The calendar has flipped over to June and the puck is set to drop on Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday night at Rogers Arena (8 p.m., NBC, CBC, RDS).
When the Vancouver Canucks
clinched the Presidents' Trophy as regular-season champions, it assured them home-ice advantage throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and they've retained that by winning series over Chicago, Nashville and San Jose, making shorter work of each successive opponent.
But to bring home the first championship in the franchise's 40-year history, they will have to solve probably their toughest opponent of the season in the Boston Bruins
. A team full of tested veterans in goal (Tim Thomas
), up front (Mark Recchi
) and on defense (Zdeno Chara
), they look to end a championship drought dating back to 1972.
As we get set to begin the festivities, here is your daily NHL.com Reading List, a set of quick links to some of the stories you won't want to miss:
Recchi shoots for one more
Forty-three-year-old Mark Recchi
of the Boston Bruins
is looking to add another Stanley Cup to his impressive career. A two-time Stanley Cup champion, Recchi previously won the cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins
in 1991 and the Carolina Hurricanes
in 2006. The end of Recchi's career could be soon, as Corey Masisak
explains a third championship for Recchi would ensure this would be the last Stanley Cup run for the 22-year veteran.
Long road to Final for Sedins
Daniel and Henrik Sedin
have been through all the ups and downs since beginning their NHL careers with the Canucks in 2000. However, Dan Rosen
tells us that by staying tough through the most difficult times, especially those early in their careers, the Sedins have come out stronger and are ready to battle for hockey's top prize.
Neely closes in on first ring
Though he never won a Stanley Cup during his playing career, Bruins President Cam Neely
is just four wins away from getting his first ring. After playing the first three seasons of his career with the Vancouver Canucks
, the British Columbia native was traded to Boston where he went on to play for 10 seasons and was a member of the last Bruins team to make the Stanley Cup Final back in 1990. Shawn Roarke
has the latest on Neely's quest to finally reach the pinnacle of hockey, even if it's in a suit and tie, and not in skates and a jersey.
Role players spur Canucks' success
Though the Canucks have the Sedin twins, Roberto Luongo
, Ryan Kesler
and other big name stars who have been key players for a number of seasons, a Stanley Cup can't be won by just a few. Maxim Lapierre
and Chris Higgins
were both acquired at the trade deadline by Canucks' GM Mike Gillis, and as Corey Masisak
explains, their roles have been vital in getting the Canucks to the Stanley Cup Final.
Battle of the goalies
and Roberto Luongo
have been in the NHL long enough to know what it takes to be successful. However, until this postseason neither had made it past the conference semifinals. Dave Lozo
informs us that despite last year's Stanley Cup Final battle between a rookie and a little-known veteran, the two starting goaltenders for each team in this year's Final have reaffirmed that top-notch goaltending is still key to having success in the NHL.