|06.16.11 at 9:31 am ET|
After the Bruins 4-0 victory in Game 7 over the Canucks, the mood among the media and fans in Vancouver/Canada was a great season, but ending in disappointment.
Roy Macgregor of The Globe and Mail writes that it has been 18 years since the Stanley Cup has been won by a Canadian team. Macgregor details other Canadian teams that have been close, but could not win the Cup. He also highlights Zdeno Chara, Tim Thomas and Milian Lucic hoisting the cup. He ends by asking a question that is on many people’s minds regarding Roberto Luongo: “Can he win the big one?”
Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun takes a look at the Sedin Twins and how the series went for them. He also gets their opinion on the riots after the game. ‘It’s terrible,’ Henrik said. ‘This city and province have a lot to be proud of.” He also writes that the Bruins “showed no respect for the Canucks’ gaudy regular season numbers, pounding the Vancouver skill players at will with little fear of retribution.”
|06.16.11 at 9:00 am ET|
Following the Bruins Game 7 victory over the Canucks, the analysts on TSN were asked who they felt on Vancouver deserved most of the blame for the loss.
‘When you get to Game 7 of a Stanley Cup championship, you need your big guys to come up large,’ TSN hockey analyst Ray Ferraro said. ‘[Ryan] Kesler came up with nothing. The Sedins were both minus four, [Roberto] Luongo gave up three goals, and it was curtains.’
“People are going to point the finger at Luongo – he gives up three goals on 10 shots in this game,” said TSN hockey analyst Bob McKenzie.
“He’s certainly not going to get the benefit of the doubt because of the debacle in Boston in Game 6 where he gave up three goals on eight shots and the game got completely away from him on a night when Vancouver could have clinched the Stanley Cup. Back-to-back [poor] games, it’s going to be difficult for Roberto Luongo to dodge the bullet on that one.”
Ferraro also shared the same feeling on Luongo. “Luongo was not able to get out of his own way and after the Game 6 debacle; you know this was going to be a challenge for him. In this game he wasn’t worse than average, but it wasn’t good enough,” he said.
“I think Vancouver showed up. They had a nice start to the game,” said Ferraro. “But I think the Bruins played a virtually perfect road game, and on the stage of Game 7 I would say it was perfect.”
|06.16.11 at 5:33 am ET|
VANCOUVER — The Bruins knew their season was going to end Wednesday, and hours before Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals, word emerged that regardless of the result, it would be the last game of Mark Recchi‘s historic career.
It’s a storybook ending for a legendary player to end his career with one last championship, and one that is rarely realized. Players stick around a long time trying to get that last taste of victory, and now Recchi has it. He has won the Stanley Cup three times, each one with a different team, and now he’s done. The ultimate winner is leaving the game in fitting fashion.
‘It is amazing,” Recchi said after the Bruins’ 4-0 win over the Canucks. “Not too many people get that chance. I can’t thank these guys enough, the players and everything they did for me.’
What they did for him? Recchi taught the Bruins how to be winners. His skill certainly wasn’t where it was when he was a younger lad, but Recchi’s heart trumped all in the finals, as his line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand produced three of the Bruins’ four goals, with Bergeron scoring the other on the penalty kill.
“I talked to Recchi last night and I was feeling nervous and I asked him to give me some advice,” Bergeron recalled after the game. “He told me to relax and go out there and play the game and to do it for him. ‘¦ I’ve learned so much from him on and off the ice, it’s a great feeling that we’ve accomplished this as a team.”
The mark that Recchi has left on the Bruins is obvious, and while nobody can make a player like Marchand into a saint, the lessons Recchi taught the Bruins’ young winger will never be forgotten.
“The amount he’s pushed me and helped me grow as a player, I wouldn’t be here right now if it wasn’t for him,” Marchand said. “Everything that I learned from him on and off the ice, it’s unbelievable. It was such an honor to be a part of this, going through it with him and to have played with a guy that I watched growing up. [He’s] a hall-of-famer, one of the best guys to ever play the game. It’s truly an honor to have played on his team.”
The Bruins may have lost one of the game’s best winners, but they have a room full of those after Wednesday.
|06.16.11 at 5:08 am ET|
VANCOUVER — Admit it, Bruins fans. After Patrice Bergeron took Brad Marchand‘s pass in front of the net with just over five minutes left in the first period and sent it past the right leg of Roberto Luongo, you started thinking about the Cup. Who needed three more goals?
In some sick, twisted way, that’s just what Bruins fans — supporters of the very team that had gone 39 years without winning the Stanley Cup — had been conditioned to believe. When Tim Thomas is the man in net, it’s only human to believe that one goal could be enough. Playing in the biggest game of his career, Thomas capped a historic season by shutting out the Canucks on their own ice and helping the Bruins to that elusive Cup.
“I was hoping someone else would score so I wouldn’t have to shut them out,” Thomas said with his signature grin when recalling Bergeron’s first goal. “I was happy going into the game, talked about not getting too high. If we do score, you can’t act like you’ve won the Stanley Cup because you will get an emotional high and it will end up showing on the ice.
“I was just trying to stay level. It was just one goal. It was a huge goal, the game-winning goal, but at that time, there was still a lot of game and a lot of work left to do.”
There was a lot of game left, but as the Canucks failed to convert on chance after chance (Alexandre Burrows really bit the bag when Zdeno Chara gift-wrapped a game-tying goal in the second period) and Thomas stoned them everywhere he could, it became clear that the Thomas’ season was destined to end just the way it began: with a reminder that when he’s on, there isn’t a match for him. He proved in these playoffs that he was this season’s best goaltender, and despite some high-scoring games against the Lightning, he never let up.
“No matter if we had slow starts, no matter if we didn’t play our best game, we always had a chance with Timmy, because Timmy is great,” Claude Julien, who gave Thomas the second start of the season in Prague, said after Wednesday’s win. “These finals, seven straight games and there wasn’t a bad game from Timmy, only exceptional ones.”
Thomas did fear that his play may have begun to waver in Game 6. Given that it was a contest in which he only allowed two goals (one of which was in garbage time), even when Thomas didn’t feel like his dominant self, he still got the results of a Vezina and Conn Smythe winner.
“Right off the opening face-off there was a guy that whacked it backhand from the outside blue line right off the opening face-off and I just lost it,” Thomas said of Game 6. “It was up in the air and I went into full panic mode in my mind. Then Vancouver put the pressure on and whizzed the puck around the crease four or five different times, shot just wide. I was on my heels there for a second, and that was the first time that I’d gotten nervous during the finals.
“So, yeah, I was scared. I won’t lie. I had nerves yesterday and today. I faked it as well as I could, and I faked my way all the way to the Stanley Cup.”
Thomas may have faked confidence, but when it comes to a miraculous season in which he led both the regular season and postseason in save percentage and GAA, there was no faking that production.
|06.16.11 at 12:43 am ET|
VANCOUVER — Cam Neely finally won the Stanley Cup Wednesday night at Rogers Arena, and though he did it in a suit rather than a uniform, the Bruins president had difficulty expressing the emotion with which he was overcome.
“It’s been very special,” Neely said after the Bruins took Game 7 of the finals over the Canucks. It’s been extremely special. It’s hard to really put into words, but it’s so special to be able to say that you’re involved with a Stanley Cup champion team.”
The former Canucks and Bruins forward played 13 years in the NHL, totaling 395 goals and 299 assists for 694 points. Hip issues forced him to retire without having ever won the Stanley Cup.
“It was difficult. Especially when it’s not really your terms when you have to leave the game, it was very difficult,” Neely said. “To be out here now is very, very special.”
|06.16.11 at 12:24 am ET|
|06.15.11 at 11:02 pm ET|
In delivering one of the most dominating goaltending performances in postseason history and leading the Bruins to their first Stanley Cup in 39 years, Tim Thomas was awarded the Conn Smythe trophy as the most outstanding player of 2011 playoffs.
He earned the honor with staggering and historic numbers. He established new all-time records by making 798 saves on 849 shots in 25 games, both new standards. Thomas appropriately ended his epic season with his fourth shutout of the playoffs.
Thomas made several spectacular saves in the third period, including a pair on Jannik Hansen, finishing with a 37-save performance in the first Game 7 of a Stanley Cup finals series in Bruins history.
The Flint, Michigan native is the second U.S.-born player to take the Conn Smythe, joining New York Rangers defenseman Brian Leetch in 1994, and, at 37, is the oldest Conn Smythe recipient.
Thomas was the Bruins’ only goaltender during their Stanley Cup-winning run, finishing the playoffs with a 16-9 record, 1.98 goals-against average, .940 save percentage and four shutouts.
Thomas Playoff Highlights
* set NHL record for most saves in one playoff year (798)
* set NHL record for most shots faced in one playoff year (849)
* set NHL record for most saves in the Stanley Cup Final (238)
* fourth all-time for most shots faced in the Stanley Cup Final (246)
* finished with an 11-1 record when facing 35 or more shots
* led all NHL goaltenders in goals-against average (1.98) and save percentage (.940) and shared lead in shutouts (four) in the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs
* became the first goaltender in NHL history to post a shutout on the road in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final
* posted a 1.15 goals-against average in the Stanley Cup Final, the lowest in the modern era among goaltenders with at least five appearances
* posted a .967 save percentage in the Stanley Cup Final, third all-time and tops among goaltenders with at least five appearances
* became the 13th goaltender since 1927 to post multiple shutouts in the Stanley Cup Final (two)
* made 52 saves on 54 shots in the Bruins 3-2 win at Philadelphia in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals
* stopped all 24 shots in posting a 1-0 shutout victory over Tampa Bay in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals
* posted the first shutout by a Bruins goaltender in the Stanley Cup Final since May 18, 1978, when Gerry Cheevers made 16 saves to blank Montreal 4-0 in Game 3 at Boston Garden (Game 3)