Howard Herman | Designated Hitter: A scientific method to pick the next Stanley Cup champion
Monday night, the Boston Bruins will stand four victories away from winning their second Stanley Cup of the decade.The Bruins will begin a best-of-seven series against the St. Louis Blues. It marks the first time since 1970 that these two teams have played for Lord Stanley's chalice.
It's so long ago that even Bruins captain Zdeno Chara wasn't even born.
Everybody remembers the overtime goal — or at least the photo — by Bobby Orr in Game 4 that won the Cup. It came only 40 seconds into the first overtime, after Johnny Bucyk tied the game at 13:28 of the third period.
That picture of Orr is burned into my memory because my college roommate had a poster of that goal hanging in our dorm room. And if you go to a game or concert at TD Garden, the Bobby Orr flying statue is front and center as you enter the Garden.
One thing you must remember, though, is that these St. Louis Blues are not those St. Louis Blues.
The 1970 Blues won the NHL's Western Division, which at the time, consisted of the six teams that joined the league as expansion franchises for the 1967-68 season. The Blues had to beat the Minnesota North Stars and Pittsburgh Penguins to get to the final. The Bruins had to beat the New York Rangers and Chicago Blackhawks.
You might not recall, but when the National Hockey League went to 12 teams, it was determined that all six expansion clubs would play in the same division. That way, these newer cities (Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Minnesota, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Oakland) would have a legitimate chance to make the playoffs and not just be clubbed by the Original Six.
In fact, the Bruins went 3-1-2 against the Blues in the regular season.
With that brief history lesson behind us, it is time to look ahead. Who will win the Cup? Will it be the team with the Spoked-B on the uniform, or the team with the musical note?
We do all the work, so you don't have to.
Boston vs. St. Louis: Yep, these two cities meet again, and the Gateway City is still looking for a championship against Boston. We all remember Super Bowl XXXVI and Adam Vinatieri's kick that gave the Patriots a 20-17 win over the Rams. We also remember 2013, when the Red Sox beat the Cardinals at Fenway to clinch the World Series. You might not remember 1961, when the Celtics needed five games to eliminate the St. Louis (now Atlanta) Hawks in the NBA Finals. Advantage, Boston.
Best basketball player: There are many, but St. Louis native Jo Jo White is in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Guess where he made his NBA career? That's right, Boston. And don't forget that Celtic Jayson Tatum is also a St. Louis native. Advantage, Push.
Into the ring: You might not know this, but two of the best heavyweights of the late 20th century, brothers Leon and Michael Spinks, are St. Louis natives. That's good, but Marvin Hagler and Rocky Marciano might be on the Mount Rushmores of their respective weight divisions. Advantage, Boston.
If you can Rock, I can Roll: Rock and Roll wasn't born in Boston, but it has flourished with Aerosmith, The Cars, and J. Geils, just to name a few. And that's not including the New Kids or Marky Mark, or any of the current hip-hop stars. But St. Louis claims Chuck Berry as its own. Were it not for Chuck Berry, there might not be any Aerosmith. Go with the father of rock and roll. Advantage, St. Louis.
Celebratory music: For some reason, the song "Gloria" by the late Laura Branigan is a staple for the Blues when they win. Published reports say Blues players heard the song in a private club in Philadelphia, and the rest is history. Nothing, I say, nothing beats the driving beat of "Dirty Water" by my pals The Standells when the Bruins win a game. Advantage, Boston.
Iconic landmark: Boston has too many to mention, but most of them don't jump off the page like the Arch in St. Louis. Advantage, St. Louis.
You can't do that to a bagel: If you saw it on the Today Show back in March, there was a story about St. Louis bagels sliced like bread. For those of us who grew up eating bagels, the sight of those made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. Where do you put the lox? The Cream Cheese? The tomato and sliced onion? I'm very sorry St. Louis, this does not work. Advantage, Boston.
For the guy who got me into hockey: One of the names on the Stanley Cup from Boston's 1970 win was Bill Speer. The late Mr. Speer didn't play a ton for the Bruins, but enough to get his name on the Holy Grail of the sport. In the first expansion season, Speer was a defenseman for the Penguins, and lived two houses away from one of my best friends in high school. He used to get us tickets and frequently brought us to games. If it weren't for Bill Speer, I probably wouldn't be a hockey fan. Advantage, Boston.
So, that's five for Boston, one for St. Louis and one Push.
Warm up the Duck Boats once again, a parade's a comin'.
Howard Herman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, at @howardherman on Twitter, or 413-496-6253.
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