Game 7 may have been the end of an era for the Boston Celtics

As we know, this season might have been the Celtics' last chance for a championship. They're getting old, Ray Allen(notes) is a free agent, Rasheed Wallace(notes) might be retiring, Doc Rivers might not come back to coach, and so on and so forth. There are a lot of chips stacked against Boston making a return trip to the finals in 2011.

But if there's one underreported little nugget of Celtics news regarding next season, it's the impending free agency of human victory cigar Brian Scalabrine(notes). If they lose him, how will the Celtics celebrate their blowout wins? Who will fans unconditionally support despite a relative lack of talent? WHO WILL WEAR GIGANTIC CONCUSSION HEADBANDS??

Clearly the departure of Brian Scalabrine would be a huge loss for the Celtics and their fans. No one knows this better than the man they call "Scal." From the Boston Herald's Steve Buckley:

"Someone should go ask Ray Allen how he's dealing with the fact that this could possibly be Scalabrine's last game as a Celtic," he said. "Why don't you go ask him that question and see.

"That's the real question people should be asking because the Big Three era is coming to a close and they've been there for three years. But the Scalabrine era has been there for five.

"Clearly the Scalabrine era cannot be called a dynasty unless we win Game 7, but it's something we should be talking about."

I couldn't agree more, Bri-rex. When you really think about it, the Celtics made humongous strides ever since Scalabrine came to Boston.

After a rough first two years that saw the Celtics win just 57 combined games, Scalabrine really righted the ship in 2007-08. Selflessly surrendering half of his minutes while in the prime of his career, Scalabrine helped lead the Celtics to the best record in the NBA. Eventually, Boston would go on to win its first championship in 22 years, mostly due to Scalabrine's contributions as the Celtics' No. 1 option for bench cheering. The next two seasons saw Boston win almost 70 percent of its games and go deep into the playoffs.

Before Scalabrine arrived, the Celtics hadn't even advanced past the Eastern Conference finals in 20 years. In his five seasons with the team, Boston has made two NBA Finals. Coincidence? Not likely.