Congratulations to the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins!
This Stanley Cup series did not disappoint. Everybody loves a Game 7. Growing up playing on ponds, driveways, basements, or rinks, every made up scenario is Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. In any sport and at any level, the final playoff round is where the legends separate themselves from the stars. (I could make a LeBron joke here, but that would be too easy).
Throughout the series, players’ true character comes out. Vancouver took on the role of the antagonist, attacking opponents not only on the ice, but also in the media. On the ice, Alex Burrows proved again how dislikeable he can be. Earlier in his career, Burrows claimed that a referee told him before a game that he was going to get him back for embarrassing him in a previous game. Only Burrows and the referee know what was really said. Burrows may have been right or he may have been wrong, but most players probably would’ve let it go. The compete level of an NHL player is to win at all costs (LeBron on the other hand…) and I understand that Burrows was frustrated, but using the media to accuse such a harsh accusation of an official is just plain dumb. Let’s get back to this series. Burrows bit Patrice Bergeron’s finger in a post-whistle scrum. While it wasn’t as violent as Mike Tyson’s famous chomp on Evander Holyfield, he still bit him. No matter how frustrated you get, biting is not acceptable in any sport; aside from competitive eating. The severity of the bite can be argued, but the intention was obviously there. Alex Burrows showed again how much class he has. Very little. Nobody older than 12 months accidentally bites someone and I was highly angered when Burrows escaped suspension. I was even more angered at the NHL when Burrows scored the overtime winner in the following game.
Let’s revisit Aaron Rome’s hit on Boston forward Nathan Horton. The hit left Horton with a severe concussion and unable to play for the rest of the series. The hit was very late and caught Horton completely off guard. The hit was enough for me to strongly dislike Rome, but his postgame comments upset me more. He said that he “wouldn’t change much” about his hit on Horton. He called the hit “barely illegal.” Aaron Rome is a depth player. He is not nearly talented enough to stay in the lineup without playing physical, but his hit was obviously over the line, and obviously deserving of a four-game suspension. His disagreement with the suspension shows his class. It was a big mistake. He should’ve owned up to it and apologized to his teammates, fans, and most importantly Nathan Horton and his family.
Onto Luongo. After the Game 5 1-0 Vancouver win, Luongo told the media that Vancouver’s goal on Boston goalie Tim Thomas would be “an easy save for him.” Tim Thomas took the high road after the comment saying that he was going to focus on the game. Luongo also said that he’s “been pumping (Tim Thomas’) tires ever since the series started. I haven’t heard one nice thing he had to say about me.”
When Gary Bettman came onto the ice to present the Conn Smyth Award (Playoff MVP) and the Stanley Cup, the boo’s resonated through the arena with great force. The fans just don’t like him and with his resume of mistakes, it isn’t hard to see why (be sure to read the upcoming article on Bettman to see why). As an avid hockey fan, I found this hilarious.
Boston played a very strong defensive game, anchored by their goalie (and eventual
Playoff MVP) Tim Thomas. The Bruins were virtually unbeatable at home, but converted the only road win in the series in Game 7.
The presentation of the Stanley Cup is always a magic moment. To see someone finally accomplish what they’ve been working towards their entire lives is very uplifting.
After Game 7, Vancouver became a riot zone. Vancouver fans started fires, broke windows, and got into fights. Police said the riots were the cause of “anarchists” dressed as Canucks fans, not Canucks fans themselves. I have never been to Vancouver, but it looks like their fans are very “enthusiastic.”
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