How about that incredible Game Seven last night between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Boston Bruins? The only problem with a game like that is that there must be a winner and a loser, and that means only Boston will play another day. With the 1-0 victory on Nathan Horton's goal, the Bruins advanced to their first Stanley Cup Final since 1990 where they will meet the Vancouver Canucks who last appeared in the Stanley Cup Final in 1994! This looks like it will be a good series, and we might just get to see a couple of goaltender duels if both Tim Thomas and Roberto Luongo can play to their full potentials!
Mikael Samuelsson, who is injured and won't play in the Stanley Cup Final, and Mark Recchi are the only two men who are walking around with Stanley Cup rings on these teams, and Recchi is the only player in this series who has a ring from before 1994! There have been a number of players who have appeared in the Stanley Cup Final on both teams, however, but there is one factor that might go into telling who the Stanley Cup victors may be.
That factor? The Winter Olympic Games. I kid you not. Check this out:
- 1932 - Lake Placid, New York. 1933 saw the New York Rangers capture the Stanley Cup over the Toronto Maple Leafs with a 3-1 series victory.
- 1980 - Lake Placid, New York. 1981 saw the New York Islanders capture the Stanley Cup in five games over the Minnesota North Stars.
- 1988 - Calgary, Alberta. 1989 saw the Calgary Flames capture the Stanley Cup in six games over the Montreal Canadiens.
- 2010 - Vancouver, British Columbia. History hasn't been written yet, but the 2011 Vancouver Canucks are playing for the Stanley Cup.
Personally, the best team is in the Stanley Cup Finals from what we saw in the regular season. The Vancouver Canucks captured the President's Trophy as the top regular-season team, and are the first President's Trophy-winning team to appear in the Stanley Cup Finals since the 2007-08 Detroit Red Wings (Mikael Samuelsson played on this team). Before that, the 2001-02 Red Wings, the 2000-01 Colorado Avalanche, and the 1998-99 Dallas Stars were the President's Trophy winners to capture the Stanley Cup, so the new millenium has been good to the President Trophy-winning team.
However, the 1989 Calgary Flames also won the President's Trophy and went on to win the Stanley Cup. Again, that was one year after hosting an Olympiad, so history seems to be on Vancouver's side when looking at factors that should have no bearing on the outcome of this series. Just to add a little more fuel on this fire is the performance of the 1977 Montreal Canadiens who, like the Flames, were the best team through the regular season before capturing the Stanley Cup.
Boston's most recent run to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1990 saw them struggle before finally falling to a juggernaut. The Bruins needed all seven games to dispatch the Hartford Whalers in the opening round before eliminating the Montreal Canadiens in five games. The Wales Conference Final saw Boston crush the Washington Capitals in a four-game sweep before the magic ran out against a determined Edmonton Oilers team. The Oilers won the Stanley Cup in five games over the Bruins.
The series between Boston and Edmonton is probably best remembered for having the longest game in Stanley Cup Final history. Game One between Boston and Edmonton went three overtime periods before Petr Klima found room between Andy Moog's legs to end the game at 15:13 of triple-overtime.
Of course, there was also a 26-minute delay in action when the power in Boston Gardens went out. This game broke the record set by Montreal and Chicago way back in 1931, and was a mere 30 seconds longer than the Dallas-Buffalo overtime game that saw Brett Hull's foot appear to be in the crease.
Personally, I am pulling for a Canadian squad to win a Stanley Cup, so here's hoping that Vancouver can be the first team to do so since the 1993 Montreal Canadiens. With both Vancouver and Boston having young, exciting players, I feel that this series could be a very good display of hockey. Game on starting on Wednesday!
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!