Well, there you have it folks. The Stanley Cup no longer resides in Chicago and I must say that it was enjoyable watching it find a new home for the year to come. There is a lot to say after this one, so many areas to focus on. Thomas' performance is a big one, while Marchand's should not be overlooked. Chara was even larger than his stats suggest and Bergeron made his time on the ice count in great ways while Recchi inhaled his glorious and final moments. There is a lot to say, this game had it all except for Canuck goals, but I am going to try and not to add salt to the wound which is surely stinging badly in Vancouver.
A Tim Terrific Stanley Cup Final with cheers and tears, rookies and retirements, shutouts and shorties, handshakes and violence.
the first 20 minutes of this game were going to be the defining moments of this season for both teams. Boston knew that they had to take charge early, get under Luongo's already chaffing skin right away and be the team on the scoreboard first. After all, the first team to score won all 7 games of this series. I thought both teams looked eager and charged for the fight in the opening seconds. But, it was Boston who looked different in the Canuck's house. They were smoother and crisper, something you might not expect of a team in game 7 on the road. Their passes were connecting and the puck movement was at the top of their game. The ease with which they were obviously dealing with the pressures of the situation ended up being the reason for their success.
That becomes even clearer when you realize how badly they were out hit and out shot, though the score had something to do with that too. Both goalies were tested early, especially Thomas who seemed to have Vancouver figured out by this point. They threw nothing new at him and his defense was bound and determined to be there for him if needed. Many patterns were continuing for this game, but not all of them.
The element that stood out to me the most was how Boston was winning the battles that counted the most. Loose pucks and corner skirmishes favored the guys in white. The combination of this and their poise with the puck tonight gave way to the first goal. The result of a face-off (one that was initially lost), rookie Brad Marchand attacked the loose puck, circled with it, centered a pass to Bergeron and the game was won in the first 20 minutes. This would be the first points of the night for those two, but far from their last and their importance in this win can not be overstated.
Marchand is like an opened can of whoop-ass, to put it frankly. I could go on and on about his ability to do it all as a rookie, but that would be a post in its own right.
From his little spot between the benches, Pierre mentioned how quite the Vancouver bench became after the first goal and how Boston was animated and talking to each other. This is what Recchi was talking about after game 6 and this is why Vancouver is without the Cup tonight. Leadership, camaraderie, having fun and playing for the love of the game.
Another big factor in this game was Boston's 4th line, who were used wisely by the coaching staff tonight. The pressure they sustained on the Canucks had a big role in keeping Vancouver down and out. Though nothing might have spoken louder than the short-handed goal scored in the second period. This power-play was Vancouver's hope, their last chance to jump back into the game and claim what they felt was theirs. I watched that PP with the eyes of a hawk (no pun intended). This was the defining moment in the game. When a lucky bounce found Bergeron on a breakaway I knew it was over. Karma had spoken and it was at Luongo. Don't talk smack. The bounces favored the Bruins in the last game of the year when it counted most.
It is fair to say that the Sedins should shoulder a large portion of this one. The shit storm they deserve might even buy enough time for Luongo to run and hide. When I realized that they were on the ice for all 3 Boston goals, I felt good that they weren't in Chicago uniforms. Your stars have to produce to win the Cup. Just ask Toews and Kane.
Speaking of Toews, Thomas sure is having a Toews kind of year. A Stanley Cup, the Conn Smythe and most likely the Vezina after that performance. Might be some kind of original 6 mojo or something. Either way, I think we can officially call this the Year of Tim Thomas.
And just incase you forgot that this was a Hawk's blog, Haviland is interviewing for the Winnipeg job.
Lets call it a wrap and send or thoughts towards Fourfeather who is most likely hiding behind his 2009-2010 Stanley Cup Champs t-shirt while his city is blown to pieces by the thousands of angry fans. We knew a riot was inevitable, win or lose. I feel for them, I really do. It was the empty netter that really did it, wasn't it. 4-0 just looks really bad.