Memories of Stanley
By Laura Chambers
The Vancouver Canucks returned to the ice Friday for the first time since beating the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference Final.
Aaron Rome, Christian Ehrhoff, Sami Salo, Kevin Bieksa and Ryan Kesler did not practice, but all are expected to be available to skate with the Canucks in the days leading up to Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final next Wednesday.
The major news of the day concerned Canucks forward Manny Malhotra, who was cleared for light contact for the first time since being injured on March 16.
Read more about Malhotra’s progression here.
Memories of Stanley
Before they made it to the NHL, Vancouver Canucks players and coaching staff were like any other hockey fans cheering on their teams to the Stanley Cup. Five days away from their own chance at the trophy, the Canucks had the opportunity to look back on their favourite Cup memories.
For Alex Burrows, there’s no question about what he remembers the most.
“1993, Montreal Canadiens when they won Game 5 at home against the [L.A.] Kings obviously.”
Burrows was 12 years old when his Canadiens hoisted the Cup during their 100th anniversary; the Canadiens were the last team from north of the border to claim the Holy Grail.
“I remember Patrick Roy lifting the Stanley Cup and even Games 3 and 4 when John LeClair scored those OT winners, those are still fresh in my mind and those were great memories.”
More than two decades earlier, coaches Rick Bowness and Roland Melanson were growing up on Canada’s east coast cheering for the Boston Bruins.
“Mine’s easy, I grew up in Halifax, I was always a Bruins fan so Bobby’s goal,” said Bowness, referring to the legendary overtime goal scored by Bobby Orr to win the Stanley Cup in 1970.
A popular choice among coaches.
“It’s kind of funny, I was thinking about the same thing,” agreed Melanson. “I was living in Boston in those years. My parents had moved there for work purposes so we were going through an era as kids of the big bad Bruins so definitely the Bobby Orr goal.”
Canucks video coach Darryl Williams grew up a product of the Edmonton Oilers who reigned supreme during the 1980s.
“I can remember one game in particular where in the middle of the night my mom had fallen asleep,” Darryl laughed. “Edmonton won the game and she jumped up and she yelled out ‘Andy Moog’ in the middle of her sleep and surprised everybody.”
In 2007, it was Newell Brown who was shouting with excitement. He was assistant coach for the Anaheim Ducks when the team won it all four seasons ago.
“When you have a chance to bring it back to your family and friends in your home town and share it with parents and brother and sisters and relatives and friends, there’s nothing more special than that.”
There’s no doubt that Brown and the rest of the Canucks are hoping to make similar memories for themselves in the coming weeks.
Game 7 in Boston
It’s not lost on Rick Bowness that he could soon be facing the team featured in his favourite Stanley Cup memory.
“I know what to expect going into Boston and the history and tradition that that organization has,” said Bowness, who spent many summers growing up with family in the home of the Bruins.
Tonight, Bowness and the Vancouver Canucks will watch with NHL fans around the League to see who will become their opponents in the Stanley Cup Final.
The Bruins are tied 3-3 in games with Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference Final after the Lightning forced Game 7 on Wednesday.
Canucks coaching staff will be watching tonight’s game closely but are cautious to make any predictions.
“Expect the unexpected,” advised Bowness. “This one was supposed to be a low scoring series and it hasn’t been and obviously nerves on both sides are going to take over tonight. To sit here and predict a winner would be impossible for anybody. I think it’s going to be a highly entertaining game.”
Asked who he would prefer to play next round, the associate coach’s answer was simple.
“Honestly I have no preference. I just want to play.”
The sentiment is nothing new. The Canucks have focused on their own game over that of their opponents all year long and Daniel Sedin doesn’t see that changing.
“It’s all about how we play,” said Daniel. “We’re going to know our opponent tonight and tomorrow we can prepare for whoever that is but right now it’s all about how we play.”