Stanley Cup Lore: the "You Are Here" edition
These days, Cup celebrations are pretty tame. Oh sure, there are the occasional odd moments (I'm looking at you and your misspelled Cup tattoo, Brad Marchand), but let's face it: the stories from the 1970s are something special.
Take, for example, the 1972 Bruins. They won the Cup in New York, brought it to Boston, then woke up in Florida.
The Bruins had blown their opportunity to win the Cup at Boston Garden in Game 5. With their series lead now 3-2, the team traveled to Madison Square Garden and defeated the Rangers 3-0, winning their second Cup in 3 years.
There was the usual champagne in the dressing room, but the players mostly sprayed it at each other. Not a whole lot made it into the Cup for drinking. There was, however, a plentiful supply of beer, which did make it into the Cup. "When there was beer in the Cup, we made sure we didn't spill it. We made sure we drank the beer," recalled Phil Esposito in an interview.
Being greeted at the airport by a mass of frenzied fans wasn't anything new then either. This time, however, the crowd was so massive, the players had a very difficult time getting through the crowd and out the door. According to Phil Esposito, Derek Sanderson was so scared of the mass of humanity that he bribed a security guard to change clothes with him. Hard to believe it worked (Sanderson had instant recognition with fans), but I guess desperate times called for desperate measures.
The celebratory parade was equally wild, just as wild as it was in 1970. Fans were mobbing the convertibles, the streets were jam-packed, the players were celebrating, and a good time was had by all. "The parade was awesome. The people in the streets were attacking the convertibles. It was a crazy, wild, wild time," according to Gerry Cheevers.
Apparently, some of the fans were having a very good time: "Women were taking off their bras and throwing them at us," said Phil Esposito fondly.
For three days straight, the Bruins celebrated. And celebrated...and then woke up in Palm Beach.
As Esposito tells it: "I woke up and I was in Florida - in Palm Beach. I think Eddie Johnson (Bruins goalie) paid for the plane tickets. I remember being on the plane, but I don't really remember landing."
After three days straight of the team partying that hard, it's a miracle they didn't lose anyone a la The Hangover, but as the team members are quick to point out, they did everything as a team, on-ice and off, so the "No man left behind" mentality is probably what saved them.
After enjoying all Palm Beach had to offer, the players made it home safely to recover and enjoy a somewhat calmer celebratory summer.
Side story: Esposito gave his 1970 Cup ring to his father, who wore it proudly until he died. After Pat Esposito's viewing, Phil quietly reached in and removed the ring, just as his father had instructed before his death. "He told me to take the ring back when he died because I only had two Stanley Cup rings, but he told me to leave him the All-Star wrist watch, because I had plenty of those."