|06.16.11 at 3:59 pm ET|
Kevin Paul Dupont of The Boston Globe, a regular contributor down the stretch for the program, called into The Big Show to give his expert take on the Bruins Stanley Cup victory and precisely how the team got there in the first place. Dupont saw Aaron Rome‘s suspension-worthy hit on Nathan Horton as the point where the finals began to take a turn toward the Bruins side.
“The turning point of the season was the hit on Horton,” he said. “I didn’t see it so much as, ‘Let’s do it for Horton.’ There’s always that element no matter what the injury, but I had a sense of a couple of things in the immediate minutes after it, which was Vancouver began to play small. They got afraid. Their skilled players were afraid because you know in those instances there has to be a payback. It wasn’t the traditional payback of the years of my youth of the 60s, 70s and even into the 80s which was grab two or three finesse guys and beat the hinges off of them. Instead, the thought was at least from a competitive standpoint, just get in their face, be relentless. And other than that one next game in Vancouver, they were that. They played effectively. They played punishingly. They stayed on them on every shift. We saw the shrinking of Vancouver.”
While others seemed ready to call Claude Julien vindicated after several in both the stands and the media, Dupont wanted to make sure fans didn’t forget about team owner Jeremy Jacobs. Although he’s been seen a villain in Boston sports lore over the years, Dupont noted that B’s fans could have been much worse.
“Has the guy spent? Yes he has. Is the guy reliable? Has there ever been a question about payroll in this town, which I know a lot of people take for granted? I can show you a lot of NHL cities where you can’t take that for granted. He’s never bitched and moaned about the money. He’s never tried to hold up the city for another dime for development on Causeway St. … Is he vindicated? I don’t know if he’s vindicated. He is rewarded. He has spent a lot of money. He has been rewarded even though being an out-of-town citizen. I think from a business standpoint, he’s been a very good citizen.”
Before leaving, Dupont wanted to make sure he praised the city of Boston for not being as violent in their celebrations as Vancouver was in its riots Wednesday night.
“Good on that,” he said. “It took us, what, 400 years in Boston to learn how to drink and party?”
|06.16.11 at 3:55 pm ET|
NBC analyst Pierre McGuire was a guest on The Big Show on Thursday and he noted that as the Bruins were inching closer toward capturing the Stanley Cup on Wednesday night in Vancouver, there was a major difference between the two teams.
“There were definitely chemistry issues on one bench,” McGuire said. “Coaches overreacting. I thought in the case of Alain Vingeault when the frustration set in, and the composure and the focus and basically every one of the Bruins players acting as coach. It was really an interesting dynamic to witness.”
McGuire added, “When you have a knockout game and things start to go south in a hurry, guys just deviate from the plan and you could sense that. You didn’t see the same Vancouver Canucks team in the third period that you saw in Games 1 or 2 or Game 5 when they were in Vancouver.”
McGuire said that he thought Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo hurt himself with his comments about Tim Thomas after Game 5. “The damage was done to Roberto Luongo [after Game 5],” McGuire said. “The whole thing, the two-day break, putting the foot in the mouth, questioning Tim Thomas’ ability to make a save against Maxim Lapierre in Game 5.
“The one thing I thought was very apparent and I’ve been through this twice as a coach winning a Stanley Cup in Pittsburgh in 1991 and 92, you have to manage the message and make sure your players are debriefed before dealing with the media. You’ve got to be so careful because everything is scrutinized. I really felt the Vancouver PR machine went off the rails going into Game 6. They were too brash, too arrogant. I give Boston full credit. They managed their message the entire playoffs and they deserve a lot of credit for the way they handled themselves. On the Vancouver side I don’t think it was handled very well.”
McGuire also had praise for Bruins’ coach Claude Julien, particularly his decision to practice as soon as the team landed in Vancouver. “Instead of practicing the day of the game they practiced as soon as they got off the plane,” McGuire said. “They had a much better start. They had livelier legs and they were ready to go. They really believed in their plan. That little deviation helped them a ton. That’s where Claude Julien isn’t getting enough credit.”
McGuire also felt Julien was more willing to adapt this year as opposed to last. “The one thing I was really impressed with from Claude compared to a year ago, the ability to make adjustments both in-game and during the series,” McGuire said. “We didn’t see that last year. I think that’s a big reason they lost last year. [Peter] Laviolette outrcoached him and obviously the injury to [David] Krejci. But this year I saw a man prepared to make changes. He could deviate from the matchups if he had to, he wasn’t afraid to get his fourth line on the ice and I thought they were a huge factor in Game 7. Claude deserves a lot of credit.
|06.16.11 at 3:16 pm ET|
We all know Boston’s reaction to the Bruins first Stanley Cup finals win in 39 years, and earlier on this blog, we saw what the Vancouver media had to say after the Canucks fell. Now it’s time to see what the national media wrote about the Bruins win in Game 7 and the subsequent hoisting of the Cup by the black and gold.
—ESPN hockey writer Scott Burnside said that the Bruins as a team paled in comparison to recent Stanley Cup winners and even failed to stack up against the Canucks on paper. But none of that matters, he wrote, because the B’s had the “heart of a champion.”
—Sean Gentille of Sporting News wrote that the first goal of the game, or the eventual game-winner, was a microcosm of the Bruins road to the finals because it connected the punchy rookie Brad Marchand with veteran team leader Patrice Bergeron. It was also representative of the B’s performance in the playoffs because it was the only goal the team would need with Tim Thomas playing well in net.
—The New York Times featured the end to the career of 43-year-old winger Mark Recchi. In the article, Recchi says he doesn’t know what he will do next with his career but he expects to stay in hockey in some capacity. He’s already a part-owner of the Kamloops Blazers in the Western Hockey League. (For a more local view on the topic, read DJ Bean‘s article on the same topic here.)
–Not everyone was willing to say nice things about the Bruins win. Grantland.com’s Chris Jones, a native Canadian, wrote an article for the new sports site entitled “Screw Boston.” In the article, Jones claims Boston fans “still don’t know what Canadian hockey fans know.” He then goes to discuss Canadian teams’, who have not won the Cup since 1993, struggles in the Stanley Cup finals before concluding with “Some year, however distant from now, the Cup will be ours again. And however happy Boston felt last night, however happy that city feels this morning, we’ll feel that a thousand times more, and we’ll feel it together.”
|06.16.11 at 2:39 pm ET|
NESN play-by-play man Jack Edwards got The Big Show going when he called in while on his way back from Vancouver. After calling Wednesday night’s proceedings “a night I’ll ever, ever forget,” he talked about what he though was truly the best part of the celebration.
“”The greatest thing about it was how sincere the players were about what this meant to them and how hard they have worked for it and what they would take out of it. You hear from Tim Thomas that as a great a moment as this was, it’s not as important to him as his family. It is just a hockey game. That kind of thing really sinks into your heart and gives you a moment that you know you can go back to at any point in your life.”
As big as the moment was for the Bruins though, Edwards couldn’t help but throw a little dig at the Canucks, the Sedin brothers in particular, after they fell flat on their own home ice to lose the Cup.
“I have to extend this observation,” he said. “I’m about to board this plane and I was walking past the souvenir stand here in the Vancouver airport and I saw Henrik Sedin T-shirts on sale. First thing I did was I went up to it and I noticed it was very soft. Then the next thing I noticed about it was that it had a minus-4 on it to signify the discount you’d get on it.”
And just before he was about that plane back to Boston, Edwards sneaked in a mention about just how good Thomas’s season was and that he doesn’t expect to ever see it in-person ever again.
“The numbers, the performance that Tim Thomas put up, not just the saves he made but when he made them, I’m pretty sure I’m going to be dust before anybody approaches what he did in the Stanley Cup finals,” Edwards said. “That’s how heroes are made. He made himself one.”
|06.16.11 at 2:02 pm ET|
Nothing else mattered on Thursday. The Bruins were the talk of not only the town but also the Mut & Merloni show. The Stanley Cup’s return back to Boston for the first time since 1972 will do that. Here’s a few highlights of the show from 10-2:
—Mike Mutnansky opened the show by saying, “Yeah, this feels about right. June 16, beautiful day in Boston, they’re planning a parade and they’re bringing the Cup back to this city.” That was followed by talk between the two hosts about the win means for the team and the city as a whole.
—Sen. John Kerry told the guys despite his busy schedule, he caught every second of the game as well as the postgame coverage. He even called Brad Marchand‘s play “inspiring” and said he still laces on the skates and plays a game of puck himself every now and again.
—Andy Brickley said that the championship was “a long time coming” and even called Tim Thomas‘s time in net during the 2010-11 season “probably the best single-season goaltending performance by any goalie of all-time.”
|06.16.11 at 1:33 pm ET|
Graig Woodburn loved hockey. He loved it so much that when he found out he could cover the Bruins for WEEI.com in the months leading up to the 2010 Winter Classic, he put his sports writing/lawyering life on hold in Santa Monica, Calif., picked up his notepad and entrenched himself in the state he grew up.
While covering the Bruins throughout December, he often complained of stomach pains. Yet those were chalked up to the stress of his move, and certainly didn’t take priority over getting chance to execute such endeavors as skating at Fenway Park.
Following the Winter Classic, Graig got the pains checked out. He learned he had pancreatic cancer. By Christmas he passed away at the age of 50.
(It should be noted that the Bruins organization showed tremendous respect to Graig by saving his seat in the TD Garden press box for the entire season, straight through the Stanley Cup finals.)
Even during the heart of his illness, Graig tried to find ways to keep involved in our Bruins coverage. He was on the scene in Los Angeles for the NHL Draft, and wrote his final piece, offering the smartly-thought-out comparison of concussion victims Paul Kariya and Marc Savard.
But it was one column, written just following the Bruins being eliminated by the Flyers, that exemplified Woodburn’s keen eye for the game. It was a piece which sent a message that flew in the face of the overwhelming majority opinion that the B’s must get rid of Tim Thomas. Common sense and history, Graig pointed out, suggested keeping the goalie would be the prudent move.
As we witnessed, Graig was right again.
Here is the link to the column, but enclosed is also the full body of the piece. Knowing what we now know, it deserves to be read … for so many reasons.
TRADE THOMAS? NOT SO FAST
By GRAIG WOODBURN
Tim Thomas said he is going to think about it.
So should the Bruins.
As the B’s gathered their individual equipment and prepared to depart for the summer Tuesday, Thomas told the media horde in the Bruins locker room he is going to take some time to sort out his season and his future.
There is plenty to think about.
|06.16.11 at 12:54 pm ET|
After the Bruins Stanley Cup clinching victory many current NHL players congratulated the Bruins on their accomplishment on Twitter:
– Brent Sopel, a defenseman for the Canadians tweeted, “Hooray Black and Gold!”
– Predators center Blake Geoffrion praised Tim Thomas “Congrats to Boston. What a series and what a year for them. Tim Thomas is the man.”
– Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto tweeted, “Congrats to the Canucks and Bruins. Hard fought series and year. Hats off to every player!”
– 2010 No. 1 overall pick Taylor Hall tweeted, “The game gives me chills. When does camp start!?”
– Suns guard, and Canucks fan Steve Nash also got involved, “”Congrats Boston. Head up @VanCanucks incredible year. We’ll be back!! Thanks for the thrills.”