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Cam Neely finally wins the Stanley Cup 06.16.11 at 12:43 am ET
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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.”

Plain and simple: Bruins win the Stanley Cup 06.15.11 at 10:45 pm ET
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VANCOUVER — The Stanley Cup never entered TD Garden when the Canucks had a chance to win it on Monday. Now, it’s safe to say it will be in plain sight in Boston for quite some time.

The Bruins knocked off the Canucks, 4-0, in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals Wednesday night to win the Cup for the first time since 1972 and take the trophy for the sixth time in franchise history.

It was only fitting that the longest tenured Bruin, Patrice Bergeron, sure-fire Conn Smythe winner Tim Thomas and top rookie Brad Marchand stole the show in Vancouver in providing Boston with the most coveted trophy in all of sports.

Both Bergeron and Marchand had a pair of goals on the night, factoring for all of the Bruins’ tallies. Marchand’s second was an empty-netter with just over two minutes remaining.

Bergeron opened the scoring for the Bruins at 14:37 of first period, taking a pass from Marchand in the slot and sending the puck past a pair of Canucks skaters and just past Roberto Luongo‘s right leg.

The goal marked one bookend of a telling issue for the Bruins, as they did not record another shot on Luongo until 7:40 into the second period. Marchand had another superb opportunity in that span, though he saw his backhanded bid in front of Luongo go off the crossbar.

Despite the lack of work provided for Luongo, Marchand made his presence felt by beating the Vancouver netminder on a wraparound at 12:13. The rookie finished the postseason with 11 goals, and the B’s won all nine games in which he scored.

If it’s possible for a dagger to come in the second period, Bergeron provided it with a shorthanded goal on a breakaway late in the period. The play was reviewed to determine whether Bergeron punched the puck into the net, though the goal stood, and so too did the Bruins’ lead.

Thomas’ performance capped a remarkable series for the anticipated Vezina winner, as he allowed just eight goals over the entire series and set the record for most games in a Stanley Cup finals series. His shutout was his fourth of the postseason and second of the finals.

Though first period yielded the Bruins’ first goal, though it was not the most encouraging 20 minutes. The B’s managed only five shots on goal, with the fourth line of Gregory Campbell between Shawn Thornton and Daniel Paille. The line’s tireless work and aggression stood out for the Bruins, with each member getting a shot on Luongo. By the end of the period, the line had contributed 60 percent of the team’s shots on goal.

An injury scare occurred for the Bruins early on as well, as a hit from Chris Higgins at the blue line in the first period left captain Zdeno Chara down on the ice for a few moments. Chara got up and returned to the bench without any further issues.

The Canucks came out of the gate much stronger than the Bruins, and had quality opportunities throughout the night despite the Bruins’ attempts to push the play to the side. Vancouver’s best opportunity came a little over nine minutes into the second, when Chara was attempting to send the puck up the boards in his own zone, only to see the puck deflect off of Henrik Sedin and in front of the net to Alexandre Burrows. The controversial Vancouver winger had an empty net to work with, but Chara made up for his own miscue by getting in position to save the puck for Thomas.

A few odds and ends from the game:

Mark Recchi will now retire having won three Stanley Cup championships with three different teams, as he won it all with the Penguins in 1992 and Hurricanes in 2006.

Dennis Seidenberg is now the second German to win the Stanley Cup, joining Uwe Krupp (1996).

– Both Henrik and Daniel Sedin were on the ice for the first three Bruins’ goals. Henrik was one of the players in front when Bergeron’s shot went past him on its way to Luongo on the first goal.

– The Canucks’ power play finished the Stanley Cup finals just 2-for-31.

Tyler Seguin has gone from No. 2 overall pick to Stanley Cup champion in less than a year.

– Of the four major sports, the Patriots now have the longest Boston championship drought, as they las won the Super Bowl in February of 2005.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Brad Marchand, Chris Higgins, Daniel Paille
Video: Nathan Horton pours Boston water onto Vancouver ice 06.15.11 at 7:13 pm ET
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VANCOUVER — Check out the below video of Bruins winger Nathan Horton, who has been out with a severe concussion, pouring Boston water onto the ice prior to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals at Rogers Arena in Vancouver. The Bruins have gone 3-0 in Boston in the finals but have dropped all three games in Vancouver.

The video is not ours, as it is property of the NHL Network posted to YouTube by our friend Jeff Schools of the Maine Sports Network.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Nathan Horton, Stanley Cup Finals,
#Pretzel logic: Canadian customs seize Bruins’ good luck charms 06.15.11 at 4:23 pm ET
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VANCOUVER — Here’s one to chew on.

A Twitter joke turned serious Bruins superstition was shut down as the B’s traveled to Vancouver hoping to have Lady Luck on their side. Unfortunately for them, Canadian customs stepped in the way.

To those who aren’t on Twitter, the “#pretzel” hashtag has become a bit of an inside joke among Bruins fans during games, given that the team has won every game this postseason in which the media has been served hot pretzels — a perfect 8-0 record dating back to Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

It all started in Philadelphia. The Flyers serve pretzels shaped in the team’s logo, and with the B’s taking the first two games of the series, the B’s didn’t need to go back after sweeping the series.

Pretzels did not make another press box appearance until Game 2 of the conference finals, with the B’s trailing the Lightning by a game at TD Garden. The B’s would take Game 2, and after a tweet about the team winning all three games in which the media had been served pretzels (it was the first time all season that pretzels were served to the press at the Garden), the Bruins — coincidence or superstition — served them for Games 5 and 7, both of which they won.

Then came Games 3, 4 and 6 of the Stanley Cup finals. All pretzel nights, all wins. The Bruins even provided with a pretzel prior to Game 2 in Vancouver, but given that pretzels technically weren’t served to the entire media, it didn’t take.

Well, learned Wednesday that the Bruins actually attempted to bring pretzels from Boston to Vancouver for Game 7 of the finals, hoping to once again make it a “#pretzel” night and a Bruins victory. The plan hit a comical snag, as the pretzels (they had sent a dozen) were seized by Canadian customs and did not make their way to Vancouver.

The Bruins have certainly gone to a lot of trouble to try to win, but the pretzel days are officially over. Looks like they’ll have to make their own luck on the ice.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Stanley Cup Finals,
Bruins have one last chance to get traffic in Vancouver 06.15.11 at 3:40 pm ET
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VANCOUVER — The Bruins had no problem addressing the elephant in the province Wednesday.

The Bruins don’t play well in British Columbia (specifically Vancouver) — at least they haven’t thus far in the Stanley Cup finals. They’ve been sound defensively for the most part, and Tim Thomas has turned in the same type of dominance he’s turned in (three goals against in three losses) anywhere else. Yet the team hasn’t been able to create traffic and set up shop in front of Roberto Luongo, limiting their close-range chances and handing the Vancouver goaltender a pair of easy shutouts.

“It seems like we haven’t brought our physical game here to Vancouver,” native Milan Lucic said. “If we can just focus on that and moving our feet, kind of just playing more of a relaxed game ‘€¦ It feels like we’ve been tense the last three times that we’ve played here, so if we can do that I like our chances.”

It was interesting that Lucic admitted to playing tense, as it’s seemed clear that the Bruins’ offense has seemed to be just that on the Rogers Arena ice. If there’s any time for them to break out of it, it’s now.

“I don’t think that we’ve had our best games out here,” Chris Kelly said Wednesday, “so hopefully tonight we can correct that and come out and play our best game.”

It’s been a breeze for the Bruins when it comes to getting in close when playing at home. So why, in Vancouver, have the Canucks been able to box them out as well as they have? And why, in turn, have the Bruins seemingly bought into the mirage that is a stronger Vancouver defense at home?

“I think [it’s been] a bit of both,” Kelly said of whether it’s been the Canucks’ defense or the Bruins’ offense that is to blame for Boston’s lack of traffic in British Columbia. “Give them credit. They’ve done a good job boxing us out, preventing us from getting to the front of the net, but I think we need to battle a little harder and find ways to get there.”

If the Bruins can’t find ways to battle harder, their season will end in so-close-yet-so-far fashion. Coach Claude Julien has sent a message to the B’s since they closed out Game 6. The message?

“Crash ‘n bang,” Tyler Seguin said. “We made our adjustments, and obviously we want to get up in their face a little bit more. I think last time in their building they took it to us more than [we did to them], and we definitely want to respond with just as much if not more physicality.”

Yes, the Bruins have been a different, weaker animal in Vancouver than they have been in Boston. But when it comes to Wednesday night, they have to be aware that with the Stanley Cup just 60 minutes (or more) of hockey away from being theirs, they have to look at it as one game to shine, rather than the fourth game of a rough Vancouver experience.

“That’s kind of why we think it’s a different mindset tonight,” Seguin said, “because it’s just one game.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Chris Kelly, Claude Julien, Milan Lucic
Cory Schneider says Roberto Luongo is ‘more ready than anybody’ 06.15.11 at 2:38 pm ET
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VANCOUVER — As the minutes tick down and get closer and closer to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals, there is no bigger question mark between either of the teams than Canucks netminder Roberto Luongo.

This series, he’s had an easy time at Rogers Arena, picking up a couple of shutouts in games in which the Bruins’ offense didn’t show up. He’s also shot his mouth off, and when he’s tried to make it better, it’s gotten worse. Then there are the 15 goals he’s allowed in three starts (less than two games’ worth of play given that he was yanked twice) in Boston.

As a result of Luongo’s up-and-down (but overall messy) series, local boy and Canucks backup Cory Schneider has also been popular. He’s gotten to play twice in Boston, and he’s done so well. Yet the former Boston College goaltender and first-round pick seems sure that he’ll stay on the bench the entire game Wednesday.

“Lou is more ready than anybody. He’s had to take the most flak, he’s had to sit there and listen to people mock him and insult him and point fingers at him,” Schneider said. “It’s not easy to do. I don’t care how much you get paid or if you’re a pro athlete or what. No one likes that stuff. It fuels him, it drives him. it makes him want to be better. We’ve seen it before in gold medal games and Game 7’s, he’s answered the bell in big moments. We expect nothing less from him because he’s our guy.”

Schneider received cheers in Games 4 and 6 when he skated to the net in relief. Of course, the love thrown at Schneider in Boston is both a combination of the fact that he’s a native and the fact that when he’s in, Luongo’s out.

“They’re a rowdy crowd and they feed off that stuff,” Schneider said of the folks at the Garden. “They kind of pander to the crowd and get them more riled up every time they show him on the bench. They kind of get whipped into a frenzy about it, but we’re not in Boston right now, so who cares? We’re in Vancouver right now. Lu’s been phenomenal here, and our crowd is great as well. We’re going to hope that they’re going to get on [Boston’s] guys and their players and make it easier for us.”

Tonight will see the culmination of a series between two stylistically different goaltenders who have found ways to dominate in their own ways. Both Tim Thomas and Luongo are Vezina finalists, with Thomas set to receive the award at the end of the month. The B’s goaltender also figures to win the Conn Smythe trophy as playoff MVP.

Schneider has been able to observe both goaltenders, as he played at BC while Thomas was tending goal for the B’s. Though he doesn’t know Thomas, Schneider admires the uphill climb he has overcome as a ninth-round pick who has spent time playing in Europe.

“Clearly the path [Thomas] has taken has been one of obstacles and difficulty that he’s overcome and has managed to find a way,” Schneider said. “That kind of seems to be the theme of his game, is that he finds a way. He’s a competitor and a battler, and we’re going to need everything we have tonight to get a few past him and get a win.”

Having said that, Schneider doesn’t feel Luongo, the fourth overall pick in 1997, should be blamed for traveling an easier road.

“I don’t think you can hold it against him that he was a high draft pick or has a great pedigree. He worked hard for that, he earned that right,” Schneider said. “He’s been a competitor and a warrior from the day I’ve met him. He’s one of the most competitive guys I’ve seen. He hates to lose. He hates giving up goals, he hates all that stuff. People might see it as arrogance, but I see it as confidence in himself, as a belief that he shouldn’t be beaten ever. I think you have to have that mindset as a goalie that if you’re not 100 percent confident in yourself, you’re not really in the right position.”

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Cory Schneider, Roberto Luongo, Stanley Cup Finals
Nathan Horton obviously not playing Game 7 06.15.11 at 2:00 pm ET
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VANCOUVER — In the “how is this news?” moment of the day, here’s a good one.

Bruins coach Claude Julien didn’t even let a reporter finish his question Wednesday in Vancouver when the topic of Nathan Horton potentially playing in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals was brought up. The coach said there was no way Horton would be playing, a statement so obvious that the fact it became a story up here speaks volumes to how badly the media up here gets carried away. After all, Horton was diagnosed with a severe concussion just over a week ago and was ruled out for the rest of the playoffs.

“Let me cut your question short,” Julien said. “Absolutely no. It’€™s ridiculous. So let’€™s put an end to that.”

A television station in Vancouver turned Julien’s quote from Tuesday about Horton wishing he could play into a report that “Horton was trying to convince the Bruins to let him play in Game 7.”

So no, Horton is obviously not playing. It’s astonishing that even had to be said.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Nathan Horton, Stanley Cup Finals,
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