Bruins hope to spoil Boston sports fans with another championship

Since 2001, no sports city has been spoiled quite like Boston.

When the New England Patriots beat the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl 53, it marked Boston’s 12th championship between the NFL, NHL, NBA, and MLB since 2000. If the Boston Bruins manage to defeat the St. Louis Blues in Game 7 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBC; live stream), they’d push that ridiculous total to 13 titles, and end a “drought” that only started in February.

Let’s zoom in a bit to the dominance Boston has enjoyed since Tom Brady and the Patriots shocked the then-St. Louis Rams and “The Greatest Show on Turf.”

Bruins championship: One (2011)

Boston stunned the Canucks in the most recent Game 7 of a Stanley Cup Final, and Vancouver rioted.

The Bruins also made it to the 2013 Stanley Cup Final, falling to the Chicago Blackhawks as they rattled off a stunning 17-second spree to win Game 6. Boston players discussed the highs and lows of their two previous Stanley Cup Final experiences as they ready for Wednesday’s Game 7.

While the Bruins missed the playoffs in 2014-15 and 2015-16, this team has been competitive for quite some time, as strong moves like drafting David Pastrnak and Charlie McAvoy really gave this Bruins team a shot in the arm.

Patriots championships: Six (2001, 2003, 2004, 2014, 2016, 2018)

It’s interesting to consider the Patriots’ ascent from Tom Brady shaking his head in disbelief at upsetting the Rams to becoming almost Terminator-level winning machines in more recent years, to the point that the Eagles and Giants were the teams who were shocking the sports world when they beat New England.

Another element of the Patriots’ dominance – and thus Boston sports fans being spoiled – is that they’ve been great for so long that those six championships only tell part of the story. Again, they’ve been upset in those big games too, as they also made the Super Bowl in 2007, 2011, and 2017. So, they’ve appeared in nine Super Bowls since 2001, and have only missed the playoffs twice during that span.

Many adult Boston sports fans have only known a winning Patriots team. Wild.

Red Sox championships: Four (2004, 2007, 2013, 2018)

The Patriots’ unlikely story was something, but any hint of Boston being a tragic sports city was scuttled in 2004, when the Red Sox broke their many curses and went on an improbable World Series run. By the time they won their fourth contemporary championship in October – mere months before the Patriots won their sixth Super Bowl – it almost felt clinical for some sports/baseball fans.

The Red Sox have been a competitive team for a long time, and their championship teams have seen some different iterations, giving Boston fans the joy of having many different heroes.

Celtics championship: One (2008)

The Celtics have had multiple dynasties over the years, and while they didn’t quite reach that level during this resounding run, Boston fans still enjoyed one title.

The Big Three of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen (not to mention Rajon Rondo) combined to win a title, taking advantage of a short window of time where those veterans were all still at or near their peaks as NBA players. In teaming up, they were part of a trend of superstar team-ups that continued with LeBron in Miami and, really, just look around the NBA at the latest bits of speculation.

As you can see in the video above this post’s headline, the latest, Kyrie Irving-powered iteration of the Celtics fell short this past postseason. Still, Boston sports fans still had the pleasure of watching an NBA team with legitimate aspirations, while celebrating championships by the Patriots, Red Sox, and possibly the Bruins depending upon how Game 7 goes on Wednesday.

Yeah … that’s ridiculous. It’s tough to imagine a major sports city matching this anytime soon, so as spoiled as Boston sports fans have become, they should do their best to cherish this. Granted, it’s tougher to savor things when you’re at a buffet …

Game 7 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final airs on NBC at 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday (stream here).

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Scroll Down For:

    Maple Leafs’ Matthews out at least 3 weeks with knee injury

    austonmatthews
    Nick Turchiaro/USA TODAY Sports
    0 Comments

    Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will miss at least three weeks with a sprained knee.

    The team announced the reigning MVP’s anticipated absence Friday, two days after Matthews was injured in Toronto’s victory against the New York Rangers.

    Matthews is expected to miss at least six games and could be out for a few more. The timing of the injury coinciding with the NHL All-Star break and the Maple Leafs bye week prevents this from costing Matthews more time out of the lineup.

    After being voted an All-Star by fans, Matthews is now out of the event scheduled for Feb. 3-4 in Sunrise, Florida. The league announced Aleskander Barkov from the host Florida Panthers will take Matthews’ place on the Atlantic Division All-Star roster.

    Matthews, who won the Hart Trophy last season after leading the NHL with 60 goals, has 53 points in 47 games this season.

    Caufield opted for surgery with Habs out of playoff race

    caufield surgery
    David Kirouac/USA TODAY Sports
    0 Comments

    MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield said Friday he wouldn’t be having season-ending surgery on his right shoulder if the team were in playoff contention.

    But with the Canadiens near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the 22-year-old Caufield said he decided to have the surgery to protect his long-term health. The procedure is scheduled to be performed by Dr. Peter Millett on Wednesday.

    “I didn’t want to stop playing,” Caufield said. “I had a couple tests done to look at it more clearly but, in the end, like it could’ve been one more fall and it could have been even worse.”

    Caufield, who leads the Canadiens with 26 goals in 46 games, had three different medical opinions on his shoulder before concluding that his season was over.

    “I think they’ve seen a lot more than I have and they know the differences and what they like or don’t like about it,” he said about the medical opinions. “Long term, I think this is what’s best but for sure it was tough to sit out that game against Toronto on Saturday night.”

    Caufield initially felt the injury in an awkward fall during Montreal’s 4-2 loss at Dallas on Dec. 23. He said his right shoulder popped, and he replaced it himself.

    Caufield felt it again in the Habs’ 4-3 loss at Nashville on Jan. 12. The club announced on Jan. 21 that Caufield would miss the rest of the season.

    Caufield is nearing the end of his three-year, entry-level contract and will be a restricted free agent this summer.

    All-Star Matty Beniers to miss next 2 games for Kraken

    matty beniers
    Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY Sports
    0 Comments

    SEATTLE — Seattle Kraken rookie All-Star Matty Beniers will miss the team’s final two games before the All-Star break after taking a big hit from Vancouver’s Tyler Myers earlier this week.

    Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said after morning skate Friday that Beniers would not play Friday night against Calgary or Saturday against Columbus. Hakstol did not speculate on Beniers’ availability for next weekend’s All-Star Game in Florida.

    The team has not specified what kind of injury Beniers sustained from the hit. He was barreled over by Myers away from the play early in the second period in Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over Vancouver. Myers was penalized for interference on the play. Beniers returned briefly for one shift later in the period but did not play in the third period.

    Beniers is Seattle’s lone All-Star selection this season. He leads all rookies in goals (17) and points (36), and is fifth in total ice time for rookies.

    Seattle also placed defenseman Justin Schultz on injured reserve and recalled forward Max McCormick from Coachella Valley of the AHL. Hakstol said Schultz is improving but there’s no timeline on his return.

    Kuzmenko signs 2-year extension with Canucks

    Andrei Kuzmenko
    Bob Frid/USA TODAY Sports
    1 Comment

    VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Forward Andrei Kuzmenko signed a two-year contract extension with the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday.

    The deal has an average annual value of $5.5 million.

    The 26-year-old Kuzmenko has played in 47 games for the Canucks this season with 21 goals and 22 assists, four penalty minutes and a plus-4 defensive ranking.

    Kuzmenko ranks second on the team in goals and power-play goals (nine) this season.

    His 43 points are also tied for third on the team in overall scoring, while his 32 even-strength points (12 goals, 20 assists) are second on the Canucks.

    Kuzmenko leads all Vancouver skaters in shooting rate (24.7%) and ranks third in the NHL in that category (minimum of 20 games).

    He leads all first-year NHLers in almost every offensive category, including goals, assists, points, points per game (0.91), power-play goals, and power-play points.

    He has also had 14 multi-point games so far this season (second most on the Canucks), highlighted by his first-career NHL hat trick and season-high four-point game against Anaheim on Nov. 3.

    A native of Yakutsk, Russia, Kuzmenko spent his first eight professional seasons in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) with CSKA Moscow and SKA St. Petersburg, getting 200 points (85-115-200) in 315 regular-season games. He set career highs in goals (20), assists (33), and points (53) last season, ranking second in the league in scoring.

    Kuzmenko has also represented his country on the international stage on multiple occasions, totaling 16 points (10-6-16) and six penalty minutes in 37 games played. He was originally signed by Vancouver to a one-year, entry-level contract on July 13, 2022.