|Bruins vs. Canucks |
But everyone in Black & Gold understands that intense scrutiny of the media, and the fan frenzy that is already apparent here in Canada, will be nothing compared to the study that the Vancouver Canucks players and personnel are making in preparation for Game 1 on Wednesday.
"I don’t think it gets any crazier than Montreal," said B's defenseman Dennis Seidenberg
(averaging 28.22 of ice time per game). "We had [that] in the first series, so I’m sure everybody knows what to expect and is ready to handle it."
But can the Bruins handle the Presidents' Trophy winners?
"Well you want to try to not be over-aggressive," said Seidenberg of defending against Vancouver's offensive attack. "They’re really good at finding each other...with the give-and-go's, and the blind pass behind the back.
"So that’s a real challenge for us, to be aggressive, but not being stupid about it.
"We have to be smart in our defensive play," he said.
Boston's alternate captain Patrice Bergeron
conceded that Vancouver is a great team.
"They have a lot of depth," said the center (who has 4-11-15 totals through 16 playoff games). "They are good on all positions and it’s going to be a tough series and we are aware of that.
"Obviously, we are going to have to take it a game at a time and we are going to have to concentrate on Wednesday right now."
Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo (18 games played, 12-6-0, 2.29 goals against average, .922 save percentage) won't make it easy on the B's to mount their own offense and Boston goalie Tim Thomas
was asked about his match-up with a fellow Vezina Trophy finalist.
"Yeah well I mean...it’s Vancouver versus Boston, it’s not, you know, me versus [Roberto] Luongo," said Thomas (18 GP, 12-6-0, 2.29 GAA and .929 Sv%). "He’s a part of their team and I’m a part of my team and we both have an impact on how the game goes.
"But you know, I’m playing against Vancouver’s forwards and defenseman and he’s playing against Boston’s forwards and defenseman.
"And so, having said that you know I watched the last game he played there against San Jose and he looked...real good. You know, he looked like he was on his game," said Thomas, who added, "I know that I’m going to have to do a good job to give our team a chance."
Right wing Mark Recchi (2-5-7 totals through 18 postseason games), was asked about the keys to containing the Canucks.
"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," said Recchi, who won the Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh (1991) and Carolina (2006). "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."
But those individual battles will determine much about the B's series versus the Canucks.
"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," said Recchi.
Two individuals might have much to say about the outcome of the Stanley Cup Finals -- Vancouver's Daniel and Henrik Sedin.
The twin forwards finished first (Daniel, 104 points) and fourth (Henrik, 94) in the NHL's regular season point totals.
"We played them once this year, and obviously I watch a lot of hockey, I’m a fan too," said Recchi. "They’re very dynamic.
"They have little plays all over the place. Their whole line, they play very well. Everything’s short and quick, and they’re trying two-on-one all over the place, and they’re very smart, very intelligent hockey players.
"They’ve done a heck of a job. They’ve continued to mature as players and see where they are now, MVPs, and how successful they've been," he said.
But the Sedin brothers represent a part of the playoff challenge that the Bruins relish.
"We’re going to do some video obviously in the next couple days, and we all know what [Daniel and Henrik Sedin] play like and how [Ryan] Kesler plays like, so it’s not much different than we’ve seen the last three series," said Seidenberg. "We have to be sharp and ready."
But boy, do Seidenberg and the Bruins sound ready.
"In the first series it was [Tomas] Plekanec and [Michael] Cammalleri and [Brian] Gionta and those guys," explained Seidenberg. "Second it was Philly with one of the highest-scoring offenses during the regular season. And last series, we had [Steven] Stamkos, [Vincent] Lecavalier and [Martin] St. Louis.
"So I’m sure we’re well prepared for what’s going to come at us.
"I love shutting down those guys," added the blueliner. "Trying to, at least.
"There’s nothing better than having a big challenge ahead of you."
And those challenges don't come any bigger than the Vancouver Canucks.