Sunday, October 22, 2006

40 Plus

Last night as I stood between my wife and father on an eastbound Red Line train, headed to Boston to watch the Bruins play the Sabres, a lady seated in front of my wife read the black numbers on the shoulders of my Bruins’ jersey.

“Who’s Number 32?” she asked.

That was the second time in the last 48 hours someone has asked me that. An hour or so before the Bruins’ Thursday night game against the Flames, which the Black and Gold won 3–2, I had to inform my dad, who was visiting from Colorado to watch my AMHL game on Thursday morning (by the way, we lost, 7– 2), of the name on the back of my jersey: Sweeney. Sweeney, as in Don, the man who played solid D for the Bs for 15 seasons and now serves as the club’s director of player development. How could my dad—Fort Collins, Colorado’s Mr. Hockey—not know this? Incredible!

I asked the woman, who appeared to be about my age (42) enough to have seen Bobby Orr, Cam Neely, and Don Sweeney play (assuming she was a hockey fan)—if she was from Boston.

After she learned of my allegiance to "Donny Defense" she said, “My brother played for the Bruins.”

“Who’s your brother?”

“Bob Miller.”

“He played for the Colorado Rockies,” I said.

Impressed with my hockey knowledge, she said that her other brother played in the NHL, too.

“Paul?”

“Yes,” she said, surprised.

I told her that I though he played for the Rockies, too. What I didn’t tell her is that I don’t remember seeing either of them in a Rockies’ jersey when I was a kid in Colorado and wouldn’t have recognized their names unless I hadn’t spent the better part of Friday reviewing the all-time Rockies’ roster with my dad.

As the train neared Park Street, she filled us in on her brothers’ careers and what they’re doing these days.

I handed my business card to Maureen Miller and then exited the train with my wife and dad en route to the North End for dinner, not knowing the Sabres would blow out the Bruins.


I haven’t lost the faith in this year’s team. Besides, number 32 now belongs to Jeff Hoggan—I like the way he plays—and Don Sweeney is no longer available for defensive duty. But, number 14—the jersey number Bob Miller wore during his four seasons as a plus-40 player for the Bruins—is available.
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