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Round 2
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Stanley Cup Final
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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I've been getting frustrated lately, and the only thing keeping me sane was the team winning and other people stepping up and scoring. Then you just kind of let it go and realize you can end the series with one shot, that frustration goes away for a brief moment, and that's what happened.

— Montreal forward Max Pacioretty after scoring the series winner in Game 4 -- his first career playoff goal -- to eliminate the Lightning and send the Canadiens into the second round