CHICAGO -- While the Chicago Blackhawks are expected to tweak each of their forward lines for Game 1 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS), the Boston Bruins will keep the status quo.
Boston coach Claude Julien has established a track record of preferring to keep his lineup intact so far this postseason. He's had to adjust for injuries -- the most recent being to forward Gregory Campbell -- but the Bruins used the same 12 forwards from Game 2 of the first round until Kaspars Daugavins replaced Campbell for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final.
"We've been together for a long time now," Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg said. "Most of us know each other and it doesn't matter who is paired up or who is playing together up front. I'm sure some guys like to play with certain guys, but we've been rotating a lot, especially on the back end."
CHICAGO -- After combining on the double-overtime goal that put the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Final, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews will be on separate lines at the start of Game 1 against the Boston Bruins on Wednesday at United Center (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).
Toews will center Chicago's first line, with Patrick Sharp on his left and Marian Hossa on his right. Kane will be back on the right side of Michal Handzus, with Bryan Bickell on the left wing. Toews, Kane and Bickell were a line for the second half of Game 4 and all of Game 5 of the Western Conference Final against the Los Angeles Kings.
"For the most part, I think we've had a lot of balance throughout the season with myself and [Toews] on different lines," Kane said. "You look at that top line with Hossa, Sharp and Toews -- they don't get much better than that. I think it's about balance."
For Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, there will be a little more than bragging rights on the line when the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins drop the puck Wednesday for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).
In a show of friendly competition, the governors placed a well-intentioned wager on the outcome of the series. Under terms of the bet, the losing team's state governor will spend a day volunteering at a food bank of the winning governor's choice. If the Bruins win, Quinn will work at the Greater Boston Food Bank. If the Blackhawks win, Patrick will volunteer at the Greater Chicago Food Depository.
"Gov. Patrick is skating on thin ice by betting against the mighty Chicago Blackhawks," Quinn said in a statement. "But the Greater Chicago Food Depository can always use extra help, so after he works a shift there, I'm happy to take Gov. Patrick to the United Center to see the Stanley Cup return home."
CHICAGO -- While Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final remains a few hours away Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS), it's never too early for the Boston Bruins' Brad Marchand and the Chicago Blackhawks' Andrew Shaw to begin waging a personal war of words.
During media day here at United Center on Tuesday, the agitators and big fan favorites couldn't resist the opportunity to speak about the other when the questions came fast and furious.
"We're both agitators," Shaw said. "We both play physical and we're always chirping. He's perfected it, and that's what I'm trying to do to my game. We both walk a fine line, and I've always looked up to him and admired him. It's going to be great to actually play against him once."
Boston won eight of nine games in the conference semifinals and finals, moving them into the Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks. Game 1 is scheduled for Wednesday at United Center (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).
There's no question that if Boston regains the Cup it won in 2011 that the 5-4 overtime victory against the Maple Leafs at TD Garden on May 13 will go down as the turning point of its season. The Bruins were just over 10 minutes away from losing a series they led 3-1 -- they lost Games 5 and 6, then fell behind by three goals in Game 7.
"When we got down to Toronto 4-1 in the third period, no one talked about it but knew that if we lost that game, no one would know who's coming back [on the roster]," Bruins forward Tyler Seguin said during media day at United Center on Tuesday. "We didn't know if we'd stick together one more year. But the boys dug down deep and won that game, and we've been a great hockey team ever since."
CHICAGO -- There is a street in a small city in Western Slovakia that might have divided allegiances during the 2013 Stanley Cup Final.
“It's going to be really interesting,” Hossa said. “Obviously we are good friends. He's my neighbor. He lives right across the street. But this coming up two weeks, that has to go on the side and we just have to play the roles. I’m going to play my game, he's going to play his game. I'm sure right after we'll be friends again. It's going to be hard two weeks, hard battle. It's going to be also fun and I really looking forward to it.”
Game 1 is Wednesday at United Center (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).
After playing all five games of the Blackhawks' Western Conference Final victory against the Los Angeles Kings, Stalberg wasn't among the top 12 forwards at Chicago's workout Tuesday before Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins at United Center (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).
"We had a discussion about it," Stalberg said on media day Tuesday, referring to a conversation with Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville. "I don't want to get into what was said in that, but I think this is what he wanted. He wanted a tougher lineup against them for the first game, so we'll take it from there. It's how it is right now."
Bottom line is, the world-class blueliner knows opportunities like this don't happen very often.
Hull recently told Keith that after winning the Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 1961, he expected many more to follow, but that wouldn't happen over his next 11 seasons in Chicago. It's a conversation Keith remembers well. In fact, the Blackhawks wouldn't hoist the Cup again until 2010.
"I've heard that story and talked to Bobby Hull quite a bit about how they thought they would win several but never ended up getting back again and winning another," Keith said. "I take a lot of pride in being here and I'm excited about the opportunity. I'm going to try to make the most of it."
First of all, I just love that the 2013 Stanley Cup Final is going to be an "Original Six" series. It is the first time since 1979, so these things are very rare.
If you look at these two franchises and all that they've been able to accomplish, the fact that this is the first time they've met in the Final is crazy. You think of the history of both franchises, and the iconic players who have played in both places -- Bobby Orr is the first one that comes to mind.
It is an unbelievable experience, not only for the players, the coaches and everybody associated with the teams, but the fans and all of us who are fortunate enough to work in and around the game. I think it is going to make for a special Stanley Cup Final.
Looking at Boston, I love the way the Bruins are playing. After they were able to get out of the noose against the Maple Leafs, they've been outstanding. Tuukka Rask has been outstanding the whole time, by the way.
Now we have an 'X' next to our name, which is nice. Now we have to keep trying to climb and catch these guys.