|06.10.11 at 3:10 pm ET|
We landed in Boston at Logan Airport around midnight and headed for hotel in the beautiful city of Quincy. Once there, we decided to try out a local delicacy called “Dunkin Donuts”. It was decadent.
After two hours sleep, the Super Bowl-style media circuit got underway. First stop, WEEI. The boys there were awesome. From the radio show to the web guys, that station served up some damn good times. The update man “Meter” did his best WWE Goldust impression by wearing a gold suit on-air. Word to the wise my friend: it was on backwards and there’s a reason we wear jocks dude. Good on ya though.
We then headed out to the Garden for about 10-15 more interviews. The funniest one was for a Canadian national broadcaster that thought we didn’t know who Bobby Orr was. “Hey there’s the statue of Bobby Orr, you guys know him?” No, who is the Orr fellow?
After all the media we then had some time to sit down for some brews. The Boston Brew House was excellent and the Fenway Lagers hit the spot. By the way, excellent Haddock…holy crap that was good!
We boarded a trolley bus full of Canuck fans. Some were sober, but most were tanked I think. I want to apologize to Bostonians as well. Some of the guys on the bus were giving people the middle finger in the streets and that’s not cool in the slightest. That’s not the Canadian, let alone Vancouver way at all.
Game time hit around 8:00. We went to the game with our suits under our pants and timed it beautifully. We waited for the giant Bruins flag to come over top of us and we threw em on with nobody looking.
Everything was going great until Aaron Rome knocked out Nathan Horton. We were worried for Horton just like the rest of the crowd but of course a few people saw it differently. They yelled, swore and threatened us. The worst part was that there was a family in front of us and the father kept covering the sons ears because of this meat head swearing at us. I’m all for taking a few heckels and chirps, but come on man, don’t go all out when there’s little kids around.
We took a few shoves, middle fingers and beaks that night. Not to mention on the ice we took pounding, 8-1. We were rushed into a washroom with 1:30 left on the clock and told to hurry up and change by some of Boston’s finest. It’s because of them we didn’t return home in a body bag that night.
We took the day off from the suits and headed to New York City. We took the Amtrak there, which we’d learn later, was a hell of a lot better than taking the bus. Once in NYC we headed straight for the ballpark to watch the Sox lay a beat down on the Yanks. It was awesome.
We did a little bit of work for WEEI while we were there and helped out as best we could. It was the least we could do considering how awesome those guys were to us back on Day 1. Actually, you know what? Here and now, I’m going to proclaim WEEI our favorite station when in Beantown. That’s our home away from home. You heard it here first!
Back to the game. The BoSox dominated the Yanks and we then headed for Times Square. It was alright. I’m sorry, but there were too many lights. I kept thinking, “What a waste of electricity.” It was like three in the morning and they were still pumping out a huge power bill. There were 20 people in the street. I got confused easily as you can see.
We then grabbed the 3:30 am express bus back to Boston. I, Sully, ended sleeping on the floor, while Force took up two seats. Man that bus ride sucked.
We got to explore the city and take it in a bit. We did the Fenway Park tour which was amazing. That is, hands down, the coolest ballpark/stadium I’ve ever seen. So much history in that joint. It was so awesome that I’m going to head back to Boston soon after the Cup finals to catch a game. The tour was great but I need the real experience. I also bought a few vintage Sox shirts which, guaranteed, I’ll get chirped for back home, but to hell with it! They’re good looking shirts.
We went to the game not knowing what to expect. The cab ride was eerily silent as we could sense the tone had changed. Not only were the Bruins riding this high, you could feel that their fans were also pretty charged. I wasn’t worried but I was a little uncomfortable knowing that anything could happen, even and especially for the worse.
We pulled the same change into the suit under the flag routine and it was game on.
After a lackluster first we took photos in the concourse again and were asked if we’d like to visit the Canadian Prime Minister, Mr. Stephen Harper. Obviously, we said yes.
During the next intermission we were ushered by security over to his section. It was awesome but the walk back was brutal. A few cops helped us again but I had a drink poured on me, got kicked, and smacked in the head. It was a little rough but it’s playoff time and you have to play through the pain.
I’d say about 95 percent of people down there were awesome and realized that we meant no harm and tried to be as polite as possible. That’s the Canadian way. However, the other five percent were relentless, crude and rude…especially around the kids. Not much bothers me in that suit, except for people swearing around little kids.
We took a bunch of photos with youngsters and their parents and every time we did, there was a guy or two dropping constant f-bombs. Go to the game, have a good time, but come on, don’t be a total jerk.
Aside from that, Boston you’ve got a beautiful city and we thank you for the hospitality.
|06.10.11 at 1:37 pm ET|
Hockey Night in Canada and NHL Network analyst Kevin Weekes joined the Mut & Merloni show Friday morning to discuss the Stanley Cup finals. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
Weekes, a former NHL goalie, spent much of the interview talking about Roberto Luongo and Tim Thomas. Regarding the question of whether Luongo should be starting Game 5, Weekes said he supported the decision to go back to Luongo.
“Roberto’s your No. 1 goalie. I believe you have to give him the chance,” he said. “There’s no question. I believe you’ve got to give Roberto the chance to play. But I will say this: I think it’s going to be a very short leash.”
The Canucks have criticized Thomas for coming out of his crease so far and so frequently. Weekes suggested that Luongo should learn from what Thomas is doing.
“There’s times when you need to be out of the blue paint, you need to face shooters down and be aggressive and take away that angle from them,” he said. “And Timmy Thomas has done an excellent job of that. That’s a real good element of his game.
“Roberto, I think, needs to come out and challenge a little bit more, use his size to his advantage. It’s one thing to say you’re 6-3, but when you’re just a foot above the goal line at 6-3, that’s an awful lot of net for a shooter to see. And if not, your reflexes need to be razor sharp that game and so precise that you leave yourself with no margin for error.”
|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.