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Posted On Wednesday, 06.15.2011 / 8:46 PM

NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final: Canucks vs. Bruins

Raymond gets raucous reception

The Bruins aren't the only team that hopes the sight of an injured player will rev things up.

Vancouver forward Mason Raymond, who suffered a fractured vertebra early in Game 6, sent the Rogers Arena crowd into an uproar when he stood and waved a towel during the first TV timeout 7:27 into Game 7.

The sellout crowd of 18,860 hit a peak decibel count of 112 as they watched on the big screen as Raymond, wearing a brace to protect his injured back, waved his towel.

The Canucks say they hope Raymond will be back in the lineup by late November. For now, he'll have to settle for the role of head cheerleader.

In Game 6, Boston fans roared when forward Nathan Horton, injured in Game 3, made a similar appearance. Horton was able to travel with the team to Vancouver for Game 7.

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Posted On Wednesday, 06.15.2011 / 8:40 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final: Canucks vs. Bruins

Dropkick Murphys front man glad to be in Vancouver

Ken Casey had no problem making an extra trip to Vancouver on Wednesday.

Casey, the front man for Boston punk rock group Dropkick Murphys, hopped on the plane Boston chartered for family and staff that left Massachusetts this morning to attend Game 7.

"To think this organization has never been involved in a Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Final and here I am at the first one, it’s pretty powerful stuff," said Casey, who will be back in Vancouver later this month when the Murphys play the Commodore Ballroom here in support of their critically acclaimed new album, "Going  Out in Style."

But first there is some hockey business here to be attended to.

Casey has been a long-time season-ticket holder for the Bruins, and he believes his club has a good chance of winning the Cup on Wednesday night.

"If they play physical they have a chance," he said. "When this club plays physical, you have seen it all year long, they are at their best. It is a good sign that they have been talking about it for the past two days."

Casey is the first to admit he hasn’t always been so optimistic. He almost gave up his season tickets a few years ago, but a last-minute intervention by former Boston player Don Sweeney, now with the Bruins' front office, saved the day.

"I was talking with Sweeney about that on the plane out here," Casey said, standing outside Rogers Arena and taking some good-natured heckling from Vancouver fans. "They really put their money where their mouth was and built a great team and now here we are."

If the Bruins win Wednesday night and claim the Cup, the Murphys will likely play a big part in the championship parade back in Boston, just as they did when the Red Sox won their recent titles.
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Posted On Wednesday, 06.15.2011 / 1:02 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final: Canucks vs. Bruins

Thomas could set new mark with Conn Smythe win.

After allowing a single goal or less in four of the first six Stanley Cup Final games, the general consensus heading into Game 7 is that Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas might win the Conn Smythe Trophy regardless of which team wins Wednesday (8 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, RDS). If Thomas does win the Smythe, it could be a notable moment in the history of this coveted award.

At age 37, Thomas would become the oldest player ever to win the playoff MVP. Currently that distinction is held by another goaltender, Glenn Hall, who earned the honor in 1968 at age 36 with the St. Louis Blues, which lost in the Final to the Montreal Canadiens. If, like Hall, Thomas wins the Smythe in a losing effort, he would become the sixth player -- five of them goalies -- to do so.

Not long ago, this award was reserved primarily for players in their 30s. Between 1996 and 2002, seven consecutive Smythe winners were 32 or older. That streak included Scott Stevens, who was a few months shy of Hall’s record when he won the award in 2000. In more recent years, however, the race for Conn Smythe has been a young man's game. Four of the last six winners have been 24 or younger and the last two -- Jonathan Toews and Evgeni Malkin -- won it as 22-year-olds.

While Thomas would become just the sixth player to earn the honor at age 34 or older, 14 players age 24 or younger have won the Smythe. Incidentally, there is one player who appears on both lists. Three-time winner Patrick Roy was just 20 when he became the youngest-ever recipient of the Smythe, with the Canadiens in 1986. In 2001, he won it again with the Avalanche at age 35.

There are other goaltending records in play for Thomas. With one more stop, he will establish a new record for saves in a playoff season, this after establishing a new benchmark for save percentage in the regular season. If Thomas captures the Smythe and the Vezina this season, he’ll be just the third goalie to do so, after the Flyers’ Bernie Parent and Ron Hextall.

Not bad for an old man.
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Posted On Wednesday, 06.15.2011 / 12:00 PM

By Emily Kaplan -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final: Canucks vs. Bruins

Total eclipse of the Cup?

The stars might be aligned just right for Boston to win Game 7 tonight.

As the Canucks and Bruins prepare take the ice in Vancouver for the decisive game in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, people in parts of Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia will be staring up at the sky to see the first total lunar eclipse of 2011.

The more than 100-minute event -- the longest lunar eclipse in nearly 11 years -- will feature the moon passing behind the Earth so that the Earth blocks the sun's rays from striking the moon.

It won't be visible at all in North America -- but that doesn't mean Bostonians aren't paying attention.

In 2004, when the Boston Red Sox swept the St. Louis Cardinals to win the World Series, a lunar eclipse occurred on the night of the Game 4 clincher.

The World Series victory snapped an 86-year championship drought for the Red Sox as they broke the "Curse of the Bambino." The Bruins haven't won a Stanley Cup since 1972.

However, the Earth and moon aligning isn't the only superstition going on in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. The Canucks have a good luck omen of their own.

Vancouver was the host city for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Prior to that, each time the Olympics were held in Canada, the host city's NHL team won the Stanley Cup the next year. The list includes the 1977 Canadiens after the 1976 Montreal Games, and the 1989 Flames after the 1988 Calgary Games.

So which superstition wins out, the bizarre galactic coincidence or the simple Olympic tradition? Tune in to Game 7 to find out.


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Posted On Monday, 06.13.2011 / 9:45 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final: Canucks vs. Bruins

Historic first period at TD Garden

History was made at TD Garden during the first period of Game 6 on Monday night.

During a wild opening 20 minutes, the Boston Bruins set the Stanley Cup Final record for the fastest four goals by one team as they accomplished the feat in 4:14. The previous record was 5:29, set in Game 4 of the 1956 Stanley Cup Final by the Montreal Canadiens against Detroit.

The  Bruins also tied the Stanley Cup Final record for the most first-period goals by one team. Twelve other teams scored four times in a first period, but it hadn't been done in 15 years, as the Colorado Avalanche were the last team to do it in 1996 against Florida.

Also, Brad Marchand's first-period goal made him the fifth rookie in NHL history with as many as nine goals in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He also became the 11th rookie with as many as 16 points in one postseason.

Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo, who is 3-0 in Vancouver in this series, was pulled 8:35 into the first period Monday night. He has allowed 15 goals on 66 shots in Boston and has an 8.05 goals-against average and .773 save percentage.

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Posted On Saturday, 06.11.2011 / 1:59 AM

By Dhiren Mahiban -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final: Canucks vs. Bruins

Fans in frenzy after Game 5 win

VANCOUVER – An estimated crowd of 70,000 to 100,000 people were in the downtown core for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final -- and many of them will now likely party into the early hours of Saturday morning after the Canucks beat the Boston Bruins 1-0.

By 3 p.m. local time, bars along Water Street in Gastown had significant lineups, and bar patios along Burrard Street were at capacity well before puck drop.

Georgia Street, one of the city's main arteries in to the downtown core, was shut down at noon on Friday to accommodate those who planned to watch the game on a large screen set up at the intersection of Georgia and Hamilton, outside of the CBC's Vancouver bureau.

Once the final buzzer sounded, three to four city blocks were jammed with fans taking in the game.

If the scene after Vancouver's 3-2 win in Game 2 win last Saturday night was any indication, traffic will not be getting through on Granville Street, in the city's popular entertainment district, until well into Saturday morning.

Canucks fans have been waiting 17 long years to see their team get back to the Stanley Cup Final, and coming on the heels of the 2010 Winter Olympics last February, have been using the Final run to re-create the festive atmosphere created by the Olympics.

Fans will pour into Rogers Arena by the thousands once again on Monday night to take in Game 6 on the big screen. Canucks Sports and Entertainment has opened the building to fans at $10 a ticket, with proceeds going to charity.

Games 3 and 4 sold out, and tickets were fetching over $100 on sites like Craigslist.

Many in Vancouver feel a Stanley Cup win will be bigger than the Olympic gold won by Canada last winter. It will be to no one's surprise that the celebration will be larger, and last longer, if the Canucks can cash in.

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Posted On Friday, 06.10.2011 / 5:34 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final: Canucks vs. Bruins

Thomas, Luongo follow different paths to Final

While Roberto Luongo and Tim Thomas were both nominated for the Vezina Trophy this season and represented their countries at the 2010 Olympics, any similarities between the opposing Stanley Cup Final goaltenders end with how they entered the League.

In 1994, Thomas was selected in the ninth round by the Quebec Nordiques -- in a round that no longer exists by a team that no longer exists. By the time Luongo was drafted with the fourth pick in the 1997 first round, the highest selection ever used on a goaltender, Thomas was shuttling between three different leagues on two different continents.

Today they're battling for the Stanley Cup.

For some time, taking goalies at the top of the draft was a recipe for Stanley Cup success. In fact, from 1976 to 1998, 10 of the 11 starting goaltenders who won the Stanley Cup were taken in the third round or higher. That all changed in 1999, when the undrafted Ed Belfour led the Stars to Lord Stanley over 10th-round selection Dominik Hasek of the Sabres. That Final marked the first time in the modern era that two goaltenders so overlooked in the Draft faced off in the Final. The feat was practically duplicated three years later, when Hasek faced off against fellow 10th-rounder Arturs Irbe.
 
These exploits marked something of a shift in where goalies came from in their quest for Stanley Cup glory. In fact, since 1998, goalies undrafted or selected behind their counterpart have gone 8-4 in the Final. Coupled with the undrafted Antti Niemi hoisting the Cup last season, that bodes well for Thomas and the Bruins. But it’s not an exact science.

Four of the last seven Cup-winning goalies have been first-rounders, starting with the 2003 series, the first in the modern era to see two opening-round netminders -- Martin Brodeur and Jean-Sebastien Giguere -- face off. If nothing else, it all shows how a goaltender can follow a variety of paths towards Lord Stanley's Cup.

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Posted On Thursday, 06.09.2011 / 8:51 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final: Canucks vs. Bruins

Bruins ready for world-class Luongo in Game 5

VANCOUVER -- Tim Thomas has allowed one goal in the last two games and all of Vancouver can't stop talking about him. He's red-hot and whether the Canucks want to admit it or keep trying to fool themselves, in all likelihood Thomas is in their heads, dominating the mental game in the Stanley Cup Final.

On the flip side, Roberto Luongo has allowed 12 goals in the last two games and all of Boston can't stop talking about him. He's ice cold, but the Bruins insist they are not in his head.

Can it go both ways like that? Even if the Bruins do think they've got Luongo on tilt, do you really think they'd admit it?

"I don't think we're in Luongo's head at all," Brad Marchand said Thursday afternoon once the Bruins arrived in Vancouver. "He's one of those goalies that can shake a game off and get a shutout the next game. We just have to pray we're fortunate enough to get even one (Friday) night."

C'mon, really? Marchand has to be playing some of his own head games with that quote

Fortunate to get even one? They scored 12 over two games against Luongo in Boston.

"A lot of the goals have been kind of the not-so-straight-shot goals, so I don't think it's going to hurt his confidence at all," Rich Peverley, Boston's offensive hero in Game 4, told NHL.com. "He's a top caliber goalie, one of the best in the League. You know he's going to bring his 'A' game (Friday)."

Shawn Thornton said the same thing when he was asked about the Bruins' potentially being in Luongo's head. Despite the fact that Luongo was sieve-like at TD Garden, the Bruins' expectation is that he returns to being world-class in Game 5.

Luongo has given up four or more goals in back-to-back games twice in these playoffs, but he's also given up two or fewer goals in 13 of his 21 starts. He allowed four or more goals eight times during the regular season, including three games in a row in October.

"The guy doesn't have a gold medal for no reason. He can play," Thornton said. "I don't think anybody assumes we're in his kitchen now. He's going to have an unbelievable game (Friday) night, I'm sure. I know we're going to have our hands full."

So will Luongo.

"We have to keep playing the same way and that's all we need to worry about," Patrice Bergeron said. "Just keep doing the same thing we've been doing."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Thursday, 06.09.2011 / 4:52 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final: Canucks vs. Bruins

Thornton excited for first game in Vancouver

VANCOUVER -- After coming straight from Vancouver International Airport to Rogers Arena, the usually energetic and quick-witted Shawn Thornton didn't seem himself Thursday. Of course, the party line among the players in the visiting locker room here was despite winning two straight games in Boston, the series was simply tied 2-2 and there was nothing to celebrate.

But come on, Shawn. You're not the least bit excited?

"You probably can't tell right now because I just got off the plane, but I'm pretty excited," Thornton cracked.

The rigors of six-hour, cross-country flights mixed with the grueling intensity of the Stanley Cup Final against the Vancouver Canucks will wear down even the toughest of players. But with Game 5 about 24 hours away, Thornton feels the Bruins' complete performance in a 4-0 victory in Game 4 won't be enough if they want to win at Rogers Arena.

"We're going to have to play a lot better than we did yesterday because we know they're going to be a lot better," Thornton said. "We have to put in the same effort, if not more. Nothing special happened. We've just evened up the series. I think we've done a good job of keeping our focus."

Thornton spent the first two games of the series watching from the press box, so this will be his first crack at playing in Vancouver during this series. After losing a pair of one-goal games here to open the series, the Bruins dismantled the Canucks 12-1 in two games in Boston.

Have the Bruins figured out the Canucks?

"There's a little more familiarity with these guys now," Thornton said. "Maybe we were a little surprised the first couple games. The game's a lot easier up there (in the press box). We know what to expect. I don't know if that's easier or not. It's the same on both sides, right? So they know what to expect too."

So does Thornton, whose excitement is perhaps tempered because he knows his role on the Bruins.

"They have last change," Thornton said,  "so I don't know how much ice time I'll be getting."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
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Posted On Wednesday, 06.08.2011 / 11:17 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final: Canucks vs. Bruins

Home-ice advantage is key at Stanley Cup Final

Once again, it's the home team that has reigned supreme in the Stanley Cup Final.

With the Boston Bruins' 4-0 win against the Vancouver Canucks in Game 4 at TD Garden on Wednesday night, home clubs improved to 4-0 in the Stanley Cup Final for the third consecutive season.

In 2009, the home team won the first six games before the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Detroit Red Wings in Game 7 at Joe Louis Arena. In 2010, the home team was 5-0 until Patrick Kane's goal lifted the Chicago Blackhawks over the Philadelphia Flyers in overtime of Game 6 at the Wells Fargo Center.

In the 20 years prior to 2009, the home team won the first four games just once. That happened in 2003, when the New Jersey Devils beat the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in seven games.

With Boston's win on Wednesday night, home teams improved to 15-2 in the Stanley Cup Final since 2009.
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Posted On Tuesday, 06.07.2011 / 7:46 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final: Canucks vs. Bruins

Marchand, Recchi bridge generation gap in Final

With his goal in Game 2, Bruins’ forward Mark Recchi became the oldest player to score in the Stanley Cup Final. With two more goals in Game 3, Recchi built on that record while making a considerably younger linemate a part of hockey history.

With an assist on Recchi’s second goal Monday night, Bruins’ rookie Brad Marchand contributed to a fascinating piece of Stanley Cup lore. Recchi, the oldest active player in the League at age 43, is 20 years, three months, and 10 days older than Marchand, an age disparity that is among the widest ever between two players combining for a Stanley Cup Final goal. To put things in perspective, Recchi was drafted by the Penguins one month after Marchand was born.

Since 1997, the only two players who have come close to matching this distinction are Jiri Fischer and Igor Larionov, who was the oldest player to score in the Cup Final before Recchi got his Game 2 marker. In 2002, Larionov, 41, took a pass from Fischer, 21, and found the back of the Carolina Hurricanes’ net to help lead the Red Wings to the Cup. At 19 years, seven months, and 28 days, their mammoth age gap still couldn’t match Recchi and Marchand.

This mix of youthful energy and veteran leadership has boded well for previous Stanley Cup champions. In fact, since 1997, teammates with at least a 15-year age difference who have combined for a Cup Final goal have gone 6-2 in the series. In 2004, 40-year-old Dave Andreychuk finished his career by setting up 24-year-old Conn Smythe Trophy winner Brad Richards for the game-winner in Game 4 of the Final. Five years later, 38-year-old Bill Guerin set up 22-year-old Conn Smythe winner Evgeni Malkin in Game 2.

While these goals don’t occur often, 21-year-old Alex Tanguy helped lead Colorado to the 2001 Cup by finishing separate passing plays from Ray Bourque (40) and Dave Reid (36)

If anyone can draw any meaning from young and old combining for a Cup Final goal, it’s probably Recchi. In the 2006 Final with the Hurricanes, a 38-year-old Recchi scored off an assist from 21-year-old Eric Staal. Even on that team, Recchi was the oldest player on the roster. 


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Posted On Tuesday, 06.07.2011 / 4:07 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final: Canucks vs. Bruins

Teams get rid of 'garbage'

NHL Vice President of Hockey Operations Mike Murphy said Tuesday some of the post-whistle antics between the Vancouver Canucks and the Boston Bruins "has been addressed" with the teams.

Players from both sides have been taunting each other, stemming from Alexandre Burrows' biting of Patrice Bergeron's finger in a scrum at the end of the first period in Game 1. Maxim Lapierre stuck his fingers near Bergeron's face during Game 2, while Mark Recchi and Milan Lucic did the same to Vancouver players in Game 3.

"We will deal with the issues of the series, the chippy-ness that's going on," Murphy said. "(Vice President of Hockey Operations) Kris King is in charge of the series. We've addressed it. We've addressed it with the teams as early as this morning. I will be speaking with both general managers and coaches before the day's over about what we are seeing, the garbage that is going on, some of the issues."

There has been plenty of extracurricular activity by both teams after the whistle in this series. When the Bruins took a big lead in Game 3, some of that boiled over. Boston's Shawn Thornton earned a misconduct penalty for an extended facewash on Vancouver's Ryan Kesler, who later fought Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg after some post-whistle jostling between the two.

Boston's Andrew Ference and Vancouver's Daniel Sedin also earned misconducts for their part in an altercation after the whistle had been blown.

"We've addressed that and realize that's one of our strengths. We're not going to feed the animosity after whistles," Vancouver center Manny Malhotra said. "We're not going to gain anything from it and the referees are starting to crack down on the nonsense after the whistles. Our focus is on playing between the whistles.

"I think it's the nature of playoff hockey. As the series goes on, the rivalries and the animosity grows. I think that was an effect of being in the playoffs (Monday). You see a lot more hostility toward one another. But we've cleaned that up and we realize where our focus needs to be."

Both Lucic and Recchi said they were reprimanded by the Boston coaching staff after their taunting acts.

"I got in trouble for that," Recchi said. "(Julien) gave me heck for that. We didn't know this morning that he said something.  You know, it's emotional out there. But it won't happen again. Obviously when it happens to one of your teammates, they kind of mock you a little bit, when it happened in Game 1, it was a little bit -- you know, it's a little bit of frustration on our part. It is what it is, and we'll forget about it and get ready for the next game."
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Posted On Tuesday, 06.07.2011 / 3:41 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final: Canucks vs. Bruins

Nasty boy Canucks

BOSTON -- Alexandre Burrows' had his biting incident with Patrice Bergeron in Game 1. Maxim Lapierre waved his finger in Bergeron's face in Game 2, daring him to chomp down. And, in Game 3, Ryan Kesler cross checked Dennis Seidenberg in the back enough times to make the Bruins' defenseman want to fight and Raffi Torres just missed with a flying elbow.

With all of this out front and center, it was no surprise that Vancouver captain Henrik Sedin was asked not once, but twice about if his team is comfortable being labeled as the nasty boys of this Stanley Cup Final?

Henrik's first response was a brush off.

"We don't really care," he said. "If people from the outside want to say what they want, that's fine."

When he was asked the same question again, he laughed and asked, "Are we?" When the reporter said, "That's what people are saying," Henrik responded, "Yeah, in Boston maybe."

Well, that is true. But, that's also part of being the villain, a role the Canucks don't seem to bothered by right now.

"I know what kind of group we have," Henrik said. "We're a tight group, honest players. There are guys that are going to maybe cross the line a little bit, but again, we're talking about gray areas. I don't think we're the dirtiest team in the playoffs. I don't think that by far. A lot of attention gets put on our team because we are where we are right now. That's the way it's going to be."


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Posted On Tuesday, 06.07.2011 / 1:20 AM

By Emily Kaplan -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final: Canucks vs. Bruins

Bruins regret taunting Canucks in Game 3

While the Bruins walked away from Game 3 with an 8-1 victory, some Boston players expressed remorse about their behavior throughout the game.
 
Bruins forwards Mark Recchi and Milan Lucic were both caught taunting the Canucks, waving their fingers in the faces of Vancouver players during scrums.

The actions came hours after Boston coach Claude Julien told the media that Vancouver's Maxim Lapierre was "making a mockery" of the game with a similar taunt in Game 2.

The origin of the taunting exchange was in Game 1 of the series, when Canucks forward Alexandre Burrows apparently bit Boston's Patrice Bergeron's finger during a scrum. In Game 2, Lapierre teased Bergeron by waving his finger in front of his mouth.

"I said this morning that I wouldn't accept it on our team,'' Julien said. "It happened a couple of times [Monday night]. They've been told that I don't want any of that stuff. You've got to live by your words. It was disappointing for me to see that happen after what I said this morning, but part of it is my fault for not bringing it up [enough] to the guys. They did it. Emotions got the better of them.''

When Recchi was asked about giving Lapierre a taste of his own medicine, the forward laughed.

"I got in trouble for that," Recchi said. "Coach gave me heck for that.  We didn't know this morning that he said something.  You know, it's emotional out there.  But it won't happen again.  You know, it's an emotional game.  You get involved.  Obviously when it happens to one of your teammates, they kind of mock you a little bit, when it happened in Game 1, it was a little bit -- you know, it's a little bit of frustration on our part.  It is what it is, and we'll forget about it and get ready for the next game."

Lucic, meanwhile, said he "for sure" regrets taunting Burrows.

"It's something this team isn't about and that I'm not about," Lucic said. "It's definitely a classless move. Claude talked about it. He definitely gave me some heat after the game about it. You regret doing it but, heat of the moment type of thing, things like that will happen."
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Posted On Monday, 06.06.2011 / 2:35 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final: Canucks vs. Bruins

Lapierre's antics wearing thin with Bruins

Maxim Lapierre is no favorite among the Boston Bruins.

Players are still seething over Lapierre's behavior in Game 2 when he taunted Bruins center Patrice Bergeron with his gloved hand. The taunt was in reference to Bergeron’s allegation that Vancouver's Alexandre Burrows had bitten him during a scrum in Game 1.

The NHL ruled after Game 1 that the Burrows biting incident was not an intentional bite and he was not suspended. Burrows then went on to score two goals -- including the OT winner -- in Game 2.

Boston coach Claude Julien said Monday morning that Lapierre has stepped over the line with that taunt.

"If it's acceptable for them, then so be it," Julien said after the morning skate at TD Garden in preparation for Game 3. "Certainly wouldn't be acceptable on our end of it. I think you know me enough to know that. Not much I can say on that. The NHL rules on something. They decide to make a mockery of it, that's totally up to them. If that's their way of handling things, so be it.”

Later, in comments in French to the French-language media covering the series, Julien further suggested that Lapierre's behavior isn’t even acceptable to his teammates.

"It's one of the reasons he played for three teams this year," Julien said in French, according to several reports.


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Posted On Sunday, 06.05.2011 / 2:25 AM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final: Canucks vs. Bruins

Thomas pays price for aggressive goaltending

Tim Thomas is an aggressive goaltender, maybe the most aggressive in the NHL.

Being aggressive is part of his personality, and it often enables him to make brilliant saves. He challenges shooters, often coming out of the blue paint to cut off angles and not let the bodies in front of him affect his ability to make the save.

But every now and then, opponents are able to use that aggressiveness against him. Both of the game-winning goals in this 2011 Stanley Cup Final have come on plays where Thomas came out of his net and the Canucks were able to counter it.

"I think at the stage we're at right now, if I ask him to change his style, I'm not sure that's real good advice," Boston coach Claude Julien said.

Raffi Torres directed a pass from Jannik Hansen past Thomas with 18.5 seconds left in Game 1. Thomas came out to challenge Hansen, who was skating in from the right point, and the Danish forward sent the puck to Torres cutting toward the left post.

Alexandre Burrows also drew Thomas away from the cage with a shot fake as he broke down left wing early in overtime of Game 2. Thomas overcommitted on the play, so Burrows went behind the net and slipped in the game-winner on a wraparound before Thomas could recover.
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Posted On Sunday, 06.05.2011 / 2:20 AM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final: Canucks vs. Bruins

Burrows the unlikeliest of heroes

On a team full of first-round picks, a free agent led the way again Saturday night.

Despite missing 306 man games during the regular season -- seventh-most in the League, the Vancouver Canucks were able to find enough interchangeable parts to capture the Presidents' Trophy this season. A quick scan of their roster shows where much of that team depth comes from.

If most of the NHL's top young talent is selected in the Entry Draft's first round, then the Canucks enjoy an embarrassment of riches.

The roster Vancouver fielded for Game 2 against the Bruins boasted nine first-round picks -- Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, Ryan Kesler, Roberto Luongo, Manny Malhotra, Raffi Torres, Chris Higgins, Cory Schneider, and Jeff Tambellini. That doesn't even include Dan Hamhuis and Keith Ballard, two first-rounders who didn't play in Game 2. The team also iced three second-rounders in Maxim Lapierre, Mason Raymond, and Victor Oreskovich. That's more than half the roster taken in the first two rounds of the Draft.

But despite fielding among the League's finest collections of Draft Day talent, it was the Vancouver's only undrafted player who was the star in Game 2's 3-2 victory. With three points, including the winning goal 11 seconds into overtime, Alexandre Burrows followed a very different path to the Stanley Cup Final.
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Posted On Sunday, 06.05.2011 / 1:36 AM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final: Canucks vs. Bruins

Sedins not happy with their performance despite win

VANCOUVER -- For taking up two-thirds of a line that scored two goals Saturday night, Henrik and Daniel Sedin were pretty upset with the way they played in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final.

"We played a lot better last game than we did tonight," Henrik said following Vancouver's 3-2 overtime win. "Tonight was maybe our worst game of the playoffs and we were able to score two goals. That's how it is sometimes."

Daniel Sedin scored the game-tying goal with 10:37 to play in regulation and Alex Burrows scored the winner 11 seconds into overtime. Burrows had the primary assist on Daniel's goal and Daniel had the primary assist on Burrows' goal. Henrik was on the ice for both.

However, the Sedins and Burrows were bottled up for most of the first two periods and didn't truly spring to life until after Daniel scored his goal. They finally started to find some time and space in the offensive zone when the game was tied at 2-2, and that's probably due to the fact that they began to wear down Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara, who was their shadow all night long.

Daniel finished with the goal, assist and four shots. Henrik had no points for the second straight game and won only four of 13 faceoffs to drop his record to just 12-26 in the series. Burrows had a huge night with two goals, an assist and five hits, but he was also limited offensively in the 37-plus minutes between his first goal and Daniels' tying goal.

"I thought our line didn't play that good, but we probably got rewarded for all the chances we had last game," Daniel said.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Saturday, 06.04.2011 / 10:59 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final: Canucks vs. Bruins

2011 has most OT games since 2003

The Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks ended Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final even at 2-2, producing the 22nd overtime of this year's playoffs.

It's the most overtime games in a single playoff year since 22 of the 89 games played in 2003 went into overtime, and is tied for the third-highest total in playoff history. The 22 OT games in 2003 included Games 3 and 4 of the Final, both of which were won by Anaheim at home against New Jersey.

The record for most overtime games in one playoff year is 28, set in 85 games in 1993. The 2001 playoffs are next with 26, in 86 games.
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Posted On Saturday, 06.04.2011 / 12:56 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final: Canucks vs. Bruins

Everyone is dying for Game 2 to get here

When there are two days off between games without a travel day in between, that means media and players will have a lot of time to fill with very little to talk about.

Game 1 of this series was Wednesday. That means reporters peppered players with questions after the game Wednesday, then at practice Thursday and Friday, then again Saturday morning. By the time Saturday rolls around, everyone is desperate for a hockey game to be played, just so there's not another question to ask or answer.

"I think everyone's dying to get back at it," Bruins forward Nathan Horton said. "It's been a long two days. We need to be better and we know we can. That's what we talked about."

Defenseman Tomas Kaberle, who has been available for reporters Thursday, Friday and then again today, was standing with just two reporters around him while other players had larger gatherings. But before anyone could ask a question, almost out of desperation, he asked to wait for more reporters to come to him just so he wouldn't have to answer the same questions over... and over ... and over ... and over again.

Coach Claude Julien also met with reporters for a third straight day. It was business as usual during his press conference, but he wasn't sitting close enough to the microphone to be heard. Cameramen in the back of the room made the problem aware to him, so Julien pulled the microphone closer.

"Test, test," he said.

Not that it wasn't funny, but it was as if the room was filled with fraternity brothers and Dane Cook was performing. After three days, we're all desperate for something new.

For the players, that something new tonight will be not feeling the same nerves they felt in Game 1.

"That Stanley Cup title might be in your head for Game 1," Tyler Seguin said. "I was nervous for sure. Now you know what it's like. You got your feet wet."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
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Posted On Saturday, 06.04.2011 / 12:50 AM

By Derek Jory -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final: Canucks vs. Bruins

A lot riding on the Cup

Losing is a painful experience, especially in the Stanley Cup Final. A bet between friends has ensured it’s going to even more painful and permanent for one of them.

Five years ago Jamie Meegan and Ryan LeSage were sitting around the lunchroom at NRI Distribution in Kamloops, B.C., talking hockey. That conversation turned into spirited discourse, then angry arguing, which morphed into a hectic dispute.

Meegan, a lifelong fan of the Vancouver Canucks, and LeSage, a Boston Bruins diehard, were in the midst of painful off-seasons for their teams, but both had faith their squad would hoist the Stanley Cup before the other.

A money wager seemed too simple and temporary embarrassment wasn’t enough, so when co-worker Will Jordan spawned the idea of the loser having to get a tattoo of the winning team’s logo, the pair shook hands and made if official. Never in a million years did the counterparts imagine their teams would be going head-to-head for the Holy Grail, meaning they’d be going head-to-head in The Bet.

“To be honest,” said LeSage, a 30-year-old from Ontario, told the Canucks’ website, “we wouldn’t be talking to you if only one of the teams was in. It’s pretty phenomenal and amazing that it rolled out like this.”

“Ryan was all over it immediately,” said Meegan, 32, from Kamloops, B.C. “I was on the fence for a bit, then it became a reality.”

The official rules of The Bet are as follows:

-- Whichever of the Vancouver Canucks (Jamie’s Team) or the Boston Bruins (Ryan’s Team) wins the Stanley Cup next, the loser will tattoo the logo of the winning team on their body; basically the loser gets a tattoo of the team they hate the most.

-- The tattoo must be at least the size of a regulation NHL hockey puck (three inches in diameter). It can be placed anywhere on the body but must be shown (in any social situation) at the request of the winner. The tattoo will be completed within 48 hours of the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Final – and the winner pays

After the Canucks’ 1-0 win in Game 1, it’s advantage Meegan, but there’s a lot of hockey left to be played before needle hits skin.


 

 

 

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Posted On Friday, 06.03.2011 / 8:46 PM

By Compiled By -  NHL.com Staff /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final: Canucks vs. Bruins

Congressmen celebrate Bruins' trip to Final

Reps. Michael Capuano and Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts celebrated the Boston Bruins participation in the Stanley Cup Final at the Samuel Adams statue on Friday.

Both Congressmen represent the City of Boston and are founding members of the Congressional Hockey Caucus, a bipartisan group of lawmakers who support youth hockey in America, particularly programs for disadvantaged and disabled youth who might not otherwise be able to afford to play hockey -- including support for the NHL's Hockey is for Everyone and NHL Street  programs, as well as USA Hockey's youth hockey initiatives.
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Posted On Thursday, 06.02.2011 / 9:01 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final: Canucks vs. Bruins

Something's Bruin in Boston

The city of Boston has embraced the Bruins during their run to the Stanley Cup Final, and that was evident when the television ratings for Game 1 where released Thursday.

Game 1 between the Bruins and the Vancouver Canucks earned a 3.2 overnight rating and a 6 share nationally, making it the most-watched opening game of the Final series since 1999. A big reason for that was the huge numbers in Boston, where the game had a 25.5 rating and a 39 share.

"I think it's great news. It's awesome," Bruins center Patrice Bergeron said. "To be honest, back home we could feel it. The whole city was really behind us. They still are behind us throughout the playoffs and the season. It means a lot to us. Obviously we want to do it for them. But we can feel all the support and that's something great."

To put it into perspective, Game 1 actually had better ratings in Boston than Game 1 of the 2010 NBA Finals, which featured the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers.

The Boston Red Sox have also moved the start time of their game Saturday to allow fans to watch Game 2 of the Cup Final and still attend the contest at Fenway Park.

"That's the respect there is in Boston as far as the Red Sox are concerned," coach Claude Julien said. "They're big fans of ours and we're big fans of theirs. That's something that has been going on for a long time now. That's what Boston is all about. They're supportive of all their teams.

"Obviously, hockey for the longest of times was something so big in Boston. It kind of lost its luster in those difficult times. I think right now what we're seeing is it's certainly coming back in the right direction. It's been a lot of fun being part of it."
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Posted On Thursday, 06.02.2011 / 6:45 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final: Canucks vs. Bruins

Canucks 'relieved' not to lose Burrows

Canucks forward Alex Burrows has come under some fire for his biting incident with Patrice Bergeron at the end of the first period Wednesday night. However, his teammates don't believe any of the negative publicity will have an effect on the way he prepares and eventually plays in Game 2.

They say Burrows has matured too much to be bothered by such crazy things.

"I think he's starting to realize how good he is," Daniel Sedin said. "He doesn't need to do those kinds of things. He's too good of a player to do that. I haven't seen yesterday's incident, but that's not him anymore."

Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault went as far as saying that Burrows was not undisciplined in Game 1 and that he played a solid game save for a holding penalty he took in the offensive zone 10:18 into the first period. Burrows was whistled for four minor penalties, including the double he got for roughing with Bergeron at the end of the first.

Burrows, who said Bergeron's finger went into his mouth but he did not bite down, was not given the opportunity to stick up for himself on Thursday as he wasn't made available to the media at the University of British Columbia. It was up to his teammates to do the talking, and, to a certain extent, defend him.

Their comments leaned heavily in favor of what Burrows brings to the team, and specifically to the top line. None of them seemed to understand why there was so much fuss over the alleged bite, and most said they didn't even see it.

"He'd be good on any line, but with us he's a great forechecker, reads the play really well and he's a smart player," Daniel Sedin said. "He doesn't do anything extremely well, but he does a lot of things well."

Daniel added that the Canucks were relieved to learn that NHL Senior V.P. of Hockey Operations Mike Murphy chose not to suspend Burrows over the biting incident.

"We need him out there," he said. "He plays in every situation. Big part of this team. Obviously we're happy to have him inside the rink."

Even Bergeron, the alleged victim, was ready to move on from the incident.

"I'm over it," Bergeron said. "I'm looking forward to the next game. I don't want to whine about that stuff. I don't care."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Thursday, 06.02.2011 / 6:05 PM

By Dhiren Mahiban -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final: Canucks vs. Bruins

Malhotra remains 'day-to-day' for Canucks

VANCOUVER -- For the third consecutive day injured Canucks center Manny Malhotra did not skate with his teammates. Coach Alain Vigneault maintained the 31-year-old is "day-to-day."

Malhotra last skated with his teammates on Monday participating in a 40-minute scrimmage, and was then paired alongside Maxim Lapierre on a penalty-killing unit as the Canucks worked on their special teams.

The former first-round pick of the New York Rangers began skating with his teammates, wearing a tracksuit, on May 12 and steadily progressed to the point where he was in full gear participating in entire on-ice workouts.

The Mississauga native last played March 16 when he was struck in the eye by a deflected puck. He’s undergone two separate procedures on his left eye, and was cleared for contact late last week.

Malhotra had 11 goals and 30 points in 72 regular season games with Vancouver.
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Posted On Thursday, 06.02.2011 / 4:50 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final: Canucks vs. Bruins

Thomas talks about leaving his crease

There was a point during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final when an official talked with Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas. The conversation happened not long after Thomas came a great distance out of his crease to cut down the angle of a shooter, so many people thought he was receiving a warning about coming out too far.

On Thursday, Thomas assured everyone he was told no such thing about curbing his aggressive style.

"That wasn't the discussion that I remember having with the ref at any point," Thomas said Thursday. "I don't really remember. I was focusing on the game. Even some of my little conversations, I don't even remember with the ref. But basically I have the right to go anywhere there's open ice. If I'm set, I have a right to that ice. If I'm out of the paint and I'm set, I also have the right to get right-of-way to get back to the crease. That's the way I understand it."

Many people believe when the goaltender leaves the crease, he's fair game and collisions with opposing players shouldn't result in an interference penalty. But Thomas is right -- as long as he is set, he can't be touched.

During Game 1, Thomas drew a tripping penalty on Alexandre Burrows when the two became tangled outside the crease, but nothing was called when Thomas and Daniel Sedin went tumbling to the ice.

On Thursday, Thomas was asked about his biggest challenges when it comes to players crowding his crease. He has spent his entire career in the Eastern Conference, so he hasn't dealt with Detroit's Tomas Holmstrom all that often. But one name came to Thomas' mind.

"Having played against Ryan Smyth quite a bit, he's good at getting his stick in front of your face by accident," Thomas said. "It's kind of like garage hockey. My uncles used to do it to me when I was a kid.

"But Tomas Holmstrom, he's very good at actually getting out of the way of the puck. He gets right in that lane. If you watch him, he's like the guy in The Matrix -- if it's a high shot, he rolls out of the way. That's what makes him so good.  And he's willing to just stand there and take any punishment whatsoever that you're willing to dish out."

Coach Claude Julien expects nothing to change Saturday in Game 2 with his goaltender's aggressiveness.

"That's his style. If he gets a chance to challenge, he challenges," Julien said. "If he steps out and he's got that ice, he's entitled to it.  That's what he's done through the whole process. If (Roberto) Luongo comes out of his net, he's got his ice, it's his, it belongs to him. The rule to me is pretty clear so I don't see any issues there."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
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Posted On Monday, 05.30.2011 / 6:38 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final: Canucks vs. Bruins

Recchi won't rely on past experiences

One would think Mark Recchi's two-plus decades of NHL experience will come in handy when the puck drops on the 2011 Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday night at Rogers Arena.

But the Boston Bruins' veteran forward strongly disagrees.

"You know what? It doesn't," the 43-year-old told reporters on Monday, two days before his team opens a best-of-seven series against the Vancouver Canucks. "At this point, it really doesn't matter. We've learned a lot through the course of the season with this group of guys. There's been some guys that have been through a lot. Same as Vancouver -- they've got some guys that have been through a lot. Some hardships, some good things, and it's just a matter of going out and playing and enjoying it. I mean, this is fun. It's exciting times for everybody."

It's been five years since Recchi was last in position to win a Stanley Cup, when he helped the Carolina Hurricanes win that franchise's lone championship in 2006. Considering there's a strong possibility this season will be his last in the NHL, the Bruins are hoping the Kamloops, British Columbia native can leave the game with one more piece of jewelry.

"It would be nice for a couple of reasons," Boston coach Claude Julien said. "Obviously his commitment especially to our team since he's been with us and the will to really go above and beyond his role as a player and really have taken some young players under his wing and has been bringing them home for meals, or whether he's talked to them about certain situations and certain times of the year. Some young guys go through slumps, and as a coach you can talk to those guys and try and do the best you can, encourage them and help them correct what needs to be corrected.

"But when you got a guy like Mark Recchi in the dressing room that will go up to this player and put his arm around him and say, 'Listen, I've been through this' and so on and so forth, these are the things that are part of the game. And coaches are as good as the people that surround them, and a lot of time you think it's just about assistant coaches or other people. It's also about their players, and when their players get it, they can certainly be a big asset to us because we come in the dressing room, we give them the message that we need to give them, but it has to be reinforced by players. And Mark [Recchi] has always been the one who, one of many in that dressing room that's done that. He's been a really valuable asset to our hockey club and he's got a lot of things to back it up with."

Certainly, it will take an all-hands-on-deck approach for the Bruins to win this series that pits them against the Presidents' Trophy winners. Vancouver racked up 54 victories and 117 points during the regular season and disposed of the No. 2 San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference Finals in just five games.

"We only played them once this year, so we haven't gone over really a lot of team stuff," Recchi said. "But, I mean obviously they're a Presidents' Trophy winner, they're a great hockey team, deep and well coached, and we'll look at things we have to do. I mean obviously, any key to your team's success is how you play personally. I think we focus on what we do ourselves. Our coaching staff will give us obviously their tendencies, and their coaching staff will give them our tendencies. It's who’s going to want it more and who's going to play to their abilities the best and their game plan the best."
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Posted On Sunday, 05.29.2011 / 7:40 PM

By David Kalan -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final: Canucks vs. Bruins

EA Sticks with its guns, takes Vancouver

Predictions are a funny thing, and getting them right from the start of the postseason is tricky enough. EA SPORTS has managed to do a pretty decent job with its EA SPORTS NHL '11 Simulation Engine, correctly predicting all but one of the 14 postseason series so far in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

But with the Final comes added pressure. EA SPORTS' reputation doesn't simply have two months of prognostications at stake when Boston and Vancouver drop the puck Wednesday night for the 2011 Stanley Cup Final.

There's a whole season of work on the line.

That's because EA SPORTS' simulations didn't just pick Vancouver and Boston to meet for this season's championship in April, this matchup was pegged way back in October. In an impressive Nostradamus act, EA SPORTS' preseason simulation accurately tabbed Vancouver to win the Presidents' Trophy before facing off with Boston for a chance to lift the Stanley Cup. In those initial predictions, the Canucks pulled through and won their first-ever Stanley Cup championship in a taut seven-game Final.

This time around, with a chance to take a mulligan, EA isn't wavering.

According to its latest predictions, the EA SPORTS NHL '11 Simulation Engine is sticking with the Canucks over Boston in what it expects to be a tight series that goes the distance. And that Presidents' Trophy? It factored in handily as the home team won each game, with one of the more thrilling moments an overtime win by the Bruins in Game 6 at TD Garden to force a decisive seventh game.

In the end, that momentum won't be enough for the B's however, as EA SPORTS has the Canucks holding on in front of the Rogers Arena crowd with a 3-1 win in Game 7. Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo is picked to take home the Conn Smythe Trophy.

If Vancouver winds up bringing the Cup back to Canada for the first time in 18 years, the people at EA SPORTS may want to begin investing in lottery tickets, but duplicating a 14-for-15 record would be an awfully tall order for 2012. For gamers who can't wait to see what kind of changes EA might make for next year's version of the game, which will be released in stores on Sept. 13, NHL '12 is already available for pre-order on XBOX 360 and Playstation 3 at the EA Store.

For the current playoff season, fans are invited to make their own predictions in the EA SPORTS NHL 2011 Playoff Bracket Contest at www.facebook.com/EASPORTSNHL. Participating fans can accrue points for correct predictions with the ultimate prize at the end of Stanley Cup Final of two tickets to the 2012 NHL All-Star Game in Ottawa on the line.

Final Round fan voting is now open at http://www.facebook.com/EASPORTSNHL.
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Quote of the Day

When we started our journey we made a commitment to our fans to be relevant and to see the Chicago Blackhawks become the best professional hockey organization. There are not two finer symbols of that than Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. The commitment we have made to these incredible young men is equal to the commitment they have made to our team, our fans, our entire organization and the city of Chicago.

— Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz on signing Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane to contract extensions