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This series has history written all over it. The Vancouver Canucks and the Boston Bruins will square off and compete for Lord Stanley’s Cup starting Wednesday June 1st, in what hockey fans are hoping will be a very entertaining series.
Hockey, a sport so rich in Canadian culture and history, has not seen any of its NHL representatives lift the cup in victory since the Montreal Canadians beat Wayne Gretzky and the Los Angeles Kings in 1993. 18 years is unacceptable for Canadian fans, and they’re hoping that the Canucks can bring the championship back to it’s home country.
Boston on the other hand is a team that has been a perennial contender as of late, but has always seemed to fall short of their goals come playoff time. They are challenging for their first title since 1972 when legend Bobby Orr led them to victory over the New York Rangers. As we all know, Boston fans want rings, not finals appearances, and won’t rest until they see their beloved Bruins skating around the ice with the iconic silver cup held high over their heads.
These two teams tirelessly battled past many good teams en route to where they are now. So what should we look for in this series?
First of all, if any team wants to make a run at a championship, they’re going to need big performances out of their star players. In hockey, especially come playoff time, we all know that a hot goalie can bring a team as far as they want to go. Both Boston’s Tim Thomas and Vancouver’s Roberto Luongo are some of the best in the business, and are going to have to show off their cat-like reflexes in this series should they want to lift the cup themselves.
That brings us to the rest of the big-time players on the ice. Let’s start with Vancouver. Everybody knows about Daniel and Henrik Sedin. The twins have had great careers for the Canucks and brought them to the playoffs countless times, but really have struggled at times this year, worrying fans they they might not be the leaders they thought they were. Boy were they wrong, against San Jose they scored points left and right, and began to show why both these first-round picks are the keys to the cup.
Another player Vancouver will need to step up is Ryan Kesler. In fact, if you ask me, he is centerpiece for this team. Much rumor has it that Kesler is in line to compete for the Conn Smythe Trophy as the NHL Playoff’s Most Valuable Player. He will have to keep up his outstanding play if Vancouver wants to knock off the Bruins.
So what about Boston? Two words, one giant man: Zdeno Chara. He is a mammoth on the ice, and not only is he half-impossible for opposing scorers to get around on the defensive end, but possesses a deadly 100+ miles per hour slap-shot that will strike fear into any goalkeeper.
The Canadian fans, and players for that matter, will undoubtedly be ready for this task. They want nothing more than to bring the cup back to Canada where they believe it deserves to be. However, despite the Canucks being the best team in the NHL, the Bruins will not back down to anyone. They may have flaws, but they are scrappy, hard-nosed, and have a fan-base on their side that can match up with the best of them.
Look for an entertaining series with both teams laying everything on the line. My prediction? Vancouver in seven.