|ESPN.com: espnW||[Print without images]|
|Two-time Olympian Meghan Duggan is captain of the U.S. women's hockey team.|
It's Game 7 of the Bruins-Canadiens matchup of the Stanley Cup playoffs tonight -- we're down to the wire! I grew up in the Boston area, so I've been a Bruins fan my whole life. It's a family thing for us, and we all get together to watch games.
I am what you would call an intense fan, however. During the Bruins' second game against the Canadiens, I was watching with my parents, sister, brother, sister-in-law and some friends. The Bruins were down by two goals in the third period, and I was feeling a little queasy, to say the least.
|As a Danvers, Mass., native, Meghan Duggan is a die-hard Bruins fan.|
There were eight minutes left in the game so I said, "OK, we've all got to do something different. Go change your shirt or put a different hat on." I swear I'm not making this up. Every single one of us changed our shirts, and the Bruins came back and won 5-3. I'd like to think I had something to do with it.
I'm a firm believer that a little superstition never hurts -- and it could help. Last season on the women's national team, a group of us would play soccer before every game. We'd finish by playing keep-up, and everyone had to touch it once before we could stop. Sometimes it would happen quickly -- there'd be 10 of us and we'd go through several times, one person to the next. But sometimes it would take us forever, and we'd be diving after balls just trying to touch it with our foot before it hit the ground. Regardless of how long it took, we had to do it. I'm pretty sure every game we won was because of that, and the games we lost, well, those are harder to explain, I guess!
The Bruins are a nose-to-the grindstone, hard-working team, and I love the way they play -- it's a lot like the way we do on the national team. They don't have one Sidney Crosby-type player -- they're just hard-working guys, and they've played that style for years.
I'm a huge Patrice Bergeron fan. He isn't super-flashy, but he is arguably one of the best two-way players in the game. He wins big draws and blocks shots, plays great defense but is also an offensive threat.
I love the playoffs -- it's my favorite time of the year because hockey is on TV every night! -- but I am really sweating out this one. I think I'm more sensitive than the average fan to all of the momentum shifts in a game, and I get worked up about every one of them.
I'm beginning to get a feel for what it must have been like for my parents to watch me play in the Olympics, and that must have been 10 times worse. I don't even know any of the Bruins personally, and I feel sick when things don't go well.
I have a good feeling about tonight, though. I'll be on the edge of my seat for every moment of it. Go Bruins!