Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Stanley Cup Finals - Game Seven

The term "soft" is overused sometimes in sports when describing players. It does not refer to a player's physical attributes but more so the mental toughness. The Vancouver Canucks have been exposed in this series by the Boston Bruins as a soft team. When it comes to Daniel and Henrik Sedin, they are two of the biggest softies that play in this league. Daniel, one of the "Sweedish Fish," said that the Canucks will win game seven. Earlier today, he retracted those statements saying that the Canucks will "win as a team or lose as a team." He backed out of those statements because he knows the Bruins will be coming out playing physical and he will be on the receiving end of some hits. He is too soft so he does not want to get hit. It does not matter who you are. If you were wearing those ugly blue sweaters tonight, you were going to get hit.

One other minor story to touch on deals with the injured Canuck forward Mason Raymond. He suffered a vertebrae compression on a hit from Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk. He missed the game tonight and he will be out three to four months. Canucks General Manager Mike Gillis believes that Boychuk should have been suspended because he thought that it was a dirty hit. This is getting real old. A pathetic statement like that is not worth commenting on. The reality is that tonight was the final game of the NHL season. It just so happens to be game seven. It just so happens to be the Stanley Cup Finals. It just so happens to feature the Boston Bruins.

The Bruins needed to come out strong tonight and turn around their luck on the road in this series, especially with a banged up lineup the Canucks sent out onto the ice. The Bruins came out in the first period putting pressure on the Canucks. In a penalty-less first period, both teams were giving out their hits and taking the hits. A combined 42 hits through the first 20 minutes. It seemed as if the Bruins were in control of the neutral zone and that was something that they had not done in the three previous games in Vancouver. Patrice Bergeron put the Bruins on top 1-0 when he scored his fifth goal of the playoffs after a face-off win. Brad Marchand skated the puck around and found Bergeron in front of the net for the tip-in goal. The team that has scored first in all of the previous six games in this series have gone on to win the game. Did that hold true for this game? Either way, Boston had a 1-0 lead after the first period.

For the first half of the second period, the Canucks were generating more shots on net than the Bruins. There was a point where Boston did not have a shot on goal since they put in their goal in the first period. They eventually got their rhythm back when Brad Marchand scored his tenth goal of the playoffs. As the puck was brought into the zone, Tyler Seguin made a great play to get back onside for play to continue. From there, Dennis Seidenberg and Mark Recchi got the puck to Marchand behind the net and worked it past the crease for the goal. Later on in the period, Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara got called for an interference penalty. The Bruins ended up scoring short-handed during the penalty kill. Patrice Bergeron recorded his second goal of the game when he chased down a puck and put the shot behind Roberto Luongo (VAN). Dennis Seidenberg and Gregory Campbell had the assists. After two periods, the Bruins had a 3-0 lead. Boston is undefeated this postseason when Marchand scores a goal. Did that also hold true for this game?

In the third period, the Bruins seemed to once again take their lead for granted as Vancouver put some early pressure on Tim Thomas. Jannik Hansen (VAN) started to get frustrated after he got sticks to the face on two separate occasions. As a result, he took a really stupid interference penalty on Andrew Ference. The Bruins penalty kill shut down the Vancouver attack even after Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault switched up the lines. With four minutes left, Roberto Luongo vacated the goal for the extra attacker. Brad Marchand capitalized with an empty net goal to seal the game. The Bruins win game seven by a score of 4-0. The Boston Bruins are the 2010-2011 Stanley Cup champions. This was their first cup since 1972. Goaltender Tim Thomas wins the Conn Smythe Award for being the playoff most valuable player.

Gold Star: Brad Marchand (2 goals, 1 assist, +3 rating).

Black Star: Zdeno Chara...he was not that dominant defender that we are used to seeing. A couple of turnovers and no big hits. At this point, who cares. He is a champion.

When I first started this blog, I wanted to keep it going for as long as possible. Sometimes I feel that it was fate that the year I started this blog was the year that the Bruins won the Stanley Cup. As a Boston sports fan, I truly have been spoiled. My generation has had the pleasure of seeing all four major sports teams win a championship for this city. The Boston Bruins embraced this city and they are exactly what we look for in a team. Thank you to Claude Julien, Peter Chiarelli, and Cam Neely for putting together this team. Thank you to all of the past players that contributed to this season like Matt Hunwick, Mark Stuart, and Blake Wheeler. Thank you to Marc Savard and Nathan Horton who missed time due to injury. The youth of this team is amazing. This Stanley Cup run will be something Boston fans will be getting used to because this could only be the beginning.

To all of the people who read my blog this season, I appreciate it and I thank you. Even though there are some bandwagon fans out there, that exists everywhere to be honest and the fan support of any kind is appreciated by the team of choice. I will keep updating this blog throughout the summer for the latest news on the black and gold. See you all next season.


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