Boston Bruins fans were hoping they could get some Big Papi-sized inspiration for Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final against the St. Louis Blues.
With the Bruins on the brink of capturing the franchise’s seventh Cup on Wednesday, local media outlets speculated that former Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz would deliver a message on the TD Garden video board before the game. Ortiz was recently shot in a Dominican Republic bar and underwent a second surgery in Boston, his adopted home city.
Unfortunately for Boston fans, a video message from Ortiz was never shown before the game.
Ortiz famously delivered an emotional, expletive-spiked speech to Red Sox fans at Fenway Park following the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013. Earlier this week, the Red Sox ran a tribute to Ortiz before a game against the Texas Rangers.
Although there was no Ortiz message, the downtown area was braced for a celebration, with barricades on Causeway Street and heavy traffic around TD Garden.
Asked what he expects from the atmosphere, Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk said, “Madness, really. We’re expecting them to give us quite a lot of energy. Playing in Game 7, do or die, you’ve to create your own energy. But hopefully the crowd can kind of rally behind us, and we’re definitely going to need them tonight.”
Grzelcyk was cleared to play from a concussion suffered on a hit in Game 2 by Oskar Sundqvist and is expected to go back into the lineup. His return will carry even more emotion because Grzelcyk grew up a Bruins fan in nearby Charlestown and his father works at the arena.
“It’s a lot to think about, for sure,” Grzelcyk said. “That’s what you dream about as a kid growing up in Boston is playing for the Bruins and playing in a Game 7 in [TD] Garden. Obviously it’s quite a lot weighing on my mind but, I’m just trying do to my best to keep my emotions in check and go out there and play a simple game.”
St. Louis is trying to end the longest wait for a team to win its first Stanley Cup, at 52 years. With a 9-3 road record, the Blues would match the NHL record for most road wins in a postseason.
Blues winger Patrick Maroon has referenced an underdog mentality, and he did so again at the morning skate.
“I just think all you guys are rooting against us,” Maroon said. “I’m guessing we’ll just have to go out there and win.”
St. Louis is expected to put Joel Edmundson back in the lineup, and Ivan Barbeshev will return from suspension on the fourth line. Robert Thomas and Robert Bortuzzo are expected to sit.