Sunday, June 9, 2013
Original Six final a bit of a novelty
By Joe McDonald
BOSTON -- When the puck drops for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals between the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks, it will be the first all-Original Six final since 1979, when the Montreal Canadiens defeated the New York Rangers in five games.
While the hockey world is primed for the 2013 Cup finals, the notion of an Original Six matchup probably means more to the NHL and the fans than it does for the teams involved. That’s not to say the players are dismissing the importance of the history, they’re only focused on their goal of winning the Cup.
“It’s been a while since the Original Six teams have met. I think it makes for an exciting, I guess, story, if you want to put it that way,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “But at the end of the day, no matter who you play, for me it’s about winning the series and that’s what the focus has to be on.”
Boston and Chicago have faced each other six previous times in the Stanley Cup playoffs, but never in the finals. The last playoff meeting was in 1978 when the Bruins swept the Blackhawks in the quarterfinals.
Even for some of the older veterans on the Bruins, this series is all about the present and not about two historic organizations.
“To be honest, it doesn’t matter at all,” Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg said. “It could be a newer team and it wouldn’t matter. It’s about us trying to win the series and playing our best hockey; everything else doesn’t matter.”
Of the Original Six teams, the Blackhawks and Rangers are the only two never to meet in the Cup finals.
Another cool aspect to this series is the devotion and knowledge the fans in each city have for hockey and its teams. You can be sure there’s no “Hockey 101” being shown on the video boards prior to the game to educate the fans on the rules of the game.
“Fans in those cities are pretty educated for the most part. They know what’s going on, so it’s nice to have knowledgeable fans watching the games,” Seidenberg said. “But at the end, it doesn’t matter what kind of matchup it is. It’s good for the league, but for us we just have to play our hockey and that’s the most important thing.”
Bruins rookie defenseman Torey Krug, 22, grew up a devoted Detroit Red Wings fans. He’s been one of the most interesting stories of the Stanley Cup playoffs for the Bruins since he made his postseason debut in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Rangers. Even though he wasn’t born the last time two Original Six teams played for the Cup, he understands the significance of the matchup.
“It means something to me,” he said. “Growing up I had all the Original Six posters in my room. I understand the uniqueness behind it and how special it is. It’s one of the reasons I came to Boston, an Original Six team with all the history behind it, and I’m looking forward to it.”
One more fun fact: There have been only two prior Boston-Chicago meetings for a major professional sports championship -- the Patriots against the Bears in Super Bowl XX and the Red Sox against the Cubs in the 1918 World Series.