|Plain and simple: Bruins win the Stanley Cup||06.15.11 at 10:45 pm ET|
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:
– 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.
|Canucks trying not to get too excited about being one win away||06.12.11 at 4:48 pm ET|
The Canucks are trying to stay as level-headed as possible leading up to Monday’s Game 6, but they know it’s going to be difficult given the fact that they’re one win away from hoisting the Stanley Cup.
“I think it’s natural to be excited,” captain Henrik Sedin said. “We’re in a great spot. We’re one win away from winning it, so we’re excited. But we know if we get out of our comfort zone and start getting overly excited, it’s going to take away from our game. That’s a key for us, to come in here tomorrow and play the way we have all year.”
Forward Christopher Higgins said it will be crucial for the Canucks to strike a balance between thinking about the Cup while also focusing on the game at hand.
“I think you have to think about it,” Higgins said when asked about the possibility of lifting the Cup. “That’s what you’re playing the game for. But there’s a lot of hard work, and you still have to play the game. You still have to do the right, little things out there.”
Three of the Canucks’ top players — the Sedin twins and goalie Roberto Luongo — have won an Olympic gold medal (the Sedins in 2006 with Sweden and Luongo in 2010 with Canada), but they all said winning the Cup would be even bigger.
“Both Louie and us played in the Olympic finals and that’s obviously a big game, too, but as a hockey player, this is what you want to win,” Daniel Sedin said. “It’s the toughest thing you can win. You work so hard with your friends and teammates to get to this point. We’re going to enjoy it. Hopefully we can put a better game on the ice tomorrow and we’ll be fine.”
“They’re both unbelievable, but very different,” Luongo added. “The Olympics is a very short tournament. This is a two-month grind, probably one of the hardest things we’ve ever had to do. In the end, if you come out on top, it’s the most rewarding thing that you can probably do as an athlete.”
|Kevin Weekes on M&M: Canucks ‘looking to have a goalie snap on you’||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.”
|Just like the Canucks, Tim Thomas is thinking about Tim Thomas||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.
What the Canucks lack in goals against Tim Thomas, they make up for with talk about him. Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault and his players have had plenty to say about the Boston netminder all series. It started out in Vancouver when Vigneault questioned whether or not Thomas was entitled to ice outside his crease, and whether or not he should be allowed to have a clear path back to the crease. Vigneault said the refs were being too lenient by letting Thomas set up outside his crease, despite the fact that the NHL rulebook says a goalie is allowed to do that.
Then after Game 3, several Canucks players questioned whether or not Thomas’ check on Henrik Sedin was legal. The complaints about Thomas wandering from his crease continued as well.
So it should come as no surprise that the Canucks once again chimed in on what Thomas can and can’t do after Wednesday’s Game 4. This time the grievances were the result of a scrum late in the third. Alexandre Burrows slashed Thomas’ stick and leg while the Canucks were on the power play, so Thomas slashed him back. Burrows responded with a cross-check on Thomas and a scrum ensued.
Henrik Sedin, however, either didn’t see Burrows’ initial slash or he simply chose to ignore it, because he said after the game that he fully expects the refs to pay more attention to Thomas’ antics next game.
“I’m sure the referees are going to take a look at that and look for it next game,” Sedin said. “It’s not the first time it happened and it’s not going to be the last time. I think the referees are looking at the same tape that we are.
“They’re going to do that for sure. They’re going to look at those tapes and they’re going to see what goes on with [Zdeno] Chara and Thomas in front, and they’re going to have to call those. It’s not going to continue.”
When asked to respond to everything the Canucks are saying about him, Thomas said he’s not worried about what they’re saying.
“I don’t think it was ever an issue to begin with,” Thomas said. “I think it was made an issue by the people that were talking about it. But in reality, it was never an issue.”
As for his slash of Burrows Wednesday night, Thomas offered a drastically different account than that of Sedin. Thomas said it was the Canucks who were doing the agitating all night and not getting called for it.
“They’d been getting the butt end of my stick, actually,” Thomas said. “They did it a couple times on the power play in the first period, also. … That was like the third time that [Burrows] hit my butt end on that power play. The game was getting down toward the end, so I thought I’d give him a little love tap and let him know, ‘I know what you’re doing, but I’m not going to let you do it forever.’ “
|Alain Vigneault still unhappy with Tim Thomas, talks to league||06.08.11 at 12:38 pm ET|
Canucks coach Alain Vigneault expressed frustration with Bruins’ goaltender Tim Thomas Wednesday, saying that he has spoken to the NHL about the way Thomas plays outside the crease and initiates contact with players. He also had a problem with Thomas’ hit on Vancouver center Henrik Sedin in the third period of Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals, a hit that occurred in the crease.
“We’ve asked the league, obviously,” Vigneault said. “Part of Thomas’ way of playing is playing out of the blue paint, initiating contact, roaming out there. He seems to think that once he’s out, he’s set and makes the save, that he can go directly back in his net without having anybody behind him. That’s wrong. He’s got the wrong rule on that.
“If we’re behind him, then that’s our ice. We’re allowed to stay there. We’ve talked to the NHL about that. We’ve talked to the NHL about him initiating contact, like he did on Hank, and they’re aware of it. Hopefully they’re going to handle it.”
Vigneault had also complained about Thomas after Game 1, in which Thomas drew a tripping call on Canucks winger Alexandre Burrows.
Hockey Night in Canada analyst Don Cherry joined the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday morning to offer his thoughts on the Stanley Cup finals that continues with Game 4 Wednesday night. To hear the interview, go the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
The Bruins put together an inspiring performance in Game 3, and Cherry said he thinks the Bruins can build off the 8-1 victory. He credits Shawn Thornton as the key to Boston’s resurgence.
“The big thing was Thornton,” he said. “At the start of the second game, I said, ‘Why isn’t Thornton in the game? [The Canucks are] running the Bruins, they own the Bruins right now. They don’t get Thornton in the game. Get some banging going in there and play like Bruins, and it’s going to be four straight.’ Why Thornton wasn’t in there from the start, I don’t know. It was Thornton that set the tone.”
Cherry also questioned B’s coach Claude Julien‘s decision to remove Tyler Seguin from the lineup. “Seguin will be in there [for Game 4], and he should have been in there. I just don’t understand two moves. And this is what I said ‘ and I’m not telling Julien, he’s a good coach, he’s in the final, he’s got to be good. Why Seguin wasn’t in there, and Thornton from the start, it was beyond me.”
Asked which of the Bruins he would have sat, Cherry said he didn’t know, but he noted that some players did not show up for the first two games. “In Vancouver they had a few passengers up there,” he said, later adding: “They were a bunch of pussies up there.”