Cross Checks: 2011 Stanley Cup finals
After the Vancouver Canucks lost Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals to the Boston Bruins, rioters swept through downtown Vancouver, resulting in close to 100 arrests and almost 150 people hospitalized.
Rioting and looting left cars burned, stores in shambles and windows shattered over a roughly 10-block radius of the city's main shopping district.
After the streets were cleaned up, some Vancouver residents tried to make amends for the damage by writing apologies and words of encouragement, support and sympathy on boarded-up storefronts. Soon, the plywood sheets were covered.
"They're part of our history," Deal said, according to the report. "They're an instrument of our recovery as a community and people have been telling us they want access to see them."
"The boards are all full and the messages written on them are an answer to all our detractors."
The morning after the riots, some residents went to downtown Vancouver to help clean up the broken glass and graffiti.
Kate Leinweber and Dani Lemon were two Canucks fans who helped clean up Hudson's Bay Company, one of the worst hit stores. "We decided that there was a lot of bad vibes over what happened last night and it's not a reflection of who we are as a city and it's not a reflection of who we are as Canucks fans," Leinweber told Canucks.com on Thursday. "I don't want the rest of the world, or anyone who lives in this city, to think that what happened last night was any reflection of the types of people who live here."
BOSTON -- The Stanley Cup glistened in the morning sun, the nearly 35-pound symbol of NHL supremacy raised high over the head of 255-pound Zdeno Chara.
Then, the captain of the champion Boston Bruins lowered it to his knees. He patiently answered reporters' questions after a night of little sleep and much joy on a flight from one side of North America to the other -- from the disappointed city of Vancouver to the title town of Boston.
For the 6-foot-9 defenseman and his gritty teammates, the first club to win three seven-game series in a single postseason, the heavy lifting was over.
The celebration was on.
"We are pretty OK with that weight," Chara said Thursday, the Cup in his grasp just as it was when he was the first to hoist it after the Bruins' 4-0 win in Game 7 over the Canucks less than 12 hours earlier.
He walked over to some of the about 500 fans who had gathered outside TD Garden, where the Bruins were 3-0 in the series, outscoring the Canucks 17-3. He let some of them touch the coveted trophy that hadn't been in Bruins hands in 39 years.
"It's unbelievable. It's very exciting for the whole city, for us, for the whole organization. It's a very special day," said Chara, one of the NHL's top defenseman but never a champion in his previous 12 NHL seasons. "We're very honored to be here. We're so happy."
First-line right wing Nathan Horton was on the ice to hold the Cup but hadn't played after sustaining a severe concussion on a late hit by defenseman Aaron Rome just 5:07 into Game 3. The Bruins did have midseason pickups Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly, playoff scoring leader David Krejci, and, of course, feisty, focused goalie Tim Thomas.
"We went out there on a mission, came back champions," Marchand said. "We proved we were the best team in the world."
They did it with team depth and determination.
"We're blue collar, not flashy," hard-hitting right wing Shawn Thornton said. "We work hard. We take pride in that."
The Bruins hadn't won the title since 1972 and that team's name was erroneously engraved on the Cup as the BQSTQN BRUINS. This year, Thomas provided the Os -- as in the number of goals he allowed in two of the last four games against the Canucks.
He gave up just eight goals in the seven games to the highest-scoring team in the regular season -- the same number Vancouver's Roberto Luongo allowed in Game 3 alone.
"After the game, I was kind of in shock. I still am to some extent," the normally unshakable Thomas said after stepping down from one of the two buses that took the team on the short ride from Logan International Airport, where the plane landed at about 8:30 a.m.
"We're tired from the series," Thomas said. "It took everything we had to win this. I'm sure it will sink in some time, but it hasn't completely yet. You get here, you see the fans, it's starting to sink in a little."
There will be many more fans lining the streets at a parade scheduled for 11 a.m. on Saturday, Boston's seventh in the past decade following championship celebrations for the Patriots, Red Sox and Celtics.
But their place in history as the sixth Bruins team to take the title and the third Original Six club to win the Cup in the last four seasons wasn't the first thing on their minds as they flew home.
"It wasn't quiet, that's for sure," said coach Claude Julien, pumping his fist as he left the bus and flashing a wide smile rarely seen in public. "They deserve to celebrate. And it's their Cup and it's Boston's Cup and, as far as I'm concerned, they could do whatever they want."
For the city, the Bruins' triumph completes the championship quartet. Each of the four major pro teams have won titles in the past seven seasons -- the Patriots in the 2005 Super Bowl, the Red Sox in 2007, the Celtics in 2008 and now, the Bruins.
Some fans are savoring this one even more than those others.
"This is a hockey city," said Neil Cashman, 53, of Andover, who was at the Garden on Thursday. "Everybody thinks it's a basketball city, a baseball city -- it's a hockey city. If you talk to people, you find that out. We were the first team in the NHL from America, and we take it real seriously here."
Motorists honked horns as they drove by. Fans took pictures by the statue of Bobby Orr in full flight after his Cup-winning, overtime goal in 1972.
Emotions overflowed for another fan, Tom Collins.
"It sank in when I got home. I actually started crying," said Collins, 44, of Quincy, who said he was the man who put a Bruins jersey on a statue of President John Adams in the city just south of Boston.
Another Adams, Charles F., was the first president of the Bruins, from 1924-36. The current president, Cam Neely, was drafted in 1983 by Vancouver and traded in 1986 to Boston, where he scored 50 goals three times, and dished out punishing hits ... but never captured the Cup.
On Thursday, Neely was one of the first off his bus, followed by general manager Peter Chiarelli and Julien before the players -- some wearing their white championship hats and still sporting their playoff beards -- set foot in the Garden parking lot.
"We got it done," Julien said. "We brought it back to Boston and this is where it belongs."
The Cup itself had an eventful trip, being passed around by the players.
"We didn't need a passport" for it, Marchand joked. "We didn't need to buckle it in. It was pretty cool."
Despite another 2,500-mile flight -- the Bruins' sixth of the series -- Thomas wasn't complaining.
"It was great," he said. "Most of our plane rides during the season we're getting ready for the upcoming game. This five-hour flight wasn't the case. We had the Stanley Cup on the flight with us. We could truly relax and enjoy the accomplishment that we did."
The silvery symbol of the NHL champions will make many more journeys. Each player gets to keep it for at least one day. Thomas plans to take it to Flint, Mich., the blue-collar town about 70 miles northwest of Detroit where he was born. He'll show it to family and friends he hasn't seen in a while.
"I've been busy," he said, "trying to accomplish some goals."
He already has the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the postseason, and could add his second Vezina Trophy, which goes to the NHL's best goalie, next Wednesday.
But before the players start touring with their hard-earned hardware, they had more immediate needs.
"I need a nap," Thornton said, "I haven't slept."
Somewhat dampening the Cup celebration last summer in Chicago was the necessary and painful offseason roster shake-up forced by the salary cap.
Rich, new contracts kicking in for the likes of Duncan Keith, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, among other factors, forced a massive overhaul of the 2010 Cup-champion squad, as nearly half the team was jettisoned to new locales, including key players such as Andrew Ladd, Dustin Byfuglien and Kris Versteeg.
But that won't be the case for this fellow Original Six Cup champ.
Only three players are headed for unrestricted free agency in Beantown after Mark Recchi's post-Game 7 retirement announcement: Michael Ryder, Tomas Kaberle and Shane Hnidy. Kaberle, given his less-than-stellar postseason, surely can't be a fit unless he takes a discount. Even then, I'm not sure the Bruins have that much interest in bringing him back.
In the end, none of these guys are top-end, core players. The B's will survive with or without them.
Only one restricted free agent is on the roster, but he's a key one: Brad Marchand. The super pest, who scored clutch goals in the playoffs and especially in the Cup finals, doesn't have much leverage, though, because he's coming off an entry-level contract and doesn't have salary-arbitration rights. Still, he'll get a nice raise on the $821,667 cap hit he had this season.
Whether Marc Savard decides to retire because of his serious concussion issues also may affect payroll. He has six more years on the docket at $4.007 million a year, although as long as he is out, the Bruins can go over the cap using his salary. Otherwise, the Bruins squad that won the Cup this season will be largely back for next season and beyond.
The same cannot be said for the Cup-finalist Vancouver Canucks.
They are looking at eight players who are bound to become UFAs on July 1, four of them blueliners in Kevin Bieksa, Christian Ehrhoff, Sami Salo and Andrew Alberts. The other four unrestricted free agents are forwards Raffi Torres, Christopher Higgins, Tanner Glass and Jeff Tambellini. There are also two restricted free agents in Jannik Hansen and Maxim Lapierre.
Bieksa, who had a terrific postseason, should be the team's top priority. Most people assume that if Bieksa is re-signed, Ehrhoff will hit the UFA market, although a source told us during the Cup finals that the Canucks believe they have a plan in place where they could bring back both players.
Having said that, Ehrhoff and Bieksa would have to take less-than-market money to stay on. That would have been easier to do after a Cup championship. Will they be that interested in doing so after how things ended up against Boston? On the flip side, one can argue that they might be hungry in coming back to finish the job.
Meanwhile, the Canucks have four more years of Keith Ballard on the books at $4.2 million per season. Yikes. This is the same Ballard who couldn't crack the depleted lineup in the final three games of the championship series. On the one hand, you'd say Ballard was impossible to trade, but if young goalie Cory Schneider was part of that deal, you might find a taker.
Of course, the Canucks have to make sure they want to deal Schneider (earning $900,000 next season in last year of his deal) as planned this summer given how Roberto Luongo ended his Cup finals. Luongo is signed through the 2021-22 season at a $5.33 million cap hit. Then again, is he tradable right now?
The Bruins can largely relax and enjoy the party this summer. The Canucks have work to do.
The Stanley Cup finals may be over, but we're not done reliving some of our favorite moments from the 2011 NHL playoffs:
First round: Game 4, Capitals at Rangers
Burnside: After Washington coach Bruce Boudreau suggested the fans at Madison Square Garden weren't all that loud, the MSG faithful began a spontaneous chant of "Can you hear us" as the Rangers took a 3-0 lead against the Caps. Boudreau, however, had the last laugh. The Caps staged a miraculous comeback, capped by Jason Chimera's overtime winner that gave Washington a 4-3 victory. The Caps went on to win the series 4-1.
First round: Game 3, Sharks at Kings
LeBrun: I remember sitting there in the Staples Center press box wondering what the heck was wrong with the Sharks after they fell behind 4-0 and were looking at a 2-1 series deficit. Then, a comeback for the ages. The Sharks scored five times in the second period before Devin Setoguchi won it in overtime for San Jose. After the game, Setoguchi told us that earlier in the day, he had seen the NHL commercial featuring Daryl Evans and the "Miracle on Manchester" from 1982, when the Kings erased a 5-0 deficit against Edmonton. You can't make that stuff up.
Western Conference semifinals: Games 6 and 7, Red Wings-Sharks
LeBrun: I won't soon forget covering this series, especially the last two games when Detroit and San Jose played Stanley Cup finals-worthy hockey. Two heavyweights going the distance. The Wings' victory in Game 6 with the Joe Louis crowd going crazy is a memory for life, Detroit coming back from down 3-0 in the series to force Game 7. But the Sharks, with Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau leading the way at HP Pavilion, avoided a total meltdown with a thrilling Game 7 victory. I remember leaving the rink that night wondering, "Was this the last time we saw Nicklas Lidstrom play?"
Eastern Conference finals: Game 7, Lightning at Bruins
Burnside: The final game of a topsy-turvy, back-and-forth series lived up to its billing with both teams playing at breakneck speed. This was a classic from the opening faceoff, when the teams went 3:45 racing up and down the ice before the first whistle, through David Krejci's deft cross-ice pass in the third period to Mr. Clutch, Nathan Horton, for the game's only goal. Both netminders, Tim Thomas and Dwayne Roloson, were spectacular.
Western Conference finals: Game 1, Sharks at Canucks
LeBrun: At the opening faceoff of the series, Sharks captain Joe Thornton could be seen jostling aggressively with Canucks center Ryan Kesler before the two finally took the draw. We didn't find out until the next day, but it turns out Thornton had challenged Kesler to a fight. The Canucks star declined. Got to love it.
Stanley Cup finals: Game 3, Canucks at Bruins
Burnside/LeBrun: Early in the game, Vancouver defenseman Aaron Rome leveled Horton with a monster shoulder-to-the-head blow. Horton, who had passed the puck about 2 seconds earlier, never saw Rome coming and was carried off the ice on a stretcher with his playoff season done. Rome's was, too, as NHL executive Mike Murphy announced the day before Game 4 that Rome would be suspended for the four remaining games of the finals. It was the longest suspension in the final series in Stanley Cup history.
Western Conference semifinals: Off day between Games 5 and 6, Canucks at Predators
Burnside: As many as 500 fans gathered on Mother's Day afternoon at the Nashville Predators' charter terminal to welcome home their team after it had staved off elimination in Game 5 in Vancouver. The Preds would go on to lose Game 6 by a 2-1 count, but the outpouring of emotion at the airport reinforced what anyone who attended any of the Preds' home games this spring knew instinctively: There is a special bond between this team and the community. This spring marked the first time the Predators advanced beyond the first round of the playoffs.
Just about any day: Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher
Burnside: Whether he was going all bug-eyed at a referee's call or predicting the return of Boston's Patrice Bergeron to the Bruins' lineup (a moment that earned him the press box nickname of Dr. Boucher) or insisting that the Washington Capitals were absolutely unbeatable even as the Lightning were in the process of sweeping the East's best regular-season team, Guy Boucher was a treat. The rookie head coach exudes passion for the game, and his patience with the media (always a good thing, no?) was boundless. More coaches like Boucher and you don't have to worry about selling this game, regardless of where the players lace up their skates. Oh yeah, he did a pretty good job behind the bench, too, taking the Lightning to the seventh game of the Eastern Conference finals.
Stanley Cup finals: Game 1, Bruins at Canucks
Burnside/LeBrun: In what would be the first of many weird, wacky and sometimes head-shaking moments in the Cup finals, Alex Burrows was seen biting the finger of Bruins center Patrice Bergeron. No suspension was issued, but it did set the stage for some comical finger-wagging from both teams in the coming games.
Western Conference finals: Game 5, Sharks at Canucks
LeBrun: The Canucks won the game on Kevin Bieksa's bizarre OT goal, but what I'll always remember is Joe Thornton playing with a separated shoulder that needed medical magic to hold it together for that game. I was informed of his injury two days before but sworn to secrecy by the source. Thornton played a terrific game in the crushing loss as the Sharks once again failed to reach the Cup finals. Maybe next year, Joe.
After a Game 5 win in Vancouver last week, Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo talked about how he sometimes walks along the Seawall in the city before games to clear his head.
"I put my hoody on and my headphones ... I just focus on the journey and everything I need to do to be ready for the game and that's what gets me prepared," Luongo told reporters after Game 5. "Sometimes I need to clear my head and put things in prospective. Usually people don't bother me. I don't know if they're talking or not because I have my headphones on and I can't hear anything. So it's nice for me to be able to do that and focus on what I need to do and don't have any distractions."
Well, Sun Media columnist Chris Stevenson caught a glimpse of someone bearing a very striking resemblance to Luongo along the Seawall before tonight's Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals.
@CJ_Stevenson Did I just pass you-know-who along the seawall? Guy w him shot me a dirty look when I took the pic. http://yfrog.com/kh86177697j
Boston Bruins at Vancouver Canucks (series tied at 3), 8 p.m. ET
- This is the 16th Game 7 in Stanley Cup finals history and the sixth since 2000.
- Boston has never played in a Game 7 in the Stanley Cup finals. Vancouver is 0-1 in Game 7s in the finals.
- The Bruins are the 10th team to come back from a 2-0 series deficit to force a Game 7 in the Cup finals. Three of the past nine teams won the Cup.
- Home clubs are 6-0 in the Cup finals for the sixth time since the best-of-seven format began in 1939. The home team went on to win Game 7 in three of the previous five series.
- Home teams are 12-3 all time in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals.
- The Bruins have not trailed by more than one goal in this series. Two teams have lost a best-of-seven series in the finals despite never falling behind by more than one goal in the series, according to Elias (1951 Canadiens lost in five games, and 1968 Blues lost in four games).
- No team has played in a Cup finals series that went seven games without trailing by more than one goal, according to Elias.
- The Canucks are 3-5 in this postseason in games in which they had a chance to clinch the series; the five losses ties the NHL record for one playoff year (1942 Red Wings, 2010 Bruins).
- The Bruins are just the third NHL team to play in three Game 7s in one postseason (2002 Avs, 1993 Leafs).
- The home team has won 29 of 37 games in the Cup finals since the lockout.
- The Canucks have been outscored 19-8 in this series. Only four teams have won the Cup while being outscored in the finals, according to Elias (2009 Penguins, minus-3; 2004 Lightning, minus-1; 1928 Rangers, minus-1; 1918 Arenas, minus-3).
- The team that has scored first has won every game in this series. There have been only two best-of-seven Cup finals series in which the first team to score won every game, according to Elias.
- Roberto Luongo is 3-0 at home with a .979 save percentage and two goals allowed. He is 0-3 on the road with a .773 save percentage and 15 goals allowed.
- Luongo is one of 10 goalies who have recorded multiple shutouts in the Cup finals. Only two goalies have recorded three shutouts in the Cup finals (Frank McCool in 1945 and Martin Brodeur in 2003).
- Tim Thomas' 761 saves this postseason are the most all time in one playoff season. The 812 shots he has faced are the second most a goalie has faced in a single postseason.
- If the Canucks win, it will end the longest Cup drought for a Canadian team (16 seasons).
- If the Bruins win, Boston-area teams will have won a championship in all four major sports in the past seven years. No city has achieved that feat.
- Each year there has been an Olympics hosted by an American or Canadian city, with the exception of the 2002 Winter Games and 1904 Summer Games, a sports team from that state or province either won a title or advanced to the championship round that year or the following year.
- The most expensive ticket purchased on StubHub for Game 7 was $7,800. A Florida buyer bought two tickets ($7,800 each) for Club 107, Row 1.
- The least expensive ticket purchased was $620. A buyer from Vancouver bought two tickets ($620 each) before the playoffs even began.
- The least expensive ticket available on StubHub Wednesday cost $1,999.99 for the upper bowl. The most expensive ticket was listed for $17,999.99 for the lower bowl.
- On Tuesday, the average price paid for a Game 7 ticket was $2,749.
- The average price paid for Game 7 of the 2009 Stanley Cup finals in Detroit was $746. The average price paid for Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals in Los Angeles was $1,316.
- The average price paid for a ticket to the last four Super Bowls: $3,559 (Dallas), $2,386 (Miami), $2,402 (Tampa) and $3,536 (Arizona).
- Buyers from 28 states and provinces have bought tickets to tonight's game. Canadians make up 64 percent of buyers and New Englanders account for 10 percent of buyers.
- While a very small number of tickets exchanged hands on StubHub for last year's Olympic men's hockey gold-medal game, the average price of a ticket was $3,427.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but Vancouver netminder Roberto Luongo is bound to be the story of Game 7 no matter which way the cookie crumbles. Having imploded in three games in Boston, allowing 15 goals in about 5½ periods of hockey, Luongo has reinforced the notion that he is as fragile as a piece of rice paper. Yet his play at home in this series, two 1-0 victories and a combined two goals allowed in three games, suggests he has the goods to be the Game 7 hero. Is he mentally strong enough to put his miserable road performances behind him, performances that have seen him yanked in two of the three games, including Game 6? Do his ill-timed comments about counterpart Tim Thomas after Game 5 haunt him for all time? One way or another, Game 7 is a defining moment for the Vancouver netminder.
2. Happy Tim
On the other side of the coin is Thomas, the unflappable Boston netminder. He has allowed just eight goals in this series and has virtually locked up the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP without even stepping onto the ice for Game 7. But that's not where his focus is, and his joking, calm demeanor must be a powerful tonic for the Bruins as they head into Game 7.
"He's relaxed, and when the time for the game to happen comes, he's focused and ready to go," Boston coach Claude Julien said. "I think it's a great way to be as a player because you can't be tense and feel the pressure day in, day out, night in, night out. You have to be able to release at times and refocus and get that energy back."
Thomas has been especially good at keeping the Bruins in games after slow starts. That may be crucial in Game 7, when you can expect an early Canucks surge.
3. The guarantee?
OK, this isn't really a Joe Namath moment, especially after Daniel Sedin clarified his original comments, but the Canucks forward did say his team would win Game 7.
"What did you expect him to say? Come on, we're in this to win," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said Wednesday morning. "Daniel is one of our leaders on our group and he believes in the group, and he expressed it. I think it's a normal thing to do at this time."
Good point. But the Canucks have displayed an almost alarming lack of concern about how poorly they played on the road in Game 6 with the Cup there for the taking. Fair enough. But is it really about not getting the bounces or having better luck? Maybe it is.
The team seems to have done a good job of forgetting the past, good and bad, and focusing on the future. For the Canucks, the future is Wednesday night.
The bottom line for the Canucks will be getting maximum performances from their top players, including Sedin, who has been the better of the twins in the series with one goal and three assists. Brother Henrik has one goal (it came after Game 6 was decided), and Ryan Kesler has just one assist. That said, none of that will matter if the Canucks manage to win.
"Everything in the past is in the past," Kesler said. "If we win [Wednesday], we become legends and I don't think anybody worries about that I have one point in six games."
4. War of attrition
Because Mason Raymond is out with a fractured vertebra after an unfortunate encounter with Boston defenseman Johnny Boychuk in Game 6, the Canucks must dig even deeper into their roster in the hopes of pulling off a Game 7 victory. Already without top defenseman Dan Hamhuis since Game 1 (injury) and top-six defenseman Aaron Rome since Game 3 (suspension), the loss of Raymond adds another layer of concern for a team that has managed just eight goals against Boston.
Whether it's Jeff Tambellini, who will rejoin the lineup for Game 7, or Vigneault breaking up his dynamic third line to add spark to a dormant second line, the Canucks' depth is being stretched to the breaking point at the worst possible time.
5. Nerves? What nerves?
The team that has scored the first goal of the game has won all six of the Cup finals contests. The Bruins are 11-1 when they score first and will be determined to put a pin in Luongo's balloon and suck the life out of Rogers Arena as quickly as possible. They haven't been able to do that yet, but that will be the goal in trying to gain an early edge.
The Canucks, meanwhile, have been able to exert their will through physical play as the games have gone along. They will hope to do the same in Game 7, slowly taking over and using the crowd to their advantage. Whether it's on the power play or not, look for both teams to surge early in the hopes of gaining an early edge. They'll try to do it without going over the edge and drawing an early penalty that could tip the scales.
Just hours before Wednesday night's Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals, Canucks forward Daniel Sedin clarified the "guarantee" he made a day earlier about the showdown against the Boston Bruins.
After Monday's Game 6, Sedin told The Vancouver Sun: "We're going to win Game 7. We're 3-3 and we won all three games at home, and we have the fourth game at home. So we have the seventh game at home, and we'll take that. We are confident."
After Wednesday's morning skate at Rogers Arena, Sedin said this about that original quote: "You know, that was probably me being excited, and the words came wrong out of my mouth. What I said was, if we put our best game on the ice, I like our chances. That's the way it's been all year. When we play our best, we're a tough team to beat. We show that at home. We like our chances."
Whichever interpretation you want to go with, Canucks coach Alain Vigneault stood behind Sedin's comments.
"What did you expect him to say [laughs]? Come on, we're in this to win," the coach said. "Daniel is one of our leaders on our group, and he believes in the group, and he expressed it. I think it's a normal thing to do at this time."