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Canucks, Bruins relish opportunity to play for Cup

by Dan Rosen /
VANCOUVER -- Alex Burrows looked around the 100 level at Rogers Arena at the circus of swarming media and players sitting in front of microphones. He had to be thinking, 'Oh, so this is what the Stanley Cup Final is like.'
"This is pretty cool," Burrows quipped. "There are a lot of people and it obviously makes you realize you are in the Stanley Cup Final, but at the same time I'm still going to go grab my groceries today and go for a walk."
Wait, what?
Groceries? A walk? That's what Burrows is going to do 24 hours before he plays Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final?
"It might be weird, but I'm just approaching it like it's another game and that's all I feel inside of me," he said. "It's a big game, yes, but I just approach it like it's another game."
Nice try, but no one actually believes you, Alex. This was not a normal day at Rogers Arena and Wednesday won't be just your run of the mill game day.
It'll be June and two teams are still playing. This happens every year, but there's never anything normal about the Stanley Cup Final.
"I don't believe him at all," Canucks center Ryan Kesler said of Burrows. "He might be saying that, but this is exciting. It's what we all play for. This is what we play for. We play to play in June. I'm excited about (Wednesday). I can't wait for puck drop."
It's been seven days since Canucks captain Henrik Sedin refused to touch the Clarence Campbell Bowl moments after Kevin Bieksa scored the double-overtime winner that put Vancouver in its first Stanley Cup Final since 1994. The Bruins have been biding their time since last Friday night, when Nathan Horton scored and Tim Thomas made 24 saves to put Boston in its first Cup Final since 1990.
Zdeno Chara, by the way, did not touch the Prince of Wales Trophy, either.
The wait for both antsy teams ends Wednesday night, but Tuesday's Media Day at the Stanley Cup Final brought all the hype anyone could have possibly asked for as the players met with the more than 600 credentialed members of the media.
"You can definitely tell this is the Stanley Cup Final," Horton said. "There are 28 teams that want to be in our positions."
Most of the questions ranged from how they got here and what makes them successful to what the keys will be to winning the series and how past history may or may not suggest what could happen in this series. However, there were some off the wall interrogations, such as someone asking Canucks defenseman Christian Ehrhoff to translate "Die Bruins, die" into German.
"I haven't had any wedding proposals," Roberto Luongo said jokingly.
The Canucks and Bruins get down to the real business at the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday when the puck is dropped in Game 1 at 8 p.m. ET (NBC, CBC, RDS).
There's very little history between these teams to figure out how this series is going to play out, but the Bruins, of course, want to believe that their 3-1 win against the Canucks here on Feb. 26 will at least have some influence in how the series begins. After all, they handed the Canucks one of their nine home regulation losses during the regular season.
Chicago, Phoenix, St. Louis, Anaheim, Montreal, Edmonton and Nashville (twice) were the only other teams to win in regulation at Rogers Arena during the regular season.
The Canucks, predictably, aren't reading too much into what happened more than three months ago in their 63rd game of the regular season. They instead choose to look at more recent developments and believe the Bruins bare a slight resemblance to the Nashville Predators, who the Canucks eliminated in six games despite scoring only 14 goals.
"Nashville a little bit, but it's a much different team than Nashville, too," Luongo said. "They have guys that have some big bodies up front, guys who can score some goals, which is pretty different."
Henrik Sedin said the Bruins are actually a mix between the Predators and the Sharks, "because they play a great defensive style and they have some more power up front."
Horton didn't want to get into comparisons when he was asked about the Canucks.
"They're the best team in the NHL. They proved it through the regular season," said Horton, whose eight goals in the playoffs have all come in Bruins' wins. "I think they have a mix of everything, scoring and grit. We got to play them one time and we got a taste of it, but it's hard to compare them to other teams. They are a good team. They have a lot of talent. We have to be prepared to work real hard to play against them because they don't give you many opportunities to score."
The Canucks boast the leading scorer in the playoffs with Henrik Sedin topping everyone with 21 points, but the Bruins are scoring more goals and giving up fewer than the Canucks.
Then again, Boston is doing most of its damage in 5-on-5 play because its power play operated at an anemic 8.2 percent in the first three rounds, while the Canucks clicked at 28.3 percent. Their penalty kills are similar, with Vancouver just slightly better at 80.6 percent compared to Boston's 79.4 percent.
"We'll see what the referees are going to call," Daniel Sedin said. "I think 5-on-5, it's going to be a tight series, low scoring. Both teams are very good defensively. It will be a tight matchup."
It will be when it begins Wednesday. For now, it's all about the hype.
"It's something special," Bruins center Patrice Bergeron said.
Yes, even the players are buying in, Burrows notwithstanding.
"Obviously this is what it means to play in the Stanley Cup Final," Bieksa said. "There's a lot of excitement around it, being a Canadian team probably magnifies it a little bit. We're enjoying it as much as possible. We're focused on a big series. I don't think we'd trade it for anything."
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter: @drosennhl
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