Understandably, the building felt lighter after yesterday’s win over the Senators.
Not that the pressure is off the team or the administration or even the ushers, for that matter. It’s just that for a few minutes the world was alright -- the Bruins won.
Oh yah, that and the fact that the fire evacuation which had cleared the building earlier in the day was nothing serious.
Moreover, my friend, a techie from the Garden, came by to see me as I wrote my game story in the minutes following the win on Saturday. He stopped and got quiet, listened and said:
"That’s the best sound in the world."
He was referring, of course, to the hooting and hollering from the Boston faithful walking through the stairwells on their way out to the establishments on and around Causeway Street. It is a sound that every employee in the building loves to hear -- happy fans.
My friend was right. It was a lot of fun to hear the fans going home pumped up after the game and the echoes of their laughter and cheers stuck around the halls for a bit.
And it was an entertaining game, to boot, what with Patrice’s goal breaking the deadlock in the third, Glen’s milestone marker and Timmy shutting the door in front of his mom, dad, daughter and wife.
But all of our focus began to shift quickly from the former task, the last game, to the task at hand, the next game, even as I made my way to the locker room to interview the Bruins players around seven minutes following the end of the contest.
Then, after I had returned from the room an hour or so later, and as game stories from the DCU Center in Worcester began to pop up around the net, news started filtering through the Garden that Providence Bruins goaltender Hannu Toivonen left the game with some sort of issue during last night’s 6-3 loss to Worcester Sharks.
FYI: Goalie Brian Finley was sent down to Providence this afternoon (Sunday).
Even beyond that, the locker room itself was somewhat subdued in contrast to the general euphoria that had accompanied the last Boston win or even many of the weekday practice sessions this season.
The team was obviously thrilled with the win, yes. And there were smiles and jokes and the usual sounds of a winning locker room.
But they were muffled.
They were thankful for the shot in the arm from Petr Tenkrat, yes. And everyone appreciated his efforts and the fact that he was able to plug in and play several roles.
But the team lamented that any change was necessary in the first place.
The team is refusing to take their recent doldrums lightly and they feel badly that their popular friends and teammates, Jeff Hoggan and Wade Brookbank, both of whom had done everything that anyone had asked, were sent down.
Veteran goalie Tim Thomas
, in particular, was very somber about the "W" and insisted that the team must return to work and a serious mode on Monday, in order to maintain momentum on Wednesday in Washington.
"I am happy for Petr that he got a chance, and got called up," said the goalie. "But I think, as a team, the Brookbank and Hoggan had to get sent down, because it’s not their fault that they got sent down.
"It’s the way the whole team has played. If we had been winning, they’d still be here."
"So, if anything, its kind’ve a disappointing day," said Thomas.
Glen Murray, another grizzled veteran of the hockey business was not in a celebratory mood, either. He enjoyed his 300th and was pleased with the win, but knows that the team has a long way to go.
"It’s a nice accomplishment," said Murray. "It’s more of a big win for us, there’s no question.
"Wins have been tough to come by lately, and we’ll take them anyway we can get them."
Tenkrat, who perhaps had the most reason to celebrate, was humble and was looking forward to proving that his goal on Saturday was no flash in the pan -- he wants to continue to prove he is an NHL player.
"I just tried to play my best on the ice to help the team," said Tenkrat.
Head coach Dave Lewis had the final say on the evening, and praised Brad Stuart most particularly. The coach had initially thought that the veteran blue liner would miss the game due to another injury -- not related to his broken finger.
"I wouldn’t consider it a miracle comeback," said Lewis. "I would consider it a character comeback."
And obviously ’character’ is what the coach believes will deliver victories to the Bruins -- character like that within Stuart.
"[Stuart] wanted to play," said Lewis. "And he found a way to fight through the pain.
"All the credit goes to him, because of his willingness to ’suck it up’ and play.
"He’s a character guy and he played hard. He played real hard." he said.
And Coach also focused on the mood in the locker room before the game.
"If you had been in the locker room before the game you would have liked the atmosphere," he said.
"That was really important," said Lewis. "And there was a lot of support for one another.
"That was the best part…I think it was more vocal tonight, so you could identify it a bit more.
"Before it was a quiet support," he added. "But we need vocal support."
And last night some of that vocal support was in the Garden itself and if the wins keep coming, there will be more where that came from.