By Kevin Stone/@kstone06
Now that we finally know that there are indeed going to be sports for us to watch and follow this summer, it's safe to start looking ahead to the "what if" scenarios that lie ahead for both the Bruins and Celtics in these upcoming playoffs.
Of course, things are going to look very different when the B's hit the ice in (Edmonton? Vegas?) and the C's hit the floor in Orlando. However, both teams have gotten lucky in terms of their respective plans created by the league. If you believe these championships will be "tainted" somehow, then you couldn't be more wrong.
Let's start with the Celtics. Sure, they may not have to go through Toronto or Milwaukee in an actual hostile environment, but you're telling me after what will amount to a four-month layoff that if they're able to take down (just as an example) Indiana, Milwaukee and Toronto on their way to a date with (hopefully) the Lakers in the NBA Finals, that they wouldn't have earned it?
If Brad Stevens is able to get this team through those juggernauts and into the Finals then no one should be pointing out the awkwardness of this format. Nothing is normal this year, deal with it and enjoy the ride. If the Celtics do get to that final series and do somehow beat the Lakers, or the Rockets, or whoever the West produces, it will be just as impressive as a "normal" playoff run, particularly when you really focus on FOUR MONTHS off.
Now, the Bruins should have an even better case for this.
I personally thought they would be terrible this year after the way last season ended, but instead they were the best team in hockey throughout the season.
It's often said that a hot goalie can win you a Cup, so if Tukkaa - who is known for coming up small in the biggest games - is able to take a four-month hiatus, come back and then redeem himself after the epic loss in Game 7 a year ago, wouldn't that be even more impressive than if he did it under "normal" circumstances?
Hockey is perhaps the most obvious example of why momentum is key after the regular season and heading into the postseason. So, Bruce Cassidy's ability to get this veteran-heavy, aging team ramped back up for another grueling playoff run after the embarrassment of last year and...again...four months off, will be infinitely more impressive than your typical Cup run.
If you chose to put an asterisk next to any potential championship run this season, I believe you're overlooking just how awkward these scenarios are going to be for pro athletes that are used to routine. I would go as far as saying that any Boston championship from these two teams this year would be the most impressive ones throughout this whole 20-year "City of Champions" run.