St. Louis for Games 3 and 4.
The photos are there to hammer home those famous words from former NHL head coach Fred Shero, who told his Cup winning Philadelphia Flyers team before Game 6 of the 1974 Cup Final: “Win together today and we walk together forever.”
David Pastrnak joined the Bruins two seasons after the team’s run to the Cup Final in 2013. This is the furthest he’s been in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and when he sees those photos he wants to be in the next set.
“You can see those guys having memories like that for life,” he said. “It’s definitely something you want to be part of. It’s what you work for your whole life. A picture like this is what you remember the most.”
The Bruins have made plenty of memories during their playoff run this spring. Two more wins and they’ll be able to be part of the next batch of dressing room inspirational photos.
“It reminds us of how close we are to reaching our goal,” said Coyle. “I like it.”
Game 4 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final airs on NBC at 8 p.m. ET on Monday (stream here).