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Time Stands Still For Family Of Bruins Fans

By Matt Geagan, CBSBoston.com Sports Producer
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From left to right: Michael, Don and Donny Martelli show off the Bruins clock that has waiting just as long as they have for the Bruins to win a Stanley Cup. (Photo Courtesy Donny Martelli)

From left to right: Michael, Don and Donny Martelli show off the Bruins clock that has waiting just as long as they have for the Bruins to win a Stanley Cup. (Photo Courtesy Donny Martelli)

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BOSTON (CBS) – Bruins fans are counting down the seconds until the local team gets a shot at their sixth Stanley Cup championship in franchise history.

Unless they are using Don Martelli’s Bruins clock, given to him over 20 years ago as a Christmas present. No, the clock is not broken or even a few minutes behind. It just does not have a battery in it.

And it won’t until the Bruins hoist the Stanley Cup, whenever that may be.

Martelli was given the clock, featuring the Bruins logo and 1971 Bobby Orr card above its face, by his two sons as a Christmas gift in 1990. His boys were at the mall, 16-year-old Donny and 11-year-old Michael, trying to figure out what to put under the tree for their father.

“We were looking for something for a man who didn’t need anything,” Donny recalled of his trip to the mall over 20 years ago. “Whatever he needs he went out and bought.”

bruins clock Time Stands Still For Family Of Bruins Fans

The Martelli's Famous Bruins Clock (Photo Courtesy Donny Martelli)

It was a tough search, until the boys came across the clock at a sports memorabilia store.

“We’re fans mostly because of our father,” said Donny. “We have memories of him watching the Bruins and yelling at the TV.”

Read: Donny Martelli’s Blog

Nearly all of their father’s gifts had the famous “Spoked B” or some emblem representing the Bruins, usually a shirt or hat. So the clock was seen as the perfect fit to his collection.

But instead of using the piece of memorabilia immediately, Don decided to wait until the Bruins hoisted the Stanley Cup – to make it that much more special.

“The first thing the boys asked me was where I was going to put it,” Martelli recalled. “I told them I would keep it in the closet until the Bruins won the cup.”

The clock originally found its home on the Martelli’s wall, motionless and waiting for a battery. After the family moved, it was put in storage, making an appearance only when the Bruins made it to the playoffs.

Each year it would come out, hoping to finally start ticking come summer time.

“I thought there were a couple times, but…” the elder Martelli said.

“We’d never thought it would take this long,” said Donny. “Every year we think it’s going to be THE year to put batteries in the clock. It’s taken about 21 years to get into position to fulfill that promise. If we can wait this long, we can wait for four more wins.”

Read: Compelling Stories Heading Into Game 1

“I never thought it would take this long, but it’s not over yet,” said Michael. “We have to stay focused on the goals (no pun intended, he meant the cup and batteries) at hand.”

With the Bruins’ ultimate goal now in reach, many people have jumped on the bandwagon hoping for a championship. But the Bruins’ march to a cup has much more meaning for the three Martelli men.

“I hear more about hockey now than I have in years,” said Donny. “For everyone else it’s about a parade. For us it’s about a clock.”

“It’s the first thing I tell people,” said Michael, hoping to finally see the clock say something other than 3:20.

For now, there are two things the younger Martelli’s have never seen; a Bruins title and the clock ticking. The Patriots, Red Sox and Celtics have each raised multiple banners during their lives, but the B’s have yet to deliver.

But hopes are high that this is the year a single double-a battery is finally needed.

“I don’t want to jinx it, but they beat Vancouver up there and looked pretty good,” Don said. He cited the recent resurgence of the Bruins’ first line, the acquisition of Nathan Horton, and the play of Vezina finalist Tim Thomas in net as reasons he is picking the Bruins in six games.

“The way Tim Thomas is playing, they are just clicking,” he said. “Once they beat the Canadiens (in the first round), I thought this was the year.”

“This could be the year,” Donny remembers saying earlier in the playoffs. “Not even the Bruins winning the cup, it was ‘let’s put a battery in the clock.’”

And if it is not the year, Michael remains upbeat.

“It’s still right twice a day,” he laughed.

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