|06.10.11 at 12:10 pm ET|
With the Stanley Cup finals down to a best-of-three series, two countries’ worth of media can’t help but comment on the series.
The Toronto Star’s Dan Robson hasn’t enjoyed the pettiness and immaturity by both the Canucks and the Bruins, calling them ‘fifth-grade versions of themselves.’
Wrote Robson: ‘The Bruins and Canucks have gone classless-tit for gutless-tat all series long.’
ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun, meanwhile, has focused on the games themselves, seeing Vancouver’s road losses to the Bruins by a combined score of 12-1 reflect numerous issues with the Canucks, ranging from poor goalie play to a lack of team confidence.
‘They head home with their confidence shaken, their goalie perhaps rattled and their passionate fan base unquestionably believing 40 years of misery will continue with one more giant heartbreak headed their way,’ LeBrun wrote Thursday.
Gord McIntyre, a writer for Vancouver-based newspaper the Province, wrote Friday that the media and much of the NHL wants to see the Canucks lose, that they have become the villains of the NHL. His article cited such examples as Versus commentator Mike Milbury calling Daniel and Henrik Sedin ‘Thelma and Louise,’ a Chicago reporter seeing a picture of Cher and saying ‘Luongo,’ and Blackhawks center Dave Bolland saying the team played ‘sort of like a little girl.’
Helene Elliot of the Chicago Tribune wrote Thursday that the Bruins’ success is based on Tim Thomas‘ success, and Thomas’ success is based on his ‘feistiness.’ Jackie MacMullan of ESPN.com wrote a similar article Thursday, but added that the Canucks don’t respect Thomas’ aggression and talent. MacMullan quoted Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa as calling Thomas ‘leaky,’ and wrote that, according to the Canucks, simply shooting more will expose Thomas’ weaknesses.
|06.10.11 at 3:35 am ET|
VANCOUVER — The Bruins were a very good road team in the regular season. Now, whether they are able to win on the road will determine whether they win the Stanley Cup.
With the Canucks having the advantage of home ice in Games 5 and 7 of the finals, the Bruins will need to win one (or possibly two) games at Rogers Arena if they want to hoist the Cup.
“We know that, because basically now we’re in a best-of-three series with Vancouver having the home-ice advantage,” Tim Thomas, who allowed four goals over the Bruins’ losses in Games 1 and 2 in Vancouver, said Thursday. “We know that we have to win here, for sure.”
The Bruins were able to shake off their two losses to open the series by returning to Boston and beating the Canucks in convincing fashion Monday and Wednesday to tie the series. Winning by at least four goals, as they did both nights, would be nice, but then again, doing anything to resemble the way they dominated at home would be a welcomed sight.
“I don’t think it’s necessarily bringing a home game, it’s just bringing our game,” Claude Julien said Thursday. “As I mentioned here, I don’t think we played extremely well in those first two games. We were OK. That wasn’t good enough against a team like Vancouver. They’re a great hockey club.
“We need to play with a lot of emotion, intensity and play on our toes. That’s something that we have to certainly bring here.”
The friendly folks over at the WEEI.com stat truck passed along this nugget: The B’s have yet to pick up their third victory of a series on the road. If they can’t do so this series, they’ll be returning to the Garden facing elimination.
From the pregame presentation, to the in-house band, to the sea of white towels waving, to the arena-wide singing of “O Canada,” Rogers Arena certainly has a way of pumping up the Canucks players and fans. The B’s were able to silence that energy in Game 2 when they held a 2-1 lead, but as the Bruins get ready to take the ice in Vancouver for the third time this series, they do so knowing they haven’t gotten anything more than lessons from their two games at Rogers thus far.
“It’s pretty hard to play here,” Patrice Bergeron said in the visitors locker room. “The crowd is very loud, and obviously Vancouver is going to look to bounce back, so we’re going to need to make sure we’re bringing the same energy we had in Games 3 and 4. That being said, it’s a huge game tomorrow and we need to focus on that.”
Either way, the Stanley Cup will be at TD Garden on Monday for Game 6. Whether the Bruins can give themselves the chance to play for it depends on what they can do in the opponents’ building.
|06.09.11 at 9:32 pm ET|
Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said Thursday at Rogers Arena that he will not be making a goaltending change prior to Friday’s Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals. Vezina finalist Roberto Luongo has allowed 12 goals over his last two games (both lopsided Bruins wins), but Vigneault said he will not be turning to Cory Schneider, as he did in the first round after Luongo struggled in Games 4 and 5.
“My gut at that time told me that putting Schneids in was the right thing to do, but it was just a one-[time] thing,” Vigneault said. “Roberto is the guy. He’s my guy, and he’s playing. It’s that simple.”
Schneider replaced Luongo after the Bruins’ scored their fourth goal in Wednesday’s Game 4 at TD Garden. The Marblehead native and former BC netminder stopped all nine shots he saw.
|06.09.11 at 7:59 pm ET|
VANCOUVER — The Canucks have had a series-long obsession with Tim Thomas. It’s all they talk about with the media, and given that he’s held them to one goal over the last two games, probably all they think about.
As a result, a funny moment came from Thursday’s media availability at Rogers Arena, when Thomas tried to deflect the notion by saying he was just focusing on himself. Of course, by doing so, he admitted that he shares the Canucks’ fixation, causing quite a bit of laughter from the Vezina favorite and those on hand.
“[What they think about] doesn’t really matter,” Thomas said. “What’s going to matter is the results that you have on the ice moving forward. So I’m going to worry about Tim Thomas and not worry about anything else.”
Thomas said he doesn’t like to think about the idea that he might have any mental advantage over the Canucks, who have complained about his style of play and have used various tactics to throw him off physically.
“That’s something that I’d rather just ignore and worry and focus on just doing the best that I can on myself,” Thomas said. “It’s not something I put a lot of thought into.”
Frustrations have seemed to boil over between Vancouver forwards and Thomas. The 37-year-old netminder crushed Henrik Sedin in the crease in Game 3 and slashed Alexandre Burrows after the winger took multiple hacks at the top of his stick in Wednesday’s Game 4 Bruins’ victory.
|06.09.11 at 7:48 pm ET|
VANCOUVER — The Bruins have returned to Vancouver having tied the Stanley Cup finals after dropping the series’ first two games and winning two at home. Though the 2-0 hole may have seemed insurmountable, the Bruins were able to overcome it for the second time this offseason. With the team still two wins away from their first Stanley Cup championship since 1972, center Patrice Bergeron said now is not the time for the B’s to feel accomplished.
“We’ve done it against Montreal, when were down 2-0 [in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals], so we knew we could do it, but with that being said, we haven’t done anything yet,” Bergeron said Thursday at Rogers Arena. “Yes, we came back, but we need to make sure we’re not stopping there.”
The Bruins and Canucks will play Game 5 Friday night at Rogers Arena.
|06.09.11 at 4:31 pm ET|
In a piece written for GQ.com entitled “The Boston Bruins vs. The World,” noted sportswriter Jonah Keri has a simple but sharp message for the Bruins and their fans.
After spending a few paragraphs discussing the “We want the Cup” chant that has filled the TD Garden and discussing how every other NHL team wants a Stanley Cup, Keri writes, “But you, Bruins fans? No one wants you to have it.”
He notes that there are plenty of good reasons to root for the B’s. Among them are Tim Thomas‘s long journey to stardom, Alexandre Burrows‘s bite on Patrice Bergeron and Nathan Horton‘s season-ending concussion. But Keri still adds “You know what? We’re still not rooting for you.”
His main reasoning behind this thesis is that Boston fans complain of “The Drought,” the 39-year period since the B’s have lost won the Stanley Cup, when the Red Sox, Patriots and Celtics have all took home trophies in the last decade. Since Keri claims that all Bruins fans also root for these other squads, there should be no remorse for those who don the black and gold.
“You sound like the douchebag who [expletive] that, after the three-bedroom in Tribeca, the place in the Hamptons, the kids’ boarding school, the annual trips to Paris and Aruba, the four cars, and two alimonies, you’ve barely got enough left for that third bottle of Dom at Per Se,” Keri writes before concluding, “We feel for the 12 Bruins fans who’ve shunned the city’s other franchises and waited nearly 40 years for their shot. The rest of you? Prepare yourselves for heartbreak. Until the day after Vancouver wins the Cup, when you can watch your first-place Red Sox try to break Boston’s Three-Year Curse.”
|06.09.11 at 12:16 pm ET|
Now comes the hard part.
The Bruins have turned the 2011 Stanley Cup finals upside down. They have overcome two remarkably heartbreaking losses in Vancouver by not just beating the Canucks on their Garden home ice but running the Sedin twins and the rest of the Western Conference champs right out of the building.
The Bruins dominated in every way possible, outscoring the Canucks, 12-1, in the two wins to even the series and turn it into a best-of-3.
Now, the Bruins have to carry that momentum with them on their cross-continent flight and translate it enough on the Rogers Arena ice on Friday night to give them a chance to win the Cup on that same Garden ice on Monday night.
How do they do it?
“I think we’ve got to bring our game with us, simple as that,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “We have to bring our game. That has to continue in Vancouver. It doesn’t matter where you are, you got to play the same way whether you’re at home or on the road.”
And that mean laying out the hits, doing everything possible to keep the aggressive Tim Thomas in his comfort zone between the pipes, and continuing an amazing run on the penalty kill.
In the two wins, the Bruins outhit the Canucks 67-58 and Thomas stopped a remarkable 78 of 79 shots on goal, primarily because he saw nearly every single one of them. That’s where it gets tricky. The Canucks will no doubt run more bodies at Thomas in front and the Bruins defenseman must continue to clear bodies away. Read the rest of this entry »