June 1, 2011

Finally, the Cup is here

by Dan Bilicki In: Ice Hockey

After watching a borderline terrible opening game to the NBA’s final, it’s time to move onto Lord Stanley’s tournament and look at the Vancouver-Boston series for perhaps the coolest trophy in sports.

Both teams come into this series with a ton of baggage. The Boston Bruins may not have won a Stanley Cup in 39 years, which I’m sure seems like forever to faithful of the Original Six squad, but the Canucks have an extra carry-on: Their entire country.

In their 41-year history, the Canucks have only made the final twice before now and have never won one. But being a team from Canada, there’s a whole country behind this team and even more pressure. After all, a team from north of the border hasn’t won the Cup since 1993, when the Montreal Canadiens brought it home. That’s a pretty lengthy drought considering that hockey is a national sport of Canada and an afterthought to most Americans.

On the ice, both teams are fairly evenly matched at the backend. The Bruins have Zdeno Chara, their man-mountain of a captain, on defence, but the Canucks have been getting a great all around effort from their defence. In net, Tim Thomas and Roberto Luongo – having recovered from a shaky first round – have been equally impressive between the pipes.

The big difference should be up front, where the Sedin twins ply their telepathic trade. The Bruins have had several guys step up to score at key moments – including gift from the Maple Leafs, Tyler Seguin – but there is just too much rare scoring power in the top two lines for the Canucks.

Prediction: Canucks in five.

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