Thursday, June 16, 2011

The power of the Punch

Watching the Stanley Cup final, you probably thought the triumph of my Bruins was down to Tim Thomas' amazing goaltending, hard-working forwards and the generous hospitality of Vancouver's defenders and goalie. I'm here to tell you it's just an illusion. In fact, the Bruins' Stanley Cup victory was proof positive of the power of Hawaiian Punch.

When I was in high school, I drank nothing but Hawaiian Punch. Lord knows why. It probably has more crap in it than a McDonald's McNugget. But I was addicted to the stuff. It was my superstition to drink it around gametime. The Punch became the official drink of the Stanley Cup finals. During that time period, the Bruins made it to a pair of Stanley Cup finals and went deep into the playoffs every single year. Coincidence? I think not. Proof?

By the time I got to college, I outgrew my taste for the drink. And the Bruins became crap, with the occasional foray into the choking domain. After 1992, the team never once made it even to the conference finals. Some blame it on the demise of the Wales Conference and the identity-shattering re-naming of the league's groups with boring geographical references. But I know better. I'd betrayed the Punch.

This season, the Punch reprised its role as the official drink of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The B's became the first team ever to win three Games 7 in one playoff series and won their first Cup in my lifetime. In a nod to tradition, I drank a glass of the Punch to start each period of Game 7. This ritual so emasculated the Canucks that they knew the jig was up and played like it. Why do you think the first place targeted by Vancouver rioters after the game was the Hawaiian Punch merchandise store.

As Zdeno Chara hoisted the big mug to celebrate, I hoisted my own mug, downed it and saluted the Punch. I shall never again doubt its power.

He knows its awesome power.

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