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Sunday, June 12, 2011
Break out the Cup ... and the clichés

By Scott Burnside
ESPN.com

BOSTON -- The closer we get to the Stanley Cup, the denser the cliché forest becomes.

Even with the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks engaged in regular nattering at each other during the finals, no one really wants to incite the other with the Stanley Cup in the building, as it will be for Monday night's Game 6.

But fear not. As we always do at this stage of the playoffs, we are happy to provide another translation for this year's annoying clichés.

Tim Thomas
Tim Thomas flew out of the net in Game 2. Alex Burrows scored in overtime as a result.

What they said

"I did hear about what [Roberto Luongo] said, but I don't really want to go into that. My focus is on what I can do to help my team win going into Game 6 here. It's obviously a 'must-win' game and I think it's important for our whole team to focus on that game and what we can do on the ice." -- Boston netminder Tim Thomas on Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo's critiquing of his game

What they really meant

"Roberto who?"


What they said

"I think maybe just comfort level right now. They're playing well in their building, we played well in ours, and we have to continue to do so if we want to have a chance to go back to Vancouver." -- Boston forward Rich Peverley on the home-ice domination in the series

What they really meant

"Gee, I sure hope we get the same Luongo who showed up here in Boston last week."


What they said

"[Thomas'] whole career has been like that. I mean, he started over in Europe and became a starter late in his career and ever since he's been just outstanding and proven everybody wrong. So I don't think that's a big deal for him. We all know how well he's played for us." -- Boston defenseman Dennis Seidenberg on Thomas and on Luongo's comments that Thomas' aggressive style may have cost the Bruins Game 5

What they really meant

"OK, so it does make me a little nervous when I look in our net and I don't see Tim anywhere, but usually he comes back into the paint after a while, which is good."


What they said

"It doesn't matter who you're playing. They can say comments or not, it's not about that; it's about your self-desire to win the Cup. We have it in the room and we're not worried about what they say." -- Peverley on the chirping and extracurriculars being an extra motivator to ensure the Canucks don't hoist the Cup on the Bruins' home ice

What they really meant

"We will eat our livers if we have to watch those jerks parading around our ice with the Cup. Not going to happen."


What they said

"Obviously everything's on the line right now. We just have to focus on tomorrow night. We know we have to correct some things." -- Boston defenseman Tomas Kaberle on preparing for Game 6

What they really meant

"OK, so just how much money has my miserable play this spring cost me? Darn. Wonder if Kladno needs a defenseman. And what do you think of my goatee? Do you think it makes me look like Zorro?"


Sedin Twins
The Sedin twins have a combined two points so far in the Cup finals.

What they said

"For us, it's not a mental hurdle. We've done it all year long. It's just trying to find a way to get that energy going here and we're going to do our best tomorrow to get that going." -- Vancouver defenseman Christian Ehrhoff on bringing a physical game that was lacking in Games 3 and 4

What they really meant

"Dirk Nowitzki is my friend. Take that, Dennis Seidenberg! Also, anyone else think Kaberle's goatee makes him look like Zorro?"


What they said

"It just happens. There's a big rivalry on the ice. A lot of battles out there, a lot of little stuff going on, but at the end, we have to play in between the whistles. After the whistle is blown, just walk away or skate away and focus on the next puck drop." -- Seidenberg on the genuine dislike that has grown between the two teams

What they really meant

"Next time, I am going to give Ryan Kesler such a punch in the nose."


What they said

"When I sit here and say that I truly am focused on what I have to do on the ice, I'm not just making that up. That's where I try to put 100 percent of my focus. You do have distractions, so sometimes you have to overcome them from the outside. But I think I've done a pretty good job of that so far and that's what I continue to try to do going forward." -- Thomas on whether the external stuff surrounding the series can be a motivating factor

What they really meant

"You ever hear of Zen? That's me. Really. Om. Now watch me levitate. See. Om. What was the question?"


What they said

"We're still confident. You lose confidence when you're cheating or you're doing things wrong. This is a tough team. They don't give up a whole lot of chances, and if you're going to start cheating to get points, it's going to hurt us more. Like I said, we're battling hard." -- Vancouver forward and Hart Trophy nominee Daniel Sedin on the fact he and his brother Henrik have only two points in the series

What they really meant

"Well, at least Mike Milbury didn't refer to us as Mary-Kate and Ashley because, well, they're twins."


What they said

"I know we're in the Stanley Cup final and everything is under the microscope and going to get blown out of proportion. Obviously, my whole comment, I don't think was a negative comment if you take the whole comment. But at the end of the day, you know what, I'm one win away from winning the Stanley Cup and that's all I really care about right now. All the other stuff is noise to me." -- Luongo on his critiquing of Thomas

What they really meant

"Gee, would it have killed Tim to say just one nice thing about me? Just one? Come on!"


What they said

"They're both unbelievable, but very different. The Olympics is a very short tournament. This is a two-month grind, probably one of the hardest things we've ever had to do as a team. In the end, if you come out on top, it's the most rewarding thing that you can probably do as an athlete." -- Luongo on the differences between the Olympics and Stanley Cup playoffs

What they really meant

"Just one little nice thing?"


Kaberle
Tomas Kaberle is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

What they said

"You've got to understand, in the playoffs, the guys are being checked closely, the key guys. It's not always obvious, so you need secondary scoring and every team needs that. We feel we've gotten that from our players and that's what you do. You just hope that your key guys keep working through it and find a way to get it done." -- Boston coach Claude Julien on his best players being his best players and the team's scoring depth

What they really meant

"Nope, I'm not putting Tyler Seguin on the power play."

What they said

"I don't know if you've been in the dressing room today, but I don't think there is anybody in that dressing room panicking. We're focused. We understand the situation. When you've been through it quite a few times, you certainly know how to deal with it a lot better and we've certainly been through it enough." -- Julien on the pressure the Bruins face Monday night

What they really meant

"Let me put it this way, if you see Seguin on the power play for more than about 10 seconds Monday night, it means we are cooked or we're up 8-1 again."


What they said

"We've been a good road team all season long. Those last two games are behind us and now we have two days to focus on tomorrow night's game and we had a good practice today." -- Vancouver forward Alex Burrows on trying to be the first road team to win a game in the series

What they really meant

"My favorite TV show is 'The Walking Dead.' Ha-ha! Get it? It's about flesh-eating zombies. Oh, never mind. You reporters have no sense of humor."


What they said

"You know, I think we've seen it before, even in previous series. Sometimes guys are trying to play the head games and you just can't worry about that, and it's part of the sport and you just have to worry about what you can control." -- Boston center Patrice Bergeron on the after-the-whistle stuff in the series

What they really meant

"I'm guessing Alex Burrows' favorite TV show is 'The Walking Dead.' And, yes, I know I haven't scored in eight straight games. Thanks for not bringing that up."


What they said

"I don't know, that's not my mindset to rub it in anybody's face. I just want to get the job done tomorrow and get ready for a big game." -- Burrows on whether he'd like to win the Cup in Boston because Bruins fans hate him

What they really meant

"Of course I do. Can't wait!"


What they said

"When you're dealing with those two players in particular, they're so demanding on themselves that they don't really need anyone to point certain things about their game out to them. That being said ... they're doing a lot of the right things and a lot of the things that should enable them to get on the score sheet." -- Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault on the scoring woes of the Sedin twins in the series

What they really meant

"Two points. Can you believe that? We're going to have to get the milk cartons out if this keeps up."

Scott Burnside covers the NHL for ESPN.com.