Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Canucks set to retool with Tortorella

The Vancouver Canucks introduced the 17th head coach of their NHL existence, the latest of the line that Vancouver fans hope will find the ingredients to bring a Stanley Cup parade to Vancouver's streets if not in the next season, within years rather than decades.

John Torotorella, who apparently spent most of the weekend talking hockey with everyone from custom's agents to passers by on the street, was on the podium on Tuesday, set to take questions from the Vancouver media, who prior to Tuesday's session had seemingly spent time reviewing old Larry Brooks' columns from the New York Post exploring the past for possible themes of the present and future.

Alas, it was a somewhat chastened John Tortorella that disarmed the Vancouver media, taking ownership of his recent media woes from the opening moments of the press conference, a fairly significant thing for a fellow most viewed as pretty mercurial at times and a step that for day one at least had the media for the most part ready to give him the time to take the reins of the Canucks.

There would be no You Tube additions of angry John to be made from Tuesday's press conference, Torotrella, was charming, engaged in talking hockey and most importantly for Canuck fans (and the players as well) said all the right things about what could be anticipated from the season to come.

He wants the players to give a little bit more, be accountable (not only to him but to each other it would seem) mentioned the star attractions of the Twins suggesting that they will see more ice time ahead and had best begin practicing the art of blocking shots.

He couldn't of course comment on much of the lineup, the Western conference this past year had about as much coverage in the East as the KHL does, though he clearly understands one of the key things about being a western team, travel and the recuperation time required of it.

Torotorella didn't have any thoughts on the main storyline of Vancouver's year, that being the goal tending situation, the only discussion point he offered up being that he thought that the Canucks handled the situation well, which we imagine was the correct thing to say, even if most believe it's a wee bit of a stretch.

And while he and Alain Vigneault apparently exchanged Coles' Notes with each other on their prospective employers over the last few weeks, it was clear to those viewing the press conference that there will be a change of dynamic behind the bench when training camp opens.

The Canucks as fortune would have it and despite themselves, found what may be the right coach at the right time. While few have held Alain Vigneault responsible for the failed playoff ambitions of the last two seasons, the current collective it seems had become a little too comfortable under his leadership. If Coach V  had made steps to grab their attention, they clearly went unheeded in the last year.

That won't be a problem we imagine for Tortorella, who brings a passion to the bench perhaps not seen since Pat Quinn led the Canucks on their own Stanley Cup path, which interestingly enough took them through New York City.

Of the available coaches of the moment, Torotorella perhaps offers up the best opportunity for a quick refocus of the core group of Canucks. He will need additions to the lineup (as Vigneault would have benefitted from) and that falls on the shoulders of GM Mike Gillis, who didn't do his former coach any favours over the last season.

The first task again, like it was last year this time, is to decide on the status of Roberto Luongo/Corey Schneider, the soap opera like moments of the last season can't carry on much longer, Gillis needs to move on from that as soon as possible.

If he's looking for a fresh start with his new coach, he had best start delivering some tools to make that step. The main problem for Vancouver over the last season, beyond the Luongo mess, was an inability to add the right piece to the puzzle at the right time, until the GM gets that timing right, it doesn't matter who stands behind the bench.

In his press conference, the new coach touched on his anticipation of coaching in a Canadian city, something he had apparently thought about for a long time now.

More than once he pointed towards the Chicago Blackhawks and what they did, how they sacrificed to win a Stanley Cup, a mention that sets the right tone for what he hopes to achieve in Vancouver. If you're looking for a blue print for a Stanley Cup quest, that's as good a place as any to  study up on.

He understands the passion that the game has above the 49th, a passion that he will bring to the table, one side of that passion (the more mercurial of the media outbursts) apparently to be reined in from days past.

Tortorella has always been more than the sideshow of media showdowns that he became known for over the last year or so.  Over his time behind a bench, he's always been a pretty successful coach, has a winning record and does have possession of a Stanley Cup ring.

With his hiring, he offers up a chance for this group of Vancouver Canucks to show that they are ready to push for that next step in the quest for a Stanley Cup. He also brings the ability to bring along younger players, something he had great success with in New York, for the Canucks to remain a consistent performer in the NHL West, that will be a key ingredient to whatever success he may have in Vancouver.

With a five year contract in hand, if the players don't buy in to what Tortorella will be asking, we imagine they'll be gone long before he is.

Likewise, if the GM doesn't put together a lineup that the coach can work with, the new hire may outlast the guy that hired him on Tuesday.

Last week the Vancouver media seemed to be anticipating the Apocalypse, even before Tortorella had signed on the dotted line.

Van Province--  Tortorella would keep things lively, but the Canucks already have the Melanson sideshow
Van Province-- Gillis' choice of sizzle over safety in new Canucks coach is consistent with his mission to win it all now
Van Province-- Canucks' hiring of John Tortorella feels an awful lot like Mike Keenan 2.0
Van Sun-- Testy Tortorella would bring Cup ring, verbal sting, plenty of experience to Canucks
Van Sun-- Nothing routine about Torts' stand-up
Van Sun-- John Tortorella: Canucks GM's guy or the owner's guy?

Tuesday, for the most part found the Tortorella sessions an enjoyable experience for the Vancouver media congregation, who were quick to take in the Tao of Torts and recount their impressions accordingly.

Van Province-- Torts wants to create "team" concept
Van Province-- "We need some more bite," says Torts as he vows to push the Canucks
Van Province-- Do your darndest Torts... let's talk in January and see if everyone is still friends
Van Province-- Tortorella plays nice in opening act
Van Province-- Sedins will be penalty killers, says Torts - and Henrik approves
Van Province-- Maybe the Canucks do need someone to crack the whip, but do they really need the Sedins killing penalties
Vancouver Province-- Canucks' give new coach Torts a head start
Van Sun-- Torts aiming to soften image, harden team
Van Sun-- John Totorella's winner of a day: Going to the dogs, vowing to put some "bite" into Canucks
Van Sun-- Canucks' new coach John Tortorella impressed GM Mike Gillis with attitude, preparation, technical knowledge
Van Sun-- Canucks need 'good cop' assistant for 'bad cop' Tortorella, says former player of fiery coach
Van Sun-- Canuck players can expect dressing room visits from 'fair, honest'  John Tortorella
Van Sun-- Who is John Tortorella? Start with toughness, tenacity
Postmedia News-- New bench boss John Tortorella brings baggage into role with Vancouver Canucks
Canadian Press-- Kinder, gentler John Tortorella introduced as Vancouver Canucks' new head coach

Though, perhaps secretly a little disappointed that they weren't able to grab some You Tube time from the opening session of the Tortorella years.

For the fans, delivering a Stanley Cup will trump any anticipated media battles, as tantalizing as those might be.

If the players can take their game to the level expected of their new coach, the next few seasons may provide for a different ending than the previous two have.

If not, well, keep your eye on You Tube we guess...

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

17 seconds to salvation and celebration

In a season that almost didn't begin at all, we're not sure that we all deserved the six game showdown that the Bruins and Hawks provided for us to bring the season to a finale.

Yet here we were, settling in for a game six, ready to absorb each and every hit, chase the puck into a corner, deflect a shot to a corner or put one in top shelf, the previous five games for the most part a game of attrition, each one requiring a long look at the lineup sheet to see if all hands were on deck.

Game Six continued on with the theme of drama, the Hawks facing an onslaught from a desperate Bruins team, who dominated the first twenty minutes of play as though they intended to run the Hawks right out of Boston.

Claude Julien, clearly impressed with the energy of the Kelly line, returned to them following a TV timeout at 7:19 of the first, rewarded for his belief, the Bruin's energy line provided Boston with the first goal of the game.

The Bruins first period attack was vintage Boston, hard on the fore check, clogging the lanes on the Hawks, they corralled Chicago in their own end for most of the period,  out shooting the Hawks 19-6 after twenty minutes, controlling the play for pretty well every second of that twenty minutes.

Still, for all their chances, for their pace of play which was frantic, the Bruins still only led by 1 goal after that first twenty, a storm weathered by the Hawks, allowing them opportunity to regroup and push back against a determined Bruins squad.

Period two was the Hawks season in a capsule, they never gave the impression that they were going to surrender the game to the Bruins, slowly they returned to the theme that brought them through the regular season and on through three sets of playoff rounds, speed.

The second period found the Hawks clearly back in sync, taking charge of the play from the second
period puck drop, Captain Jonathan Toews, breaking free to pick up the tying goal, shifting some of that momentum back to the Chicago side of the momentum meter.

It was exactly the kind of push back that head coach Joel Quenneville has come to expect from his team, never flustered, always pushing, prodding for a way back into a game.

The breaks between periods, much like the breaks between games, providing for a change of direction that highlighted the flow of momentum that seemed to change by the shift.

The third period , became rather familiar fairly fast, starting out much like the first finding the Bruins bouncing  back to their original game plan, fast on the fore check, bottling up the Hawks in their own end.

Milan Lucic, a force in many games in this six game series once again taking the stage as his, scoring a go ahead goal with 8 minutes to go. The nature of the play suggesting that the Bruins weren't done with hockey just yet.

By the latter stages of the third period, all no doubt were accepting the prospect of a Game 7 in Chicago on Wednesday night, such was the ebb and flow of the play as the desperate Hawks couldn't seem to break through on Tuuka Rask.

As the final two minutes arrived, the Hawks pulled Corey Crawford, seeking a last gasp chance to send the game to an OT frame.

The gamble of an empty net paying off with a goal from Bryan Bickell at 18:44, leaving the Bruin's faithful resigned to an extra period of hockey, an extension of the home ice game for just a little bit longer.

Seventeen seconds later, the Bruins were left in shock, the Hawks taking the lead as Dave Bolland put in what would soon be the series clinching goal, the Bruins left to pull  Tuuka Rask and somehow avoid the fate that had been that of the Maple Leafs at the beginning of the playoff run.

As the seconds counted down, Boston met Toronto in shared disbelief, the stakes for the Bruins significantly higher of course, but a sense of what just happened very much a reprise of the first round that launched the Bruins on their path.

A gift to Toronto based journalists and head line writers it would seem, judging by the volume of their work on Tuesday.

As  the Hawks victory celebration on the ice surface with the big Spoked B came an end, so too did a season that delayed as it was had threatened to test the faith of fans and in the end, in the end rewarding them for their belief with as stellar a Stanley Cup showdown as could have been expected.

The six game series featured many of the themes that makes hockey the game of passion it is, players playing through the pain, battered, bruised, cut. Scoring in waves at times, shutdown completely at others.

Goaltending of vintage quantity for most games, with a horse race of a game in the middle to remind all that every once and a while a shinny match can break out, whatever the size of the rink.

It was a series that captured the imagination from the start, an original six showdown, two storied franchises, with paths to the championship series that provided their own story lines.

Yes, we shouldn't be playing hockey as we close in on Canada Day and the 4th of July, and for the Bruins and the Hawks, summer is going to seem very, very short this year, but we suspect neither would trade the experience.

The Bruins obviously would have preferred a different outcome, in the end they were denied a Championship, but they battled for each and every win, confounded the experts and rewarded their fans with a long march into June.

The Hawks, return to the top of the NHL order, a style of play that hockey fans can only hope is noted by GM's from LA to Florida, Vancouver to Montreal.

Speed and skill, combined with no fear of physical play is still a recipe for success and having a goaltender who rises to the occasion doesn't hurt as well.

The blue print for the league for this year can be found in Chicago, copy and distribute as you will.

Chicago Daily Herald-- Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup
Chicago Tribune-- Blackhawks' 2nd Stanley Cup in 4 years comes in a flash
Chicago Sun Times-- Bolland, Bickell have time of their lives
Boston Globe-- This Bruins team deserved a better ending
Boston Herald-- 'Hawks stun, Bruins done
NESN-- Blackhawks proved to be Better Team As They Reward Chicago Fans with Another Stanley Cup
USA Today-- Chicago is on the verge of dynasty, and it only took 17 seconds
Globe and Mail-- Bruins and Blackhawks battered after a "very long short year"
National Post-- Bruins left searching for answers after Stanley Cup loss
Toronto Star-- Bruins get taste of what they gave Leafs
Toronto Sun-- Blackhawks score twice in final minutes to win Cup
CBC-- Blackhawks win Stanley Cup in stunning fashion

Monday, June 24, 2013

Stanley Cup -- The Stanley Cup Final -- Game Six, Monday, June 24, 2013

Stanley Cup Final Game Six

The Schedule for Monday June 24th in the quest for Stanley

Boston and Chicago

Chicago 3 at Boston 2 (17,565)
CHICAGO WINS the Stanley Cup 4 games to 2
8PM ET/7 CT/5 PT

Advantage Chicago, as speed gives Hawks the series lead

Speed once again served the Black Hawks, as Chicago skated their way to a 3 game to 2 lead over the Boston Bruins in their best of seven Stanley Cup Final, a series that now is a Best of three showdown, with the Hawks taking the advantage one game in.

Chicago once again turned to a fast paced approach to knock the Bruins off their game for two of the three periods of game number five, the magic formula that seems to be serving head coach Joel Quenneville quite well of late.

The Hawks beat the Bruins to the puck more often than naught over the first forty minutes of play, whether it was on the boards, in the neutral zone or deep in an end of the rink, the Hawks were faster to the play, which translated into many scoring opportunities, with only Tuuka Rask between the Bruins and an avalanche of Blackhawk scoring.

As the game moved along, it appeared that we were in store for a Patrick Kane showcase, the Hawks Right Winger seemed to have the puck attached by string, always on his stick when it wasn't heading for the Bruins net, finding success twice before the third period was underway.

In their own end, the Hawks Corey Crawford exorcised whatever demons had invaded his catching hand in game four, turning aside the Bruins infrequent scoring attempts of the first two periods, though things got interesting for both teams in the third when the Bruins finally created a twenty minute offensive charge that threatened to ruin the party that the Hawks' fans were enjoying.

Part of that third period push came from an increase in the Bruins physical play of the late second period, in particular a questionable hit, still being debated into Monday as to whether Glen Boychuk's hit on Hawks Captain Joathan Toews was a dirty play intent on injury.

For most (at least those in Chicago) the Boychuk hit was something that more along the lines of the dirty over the clean and another example of the style of play that some say the Bruins have built a reputation on. For the NHL however, it's game on, no additional discipline is anticipated from that hit.

Whatever the intent, to knock Toews out of the slot, or worse knock him out of the game; the latter was the eventual result. The Hawks captain relegated to bench duty, the occasional "give me one shift" ignored by the coach. Who did not give his captain any ice time in the third, leading to thoughts of concussion or other injury as the final result from the Boychuk hit.

With Toews out of the line up for the third, the Bruins found some more workable lineup combinations to try to exploit, with some success, fostering a comeback attempt early in the third on a Zdeno Chara goal.

For a fair part of the third period it appeared that the comeback was going to be a success, the Bruins adding to the pressure of the Hawks, Crawford standing his ground to shut down the Bruins attack.

The win was secured for good with an empty net goal by Dave Bolland, one which the Bruins clearly disagreed with.  A play on the Hawk's blue line, saw the Bruins defenders tied up with Chicago players, where a collision left Bolland streaking down the ice towards the empty net to put a wrap on the game.

As the teams head into tonight's Game Six, the only question it seems is which players fill out the line up sheet, with Toews still listed as day to day and the Bruin's Patrice Bergeron released from hospital on Saturday for the trip home his status for Monday still unknown, two key players who may not be on the ice when the puck drops.

Chicago Tribune-- Mr. June makes Bruins swoon
Chicago Sun Times-- One More! Blackhawks on cusp of winning Stanley Cup after 3-1 Game 5 win
Chicago Daily Herald-- Blackhawks on mission to finish Bruins
Boston Globe-- Bruins looking to stay alive in last home game
Boston Herald-- Bruins up against it as 'Hawks one win from Cup'
NESN-- Bruins pushed to brink with Game 5 loss, but say Blackhawks 'won't push us away that easily'
USA Today-- Blackhawks top Bruins amid big injuries
National Post-- Bruins radar having trouble finding Blackhawks
Globe and Mail-- Kane leads Hawks past Bruins and to within one win of Stanley Cup

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Stanley Cup Playoffs -- The Stanley Cup Final -- Game Five, Saturday, June 22, 2013

Stanley Cup Final Game Five

The Schedule for Saturday, June 22 in the quest for Stanley

Boston and Chicago

Boston 1 at Chicago 3 (22,274)
Chicago leads the series 2 games to 1
8PM ET/7 CT/5 PT

Next Game: Monday, June 24th.

Lindy lands in Dallas

There's going to be a garage sale in Buffalo sometime this summer, up for grabs we imagine, winter jackets, toboggans and snow shovels or snow throwers, where the Ruff family is going, snow is going to be for the most part a rumour.

The long time Buffalo Sabre, who was turned into a free agent coach earlier this year when dismissed by the Sabres has landed a new position, signing up with Jim Nill to rebuild the Dallas Stars, a team that Ruff has some memories of. though we imagine he's more than willing to put them far in the past.

Though we imagine, now that he's on the Stars payroll, he's more than willing to put that talking point far in the past, indicating as much at his introduction to Dallas press conference of Friday.

The Stars had been actively seeking a few options for their open head coach position, rumoured to be in discussions with Alain Vigneault, they moved on along the coaching depth chart, when Vigneault was tempted by the Bright lights of Broadway. 

As the coaching discussions continued through the week, the Stars turned to Ruff to take up the challenge of a team that once was a regular playoff fixture, but of late has struggled to regroup.

If indeed Ruff was a plan B, for the Stars plan B is looking pretty good this morning.

Ruff who was fixture with the Sabres through his career, guided the Sabres as head coach for fifteen years beyond his playing days.

He was an iconic Buffalo resident, one of the most recognizable faces of the franchise, his departure the subject of much discussion earlier this year. As controversial a decision as the Sabres have made in many a year, one which may yet prove to resonate across Western New York for years to come.

For Ruff, joining the Stars at this point, while no doubt providing for a challenge offers the chance to be part of a rebuilding process that looks to be in pretty good hands.

Jim Nill, who moved over from the Red Wings to be General Manager obviously is steeped in what it takes to build a hockey club that has designs for the long run.

Adding Ruff is an endorsement of the coach's skills and composure, making Nill and Ruff perhaps the  perfect partners in the Stars rebuild.

Ruff's patience with the various scenarios that played out in Buffalo over the years, will serve him well with a team looking to regain it's footing in the NHL's quest for the Stanley Cup.

It may take a few years, but with some wise moves by the GM  and the experience of the coach, the Stars may bring Ruff closer to the goal of a Stanley Cup once again.

The announcement of Lindy Ruff to Dallas, marks the second wise decision by an NHL team in 24 hours, both Ruff and Alain Vigneault, seem like the best choice for the job at hand.

The NHL's coaching carousel only has so many spins, in Dallas and New York it appears that when the music stopped, the right man for the right job hopped off.

Dallas Morning News-- Lindy Ruff attempting rebirth at place that celebrates his greatest loss; 'Maybe the stars really are aliginging'
Dallas Morning News-- Lindy Ruff introduced as Dallas Stars coach, accepting 'unbelievable opportunity'
Dallas Morning News-- Observations on hiring Lindy Ruff: Sometimes your second choice might be the right one
Dallas Star Telegram-- Lindy Ruff named Dallas Stars coach
Buffalo News-- Ruff pushes history aside, becomes new Stars coach
USA Today-- Lindy Ruff hired to coach Dallas Stars
CBC-- Stars announce Lindy Ruff is their new head coach
Globe and Mail-- Stars confirm Lindy Ruff is new head coach
National Post-- Lindy Ruff is the new head coach of the Stars
Toronto Sun-- Stars hire Ruff as head coach

Coach V heads for NYC




We're not sure if he is fan of Jay Z and Alicia, a devotee of Billy Joel (man look at all that hair) or perhaps fond of the Chairman of the Board (If he can make it there...), but whichever musical styling that Alain Vigneault might prefer, we're pretty sure that there is  a song to serve as the soundtrack to his New York Adventures to come.

Vigneault was named the new head coach of the New York Rangers Friday, a rather poorly kept secret that first began to percolate earlier in the week, the Rangers having dismissed John Tortorella following their playoff exit moving towards a less volume orientated chaperon for their rather expensive Broadway lineup.

For the spot in the boiling pot of New York observation, Vigneault will make a reported 10 million dollars over five years, a nice reward for the frustrations of the last year on the west coast.

The former bench boss for the Vancouver Canucks took the fall this Spring, paying the price for an under performing team  and a GM that couldn't make the required moves in the lockout extended shortened season to make the Canucks a contender once again.

Instead, Vigneault found himself dismissed following the Canucks exit,  a fate that many suggest rightfully should have gone to the Canucks GM Mike Gillis.

Vigneault's time on the sidelines though was not going to be very long, the NHL coaching carousel was already warming up as the Canucks were filling out the paperwork on the parting.

It seemed for many that Vigneault would surely find himself another NHL coaching position, the only question being what kind of pressure would he want to put on himself after the grinder that Vancouver has become of late.

As things would seem to suggest, pressure isn't something that the Gatineau (once known as Hull), Quebec resident is afraid of, taking on the challenge of one of the league's premiere franchises, an Original six member where every move is subject to the glare of the largest media spotlight in the league.

He clearly will bring a completely different dynamic to his position than that of his predecessor, which
perhaps offers up the prospect of a much more peaceful co-existence with the media in New York, a development that may very well allow for a concentration on hockey as opposed to feuds.

Coaching in New York perhaps in the recent past has taken a back seat for the Rangers, the conflicting egos both in the offices and the dressing room coursing through the Ranger organization, pulling apart at times rather than together.

Vigneault who has been able to focus on coaching through any number of sideshows in the past, could very well return the Rangers to a focus on playing the game.

If the recent playoff exit is any indication they had clearly tuned out their former coach, who seemingly didn't have much confidence in some of the pieces put in place by his GM in New York.

It made for a toxic mix by the end that not surprisingly resulted in the Rangers decision to let John Tortorella go, we don't necessarily subscribe to the theory that all of the Rangers ills were his fault or responsibility.

Players are supposed to play, but far too often those sideshows took far too much of the focus.

We suspect that Torotrella will land somewhere before September (rumours are percolating that he'll land in Vancouver, in effect providing for a trade in coaches, in a round about way), where we'll find out if he can concentrate just on the on ice aspect of events.

Though, as Alain Vigneault could advise him if asked, Vancouver is no walk in the park when it came to media interest.

Perhaps, that exposure on the West Coast is what convinced Vigneault to accept the Rangers job, the glare of the media in Vancouver was just as intense as what New York will offer, though in New York the pockets are deep, the desire to win again surely a dominant theme.

Picking Alain Vigneault is an indication that the Rangers may just be ready to make a large step forward in pursuit of the Stanley Cup.

New York Post-- Coach's smiling optimism a case of Torts reform
New York Post-- Vigneault preaches 'latitude' at Rangers intro
New York Daily News-- New York a perfect fit for new Rangers coach Alain Vigneault and his family
Newsday-- Alain Vigneault will be a style change for Rangers
Newsday-- Alain Vigneault the right choice for Rangers
New York Times-- Set for changes, Rangers Introduce Vigneault as Coach
NBC Sports-- Sather says new Rangers coach Vigneault 'loves the offensive game'
USA Today-- Rangers introduce Alain Vigneault as coach
Globe and Mail-- Rangers introduce Alain Vigneault as new head coach
National Post-- Alain Vigneault officially becomes new Rangers head coach

Friday, June 21, 2013

Blackhawk push back!

On the cusp of what would have been a steep mountain to climb, the Chicago Black Hawks dug in and found the game they needed after a Game Three loss to the Bruins which pretty wall saw the Hawks do whatever they wished.

Chicago, down 2 games to 1 heading into Game Four on Wednesday, rose to the occasion and despite an uncharacteristically poor game in the nets by goaltender Corey Crawford, the Hawks pushed back at the Bruins domination of before, gaining an impressive 6-5 overtime victory and turing the Stanley Cup final into a Best of Three showdown.

Best of all for ChiHawk fans, they wrestled home ice advantage back for the Windy City, with two of three games ahead hosted at the Mad House on Madison if required.

For Chicago, the Game Four revival was not only timely, but indicative that the Hawks weren't just going to roll over and hand the Bruins the Cup.

The Hawks turned on their jets, (assisted by a Toews and Kane reunion) turning what had been a clutch and grab festival of game three into a free wheeling end to end affair, something that obviously is in the Hawks better interests. Unleashed from the close quarters that the Bruins would prefer, the Hawks were driving to the Bruin end of the rink, buzzing the net, creating havoc and leaving the Bruins a bit unsettled in their own end, something not seen in recent games.

Boston eventually caught up with the speed of the game and matched the Hawks almost rush for rush and as thing would evolve goal for goal.

In fact, the biggest surprise from a series that has really provided for mainly low scoring and defensive hockey, was the burst of offence from Game Four, a welcome change for those that actually like to see goals scored.

Though, if you're on the Hawks or part of the fan base, the goals against from Game four is probably an uneasy feeling, Corey Crawford who normally is a rock in the Hawks net, had a wee problem with his catching glove on Wednesday, with a good portion of the Bruins five goal output coming on the glove side.

The Bruins as well might have wondered what was going on, Tuuka Rask previously all but invincible of late, had a rough night of things surrendering six goals in the four periods of play.

11 goals in one game, provided for just one goal shy of the total goal output of games one through three, great for those with scorers in a hockey pool, a nightmare for coaches looking to tighten up their play.

The offensive bounty for Chicago however is no doubt welcome, with the Hawks no doubt hoping that it provides an indication that their scoring woes are behind them and that they can seize the momentum heading into Game Five Saturday in Chicago.

We pointed out that unless the Hawks could find their way onto the score sheet in Game Four, that Saturday's game in Chicago could be very much of a last stand.

The Hawks answered any challenges on Wednesday, the pressure now shifts to the team with the B on their jersey, Chicago can make things even more uncomfortable if they just keep up the speed game that they employed on Wednesday night.

Oh, and having the goaltender return to his previously formidable form would be welcomed as well we imagine.

A playoff season that has provided for a number of surprises and much in the way of entertainment, all of those previous games now turned into a potential three game showdown.

In a season that began with such anger, fans are finally getting the reward for all of their patience, they couldn't have asked for a better script, the ending of course dependant on which team you support.

Chicago Sun Times-- Brent Seabrook: A voice of authority on the Blackhawks
Chicago Tribune-- Stanley Cup final one for the ages
Chicago Daily Herald-- Blackhawks a team Chicago can be proud of
Boston Herald-- Get back to B's basics
Boston Globe-- Bruins want better start in Game 5
NESN-- Bruins' 'Average' Showing Costs Them, Wakes Up Blackhawks as series heads back to Chicago Tied
USA Today-- Blackhawks fixing their issues
Globe and Mail-- To the excitement of fans, Bruins and Hawks go off script
National Post-- Bruins, Blackhawks have been through it all, and refuse to crack
Toronto Star-- Chicago's Brent Seabrook - the captain's captain
Toronto Sun-- Blackhawks' Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane reunion sparks scoring surge

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Stanley Cup Playoffs -- The Stanley Cup Final -- Game Four, Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Stanley Cup Final Game Four

The Schedule for Wednesday, June 19 in the quest for Stanley

Boston and Chicago

Chicago 6 at Boston 5 (OT)  (17,565)
Series is tied at 2 games each
8PM ET/7 CT/5 PT
CBC, RDS, NBCSportsnetwork

They may be i-Rask-ible, but they're dominating the Hawks!

Sure they have a nasty temperament, at times borderline dirty, at others the border gone completely, but in the Stanley Cup Final the Bruins are just putting a wallop on the Black Hawks, to which the Hawks seemingly have no push back left.

Boston took control of their Best of Seven series on Monday evening with a rather dominating bit of hockey, four lines that seem particularly interchangeable for the most part, backed up by a goaltender in Tuuka Rask who no doubt has the Bruin faithful going Tim who?

Rask has been the main focus of show for the Bruins thus far, holding the Black Hawks off the scoreboard since period one of Game Two, five and a bit periods of hockey without a goal, which beyond the hits, slashes and such probably hurts the Black Hawks more than anything else.

Yet, he's but a part of the larger Boston picture, each component working to the common goal and as things look after Game Three, the goal is a whole lot closer heading into Wednesday's match up.

The Hawks who for the majority of the regular season were a scoring and hitting machine, have seemingly hit a wall against the Bruins. Boston looms larger, hits harder and for the moment score more often, a trifecta that would seem to have the Stanley Cup edging closer to another Duck boat parade with each passing period.

Chicago's troubles continued on Monday with the departure of Marion Hossa from the Hawks line up, a last minute scratch following the warm up.

A team that was  already lacking in scoring punch, clearly missed his ability to create space and take pressure off his team mates, as Game three moved on no one it seemed was going to be able to pick up the scoring slack in his absence.

Particularly of concern to head coach Joel Quenneville must be the horrid nature of the Hawks power play, a situation that surely has the coach thinking of ways to decline the man advantage, such is the woeful stats from it thus far.

With the Hawks unable to make the Bruins pay for their less than civil play, the Bruins will continue to show no fear of taking a penalty from their play. In effect, the Hawks by their inability to score on the power play are making the Bruins physical play even more prominent as each game goes by.

They can only rely on their goaltender for so long to remain in contention, Corey Crawford has provided as much support as would seem reasonable in a playoff match up, without him, the Hawks would be looking at much larger deficits and even less hope of a comeback, in fact, without Crawford's work, the Hawks could very well have been facing a sweep as Game Four arrives.

Boston so far hasn't proved to be generous hosts, with one home win under their belt and the opportunity to take a firm grip on the Final with a victory on Wednesday.

For the Hawks home ice may yet provide one more opportunity to make some noise, though whether it proves to be a do or die moment will depend on how they come out of Boston in Game 4.

So far, if Monday was any indication, while you hate to look ahead to Game 5, the current theme of the series would suggest that the return to the Windy City may be more of a last stand for the Hawks than they might prefer.

Boston Herald-- Blood, sweat and bears
Boston Globe-- Cup hungry Bruins become boys of summer
NESN-- Blackhawks starting to sound like Penguins after frustrating Game Three loss to Bruins
Chicago Sun Times-- Plenty of blame to go around for Blackhawks' recent play
Chicago Tribune-- Hawks in state of denial
USA Today-- Hawks must attack Rask for reward
National Post-- The way Bruins play is what makes Tuuka Rask look great
Globe and mail-- Bruins bottle up Blackhawks' attack
Toronto Star-- Blackhawks plagued by more than bad ice
Toronto Sun-- Blackhawks' problems start in the faceoff circle

Monday, June 17, 2013

Gary Bettman's Phoenix parachute may be Seattle bound

Not since DB Cooper jumped out of an airplane in the American Northwest has there been such focus on a parachute, but for Gary Bettman and the NHL's Board of Governors, the Pacific Northwest may be the next destination for the long running soap opera known as the Phoenix Coyotes.

Comparisons to Cooper's plans of course may be considered by civic officials in Phoenix, where the NHL is suggesting that the dynamic may be about to change in the desert,  unless the Glendale City Council provides "incentives" to the latest individuals who are less than flush with cash, but looking to keep the Coyotes alive.

Should Glendale Council say "not one dime more",  (and with a property  tax increase just approved for Glendale taxpayers who could blame them) then it's most likely going to be a case of,  "well, see ya, wouldn't want to be ya", as the refrain from the Bettman office might go.

Over the weekend, there was a flurry of dispatches from the Seattle area, with the suggestion that discussions have been underway between the NHL and Seattle, which would see the Coyotes relocate to the Emerald city in time for a September start, destined for the much maligned Key Arena, while they await a new downtown arena to be constructed.

Originally, the plan was for Seattle to build that arena for basketball, then perhaps as an additional revenue source, the NHL would come along to share the new facility.

However, Donald Stern once again poked a stick in the eye of Seattle B ball fans, with the NBA voting down a plan to move the Sacramento Kings to Seattle. Putting the new arena plans on a bit of a back burner while the Seattle folks figured out their next move.

So now, should the NHL actually ship the Coyotes to the Pacific Northwest, the Plan B for the moment it seems is rethink the arena proposal using the NHL as the first block and then,  with a new arena in place, pursue that much desired NBA franchise.

As is often the case, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is rather cautious in his declarations, not quite proclaiming that the moving vans are on the way, nor it seems throwing cold water on any suggestions that the NHL is Seattle bound.

The rise of the Seattle option will be of particular interest (concern?) to the folks of Quebec and would be franchise holders for a second Toronto franchise, who perhaps might have thought that a ready made franchise, much like the Jets were, would soon be bound for above the 49th parallel.

Many observers suggest that those two locales may one day find their place at the NHL table, however only after a rather expensive expansion fee is delivered to the NHL's Board after the tender for new
franchises is put out.

Seattle it seems may be on the inside track to avoid all of that. To refresh your memories on the prospect of the NHL making tracks for the Pacific Northwest, we invite you to review our look at the Seattle hockey prospects from February of last year.

The latest of media dispatches on the possible shift to Seattle can be found below.

Seattle Times-- NHL's Phoenix Coyotes could move to Seattle if local deal fails
Seattle Post Intelligencer-- Seattle could get NHL team by next season - but don't get your hopes up
KOMO News-- A hockey team for Seattle? New developments unveiled
KING 5-- McGinn acknowledges talks with NHL Commissioner
Globe and Mail-- Seattle on NHL's relocation radar yet again
Toronto Sun-- Seattle already in talks to bring in Coyotes

Stanley Cup Playoffs -- The Stanley Cup Final-- Game Three, Monday, June 17, 2013

Stanley Cup Final Game Three

The Schedule for Monday, June 17 in the quest for Stanley

Boston and Chicago

Chicago 0 at Boston 2 (17,565)
Boston Leads the series 2 games to 1
8PM ET/7 CT/5 PT
CBC, RDS, NBCSportsnetwork

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Simply slackers, only one OT for Bruins/Hawks in Game Two

Saturday night in Chicago must be much more fun than Wednesday night in Chicago, that's the deduction after the Hawks and Bruins brought their Game Two overtime contest to a much quicker conclusion than the triple OT festival of the opening night special.

The Bruins who survived Chicago's first period blitz, settled down through periods two and three, slowing the game down to their preferred speed, exacting a heavy physical toll on the Hawks and most importantly scoring the tying goal at 14:58 of the second frame.

Chris Kelly, with a pass from Andrew Paille, grabbing the marker with a deflection off the post and past Corey Crawford. The reward for hard work and perseverance and frankly survival of a first period that the Bruins should most likely have been down by two or three goals, if not for Tuukka Rask's spectacular goal tending.

The Bruin's took their lead from their Finnish goaltender, changing the pace of the game, out hitting the Hawks and yes, aided by referees that seem to have misplaced the sections of the rule book on cross checking and slashing, punishing the Hawks at every opportunity.

Chicago also provided some help to the Bruins, by seemingly turning off their intensity of the first period, the second and third more a case of the Hawks just trying to keep up with the Bruins who clearly had captured a second wind after the first intermission.

A game which threatened to see the Hawks run away with the score and take a commanding lead, instead as head coach Joel Quenneville observed found the Hawks standing around watching for the most part.

Turning  game two into a game of attrition, with the scoring chances clearly shifting towards the Bruins, with Boston finding any number of chances to end things on their terms, opportunities best exemplified by a shot from Jaromir Jagr who rattled off what would have been a game winner off a goal post.

The sound deafening to the crowd at the United Centre, which watched with growing concern as the Hawks surrendered ice, intensity and opportunity to the Bruins.

The path to the Bruins comeback came with that second period goal from Kelly a marker which considering the flow of the game, provided an immediate flood of thoughts that surely Game Two was now destined for Overtime.

The fearless prognostication was delivered with but one more period and the end of sixty minutes of regulation time.

The only question going into the first OT being whether one or the other would knuckle down and end the potential marathon early, or if another triple extra time festival was on the horizon.

The answer came from Daniel Paille at 13:48 of the first OT, he put the winning marker past Corey Crawford,  a snap shot that streaked past Crawford's glove hand, drawing the series to a tie.

The OT goal sending the Bruins back to Boston with the home ice advantage and a renewed sense that their goal is once again within reach.

For Chicago, which carried over that enthusiasm from their game one victory into Game Two, but lost the momentum midway through the second period, a dedication to overcoming obstacles is going to be required.

Beyond the obvious boost to the B's of the TD Gardens crowd, the Hawks will have to work through the hooks, holds, cross checks and slashes, and yes, even the goals denied as Saturday's contest provided to Chicago, will have to be quickly forgotten.

Each shift in the end becomes a push back shift, whether this ends in game five (or most likely a Game 7), it seems as this series is evolving the team that pushes back last is going to be the one to claim a game's victory and in the end the Stanley Cup.

As of game three, the push back advantage is now with the Bruins.

Some of the key reviews of Game Two can be found below.

Boston Herald-- Bruins escape Chicago with OT thriller
Boston Globe-- Bruins win in OT, even Stanley Cup final
Chicago Tribune-- Blackhawks' OT loss evens Stanley Cup Final 1-1
Chicago Sun Times-- Saturday knot live: Bruins even series with 2-1 overtime victory in Game 2
USA Today-- Paille lifts Bruins in overtime to tie series
National Post-- Bruins keep overtime short and sweet in Game 2
Globe and Mail-- Bruins rebound with overtime win over Hawks in Game 2 to even Cup Final
Toronto Star-- Bruins even final against Blackhawks with OT Game 2 victory
Toronto Sun-- Bruins bang way to overtime win against Blackhawks

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Stanley Cup Playoffs-- The Stanley Cup Final-- Game Two, Saturday, June 15, 2013

Stanley Cup Final Game Two

The Schedule for Saturday, June 15 in the quest for Stanley.

Boston and Chicago

Boston 2 at Chicago 1 (OT) (22,154)
The series is Tied at one game each
8 PM ET/7 CT/5 PT

And the Winners Are, Were....

It's a strange little roll out of the Awards of 2013, first because it's taking place as the Stanley cup Final continues on, kind of going against the unofficial rule that "nothing" should detract from the focus on the league's showcase finale. (Makes us wonder if Gary Bettman will shout out Phoenix is moving sometime during game two tonight).

Secondly, the NHL has chosen not to go the flashy Vegas route this time around, not that we mind that, the schlock of the Vegas show was a tad cringe worthy at times in it's forced hipness, offering up an opportunity for Ron MacLean to work out the kinks in his audition for a Vegas Lounge act.

But really, handing out the bulk of your awards just before puck drop of game two?

Well, it's been a strange year anyways, why not finish off with the weird.

At any rate, some of the award winners got a head start on the Thank you cards last night, as the NHL listed off the names of the seven early bird winners, the mode of notice press release and twitter updates from countless numbers of players, journalists, team twitter feeds and just regular fans.

You can read the NHL's biographies and nomination lists here.

The Frank J. Selke Trophy
Jonathan Toews - Chicago Black Hawks
Awarded to those not afraid to go into the corners,  actually it's dedicated to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game.

Jack Adams Award
Paul MacLean - Ottawa Senators
Awarded to the coach judged to have contributed the most to his teams success, having a goaltender who can stop a puck clearly puts you in the nomination race.

General Manager of the Year Award
Ray Shero - Pittsburgh Penguins
Interestingly enough it isn't named after anyone, anonymous in nature, much like we imagine the majority of the league's GM prefer, out of sight out of the owner's firing line.

Lady Byng Memorial Trophy
Martin St. Louis - Tampa Bay Lightning
Awarded to the player who best shows sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of play. Main criteria, is to never be found standing in Brendan Shanahan's office.

NHL Foundation Award
Henrik Zetterberg - Detroit Red Wings
Dedicated to the player who best lives up to the values of commitment, perseverance and teamwork to enrich the lives of people in the community. If the NHL had badges like Cubs and Scouts, this would be a keeper.

King Clancy Memorial Trophy
Patrice Bergeron - Boston Bruins
Awarded to the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community. See above, but with a larger trophy.

Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy
Josh Harding - Minnesota Wild
With a criteria of dedication to hockey exemplified by qualities of perseverance and sportsmanship, it's always an impressive list of names that are up for the running, one which probably makes for a challenging job for the selection committee.

Bridgestone Messier Leadership Award
Daniel Alfredsson - Ottawa Senators
Awarded by Mark Messier, who has final approval on the final three nominees, using it as his guide to which player deserves recognition for their leadership in the season just past. No truth to the rumour that the winner gets a complimentary tire changeover from winter to summer tires.

The following awards are to be awarded on Saturday night, we'll update the list later this evening as the plaques are engraved.

Calder Memorial Trophy
Jonathan Huberdeau - Florida
AKA Rookie of the Year trophy, the shining stars in the making receive their due.
Nominees were Brendan Gallagher (Montreal), Jonathan Huberdeau (Florida) Brandon Saad (Chicago)

Ted Lindsay Award
Sidney Crosby - Pittsburgh Penguins
Awarded to the Most Outstanding Player of the past season
Nominees were Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh), Alex Ovechkin (Washington), Martin St. Louis (Tampa Bay)

Vezina Trophy
Sergei Bobrovsky - Columbus Blue Jackets
Most Outstanding Goaltender of the year, voted by the league's General Managers (Philadelphia GM's traditionally burn their ballots after the first round of the playoffs)
Nominees were Sergei Bobrovsky (Columbus), Henrik Lindqvist (NY Rangers),  Antti Niemi (San Jose)

James Norris Memorial Trophy
P. K. Subban - Montreal Canadiens
Awarded to the defensive player who demonstrates the greatest all around ability at his position
Nominees were Kris Letang (Pittsburgh), P. K. Subban (Montreal), Ryan Suter (Minnesota)

Hart Trophy
Alex Ovechkin- Washington Capitals
Player Judged to be the Most Valuable to his team
Nominees were Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh), Alex Ovechkin (Washington), John Tavares (NY Islanders)

Maurice Richard Award
Alex Ovechkin - Washington Capitals
Destined for the league's top goal scorer, the easiest of trophies for the committee to award as they just have to be good at math on the final day of the season.

Art Ros Trophy
Martin St. Louis - Tampa Bay Lightning
Another one for the statisticians on the board, awarded to the player with the most total points at the end of the regular season.

William M. Jennings Trophy
Corey Crawford, Ray Emery - Chicago Black Hawks
Awarded to the goaltenders who have played a minimum of 25 games for the team with the fewest goals score against in the Regular Season. (Again, Philadelphia GM's rarely have had cause to cast a vote in recent years, somewhere on the Atlantic is a bottle with a ballot floating towards the Azores)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Triple the hockey, triple the fun!

Now that's how you launch the Stanley Cup Final!

If you had tickets, frame them.

If you didn't have tickets, lie to your grandchildren when the time comes,  tell them you were there and that it was awesome.

Game One of the Stanley Cup final fulfilled all the superlatives, Epic, Classic, Showcase, Magnificent, pick one and repeat it over and over again. All would be correct, there are probably more, but frankly, we're too tired to drag out the thesaurus to look for extras.

For every mid season, mind numbing regular season game we've sat through, this was our reward.

For the endless days of lockouts, as two sides tested the faith of their followers, this was our reward.

For those infuriating press conferences where both the players and the league said the good of the game was their main concern, a refrain greeted with disdain at the time, this was our reward for keeping the faith.

Two teams, equal in skill, at times mirror images of each other, left nothing on the bench in game one.

The Hawks and Bruins, exhausted by the time the first OT rolled around, continued to find the resolve to carry us through two and then three periods of extra time.

Momentum would change with every line change (sometimes aided by an untimely too many men penalty, yes we're pointing at you Chicago), a sudden burst of energy that came with a near miss, sudden death avoided for just one more rush.

It was a game that featured it all, the Bruins jumping out to a commanding two goal lead heading through the third, suddenly found the Blackhawks had some push back, one goal then another taking the game to a 3 all tie, the extra frame morphing into period five then six.

The Overtimes, brought drama with every rush, the goal tending from both Corey Crawford and Tuuka Rask extending the night's magic, minute after minute of defensive scrambles, blocked shots, desperation lunges, with everyone making that extra effort to live for another shift.

On any number of occasions it could have come to an end and no one would have complained, a doink off a goalpost, a shot sailing just wide, a scramble where somehow the puck stayed out of the net, all of it and more the narrative to game one.

In the end, as is the case when tired players make desperate plays, it was blind luck, in this case a double deflection that put a puck in the net, proving once again that old coach's adage that you  just have to get the puck on the net (or at least in it's general direction).

The Hawks the recipients of Lady Luck for a night. Chicago claiming the 4-3 victory on a wacky shot from Michael Rozsival deflecting first off Dave Bolland's cue, then with a bounce off of Andrew Shaw, a kinder fate perhaps deserved for Tuuka Rask, who until that point had  shut down the Hawks in the triple overtime thriller.

A goal just before the midnight hour in Chicago,  six periods of hockey, the fifth longest game in NHL playoff history and two very, very, tired teams, one with a 1-0 lead in the best of seven (and please can it go the full seven?) series.

Two nights off for both (and the fans as well), Thursday and Friday to rest, reflect and recharge.

Game Two is Saturday night, if it's half the game of the series opener, we'll be well rewarded for our faith in the game.

Yes, it may be June, many of our first choice teams have long since been removed from the picture, and yes, the mind could be drifting to summer pursuits.

But if this is what the NHL is offering, we'll gladly park down in front of the television until the Cup is hoisted.

The reviews of Game One

Chicago Tribune-- Hawks win Game 1 epic in 3 OTs 
Chicago Sun-Times-- Shaw's triple Overtime goal gives Blackhawks Stanley Cup opener
Chicago Daily herald-- Hawks take Game 1 4-3 in Triple OT
Boston Herald-- Blackhawks beat Bruins, 4-3 in triple OT of Game 1
Boston Globe-- Bruins lose Game 1 in Triple Overtime
NESN-- Bruins' Missed Opportunities Cost Them in Game 1 As Blackhawks prevail...
National Post-- Blackhawks outlast Bruins in Triple Overtime thriller to open Stanley Cup Finals
Globe and Mail-- Blackhawks draw first blood with win over Bruins in Triple Overtime
Toronto Star-- Blackhawks beat Bruins in Game 1 triple OT thriller

Our Archive for the Stanley Cup Finals

Stanley Cup Playoffs-- The Stanley Cup Final-- Game One, Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Stanley Cup Final Game One

The Schedule for Wednesday, June 12 in the quest for Stanley.

Boston and Chicago

Botson 3 at Chicago 4 (3 OT) (22,110)
Chicago leads the series 1 game to None
8 PM ET/7 CT/5 PT

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Stanley Cup Final: Boston and Chicago

While at times both teams have struggled through their respective series, in the end, the Bruins and the Black Hawks found the ways to win when required the most.

The Bruins who faced with elimination with ten minutes to go of the final game of the first round, rallied for a comeback for the ages, one which Leafs fans will be marking right up there in their index of Maple Leaf misery, a lengthy tome which seems to add chapters on a year basis.

The wake up call of that game seven comeback has propelled the Bruins on through the playoffs, each series pushing the Bruins a little further to the goal of another Stanley Cup, the domination along the way as impressive a thing as seen in recent Stanley Cup time lines.

Chicago, who served notice in the regular season that they were to be reckoned with, has had a few scares along the road to Stanley as well, while making fairly quick work of the Minnesota Wild, they then ran into trouble with the Red Wings (who surrendered what seemed as certain victory)
suffering a Double Overtime victory to defeat the Red Wings in Game seven.

Double Overtime would once again send the Hawks into the Stanley Cup final, this time in a Game 5 victory that snuffed out any hopes that Los Angeles had for a Stanley Cup repeat in 2013.

And while the errors along the way are no doubt worrisome to head coach Joel Quenneville, the nature of the Hawks play, the physical price that they make their competition pay, should set them up well for the showdown with the Bruins for the Cup.

In a season that took far too long to get underway, hockey fans who at times can wander away from the game as the calendar flips through June, may be hoping for seven games with the Bruins and Hawks.

It seems like a just reward for the long suffering fans who had to deal with the lock out and bickering from September through January.

Finally, when it matters most, hockey may provide for a series that will be remembered for seasons to come.

CHICAGO WINS the series 4 games to 2

Wednesday, June 12-- Boston 3 at Chicago 4 (3 OT) (22,110)
Saturday, June 15-- Boston 2 at Chicago 1 (1 OT) (22,154)
Monday, June 17-- Chicago 0 at Boston 2   (17,565)
Wednesday, June 19-- Chicago 6 at Boston 5 (OT) (17,565)  
Saturday, June 22-- Boston 1 at Chicago 3 (22,274
Monday, June 24-- Chicago 3 at Boston 2 (17,565)  

Games on CBC, RDS, NBCSN or NBC

Media Sources for the series
(some may feature a pay wall)

Chicago Sun Times
Chicago Tribune
Chicago Daily Herald
Boston Globe
Boston Herald
USA Today
Globe and Mail
National Post

The Stanley Cup Final

The Path to Stanley started with sixteen teams and now in the final half of June, we are down to two, iconic Original Six franchises and two teams that in the end offer up what may be a most entertaining season finale.

Considering the short span from January to June, we perhaps should not have been so fortunate, a season finale with any number of underlying themes, highlighting two teams that are recent Stanley Cup Champs, both with a hard hitting style of play that promises four and with a little bit of luck seven fast paced and physical games.

The Bruins, who came within ten minutes of disaster and what many believed was a certain rebuild ahead, have regained their form through the second and third series, finding little of concern to them from the New York Rangers and then most effectively dismissing the early season favourites the Pittsburgh Penguins.

So impressive was Boston's domination of the Penguins, that one wonders if the Pens will ever find their game again with their present line up. The Bruins just seemed to get better and better as the playoffs moved forward, utilizing the full team concept to its utmost they are a team that not only depends on each other, but expects full attention to the task ahead.

Chicago is a team along the same lines of the Bruins, a physical team that isn't afraid of the corner play that can make the difference between victory and defeat.

They too struggled at times, the Red Wings series taking them to the limit and sparking a remarkable comeback, much like the Bruins had.

Their showdown with the defending Stanley Cup champs the Kings also offered up the confounding side of Chicago.  At times the Hawks looked as though they were on course for a dominating performance, only to slip into bad habits and surrender those gains, giving their opponents life.

The Hawks finally secured their berth in the Stanley Cup Final, claiming victory in Los Angeles, the finale to the Western Final steeped in the kind of sudden death drama, that was significantly lacking for the Bruins as they eviscerated the Pens.

All of that now however is the past.  The Hawks were the toast of the NHL in this shortened season, a remarkable start that seemed to have them destined for the Stanley Cup, with a few hiccups along the path they finally have arrived at that placement.

The Bruins, who nearly lost it all in the first round, have since morphed into a most formidable opponent, all of which sets up what should be a dandy of a Stanley Cup final.

Click below for more information on a game by game account as the final two seek their chance to hoist Stanley.

Boston and Chicago
CHICAGO WINS the Series 4 games to 2

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Stanley Cup Playoffs-- Western Conference Finals, Saturday, June 8, 2013

Conference Finals for the Stanley Cup Playoffs

The Schedule for Saturday, June 8th in the Quest for Stanley.

Los Angeles and Chicago

Los Angeles 3 at Chicago 4 (2 OT) (22,237)
CHICAGO WINS the series 4 games to 1
8 PM ET/ 7 CT / 5 PT

Friday, June 07, 2013

Stanley Cup Playoffs -- Eastern Conference Finals, Friday, June 7, 2013

Conference Finals for the Stanley Cup Playoffs

The Schedule for Friday, June 7th in the Quest for Stanley.

Boston and Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh 0 at Boston 1 (17,565 
BOSTON WINS the series 4 games to 0

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Stanley Cup Playoffs-- Western Conference Finals, Thursday, June 6, 2013

Conference Finals for the Stanley Cup Playoffs

The Schedule for Thursday, June 6th in the Quest for Stanley.

Los Angeles and Chicago

Chicago 3 at Los Angeles 2 (18,621)
Chicago leads the series 3 games to 1
9 PM ET/ 8 CT / 6 PT

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Stanley Cup Playoffs - Eastern Conference Finals, Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Conference Finals for the Stanley Cup Playoffs

The Schedule for Wednesday, June 5th in the Quest for Stanley.

Boston and Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh 1 at Boston 2 (
2 OT) (17,565)
Boston Leads the Series 3 games to 0