As I hope y’all know, the Boston Bruins open their Stanley Cup Finals series tonight, June 1, in Vancouver against the Canucks. To mark the occasion I tracked down perhaps the most hockey-crazed, hockey-savvy, hockey-literate U.S. citizen I know, David Desmith… The Bruins have not won the Cup since 1972. When I moved to the Boston area, in 1973, they “owned the town” — in such a way as to have inspired the commemorative plate pictured here. In my youth, many a night was spent watching Ch. 38’s local broadcasts of Bruins game. Indeed, I learned the game as much at the knee of WSBK announcers Fred Cusick and Johnny Peirson, as I did on the ponds of Wellesley, Mass. …  The Bruins have since been to the Finals 5 times, losing the last four times to Canadian teams: Montreal twice in the late 1970s, and twice more to Edmonton. The last time they appeared in the Stanley Cup Finals, 1990, and I was there, three days after the Broons’ epic triple-overtime loss to the Oilers in Game 1; I covered Game 2 at the old Boston Garden for those oracles of sports journalism, the Marlboro Enterprise and Hudson Daily Sun. The Bruins had the misfortune, in all four of these “international” Cup Finals, to encounter the finest teams of their eras, among the best of all time. Are they running into a similar buzz saw tonight? Not likely, but just how good are these Bruins? David and I talk about how the team has grown through the playoffs, and we preview the finals in Part I of this special “Dallas Smith Edition” of the podcast. Watch for Part II later this week.

2011.06.01 Bruins Stanley Cup Podcast, Part I