Boston, MA --
Flashback moment: the end of last April, Game 6 of the Bruins/Montreal playoff series.
You remember the cheering, the goal and perhaps most of all, the looks on the faces of Canadien fans because their team had been backed into a corner and had to play a seventh and deciding game in Montreal.
“Me and a couple of the guys, we got a chance to be at Game Six in Boston,” said Levi Nelson as he and the rest of the B’s campers sat in the Sportsdeck of the TD Banknorth Garden having dinner and watching that epic game on Garden HDX – the building’s super modern scoreboard.
The players at last week’s Development Camp all remembered the game, but some Game 6 experiences, like Nelson’s, were a little different than the normal.
“It was a pretty memorable experience to be in the suite there with [Patrice] Bergeron and [Manny] Fernandez and a couple of the guys that weren’t playing,” added Nelson.Brad Marchand
felt the excitement of all Bruins fans, but he also felt something else.
“I just remember watching it and wishing I was there, wishing I was part of that game, part of that team,” he said. “It really gave me a lot of motivation to hope that one day I could be part of this team and be in that situation.”
As they looked down on the floor of the Garden, even with the ice now gone until the fall, the campers all had similar sentiments as they watched The Game play out on the scoreboard.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” said Matt Marquardt of the spectacle. “It’s like (watching) pure excitement.”
The Friday night dinner and game-viewing was, of course, another team bonding activity, but it also gave the potential future B’s a chance to, in a way, experience what they could be doing someday.
“It’s a childhood dream, growing up and hoping to one day play in a rink like this,” said Marchand. “Sitting here, just chilling, watching this game, and listening to the atmosphere they were playing in - it’s pretty special that we’re here right now as a group, and hopefully we’ll become part of the team.”
After the boys had finished chowing down and the final buzzer had sounded on the B’s 5-4 playoff victory, they headed down to ice level for a quick peek into the world of the Black & Gold and toured the B’s dressing and locker rooms.
“I got to see it last year for the first time, go down into the dressing room and just look around the rink,” said Andrew Bodnarchuk
. “You can imagine the fans in the stands and just picture skating around out there on the ice.”
B’s Vice President Cam Neely, who has been helping out at practice during the week, also greeted the players at the end of their final night in Boston – the proverbial icing on the cake.
“It’s been more than I expected,” said Marquardt. “Everyone’s been really welcoming and has made you feel right at home.”
And who knows – maybe soon, for some of the campers, Boston and the Garden will